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Paid Bloggers Got Me Busted At Google
Clickmonster




msg:3497251
 12:35 am on Nov 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

I decided to test some paid blogging in a small way, figured it should be safe in small quantities going slow. I hired a popular paid blogging service to give me 30 blog posts, with an agreement the all of them would be fairly evenly spread out over a 30-day period. The posts were to have links that were supposed to be split between my home page and some inside pages.

Well, all of the links showed up within a 2-day period and almost of them were targeted to the same inside page. I am sure you know where this is going . . . yes, this page has been kicked out of Google, no cache, not in the index at all. Was a PR4, now it's gone. Luckily this does not seem to have affected the rest of the site.

No other changes have been made in a few months.

What to do now?

1.Try to get rid of the links and do a groveling reinclusion request?

2.Change the address of the inside page and start over with it? If so, 301 the old page, or 404, 410?

3.Donít panic, just be patient and wait? In the past when things went wrong this has been the right answer but somehow this feels different. Plus, I am actually guilty of something this time ;-)

4.Something else?

Any good ideas would be appreciated.

 

trakkerguy




msg:3497344
 3:03 am on Nov 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

Option #3 - Donít panic, just be patient and wait.

You don't say how long the page has been missing from the index, but it sounds like a short time?

Pages go missing all the time, but it does seem to happen when a page gets a load of new links all at once. Seen that many times, and every time the page shows back up later. Used to be longer delay, but now seems like less than a week.

As many people have said, if it was so easy to kill a page permanently due to 30 new links, don't you think competitors would be clubbing each other all over the web?

[edited by: trakkerguy at 3:06 am (utc) on Nov. 6, 2007]

vincevincevince




msg:3497345
 3:04 am on Nov 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

Out of interest:
- Were the posts marked as paid?
- Were there clear fingerprints of the firm you used on the posts (images coming from their domain, link tracking...)?
- Were links rel=nofollow

In general, I suggest that you wait a while.

phranque




msg:3497378
 4:14 am on Nov 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

btw, welcome to WebmasterWorld, clickmonster!

Crush




msg:3497458
 7:23 am on Nov 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

We buy millions of links and in general it is OK. Could have been something else. Just put the content on a new url and you are off again.

[edited by: Crush at 7:24 am (utc) on Nov. 6, 2007]

potentialgeek




msg:3497492
 8:32 am on Nov 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

Google's Search Engine 125 Patent

"A sudden growth in the number of apparently independent peers, incoming and/or outgoing, with a large number of links to individual documents may indicate a potentially synthetic web graph, which is an indicator of an attempt to spam ... this information can be used to demote the impact of such links."

"While a spiky rate of growth in the number of back links may be a factor used by search engine 125 to score documents, it may also signal an attempt to spam search engine 125. Accordingly, in this situation, search engine 125 may actually lower the score of a document(s) to reduce the effect of spamming."

"The dates that links appear can also be used to detect 'spam,' where owners of documents or their colleagues create links to their own document for the purpose of boosting the score assigned by a search engine. A typical, 'legitimate' document attracts back links slowly."

p/g

trakkerguy




msg:3497639
 12:06 pm on Nov 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

A typical, 'legitimate' document attracts back links slowly

This assumption does not take into account the impact social networks and blogs have had.

Google probably does discount links that accumulate at too fast a rate, but the web has changed since that patent was applied for.

Clickmonster




msg:3497658
 12:31 pm on Nov 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

>but it sounds like a short time?

Posts all happened 8-9 days ago, page dissapeared 4 days ago.

>Were the posts marked as paid?

Some minor site wide disclosure but not "marked".

>Were there clear fingerprints of the firm you used on the posts (images coming from their domain, link tracking...)?

Not AFAIK

>Were links rel=nofollow

No

>if it was so easy to kill a page permanently due to 30 new links, don't you think competitors would be clubbing each other all over the web?

Thatís the thinking that led me to try this. I have since been considering if this could be a low cost technique for helping competitors lose a page or two ;-)

>just put the content on a new url and you are off again.

And do what with the old page?

###

Thanks for the thoughts and ideas.

ecmedia




msg:3498772
 3:42 pm on Nov 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

People who have committed the mistake of buying the links, well, many of them are going back to the bloggers and requesting that they add a nofollow tag. You might want to be safe, though, it appears to me that you are under penalty and will eventually recover.

idolw




msg:3498839
 4:55 pm on Nov 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

I do not see the big big guys asking for a no-follow. Just the small guys have full pants...

Don't take it as offense, but is it really worth to hire someone to buy paid posts on 30 blogs?
How much does it cost?
Would take me 60 minutes to get it done.

You really talking 30 and not 30k?

jakegotmail




msg:3498842
 4:59 pm on Nov 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

There is this thing in Google where they will simply dump a page. It happens a LOT. For no reason. Just be patient and see if th page comes back.

Google isn't perfect.

A page more then likely will not get banned b/c all of a sudden 20 links point to a page.

wheel




msg:3498845
 5:00 pm on Nov 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

30 paid blog posts can have a huge effect, particularly on an inner page and in a not overly competitive search term.

For example, I've 'seen' pages get ranked #1 on non-competitive terms with only a half dozen paid blog posts.

I don't think this is the result of the paid blogging aspect of it specifically (which I don't think Google has figured out yet). More likely you're seeing either too many links too fast and are filtered as a result, or you're simply seeing the flux of datacenters and things will be back in a day or two.

fjpapaleo




msg:3498858
 5:15 pm on Nov 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

Just one more reason they should ditch their link algo altogether.

grant




msg:3501205
 1:20 am on Nov 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

Your page did not disappear because of blog postings, UNLESS your page was hijacked.

I did allow full RSS feeds from my blog, and mine was hijacked (I mean, duplicate content).

