One of my competitors was buying links through a network of blogs that were clearly created only for the purpose of selling links. I reported about five of these blogs in separate spam reports and it looks like Google took action against them. The blogs are no longer appearing in SERPs at all. My competitor didn't get penalized, but at least the blogs they were getting links from lost their juice and my competitor wasted their money.
|brotherhood of LAN|
|blog just to out seo spammers |
I've seen these in action. Become an industry 'watchdog' and continually post about competitors 'schemes' and how you would never buy links or do anything that a SE wouldn't like. It seems to work if you can attract the attention.
|I reported about five of these blogs in separate spam reports and it looks like Google took action against them. |
As often as I have been tempted to report competitors, I just can't find it in myself to do so. I don't know why... but I just can't get myself to reach for that report button, and click it! Maybe its these darn glass walls...
Incidentally, I also don't want a Google employee casting their own personal opinions onto MY site or any of those Google has associated to me for whatever reason, which is most-likely one of the adverse effects of filing a spam report.
To report competitor sites for me is like squealing ...
Why donīt you save your time and make use of it for your own SEO efforts...?
For me it would be the job of Google to detect abuse of guidelines but itīs obvious that they canīt afford it by themselves. Just remember what happened a few days ago with milanoo ...
I get 10 - 20 email offers to buy text links per day!
Mostly I just delete them, but I have reported some in the past - usually where the purchaser has tried some underhanded technique to get around our we-do-not-sell-text-links rule or come back to me with a load of lies when I explained why we do not sell text links.
Frankly, I don't get the whole "that is like squealing" argument - do you have a problem clicking a "This is spam" button?
The only reason I don't report more of them is that I don't have time to reply to each request and find out who the advertiser is (I just delete the messages as spam now).
I'm trying to do everything by the book, and I see flagrant examples of violations such as link buying. I report it when I find it (not that Google does anything about it). Reporting takes just a few minutes.
I had ROS anchor text links on a blog that belongs to a friend of mine. They looked like paid links, but were not. After Panda, I asked him to remove them, as I thought that could have been a factor.
I have no more compunction about reporting somebody who's outranking me using techniques that are against the rules than I do reporting stolen credit cards. Both are attempting to harm me by trying to game the system.
I'd imagine (no proof) that Google are more interested in networks of sites set up for link schemes, whether for link brokers or by SEO companies for their clients.
If I find a network I always take a few minutes to report them. If Google act (and they do take down networks) this could not just clean up your particular SERPs, but quite a few others.
There is a site I have reported twice. It is a pagerank 7 and clearly bought links. It then sold links which appear in the side bar. Many of that sites are PR 5 and 6 and then sell links (they are link directories). The PR site got their PR from a hidden link on a PR 9 site (using the noscript tag). There was a long thread about it on another forum. That thread was started May 11, 2010.
So it has been a year, at least two reports and a forum thread. I don't think Google is properly dealing with the reports. I think it is more like a case of the police and speeders. Google won't catch most of them, so it is commonly accepted that you can speed, just don't get caught.
I would LOVE to see otherwise.
If you're complaining about link buyers like they're 'bad' or something, you're nothing other than the slow kid at school. Everyone else is just smarter than you. It's not their fault you can't keep up. Go sit in the corner and drool on yourself, quit complaining about everyone else. You're responsible for your own actions, not the rest of the class'.
You can buy links. Or you can get non-paid links and compete. If you're unable to either, don't expect Google to change your diapers. Expect your business to fade into the darkness. That's why they call it business. People that are better, faster and smarter than you will give you the business. People have been complaining for years about 'fair' and 'right'. How's that working out for you?
I'm getting thrashed by some link buyers. I'm pretty sure someone's paying to have some of my good links removed and replaced with theirs. And I've screwed up some of my own links. And asking for links ain't working right now.
I'm working on a project that is going to take six months to a year to complete. And when I'm done, it'll give me 30+ pr5-7 relevant organic links that'll pass any hand review Google can throw at it. All in an industry where you're working hard to get a crappy commercial pr3 link. I expect those links will be a game changer. And I'm working on fringes of some social media stuff, as organic as I can make it. That's going to take til the end of the year to kick over as well.
