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Faking Trustrank

 10:09 am on Dec 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

Theory brewing: earlier this year, a competitor of mine created a spammy (i.e. super-thin mostly-scraped affiliate) site and managed to get a hold of a UK bank's old domain name and 301'd it to the spammy site.

The spammy site shot up to all the No.2-5 spots across hundreds of keyphrases within a month and held there most of the year. I pushed hard to pass them by increasing our backlink strength but how do you beat the backlink profile of a bank?!?! The number of university, trusted directory, newspaper and research facility inbounds was simply impossible to surpass.

So, despite how weak it made me feel, I snitched. I told the bank that they had lost the domain and within a few days the 301 was removed and the domain name ended up with a whois in Belize!

But, the website has not lost it's rankings ...

Is it possible that if you manage to fake an amazing Trustrank that even if you lose 95%+ of your backlinks in one shot - Google keeps you where you are? (The banklinks were pulled 4th November.)



 6:53 pm on Dec 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

In my personal experience. If trust or back links degrades the website will fall very slowly, (may take a year for the website to settle down to its real trust level.) unless its penalised.


 8:21 pm on Dec 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

Games with dropped domains aren't new, and they work well. It is what it is I think. There's reasons it has to work like that, and reasons it shouldn't work like that.

If you're going to snitch, you'd probably be better to snitch to MC or Google someway. More likely that way for the site to get banned fast with a hand review, than waiting for the algo to figure things out.


 10:34 pm on Dec 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

Problem is that often the links take years to decay. By that time, in the right industry, the company has already pulled in boatloads of $$ - enough to create new domains and promote them, and promote the current domain, to make up for the loss in links.

Unfortunately this seems to happen quite often and does slip past the algo from time to time.

Two ways to do this:

1. Contact Google with a spam report, and well-document what is going on. Start off with the key important parts that really stuck out for me in your account of what has happened:

-Thin, affiliate website - no real value
-Artificially gaming SERPs

If the industry is large, and you stand to really lose out significantly with their movements, I would consider sending a polite email to all websites that link to them, and mention to them that it is a good idea that they 'clean up dead links' by removing the link to the previous bank site (explaining that the topic has changed and it is no longer a bank)

Remove the very reason they are ranking so well.


 1:42 am on Dec 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

Who's got time for all that? Spend your energies building your site to outlast them. someone outranks you using a trick for a few months, don't sweat it. If you pour all your energy into solidifying your own site then when these tricks come along the likelihood of them outranking you diminishes greatly.


 9:48 am on Dec 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

So, despite how weak it made me feel, I snitched.

All's fair! I would have done the same months earlier. It is one of the risks you take if you do something that is so easy to overturn by simply telling one person you are doing it.




 9:30 pm on Jan 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

"Who's got time for all that?"

Anyone who operates a business that is "assumedly" related to financials:)

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