Clickmonster




msg:3501887
 1:54 am on Nov 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

>Don't take it as offense, but is it really worth to hire someone to buy paid posts on 30 blogs?

No offense taken. Itís a valid question, and one that I was trying to answer. Itís a fairly low competition keyword, and the problem page was in the top 20 without any links other than internal. The analysis says 30 should do it unless something goes wrong ;-)

Iím just waiting it out for now.

Quadrille




msg:3501892
 2:31 am on Nov 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

Are you linking to any of those blogs?

If so, do remove those links.

In general, the word from Google seems to suggest that bloglinks, eeven if highly relevant, count for little.

But the damage when it goes wrong can be bad.

And as Matt Cutts once pointed out, if cleaning up means removing links from multiple blogs and forums, then you got a major problem!

trakkerguy




msg:3501917
 3:30 am on Nov 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

the word from Google seems to suggest that bloglinks, even if highly relevant, count for little

What do you mean by "the word from Google"? Did they actually comment on that explicitly, or is it something you pieced together from various statements they made?

It doesn't seem they would have any interest in providing honest, reliable information about the effectiveness of various link strategies.

Quadrille




msg:3501984
 7:27 am on Nov 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

Agreed, that's why I said 'seems to suggest' - there's plenty of stuff that has indcated that link value is varied, and plenty of stuff that shows that no-one at Google values blog/forum links.

MC has been consistently hinting about it, for one; but he's not alone.

In my view there's no real doubt about it, though I couldn't point you one specific statement.

glengara




msg:3502072
 12:31 pm on Nov 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

I'd suspect that page was already borderline and those links just tipped it over.

IMO if a site is already showing intent to manipulate and has an obvious motive such as AS, the usual "benefit of the doubt" G gives to dubious incoming links can get suspended.

You may be lucky those links weren't spread wider....

Clickmonster




msg:3502155
 3:40 pm on Nov 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

>Are you linking to any of those blogs?

If I did that I would deserve whatever happened ;-)

>I'd suspect that page was already borderline and those links just tipped it over

Without the details, and just reading this thread, I might say the same. But in this case I donít think so.

>You may be lucky those links weren't spread wider....

I agree with that. An odd thing though, the home page is now starting to rank top 30 for the same term, it never ranked for this term before or if it did it wasn't in top 100. The inside page is still awol.

More info:
Y/MSN like it just fine
header responses good
no canonical problems
no proxy found with inurl, clean on "phrase" searches
robots.txt ok
metas ok
phrase used once in title, low kwd on page, no H tags, pretty sure no OOP

If it is not a glitch, then I am fairly certain it's a penalty from inbound links. I am going to wait for another week before I do anything.

Thanks for all of the ideas, suggestions and thought provoking comments.

limoshawn




msg:3502198
 5:14 pm on Nov 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

the home page is now starting to rank top 30 for the same term, it never ranked for this term before or if it did it wasn't in top 100. The inside page is still awol.

I just went through the same thing, was working on ranking a page for a bit, got the page on the first page of results, later that day the specific page was replaced by the home page (moved to page 2) and the specific page was gone. Home page had never ranked for this keyword.

the next day the home page was still there (page 2) and the specific page had re-appeared waaaaaaaay down ,page 44, in the results.

i'm not sure what to do, I don't want the home page ranking for this keyword. Just keep working on getting the specific page up there i guess.

Clickmonster




msg:3528522
 3:31 pm on Dec 15, 2007 (gmt 0)

The page is back, in the top 10/20 for just all variations of the kw phrase, plurals, word order etc. For the past week it has been in and out depending on DC, now it is solid across all DCs. Glad I just waited it out.

Thanks everyone for the comments and advice.

trakkerguy




msg:3528817
 5:39 am on Dec 16, 2007 (gmt 0)

Clickmonster - Are the rankings the same as before the page dropped out?

Clickmonster




msg:3529919
 1:24 am on Dec 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

same, actually better by a 1-2 positions for a few of them.

Of course there is no way of knowing but my guess is that if the paid links were the problem, either the page would not have come back or else it would come back but without the anchor juice and be in position like it was before I bought the links. but thats not waht happened. I am guessing that the sudden appearance of the links, to a page that never had any external inbounds, tossed into a black hole for a month.

carminejg3




msg:3532286
 9:14 pm on Dec 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

Googles Search Engine 125 Patent
"A sudden growth in the number of apparently independent peers, incoming and/or outgoing, with a large number of links to individual documents may indicate a potentially synthetic web graph, which is an indicator of an attempt to spam ... this information can be used to demote the impact of such links."

If this is a true filter... the people at the google complex aren't as smart as they may think...or they just ignore it the small percentages of pocket deep corps, that have the money and manpower to find and target top keywords..

If this paid poster can negatively effect your site.... Something you don't physically control, its wrong... Most people with money buy links or postings...

Well whats not to say your top 2 competitors who staff a 100 people plus and make millions a year, can easily spam blogs with a "Phony" posting from your site... making it look like you did this yourself to get more links...

My site should only be penilized for content on my site, not the links that point to it... unless i own the site pointing to it.

I personally know of a lot of top money making compnies with pr untouched that buy links and submit paid postings to places. They are easy to spot... they target subpages.... i dont have the time to target my pages, im to concerned with growing the site, were if i had a staff, i could assign people this task....

If this is the case with google, then google and matt have it all wrong.

Question for you... Do you sell links on your site? Its possible that someone reported your site with googles patented school yard bully reporter... "rat out the comp"

I agree paid links aren't good overall, but penalizing sites that sell adverting space on their sites to make money is rediculious... and if congress had any idea about this they should have blocked the double click/monopoly on INTERNET advertising....

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