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Can you undo the damage from over optimising?
realmaverick




msg:4426130
 6:10 pm on Mar 7, 2012 (gmt 0)

Several weeks ago, a colleague and I were debating on whether or not a competitor can harm your rankings. I always liked to believe they couldn't, but as with anything in SEO, I had my doubts.

So I did a test on one of my pages, on a website I didn't care too much about. It had a first page rank for over a year.

I paid for 150 PR 1-5 links, pointing to this page, with 3 rather targeted terms.

Within a week of the links starting to roll out, the page disappeared and has now been gone for over 6 weeks.

My plan now, is to request the anchor text be changed, to more natural text, "click here" "website name" and see whether the page can recover and indeed, take advantage of the link juice, that perviously paralysed the page.

What are your experiences with this?

My guess is, that it's reversible. It will be interesting to find out.

 

linkbuildr




msg:4426138
 6:40 pm on Mar 7, 2012 (gmt 0)

I've always seen it bounce out of an over optimization of anchor text filter when the top anchors are "natural" looking...click here and site/brand name url links etc.

realmaverick




msg:4426255
 12:20 am on Mar 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

It appears I cannot change the anchor text. That's fun.

I wonder if now diluting it with another 300 or so links, will undo the effects?

linkbuildr




msg:4426269
 12:27 am on Mar 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

300 more #*$!ty links? I doubt it :)

jsherloc




msg:4426270
 12:28 am on Mar 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

This is very relevant to my interests. Please keep this updated!

IMO "crap is gonna really hit the fan" within a few weeks-months regarding "negative SEO".

Some of the things we are seeing on our end are pretty ridiculous AND scary. I'm honestly expecting some type of "update/mention" from G about this in the near future, because what we and others are reporting and seeing is not looking good...

I agree with linkbuildr regarding attracting natural links like that though if you can.

realmaverick




msg:4426273
 12:57 am on Mar 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

300 more #*$!ty links? I doubt it :)


You assume they're #*$!ty links. Each page has a PR 1-5, all unique blog posts, all on different C-Class IP's.

Perhaps asking a question, rather than making an assumption, would be a much more constructive way to conduct yourself, on a forum, where we're supposed to be helping one another?

Planet13




msg:4426289
 1:54 am on Mar 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

Hi ya, realmaverick:

Just to chime in - and I acknowledge that my opinion might be worthless - but here it goes:


"I paid for 150 PR 1-5 links, pointing to this page, with 3 rather targeted terms."


I think the key thing in this is the word "paid" for them.

If you can buy them, so can your competitors. So can lots of other sites (not related to your field) that have them link to their sites.

If those blogs link out to a bunch of whack sites, then their ability to pass page rank is probably not that strong.

I am going to go out on a limb and say that those links probably won't have much positive value, and as you found out, can have a lot of negative value.

Also, what types of links are pointing TOWARD those PR 1 to PR 5 blogs?

I was approached once by someone who was selling links. They showed me the page that my link would appear on. It was PR 4. A quick check of the backlinks showed they were all KRAPPY backlinks pointing to their site.

Anyway, I just think that any link that your competitor's can replicate just as easily is not going to be all that beneficial.

Also, what was the time interval for those links to be posted? Was it in one day? Were they posted over several days? Over several weeks? Over several months? Over several years?

I think most SEO people will try to build the links all at once, and I don't think that is going to appear very natural to google.

Anyway, hope this helps.

wingslevel




msg:4426310
 3:24 am on Mar 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

Seems like analyzing your back link profile is one of the few relatively sure things you can do these days. I just found a site linking to one of my sites from about 3000 pages. All to my homepage with my primary 2word keyword in the anchor. Nice huh? Figure that was the work of one of my friendly competitors - especially since the same site links to 2 of my competitors in the same fashion. At one time, the 3 of us were 1-2-3 on that 2word keyword. Now we are all gone. Guess it worked.

Think I should try a reconsideration request? We haven't really been that nuked. We do have about a half million inbounds. Traffic is actually pretty good, but those links have to be hurting us.

linkbuildr




msg:4426325
 4:09 am on Mar 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

"Each page has a PR 1-5, all unique blog posts, all on different C-Class IP's. "

Those are not going to be natural links and by the sounds of it they'll be on a blog network. So great, just as I suspected more spam. PageRank shouldn't be much of a concern more so site relativity and quality.

CainIV




msg:4426327
 4:14 am on Mar 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

So, you bought a bunch of links to your website, took a hit, and now want to reveres it :P

Its usually reversible and here is how you might go about doing it. Do keep in mind the repercussions could be months - even up to a year depending on history of the domain and extent of the infraction.

1. Build quality links to the domain - contextual, editorial based links - and choke back on making them optimized. Simply point them as your business name or url.

2. Publish lots of quality content and internally link to strong category pages that are closely clustered, related to your homepage topic.

3. Build a bubble of brand rich signal pages around you. Research places where you can manually submit high quality content that is going to be seen and appreciated and publish

4. Build higher quality links to your homepage and stay away from competitive SEO altogether.

Link for the user.

Hope this helps

realmaverick




msg:4426565
 5:23 pm on Mar 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

Those are not going to be natural links and by the sounds of it they'll be on a blog network. So great, just as I suspected more spam. PageRank shouldn't be much of a concern more so site relativity and quality.


You know nothing and assume too much. This was a test, it indicates you can damage a competitor. Now I want to test and see whether you can undo the damage. Nothing more, nothing less, acting an ass, helps nobody.

