blackhat

Google Sends Warning For Article Marketing

7 Comments
November 24  |  Link Building  |   Ryan Clark

Are you link building via article marketing for your main source of links? You might not be as safe as you think. While I’m aware I’m spouting and promoting fear a little bit here, I do have my ear to the ground when it comes to this topic. Clearly the majority of companies out there are pumping out ultra low quality content. That’s not the only problem though, everyone is also gaming anchor text and that’s what Google hates…a lot.

I like the fact that Google would discourage this because too many sites are way too shitty to deserve a top ranking spot. Google’s guidelines when it comes to links makes it pretty clear that link schemes are going to cause you trouble, and most article marketing falls under their definition.

You might remember the violation emails Google sent out regarding unnatural links detected pointing to a site. While it’s a very rare occurrence, the possibility is a reality and something you’ll see pop up in Google’s webmaster help central. I just came back from a trip and while catching up on the latest posts on my trip, I discovered this instance that caught my eye.

Meanwhile I submitted a reconsideration request for my other sites that had the same -50 filter, some which had zero inorganic links. In the E-mail I received I was told that I needed to remove any “inorganic links” that I could and if I couldn’t remove them I needed to create a list of the links I couldn’t remove.

It’s important to keep in mind that this person is most likely running a bunch of thin affiliate sites and they were also doing user profile spam. A lot of people think that links can never have a negative effect on your rankings, but those people haven’t been around long enough. Even the link schemes definition from Google clearly states that “This is in violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines and can negatively impact your site’s ranking in search results“. That alone should end the debate.

If the post is true, it’s still a rare case and, in my ninja opinion, pretty difficult to get in trouble with links. Pretty much every top niche is dominated by unethical link building practices and it has been that way for the last decade. We, of course, do a lot of high quality content marketing and I’m not claiming to be pure by any means, just be careful out there. That statement is also for those companies who are just blind hiring an SEO to get mass links.

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Fortune 500 Company + SEnuke = Disaster

11 Comments
July 3  |  Black Hat  |   Ryan Clark

Before we get into this quick post I’ll state this is in by no means a bash to SEnuke, but more of a lesson when hiring an in-house SEO. A lot of the link building tactics used in the software are 100% link schemes, and are going to eventually get you in trouble. However, it is also in the user(think guns don’t kill people, people with guns..) to make it black hat. You could most definitely use it for legit purposes in small doses. But for the most part, this software spams forums, blog comments and web 2.0 profiles. It also now does link wheel “strategies”, and by looking at the diagram below, what do you think of;

If that’s not a visual definition of a link scheme. So in came an email from a fortune 500 company asking for help when their homepage dipped out of the SERPs, and a whole ton of their target kw’s were now bouncing around the 50-70 range. Not good right? Naturally my first step was to run a link report and see what was going on. I nearly spat my coffee all over the keyboard with what I saw after my Link Research Tools (shameless plug for Cemper here :) report finished.

So what happened? This company is an old school one, and they for so many years just relied on a webmaster, basic on page SEO and the natural links they received. After a few of the higher ups went to a conference and got all jazzed on online marketing, they decided to put together an in-house team. This lead to someone fresh out of university being picked up and hired, along with 4 other graduates from the same school/marketing program.

Perhaps a risky move, but the university has a great reputation, and the fresh hires were cheaper than some one with a lot of real world experience. Perhaps the first mistake, but not necessarily a bad move. The problems arose once the team decided to implement SEnuke as their link building platform and methodology.

After learning about link wheels, profile links and all the other “techniques” out there they went to town with this software. After 8 months there were nearly a dozen link wheels setup with spun content, but the worst part, the thousands and thousands of forum spam, blog comment and 2.0 profile links. To back that up, only 6-10 different money keyword anchor text were thrown in the mix. This got real obvious real quick.

So a year later and some very major problems are now a reality in this companies life. The clean up process is going to be down right awful, and guess who gets the clean up work duty? No me, that’s for sure! We’ll be taking their link building efforts into 2012 with awesome content, resources, web apps, mobile apps and beyond. Large companies have huge pull and don’t need to resort to anything other than natural link creation, so let this be a warning to all.