I dunno, what seems more likely to get me top spot in Google - all of that? Or clicking the 'report the bad people' button and hoping someone at Google is going to realize they're screwing up by not running their business in a way that benefits me?
Sit down, shut up, and start thinking about what YOU (instead of Google) can do that will get you more bigger and badder links than the bad link buyers. Evolve or die. If you're doing the same stuff as before and it's not working, grow legs or start making like fertilizer.
I found in a periodic backlink check one of my competitors spamming a certain segment of web sites that allow url's in comments. The competitor didn't offer services in that geographic area at all.
So I added my comment and link in the geographic areas that my customer covered. This customer is in a niche of a niche that's within a niche so the normally low value of this type of link had a *slightly* higher value. Task took 2-3 minutes.....to Wheel's point this was not a normal action. I had a few moment free waiting on someone to respond to me and the info was on my mind at the time.
I did give their entries a spam slap via a colleague who likes spinning hours at a time doing spam reports to site and Goog.
If you have to ask you're not creative enough because begging and buying links is work.
Let your customers or fans do the work for you.
Do something viral, do a giveaway, do something specific to sites, social, etc.
That's how you compete, engage the visitor and they'll help engage your site over others.
Otherwise, spend a lot of time and money begging and grubbing for links likely to be discounted int he next update.
|Sit down, shut up, and start thinking about what YOU (instead of Google) can do that will get you more bigger and badder links than the bad link buyers. |
@Wheel, that was a very honest question. Your answer is unwarranted.
Wheel's tone is rough around the edges but the core of what he is saying is rock-solid.
What he says IS how to complete.
Maybe people would receive it better if he had said, "Sit down, pour yourself a glass of something pleasant, and start thinking ..." but the point is the same either way:
Figure out ways to get more effective links than the sites we're complaining about. While we're at it, watch for other things that we can do better than they do. There's always something, but no one is going to hand it to us on a silver platter.
All else being equal, their website and content is of equal quality, they build links naturally and they buy links smartly. Either you buy links too or they'll outrank you.
Being "creative" isn't enough, the more difficult the keyword, the more important buying links is.
I've spent 3 years being creative and despite earning a good living from my site, I'm not the biggest in my niche and it's for one reason and one reason only, my competitors are smart and creative too. Plus they buy links. It gets them ahead.
So either I join them or settle for less than being number 1 in my niche.
"How to compete against link buyers"
I'm 100% with the wheel on this one, you have to be smarter than the next guy or write bigger checks..
|I'm not the biggest in my niche and it's for one reason and one reason only, my competitors are smart and creative too. Plus they buy links. It gets them ahead. |
Or even smarter and more creative, maybe think way outside the box ;)
Lots of people sold shoes, then came Zappos.
Lots of sites had coupons, then came Groupon.
Lots of companies made blenders, then came Blendtech with the "will it blend" viral videos
Way smarter folks that rocked it to the top of their compeition in no time with a simple new creative vision, everyone else brought the links to them, they didn't need to buy links.
Besides, only 10 can get in the top 10, and only 1 can be the #1, sometimes being fortunate enough to be in the top 10 is all you can hope for, just ask the thousands that can't get there at all.
|only 10 can get in the top 10, and only 1 can be the #1, |
And even that might be below the fold on page 1.
|And even that might be below the fold on page 1. |
On generic terms I've seen the actual brands now go as low as the 30s with all sorts of info and wiki stuff ahead of any products, not sure how much link building could override that sort of algo change.
RE: How to compete against link buyers:
If you feel the urge to report them, then go ahead. It's a free country, and I don't think it is immoral to report them. I know that if I came across a blatantly bought link to my competitors and I DIDN'T report them, my wife would think I was an idiot*.
I am not sure it is all that effective, and I think that developing links to your site, or building social buzz that will lead to natural links, might be a better use of your time. But I don't see why you can't do both.
