google penalty

SAPE Links – Google’s Coming For You

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February 16  |  Link Building  |   Ryan Clark

sape links google penalty
For some reason SAPE links has not been touched by Google’s nasty magic ban wand but it looks like after a lot of chatter via SEO forums, Matt Cutts is a coming for them. While I hope no legit business has been running these links because if so, I’d get on the disavow train pretty quick. The majority of the other people I imagine are affiliate sites than an just turn and burn as they say. Either way, if you’re relying on lame link building like this for your legit business and want to stop, give me a shout to hear how we do it right.

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Wikipedia Link Leads to Unnatural Link Warning

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August 21  |  Link Building  |   Ryan Clark

Scary title to say the least and while you may be smelling the stink of link bait in the air, I assure you it is as it sounds. I don’t like to cover news from other websites but in regards to link building, I’ll make an exception. This WebmasterWorld thread showcases a scenario I would have never thought could and would be a problem. Basically, this webmaster had his site included naturally to Wikipedia and then that page, including the links, got scraped thousands of times over. On top of that, the webmaster’s site is an EMD so he ended up getting a lot of exact match anchor text. We all know now that this can really cause problems for people and sure enough he got the unnatural links message in his WMT.

From their post;

It seems that Google has penalised me for this because from their point of view they see dozens of links with the same anchor text. Because my website is relatively young this makes up a large proportion of the link profile and I don’t think this looks natural.
I explained this to Google in a reconsideration request and they revoked a manual penalty as a result. A few hours prior to that I received one of those ‘unnatural link’ warnings without the yellow caution signs. Now two weeks later my rankings have not improved at all for this keyword (which is also my website name) whereas previously it was ranking quite well for this

This is pretty scary and if true, means that the Google Penguin filter has a long long long way to go! Hearing this also means scary things for the negative SEO world. In the past year we have dealt with businesses coming to us in droves with a unnatural link filtering no thanks to shady link building “companies” that are prolific throughout the web. We have yet to see anyone with a problem like this as the majority were blog network link buyers, blog comment spammers and link wheels gone wild.

But aren’t Wikipedia links nofollow? They sure are and while the majority of scrapers will append the nofollow code along with the rest of the data they’re stealing, we still have a problem. You can even read about another WW user who also had Google point out links from their scraped Wikipedia page being the “culprits”.

From Miozio;

I had the same problem when Google spam team pointed at links as unnatural from sites that scraped Wikipedia where I had a featured link. Those sites had nofollow attribute, same as Wiki but it does not matter to Google anymore. I desperately screamed in reconsideration request of such an injustice and they revoked manual action. Good rankings never returned since then.

Does anything perhaps think the Penguin algorithm is ignoring nofollow?

Here’s a very interesting tidbit from WW user klark0;

Same here. I got 1 Wikipedia link and about hundred from wikipedia scrapers. The only good thing is that almost all of the scrapers keep their copy in sync with wikipedia. So I edited the link to be instead of a keyword-like link.

Let’s keep in mind we cannot confirm if this all actually happened, but I certainly wouldn’t be surprised. This is where I’ll turn to our readers and hopefully someone has something to say about this topic. If you’ve had this exact problem lets hear about it in the comments below or email me( and we can do a post on here together. I had thought I’d seen it all in regards to link problems, so this is certainly an interesting twist on the Penguin saga.

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How To Lift A Google Penalty

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February 15  |  Black Hat  |   Ryan Clark

Here’s a great new Webmaster Help video with Matt Cutts talking about lifting a Google penalty. A lot of people, and I see it in their help forums a lot, think the only way is to have it manually reviewed. It’s great to hear that you can fix things and let their spiders fix you in good time. If you’re company is feeling the sting of a penalty, we do offer our services and help in getting you back on the white list. There’s no charge to get our advice on a problem you’re having, so get in touch.

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Content For Links & Go Compare

April 30  |  Link Building, News  |   Ryan Clark

There has been a lot of talk lately about companies offering content for links and there are people on all sides of the fence, including myself. I just read an excellent article by Linktank(must read blog btw) entitled The Content For Links Debate, and I completely agree with what he has to say in regards to going about this tactic. A lot of the chatter has been revolving around the Go Compare fiasco which has seen them up and down in Google.