@Planet13, the websites were all legitimate, hand selected websites that were acquired. I agree on the paid regard, but the test here, was to see if competitors can do damage.

I believe things have changed, again. Way back when, competitors could link bomb one another, then links were either positive or had no effect.

Now if competitors can easily wipe out your results, it's going to become a big issue for smaller companies, being wiped out by large competitors with big budgets.

I'm going to repeat the experiment on a domain that has a PR6 and over 5 years old. Most of the links are natural, 90%+. The page I'll test on, doesn't have a huge amount of links, but still ranks well. I have a feeling 150 targeted links, are going to wipe the page out.

If it does, this shows a worrying problem.

Cain, some good advice. However
4. Build higher quality links to your homepage and stay away from competitive SEO altogether.


I disagree with this. Keep in mind, this was an experiment. My main website, that I do care about, is up against top 500 websites, who are getting over 500,000 visitors a day and who's links are mostly spam. Unless you engage in buying links, you don't stand a chance in highly competitive markets.

I'm not saying that's all you need to do, but when competitors are doing everything, including buying links, then trying to play it totally straight, isn't going to keep you at the top of your niche.

Planet13




msg:4426575
 5:35 pm on Mar 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

Hi ya, realmaverick:

Since this was a test, maybe you could give us a little more info abut the sites where the links were placed?

...the websites were all legitimate, hand selected websites that were acquired.


- Do those sites have other paid links on them (to other sites)
- what is the backlink profile of those sites?
- Is it clear to google that they are all registered under different people / companies?

Knowing this information will help others here learn whether they may be under "attack" by a competitor.

londrum




msg:4426608
 6:23 pm on Mar 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

there was a thread a while back about this. some guy (i cant remember his name) had a load of dodgy links and got an email from google saying he needs to totally remove them before he gets his rankings back.

google actually told him that he needed to remove the links from sites he doesn't even own, before he could get some respite. sounds crazy, but that is what the thread said.

i will try and find the thread

londrum




msg:4426609
 6:27 pm on Mar 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

it was this one [webmasterworld.com ]

realmaverick




msg:4426610
 6:39 pm on Mar 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

Planet13, yes other paid links are on all of the 150 websites. It is a blog network, but it's high quality and I've got some great ranks from it, though I do only use it for startup affiliate websites and this test.

Londrum, thanks, that seems crazy and further causes concern. But I bet webmasters are loving being able to wipe out new competitors without breaking a sweat.

wingslevel




msg:4426628
 7:10 pm on Mar 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

I think we have two parallel issues that are coming up in this thread. The first is what to do if you bought links or otherwise played a role in creating a backlink profile that looks dodgy to google. The second is, what if someone else did this to you?

In either case it seems worthwhile to do as CainIV has suggested.

Question is, if you played a role in the links should you do a reinclusion request? and, if you didn't play any role, should you do a reinclusion request?

realmaverick




msg:4426629
 7:16 pm on Mar 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

If you played a role, I would first attempt to undo the damage and then post for an re-inclusion request.

Or tell a white lie and say you have found these links, that look dodgy and believe they are the reason for the damage.

Google should just be discounting these links. No penalising for them.

I am confident this is going to cause more damage than good. It won't be long before one of my competitors, in my main niche, starts taking out competitors. They're dirty black hat scum bags and in the past 5 years haven't had a single drop in traffic, despite being involved in every link buying scheme I have ever seen, sabotaging adsense campaigns and just about every other underhand tactic. They're now at 500,000 visitors a day.

Up until last year, I hadn't even purchased a link. However, building links slowly and naturally, in highly competitive niches, isn't enough by itself.

Planet13




msg:4426839
 7:18 am on Mar 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

@ realmaverick:


It won't be long before one of my competitors, in my main niche, starts taking out competitors. They're dirty black hat scum bags and in the past 5 years haven't had a single drop in traffic, despite being involved in every link buying scheme I have ever seen, sabotaging adsense campaigns and just about every other underhand tactic. They're now at 500,000 visitors a day.


Ok, I am a little confused here.

It sounds that for your experiment to work, it took links on 150 sites of a blog network to be able to do damage, right?

Or am I not understanding that?

I guess your competitors are lazy, and it sounds like you are pretty hard working (after all, you built up the very extensive blog network), right?

So while they might try to sabotage you or another competitor, would they really be able to do it?

Or would they first need to build up a network of sites to be able to sabotage someone else?

I apologize in advance if I am not understanding you. English isn't my first language; I am a product of the California Public Education System.

FranticFish




msg:4426925
 11:47 am on Mar 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

I'm going to repeat the experiment on a domain that has a PR6 and over 5 years old.

That would be very interesting to see. I've seen crappy linking hurt a weak site. Too scared to point crappy links at a strong site!

realmaverick




msg:4426948
 12:41 pm on Mar 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

It sounds that for your experiment to work, it took links on 150 sites of a blog network to be able to do damage, right?


Correct. One thing to keep in mind, I'm talking about multiple sites here. The experiment was on a different website, to my "main site" who's competitors are very underhand.

I guess your competitors are lazy, and it sounds like you are pretty hard working (after all, you built up the very extensive blog network), right?


Not my network, just one I used for this experiment. The websites are all independent though, not full of junk.

Or would they first need to build up a network of sites to be able to sabotage someone else?


My competitors in my main niche, are earning around 30,000 a month, they have the funds to destroy competitors.

I apologize in advance if I am not understanding you. English isn't my first language; I am a product of the California Public Education System.


Please don't apologise, I'm more than happy to clarify :)

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