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Competitor ranking with links from sites they own

 10:49 pm on Feb 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

Last week, a competitor that is normally on page 3 to 4 on Google has started to rank number one or 2 for a highly competitive term. When i was evaluating their backlinks, 85% of the 20 links they have are all from blog / low content sites they own. When I say low content I mean one post on a blog with a unique url over 6 months ago. The other 15% are from low quality directories. I thought Google was trying to get rid of this type of spam links, not reward them... Anyone else seeing anything like this?



 7:25 pm on Feb 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

Some webmasters might not rank super well today but if one "keeps at it" they will indeed achieve success sooner or later, often times later.

Unfortunately, telling my landlord to let me stay rent free for now because I will "indeed achieve success sooner or later," is not very useful.

And I think wheel has stated (if not in this thread, in others) that he uses his particular link building strategy only on domains that he wouldn't be terribly upset over if they got kicked out of the index. Just as a good investment manager would tell one to diversify his portfolio, I believe that wheel has a diversified portfolio of money making web sites.

At least, that is what I glean from his posts in various threads in this forum. I apologize in advance if I have misinterpreted his statements.


 9:22 pm on Feb 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

But don't pretend that Google favors quality backlinks anymore - it doesn't and hasn't in a long long time.

Have to agree. In my niche I have absolutely no remaining doubts whatsoever that its the quantity of backlinks that drives a page higher in the rankings. Quality, relevant links used to be the secret... not any more.

In highly competitive niches, lots of pages are very similar in terms of content, relevance, on-page SEO etc. Maybe the algo can't really separate them and this is where the quantity of links become the determining factor, even if the majority of those links are PR0 rubbish.

Re the OP. Most of the top ranking sites in my niches make heavy use of footer links on every page cross-linking to every other site in a large portfolio of sites... ie link farms. Been doing it for years without any slap on the wrist from Google.


 10:38 pm on Feb 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

Great posts Wheel. Makes sense given the situation nowadays.

One question, if you have a ring of say ten sites on a similar subject is it OK to interlink all or most of them. Or just link from nine of them to the one you want to promote?

Keep up the good advice.


 11:39 am on Feb 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

>>I feel the need to mention that 101 pennies will always be worth more than 4 quarters no matter how you look at it.

that's true for 101 pennies, but not for 99,98,75,68 etc


 2:15 pm on Feb 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

Ive got no proof of this - but I have to say that the only major slap that google ever gave (and I mean MAJOR) to anyone was not for linking - but for being a thin affiliate.

From my observations - my own very personal slappings - LOL - spankings - its my thin affiliate sites which only ever get hammered.

Linking - well - just get a copy of Xrumer and google will do the rest for you.



 4:39 pm on Feb 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

Linking - well - just get a copy of Xrumer and google will do the rest for you.


Seriously? By just using Xrunner on my QUALITY site, I can avoid the hassle of actually building quality links?

I am not trying argue here, but if it works, I would really love to know.


 6:50 am on Feb 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

@PayMePerClick I have seen something very similar. Its worked for years. Its the worst Google failure I have seen. Unfortunately it worked just as well on Bing and the rest.


 8:09 am on Feb 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

Here's an interesting thread on XRumer:



 8:34 am on Feb 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

It surely does, but i guess as soon as your niche starts to get competitive and users start to searching these queries more and more, some sort of filter can be triggered.

In my niche, i am the only one who is playing it the hard way, which is writing 1000+ words of quality reviews on products, hand picked several blogs and persuaded them to have my posts with 1 2 links inside. Submitting in best webdirectories, related sitewide links, i persuaded people into putting up my links instead of paying, however, i have hardly any forum post or very very few Blog Comments.

I do submit my posts in twitter facebook though, but all those sites which are interlinking with their own properties and doing massive comment spam in blogs, are enjoying 10 folds more traffic than me.


 9:06 am on Feb 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

I think this is gray-hat manipulation at best.

Why? It's only grey if the sites you own were built with no content or purpose except to build links from to your main sites. I get links all the time from sites (topic or not on topic) that I don't own. What's the difference between me interlinking my sites (topic or not on topic) that I own?

If all the sites are of good quality and have their own unique style, content and purpose then linking out is part of that. Whether you own the sites you link to or not is irrelevant.

almighty monkey

 9:42 am on Feb 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

Oh, this is about as black hat as you can get.

As ever with Black Hat SEO, it easier, but its a gamble. You can get software that registers a million blogs, spins a million versions of a few articles, interlinks and backlinks. I've never used Xrumer, but I've heard it mentioned enough times to know it must be doing something effective. Does it work? Yup. Are you always one review away from being kicked out of the SERPS? Yup. Is that a way to advertise a long term business, where branding, identity and customer retention is important? Definitely not.

Would I use it on one of my SEO clients? Nope. If I can get them to number 7 for a main keyphrase, using white hat techniques, we can keep invoicing them forever. If I spam, get them to number 1 for 9 months, and then they get kicked out, we can only invoice them for 9 months. For us agency SEO monkeys, it just doesn't make business sense. White hat SEO is an easier sell, anyway.