If you haven’t heard about it, then let me fill you in quickly. They were basically sending out mass emails saying they’ll write content for your site and include one simple link back to their website. This method can work out great but I can see how a lot of people didn’t like the way they went about things. Mass emailing a template to webmaster’s is not a great way of doing things. I however think that this is a great method of link building if done properly, and by properly I mean getting personal in each and every email. I also read that they were offering around 400 word articles as content, and to me this doesn’t come close to cutting it. If you’re wanting that link from the other site you’d best be writing at least 2000 words on something new and fresh, not rehashed. Spend the time doing the social media marketing to attract links to that content, which will in return pass on quality link juice.

Now it isn’t clear that they(Go Compare) received a penalty mainly because they bounced back quickly. If you’ve done link building in a tough niche you’ll know that your rankings will fluctuate all over the place.  You also don’t want to be too aggressive going after one keyword because that’s going to get you notice and slapped.

I could go on and on about this subject but i’ll let you folks write me some comments with your thoughts. I’m also going to link to a bunch of great posts already talking about what I’ve covered here and then some. It’s a touchy subject, and link building is a mine field of an industry so it’s fun(hard?) to keep up on things.

How to Determine a Search Engine Penalty – Jonathan Stewart
Go Compare Penalized Again – Patrick Altoft
The Content For Links Debate – Linktank
Content For Links – Kieron Donoghue
Link Building In Ultra Competitive Niches – Red Cardinal

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Which Link Building Techniques Will Google Penalize Next?[Poll]

December 22  |  Link Building  |   Ryan Clark

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about certain link building methods that will eventually end up getting drowned out like directory links and paid links in blog posts. Since I’ve been writing this blog and link building full time my eyes have been opened wide to the amount of places to build links, and even the amount of new places opening up. Obviously the easiest methods will be the ones to get abused the most, and I’m starting to wonder what’s next in line for a good old fashioned Google smacking? I’m hoping to get enough votes from you folks to determine what you think it will be, and get an insight to what you’re seeing getting spammed the most lately. I’ll write my explanation out below for reasons why I have them on the list, and if you think I missed an important technique on here let me know!

[polldaddy poll=1220147]

Do Follow Blog Commenting: I know that do follow blog comment is a two way street and can either be beneficial or get you in the dog house. I’ve put this option on the list because these days I’m seeing a ratio of 90% spam comments/anchor’s and about 10% in real and quality comments. Since the commenting process can also be an automated one, we’ve all seen auto commenting scripts in the wild doing a nasty job. I can easily see sites getting into “bad neighborhoods” because of excess amounts of spam comments on their site, which would lead to a penalty for the spamming site.

Submitting .pad Software: Well this is still a great method for building solid links on very authoritative software sites, I’m starting to see the spammers making use of this technique for unethical reasons. It has gotten to the point that I’m seeing people selling Ebooks with this as the prime “secret” they teach amateur online marketers to gain top ranking spots. I imagine in the near future these software download sites will start getting looked at just like the directory industry has, and if you take a look there are a lot of low quality software download sites with this type of spam all over them.

Forum Signatures: This link building method had me wondering if I should even mention it, but like I stated before about methods that are easily automated will generally come under the ban hammer, this is one of them. Now I am not against getting links via signatures if you’re active on a niche related forum, and there not just to spam your siggy. But I’m not seeing companies who offer forum signature links and spamming by the thousands, and this is setting off a flag in my mind. It has me wondering if Google might eventually come up with some sort of quality checking.

Social Bookmarking: Social bookmarking is a great method for not only building links but getting targeted traffic as well. There is already a strong spam presence on almost every
bookmarking site out there, and with the sheer number of them popping up is going to dilute the amount of link juice you would have once got. I can easily see the same thing that happened to the directory industry to social bookmarking if it isn’t already happening.

Linkbaiting: Linkbaiting is by far the hottest link building method to come out recently and its great for getting links, but most importantly links from related sites. I like this method because it forces you to first create great content to earn those links, so there is little room for evil….keyword here being little. I’ve seen a good number of ‘out of context’ articles with linkbait titles and sometimes just downright misleading information. Because this information can be seen by a large volume of readers this can pose a serious risk to influencing people for good or bad.

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