Be careful who you hire, don’t use questionable tactics and do things right if you want to stick around longer than a year in the SERPs. Google is going to be really focusing on SERP quality over the next year (and beyond), so now is the time to go over everything and make sure you’re squeaky clean.

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Paid Links in 2011

1 Comments
March 13  |  Black Hat  |   Ryan Clark

I never thought I’d be writing another post about paid links, especially in 2011. Talk about beating a dead horse, resurrecting it and then beating it to death again. You can find our team helping people for free on Google’s Webmaster Central, and it is the reason I’ve decided to blab on the topic. Almost on a daily basis we’re answering topics where the webmaster either has no idea that buying links are a no-no, or they’re not checking who they’re hiring. I could have stated a third option, but I just cannot imagine people are dumb enough to buy the kind of paid links we’re seeing. I’m talking the usual lame blog with dozens of unrelated anchor text links all over the place..footer, blogroll and in-content text ads. A blog about potty training doing a post on car insurance…as Gob from Arrested Development would say, “Come On!

The latest thread I posted on was from a printing company in the UK. They made a post stating that they’ve lost most of their traffic over night. Imagine that folks. How would you feel if you had to come back tomorrow morning and tell your staff that business is going to get really rough. It would be even worse if you had to start laying off workers because of the massive monetary hit your company is about to take. Don’t let this be you folks, as well let this be a lesson to not keep all your eggs in one basket. Google is a volatile lover, and that’s why our company builds relationships on line…not just links.

If you’ve hired a link building consultant in the past year and haven’t bothered to look deep into the links you’re getting, do so right now! If you’re seeing a whole lot of lousy links then you need to jump on that asap. You wouldn’t believe the amount of potential clients that come to us in major trouble from past people hired. They were either burned hard and lost most of their business, or they were teetering on the edge of getting caught.

In this day and age, if your top anchor text count is for a specific search term you’re targeting and not your company/brand name, then I’d be a little worried. Google has been cracking down more and more, and they’ve even stated recently that major changes are coming to the way they view links. No one really knows what that entails, but I can imagine they’ll start looking closer into “natural” link profiles. A common factor in the clients we help get out of a penalty is the fact that their top 10 used anchor texts were obvious links to game the system.

If you’re going to still buy links against the advice of the Google gods, then at least do it smart. Link networks are always lousy and obvious, links from unrelated sites are obvious, and links in the sidebar or footer are just plain silly…I’m getting tired of cleaning up paid links for people!

Peace out

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20,000 Links For $250 Please – What The F$%!

2 Comments
January 25  |  Black Hat  |   Ryan Clark

For those of your who enjoyed taking a gander at the hilarious post we wrote in November titled “Can I Get 5000 Links Please“, I bring you an even better one. The freelancer sites are littered with the craziest link building offers one can find. No legit company in the world would be out trying to snag deals like this, but instead these are affiliate marketers going after spam links. This one in particular caught my attention on Twitter and made me almost choke on my coffee here.

The request is for 20,000 links in about 10 days time….riiiiiight. They also state they all have to be dofollow and white hat techniques only. Oh an the best part, they only want to pay a max of $250 USD. While the offer is getting bids from the usual outsourcing companies, there’s no way this guy is going to have his project met in a white hat method. I cannot stress this enough to some of the big brands out there that come to us wanting something like this.

I feel sorry for Matt Cutts and his team having to combat the tens of thousands of websites out there trying to link spam like this, so I’ll be sure to buy him a beer the next time I see him. Keep in mind when it comes to getting a lot of links, do it over time, do it right and don’t spam. We are firm believers of quality over quantity, so build strong relationships on line and the good links will follow over time…not 10 days. The freelancer link builders are only going to get your company caught up in an anchor text filter, or even worse, complete de-listing from Google.

