Penguin has been in play for a while now and everyone is afraid to build links, well, except for the people who have dipped their toes in the post-penguin water and know what still works. It all depends whether you’re wanting your business to last in the SERPs for a while or just a short stint. The link spammers out there who target the usual big money keywords are still at it and are ranking in the top 10 faster than I’ve ever seen before. I’m not here to out anyone, nor would I, but we’ll take a look at real link graphs and keywords they’ve managed to dominate within a month…. yes in only a month!
There has not been much of an actual clean up of the SERPs in my opinion, so feel free to add a rebuttal or troll me for saying that in the comments below. In the 7 years we’ve been “building” and “attracting” links for clients, the one thing I can say is that slow and steady wins the race. The people hacking the SERPs are not doing it with any secret sauce of links, either; It’s full on junk links from junk sites and it’s quite embarrassing in my eyes for Google. I will give them some credit if the Penguin algorithm should eventually snap them out of the undeserved rankings within the next month. Within that time though, they most likely have a second and third site in the works and they’ll be right back to laughing all the way to the bank. The other spammers have noticed this as well and it’s still an all out payday for people with “turn and burn” websites.
Without specifically outing anyone, we’ll take a look at a few heavily spammed keywords just to showcase what’s still going on and what to avoid. Are posts like these productive? Maybe. Are posts like these cheap link bait for us? Maybe. Either way, I like to know what’s going on out there from all types of hats and stay informed. Keep in mind that the SERPs for each keyword are going to look a little different for everyone, but from what I’ve checked, multiple sources can confirm everyone I looked at was ranking top 5 for the term at hand. All of our backlink data was happily acquired through Ahrefs.com.
Search Term: Viagra
This first site shot up past Viagra.com for a while in my checking of the SERPS, which was pretty shocking. I won’t tell you if they’re still ranking or not but one thing is certain, they made it VERY high up for this search term quickly and easily. I’m keeping my eye on how long it last(s)(ed) and I suggest you folks do as well for the link spammers in your vertical.
Search Term: Bad Credit Loans
One of the other notorious keywords out there that’s heavy with competition and always an interesting peek into other types of link spam. The one thing I’ve noticed here is that the link volume seems to be a lot less, implying that Google is still giving a lot of weight to keywords in the domain name.
Search Term: Payday Loans
Just about every link spammer has a hard on for this keyword term as it brings in serious coin for affiliates. It’s always a hot bed of spamtivity and here, as well, I’m seeing the same time frame for quick ranking. Again, there aren’t as many links blasted as the Viagra term, but here we had another keyword domain in play so there’s that pattern again…
It’s a pretty fascinating world these “turn and burners” live in and while it’s not for me, it provides the other side with interesting details and facts. It seems the Google algorithm still has a long way to go and I don’t think we should be so quick to say “links are dead”. I’m still a big fan of doing the amazing things that make you stand out in your niche, which brings in everything you want as well as “natural” and quality links from sites that are relevant. If you’re one who does a lot of backlink research you’ll have no doubt noticed that the sites that have seen no drops and steady rankings have those great links and their anchor text levels are far from gamed.