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Are these links the touch of death?
digitalv




msg:4278143
 4:12 am on Mar 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

So everyone always said "don't link to bad neighborhoods". I get that. But I always thought that receiving a link from a bad neighborhood never really hurt you, it just didn't help, because you can't control who links to you. Right?

Maybe not... Some time ago, a small network of interlinked sites that I run got banned from Google. It's about 8 or 10 domains that I use for experimenting with, and I'll leave it at that. Each of these banned sites has as many as 9,000 pages of content that's constantly growing.

What's interesting is that they are still crawled by Googlebot DAILY. I have another site (one that WASN'T banned) that has naturally bounced around between the #5 and #7 position for a particular term for over a year. THIS site is completely legit, and has nothing to do with the other network of sites, is hosted with a different company, different whois, etc. Basically no relation at all.

Here's where it gets weird. I placed a link to this site from all of the sites in the banned network, using the same anchor text. Within 3 days, my #7 position had fallen to #15. Nothing else had changed. I checked this position from multiple locations, it was consistent across the board.

I left it this way for a week. Then I took the links OFF of the sites in the banned network, and within another 3 days the site was back at #6 for the term.

So... do I have the "touch of death"? I don't want to try it again on that site out of fear that Google may consider it somehow "related" to the network of death... and I don't want to link to someone else's site for the same reason, I'm not interested in affecting anyone's ranking. But still, this is some pretty powerful stuff here if what I think is happening is what's happening...

 

AnkitMaheshwari




msg:4278212
 9:30 am on Mar 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

@digitalv - thanks for sharing the results.

Why don't you try and link to one of your competitors from that banned network sites and see what happens ;)

Sgt_Kickaxe




msg:4278266
 11:07 am on Mar 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

If webmasters are getting profiled you can only hurt yourself with your banned sites, not others.

bwnbwn




msg:4278355
 3:44 pm on Mar 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

digitalv do you have a Google account?

FlashDriveDT




msg:4278363
 3:53 pm on Mar 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

I think the problem is rather that you used "same anchor text" for all those links. Because I experienced a mega drop too with some keywords. After I adjusted their link profiles with more diverse anchor text (some with no ranking benefit whatsoever) I got back up. :)

Reno




msg:4278365
 3:54 pm on Mar 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

I'm wondering if you had used rel="nofollow" from your interlinked sites, pointing to your legit site, would you still fall to the #15 position? Or would that tag do what it is supposed to do and thus not impact the linking value in any way?

........................

Leosghost




msg:4278372
 4:10 pm on Mar 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

Old thread ..one you missed digitalv ;-)
[webmasterworld.com...]

Search "almost nothing a competitor can do" and it will be bolded ..IMO the "almost" should also read almost in the phrase.

Stands to reason that there exist "associative filters" that will also look for negative associations ..same anchor text may well have rung two bells rather than one ..or tripped two filters as opposed to one ..

From time to time someone tests "bowling" ..always works ( probably always has to if you think about it carefully )..the specific "bowl" has to be manually adjusted ( removed from the associated term(s) influence) ..reasonable to assume that they would also have filter(s) for neighborhoods or sites of a "certain type" ..

or as has been demonstrated widely in the past "sites or owners we have banned" ..get picked up and banned again..even when they come back ( on paper at least ) as different sites and owners ..just the time factor may vary.

If it is unjustified in their eyes they may well be sorry for you ..if the negative PR value ( how much "clout" you have and "noise" you can make ) is high enough ..it gets manually discounted .."white house" related example of the past .there are others.

But the possibility of and acceptance of "collateral damage" reputational or otherwise appears to be built in to what Google does ..and would have to be ..or external forces could freeze serps.

It is also IMO safe to assume that if anyone knows who you are and what sites you own ( inspite of "privacy" ) ..it will be Google.

Reno




msg:4278388
 4:35 pm on Mar 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

It is also IMO safe to assume that if anyone knows who you are and what sites you own ( in spite of "privacy" ) ..it will be Google.

Ditto to that, and I think MC has said as much in so many words.

You can run, but you can't hide.

.........................

digitalv




msg:4278476
 7:45 pm on Mar 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

I'm not trying to hide anything, the sites in the network I'm referring to were banned over a year ago for selling text links. I haven't tried to get them "unbanned" because I'm still selling links from them and don't plan on stopping any time soon. I have plenty of other sites that are managed through the same Google Webmaster account that haven't been banned, because they don't sell links or violate any policies. So the evidence suggests that Google doesn't ban based on who owns the site, but rather what the individual site is doing. I'm OK with that. :)

I don't really want to test it on anyone, even to a competitor... if someone has a site they're willing to donate I'll be happy to test on you, but I'm not going to kill someone's search position (if that is what's happening) just to see if I can. It was just weird to see such a significant drop.

I wonder how many of us have been the victim of someone who figured this out before? Why would Google make it work this way, knowing you can't control who links to you?

digitalv




msg:4278478
 7:48 pm on Mar 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

I think the problem is rather that you used "same anchor text" for all those links. Because I experienced a mega drop too with some keywords. After I adjusted their link profiles with more diverse anchor text (some with no ranking benefit whatsoever) I got back up. :)


Interesting, I wonder if time is a factor (a bunch of links at once vs. the same text but more naturally over time). Also curious how that would affect if the anchor text was your company name or service name (which it was in this case, and was in the page title).

McMohan




msg:4278682
 5:53 am on Mar 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

@AnkitMaheshwari, that makes sense, if only to confirm your theory.

I don't really want to test it on anyone, even to a competitor

I appreciate your ethics, but since you were able to get back your ranks after removing those links, I don't think you should have any scruples in testing it out on competitors.

If nothing comes out of linking to your competitor, then you can safely assume, Google somehow has established relationship with that network of sites you manage.
You can run, but you can't hide.

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