homepage Welcome to WebmasterWorld Guest from 23.20.211.153
register, free tools, login, search, pro membership, help, library, announcements, recent posts, open posts,
Become a Pro Member
Home / Forums Index / Google / Google SEO News and Discussion
Forum Library, Charter, Moderators: Robert Charlton & aakk9999 & brotherhood of lan & goodroi

Google SEO News and Discussion Forum

This 245 message thread spans 9 pages: < < 245 ( 1 2 [3] 4 5 6 7 8 9 > >     
The return of competitors hurting your backlink profile?
realmaverick




msg:4434183
 11:09 pm on Mar 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

Those who have been around over the past 5-10 years, will likely remember when it was possible for a competitor to harm your rankings, by bombing your website, with masses of links. Just as you could rank a website by stuffing it with keywords.

To counter this, Google employed a kind of "links can do no harm" philosophy. So questionable links were simply discounted.

Over the years, it's become accepted that competitors cannot harm your rankings with links. This had always been my experience too. For years my website has been victim of various malicious campaigns. Links to our website and several other competitors appeared on hacked Wordpress websites along with viagra/pharmaceutical type websites.

But despite the efforts, our rankings remained unaffected, which is the way it should be. A competitor should not be able to harm you. A competitor should not be able to undo your hard work.

Unfortunately, in recent months, post Panda, more and more webmasters have received messages from Google, alerting them of unnatural linking practices, followed by drops in SERPS and traffic.

Google have made a complete u-turn and now rather than discrediting links it deems unnatural, it instead penalises the websites receiving them.

Since Panda, all of the talk and focus has been on on-site factors, such as ad placement, thin content etc and most websites have failed to bounce back. I'm wondering whether that's because, it's got nothing to do with their website, but their link profile?

A couple of months ago, I did a test on a page, of a website I wasn't too concerned about. I chose a page, that had a first page rank for over a year, for it's target term.

I purchased 150 links, using 3 variations of anchor text, to see if it would harm the rankings. Within a week, the rankings were gone. They remained AWOL for 6 weeks. I eventually managed to get the links removed, and the rankings recently returned.

This was a little too easy, for my liking. Actually it's disturbing and a huge step backwards.

Google needs to seriously reconsider the choice to penalise websites, with questionable links pointing to them.

But I am not reading much discussion about the subject and hoping we can generate some interest and awareness of the problem here. Google needs to address this problem.

I believe my main website, has been victim, WebmasterWorld supporters can read more about it in the Google SEO forum. I haven't received a message to inform me of an unnatural link profile, but looking at my inbound links, there are some questionable links there. And after 6 years or so of success, on January 21st, my traffic has dropped significantly.

What are your thoughts on this?

 

ehgee




msg:4436649
 1:17 pm on Apr 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

How does your competitor get:

A section-homepage of website outsourced to "seo expert" to rank for keyword


This sure sounds like a website owner manipulation to me.


Of course, this was done by the website owner, though I would not call it "manipulation" but that is another topic.

The point I am trying to make is what was done by the website owner could very well have been done by a third party..

rlange




msg:4436650
 1:28 pm on Apr 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

ehgee wrote:
- seo expert follows classical tactics; submitting link to hundreds of directories with keyword; article submissions with keyword anchor link etc... all tactics focused on external 1-way link building.

[...]

- huge panda hits feb & april 2011 with that "seo'd" section worst affected of all

Ehh... A major update on Google's end drags in way too many changing variables to claim this as a reasonable confirmation of negative backlink SEO.

fathom wrote:
How does your competitor get:

A section-homepage of website outsourced to "seo expert" to rank for keyword

This sure sounds like a website owner manipulation to me.

*facepalm* Unbelievable...

--
Ryan

ehgee




msg:4436651
 1:34 pm on Apr 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

Ehh... A major update on Google's end drags in way too many changing variables to claim this as a reasonable confirmation of negative backlink SEO.


Sure... but if you read through the rest of the pointers in that post, you would see the correlation.


*facepalm* Unbelievable...

oops... don't get it

fathom




msg:4436655
 1:52 pm on Apr 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

i remember seeing a post on webmasterworld recently from a guy who was contacted by google themselves -- telling him he needed to clear up spammy backlinks on domains he didnt own, before he'd get his ranking back. so the proof has come direct from the horses mouth.


How does Google contact a non-owner?

scooterdude




msg:4436665
 2:00 pm on Apr 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

By presuming that links where placed on sites under the contacted webmasters control even where this is not the case


How does Google contact a non-owner?

fathom




msg:4436670
 2:04 pm on Apr 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

We are getting off topic here... the OP started with The return of competitors hurting your backlink profile?

There are actually 2 threads on this subject (1 in the supporters area).

First the OP has IMHO misinterpreted what was happening on his domain. Something happened, and then something happened a time after the first and this caused the OP to grasp at straws to understand.