That said, if I were trying to make a fast buck by flogging an Ebook or something, I'd use blackhat spam, sure. I wouldn't structure a business around it, but I'd happily use it to make beer money.


 10:26 am on Feb 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

For us, the difference between position 7 and position 1 is about 50x clicks. 9 months @ #1 = 450 months @ #7 as far as income is concerned.


 4:25 am on Feb 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

With stolen content and a link farm they were able to acquire real links over a few years... So moral of the story:
Bad guys
will always win. Even if G kicks then out, it is not permanent.

let me fix your quote:
"So moral of the story. SMART guys will always win. "
Don't equate google's guidelines with morals or ethics or good or evil. Equate them strictly with risk tolerance.

Without getting into the debate if this gray/black hat method works successfully in Google (always win or not), no one in this forum would say that building your empire on stolen scraped content is "smart" rather than evil...


 9:17 am on Feb 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

I'd say both - smart and evil. Now adjust the plan so to spin your own content and it is not even evil.

almighty monkey

 2:27 pm on Feb 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

For us, the difference between position 7 and position 1 is about 50x clicks. 9 months @ #1 = 450 months @ #7 as far as income is concerned.

Meh, different objectives I guess. In an agency, I just want to get clients through the next invoice cycle. The risks of using black hat techniques - Client crashes out the SERPS, shouts, cancels standing order, probably launches a claim for damages - just isn't worth the gain. (Happy client is still, um, happy)

I think that's the question we all have to ask when picking a hat colour. What are the risks, what are the rewards, and where is the balance between them?

500 URLS, each a bit less spammy than the last seems to be the best strategy from where I'm sitting. If you can make the investment, that is..


 2:38 pm on Feb 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

What are the risks, what are the rewards, and where is the balance between them?

That's always the point. However many people seem to make it a difference of good vs. bad rather than risk vs. reward.

Interesting point being raised here that SEO firms would seem to be forced to use clean techniques for fear of client reprisal. Individual proprietors would better be able to use techniques that push the limit further.


 2:41 pm on Feb 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

Without getting into the debate if this gray/black hat method works successfully in Google (always win or not), no one in this forum would say that building your empire on stolen scraped content is "smart" rather than evil...

The discussion is around link building mmore than scraping. Scraping for the most part is illegal. Bending google's guidelines is nothing of the sort.


 5:29 pm on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

Where were all you people when I made this post in the supporters forum in September of 2009?:

About two weeks ago our marketing dept. came up with the idea to create a mini network of sites to increase our exposure in the SERPs and to boost our own site's rankings. Not original I'll grant but I started talking to them about the "right way" and such. They basically ignored me, bought 10 or so keyword domains (many of them .net), got a Dreamhost account, setup Wordpress on each, filled them with a page or two each of decent content, liberally scattered many links to our main site on each.
Now, all within about two weeks, every site but one has a Top 10 rank for at least the keyworded domain.


Ok, so from now on I guess all my "right way" talk is going to be ignored. Nice.

BTW, my marketing dept's Link Scheme has been successfully sending us traffic and dollars since back when I told them NOT to do it and is still performing well to this day. Some of the one page blog sites are the top referrers to our main, high quality, site in their keyword niche.

I've learned to not put blinders on while I'm drinking the "do it the Google way" kool-aid...

IMO, those of you who are still singing the "this isn't a long term plan" etc. song are hurting yourselves and any customers you represent by not at least acknowledging the truth that's right there in front of your face. This DOES work and Google has done virtually nothing other than to continue to reward this behavior.

Should my marketing dept. be using it (directly) for our main site of a 30 year old brick and mortar company? Absolutely not. But because I HAD BLINDERS ON, and told them it wouldn't work when it does, the chances of them believing me enough now to remove it and perhaps move it to a secondary ring of sites we don't care about is virtually nil.

Content is king my ass. IMO, when low quality content can outrank your high quality simply by employing a textbook Link Scheme when you don't...

Tell me content is king with a straight face...

And I'll slap you. But I will NOT ignore it or deny it anymore.


 6:24 pm on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

Preaching to the converted here.

There's doing it Google's recommended way. Then there's what works. THey are not the same.

It used to be that doing it Google's recommended way is what worked 'long term'. So we could be self-satisfied doing it Google's way because we knew that Google would eventually penalize the offenders. This is no longer the case. Ignoring Google's guidelines works fine, it's repeatable, and works longerm. The only risk today is a hand review and there's precious few of those.


 9:11 pm on Feb 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

> Ignoring Google's guidelines works fine, it's repeatable, and works long term.

Yes. Umm, No.

You can work long term to repeat your ignoring the guidelines. But ignoring (without working repeatedly) to succeed long term?!

- Not sure.


 9:15 pm on Feb 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

>> forum in September of 2009

Took you till '09 to get the idea?
Have seen this tip someplace here about 7 years ago.


 9:29 pm on Feb 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

I've known of the "mini-site" strategy for years. However, as I said, my marketing department came to me with the idea of creating a "Link Scheme" directly linked to main site. I asked for expert advice and all I got was, "Google will ban you, those Link sites won't rank, etc.".

Actually I think I'm repeating myself and I think you were just trying to make a bit of an OT slam. NVM.

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