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WP Original Source Plugin

1 Comments
January 24  |  Wordpress SEO  |   Ryan Clark

We’ve been having problems with a site scraping out content (onewaylinkbuilder.com), and we’re not having any luck contacting them. Their web host won’t do anything, we’ve already resorted to replacing images to naughty ones, but alas no luck.What’s even worse, is sometimes the content is outranking our site, and even their blog is showing up in Google Blog Search instead of ours…frustrating to say the least.

Google recently launched two new meta tags for content publishers, and now there is a WordPress plugin for it! Thanks to the handy coding work of Thibaut Dancette from Wecho.com who published this handy plugin for us WP users. You can grab WP Original Source HERE, and it installs easily without any modification.

I’ll update this post later to report back on how it’s effectively working, so keep your fingers crossed for us. Content scraping is more rampant than ever so it’s nice to know there are efforts on Google’s end to help clean up the junk. If their webspam team is listening, I’d love to see a anti-scraping feature built into Feed Burner to help combat these problems.

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Link Request Email How NOT To

3 Comments
November 23  |  Black Hat  |   Ryan Clark

I doubt the SEO world needs another post about link request emails, let alone get into the implications of mass link exchanges from homepages(or any page for that matter). I’m just winding down from a long day of building relationships for my clients the proper way, low and behold this email came into our inbox.

Hi,

My name is Abigail Cox, Web Marketing Consultant. Ive greatly enjoyed looking through your site linkbuildr.com and I was wondering if you’d be interested in exchanging links with my website, which has a related subject. I can offer you a home page link back from my related websites all in google cache and backlinks which are:

cleanprotalk(dot)com PR4
americanmominbusiness(dot)com

If you are interested, please send me the following details of your site:

TITLE:
URL:

I’ll add your link as soon as possible, in the next 24 hours. As soon as it’s ready, I’ll send you a confirmation email along with the information (TITLE and URL) regarding my site to be placed at yours.

I hope you have a nice day and thank you for your time.

Kindest regards,

Web Marketing Consultant

PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS IS NOT A SPAM OR AUTOMATED EMAIL, IT’S ONLY A REQUEST FOR A LINK EXCHANGE. YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS HAS NOT BEEN ADDED TO ANY LISTS, AND YOU WILL NOT BE CONTACTED AGAIN. IF YOU’D LIKE TO MAKE SURE WE DON’T CONTACT YOU AGAIN, PLEASE FILL IN THE FOLLOWING FORM: emailsnomore(dot)com ; PLEASE ACCEPT OUR APOLOGIES FOR CONTACTING YOU.

I didn’t bother to block out the name or email address mainly because I don’t care, and there’s nothing really to protect here. While the only positive thing I can get out of her tactics was coming across as a woman. I instantly thought of a sexy web marketer out there thinking my site was hot stuff. Sadly, when you look at the CleanProTalk website you’ll see about 100 links in the blogroll which blows my mind a little…I didn’t think they’d net that many link exchanges, but then again it could be all her own sites.

So for those companies out there who don’t have a marketing team, and if an email like this somehow tricks your webmaster, you should train him or her to sniff these out. The CleanProTalk site in question should have easily been spotted as pure junk not only from the 100+ blogroll links, but at a quick glance you can see from my totally 31337 Gimp skills the crap that’s right in front of your eyes;

- so we have default WordPress sub-heading still in place

- duplicate content stolen from article sites without even linking back

- the 100+ sidebar links

- they didn’t bother to change the default category name

- adsense which tracks back to all their other sites on the web

So what should a link builder do to obtain a link? Well, in my opinion, you should first build your business relationships online and not even bother to do any link exchanges in the first place. There are so many bloody emails like this going out thanks to software and cheap ass outsourcing that you barely have a chance to get your legit message through. We’re living in a digital, social web and there are powerful tools such as Twitter, Linkedin and Facebook at your disposal. It takes time to network with real people, but if you do it right it will pay off in the end. Stay away from lousy sites, blogrolls and link pages because you’re only going to suffer in the long run!

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