In terms of link building, webmasterworld has the very wonderful link development forum, which is at [webmasterworld.com...] and if you search through the library in that forum, you will get lots of good ideas. In particular, do look for any threads created by either MartiniBuster or by wheel, whom, it appears, you have met already ;)
I think that the strategy for getting links is going to be similar to the same strategy any business would have for getting customers - and I suggest that you think of people you want to link to your site as your customers. So, think of what you have to offer (your competencies), think of what your customers (link partners) want or need, and think of what your competitors CAN'T offer those customers (or what your competitors haven't realized yet they can offer your customers).
Where those three things meet (your competencies, your customers needs, your competitors deficiencies) is where your competitive advantage lies. Use that for getting links as well as for customers.
However, as wheel mentioned, do be prepared for some medium to long term lead times. That is because your competition is lazy and they will take the path of least resistance (i.e., buy links), and if you could put in a bit of hard work, creative thinking, and determination, then you will come up with something special.
It's like the joke goes about the two hikers in the woods who run into a bear; you don't have to outrun the bear - you just have to outrun the other hiker.
I hope this helps. See you over in the link development forum.
*Truth be told, my wife kind of thinks I am an idiot anyway, so I don't report every paid link I see...
It's not link buyers you need to worry about, it's preferential treatment to the undetectable spam sites.
Example: ehow got sacked with Panda but howstuffworks took off despite most of it's automotive articles being copied from Publications International, Ltd. magazines. Their incoming links aren't paid but they sure can leverage discovery properties. How to compete with that ?
I'm pointing to publicly available stats with the above btw, not pointing fingers at any person or company, it is what it is.
No one is crying here. Most ecommerce sites sell "boring" products. So if you sell "wood screws" its impossible to get 'great links' unless you invent a 'better house trap" which is highly unlikely. So if your competitors are buying lots of text links with "wood screws" as anchor, please tell me how to compete with that?
I'm thinking really stupid videos of things you can do with wood screws.
Results of the "How Heavy a person can a 1 inch wood screw hold to the ceiling?" Contest
Bonus Round: what happens when they fall?
|...it's preferential treatment to the undetectable spam sites. |
Can you elaborate on how they are undetectable?
|Their incoming links aren't paid but they sure can leverage discovery properties. |
Would you mind elaborating on what you mean by "leverage discovery properties"?
Thanks in advance.
|I'm thinking really stupid videos of things you can do with wood screws. |
|please tell me how to compete with that? |
Screws are cheaper than links... I would make 100 ziploc baggies of 25 wood screws/baggie... and send them to all these hobby-birdhouse (or doghouse, deck, home, shed, etc, etc) builders out there on the web.
Ask them to try out your screws on their next build and to provide feedback to you on why they liked (or disliked) them. Nothing more... Include a link to your email, your website customer service page and the screws page on your site.
- Envelopes & Stamps
What, maybe $2-3 each, max?
Watch those high quality links roll in.... It may take a year, and you may only get 25, but they are worthwhile wait!
Or... write a killer articles on which screw-heads take the most abuse without stripping out! Tell anyone who is willing to challenge or disprove your results "in an article or video", that you will send them the screws to do so! (aka free screws) Call the challenge "The Screw-Off".
Edited for wording.
|Can you elaborate on how they are undetectable? |
"undetectable spam" - in this case articles copied from 3rd party 1970's magazines. Looks legit but I think using old magazine articles in bulk qualifies as spam, no? The tactic got a major reward from Panda, for this site anyway.
I have to come up with ideas for some of the most boring b2b products in the world. There's just not a lot to say about these products themselves, so instead, we're focusing on stuff like customer service and quality control. My favorite idea - we want to get the point across that we don't just carry any old product, so we're doing a series of self-produced one or two minute videos about how the cheapo generic imports fail, and another series that features what we do with product that doesn't meet our rigorous standards (hint - this one involves the CEO, a BBQ grill and a shotgun)
Other stuff we've done include infographics (okay it's a JPEG) and white papers and buyers guides and we even had a contest where the customers could submit photos of their usage on a particular product.
If you just open your mind a little bit, it's amazing what can crawl out.
(I hope that's "never mind" and not "netmeg")
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