That in itself does not suggest a competitor did anything.

A larger issue "negative SEO" should not be argue here... it has nothing to do with this thread.

Coulda, woulda, shoulda is not part of my SEO repertoire. I don't use them to explain the unknown. If I cannot reproduce an event... it don't happen as you theorized.

londrum




msg:4436671
 2:05 pm on Apr 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

How does Google contact a non-owner?


this was the thread...
[webmasterworld.com ]

it suggests that google does punish spammy backlinks. they dont simply ignore them, like most people think

fathom




msg:4436672
 2:09 pm on Apr 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

How does Google contact a non-owner?


By presuming that links where placed on sites under the contacted webmasters control even where this is not the case


Someone phishing... and preemptive measures are not outside the control of the website owner.

This is a hosting issue... not an SEO issue.

I had this done to me... and Google also notified us... and we fixed our hosting problem and now no more problem.

[edited by: fathom at 2:10 pm (utc) on Apr 3, 2012]

scooterdude




msg:4436674
 2:09 pm on Apr 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

I suggest that you re read the OP


First the OP has IMHO misinterpreted what was happening on his domain. Something happened, and then something happened a time after the first and this caused the OP to grasp at straws to understand.


This extract below was in the OP, it was a test, and it reflects the experience of many,

A couple of months ago, I did a test on a page, of a website I wasn't too concerned about. I chose a page, that had a first page rank for over a year, for it's target term.

I purchased 150 links, using 3 variations of anchor text, to see if it would harm the rankings. Within a week, the rankings were gone. They remained AWOL for 6 weeks. I eventually managed to get the links removed, and the rankings recently returned.

fathom




msg:4436680
 2:17 pm on Apr 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

scooterdude - "A couple of months ago, I did a test on a page"...

That's code for "I wanted to get ahead without the expense of hiring an SEO" or "I was stupid" or "I don't really want to tell everyone I don't have a clue what I'm doing"

There was no test.

rlange




msg:4436741
 4:08 pm on Apr 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

fathom wrote:
scooterdude - "A couple of months ago, I did a test on a page"...

That's code for "I wanted to get ahead without the expense of hiring an SEO" or "I was stupid" or "I don't really want to tell everyone I don't have a clue what I'm doing"

There was no test.

I'd surely like further confirmation of his observations—by himself or others—but accusations of outright lying are entirely uncalled for and downright disrespectful. Every single person here could easily be accused of lying, but most of us know better.

--
Ryan

mrguy




msg:4436747
 4:32 pm on Apr 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

Some people just like to live in bubbles and subscribe to Google's "do no evil" mantra and extend that to thinking that all Webmasters are honest and would never do anything to harm a competitor. And, of course in the bubble, they think Google would never allow it. Insert rolling eyes smiley here.

fathom




msg:4436748
 4:35 pm on Apr 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

I'd surely like further confirmation of his observation by himself or others but accusations of outright lying are entirely uncalled for and downright disrespectful. Every single person here could easily be accused of lying, but most of us know better.


Ryan I doubt anyone lied and I never implied anyone did.

Buying links is 100% against Google's TOS, You are stuck with the premise that you are a spammer and your plan was to game the system and harm your fellow man (competitors) by using unfair tactics to drive your website above them... admitting that in public isn't easy to do... so you don't... you suggest you were merely testing something.

I call it as it is and I honestly believe it is disrespectful to not actually help someone pleading for help... by peeling back the illusions ... as you cannot help anyone unless you get the cold hard facts.

We agree here right? If you cannot identify the true problem you cannot possibly help with a solution.

fathom




msg:4436751
 4:41 pm on Apr 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

Some people just like to live in bubbles and subscribe to Google's "do no evil" mantra and extend that to thinking that all Webmasters are honest and would never do anything to harm a competitor. And, of course in the bubble, they think Google would never allow it. Insert rolling eyes smiley here.


You cannot prove a null. Lack of evidence means you cannot prove:

"do no evil" mantra and extend that to thinking that all Webmasters are honest and would never do anything to harm a competitor.

OR

"do no evil" mantra and extend that to thinking that all Webmasters are honest and would never attempt to blame others for their own mistakes.

Both are bubbles... I choose to review the evidence... not ignore it.

londrum




msg:4436791
 5:57 pm on Apr 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

google emailed a guy (in that earlier thread), telling him he needed to remove the backlinks before he got his ranking back. isnt that proof?
it came from google -- straight from the horses mouth.

scooterdude




msg:4436801
 6:15 pm on Apr 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

The links love letter has been received by multiple webmasters in their wmt account now, its the subject of much commentary web wide, so, I don't think the premise of this thread is much in dispute , y'know

Philosopher




msg:4436805
 6:20 pm on Apr 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

fathom, I get what you are saying, but I don't think you quite understand what is being said.

IF you can purchase links (you being anyone with a website) and point those links at yourself and cause harm then ANYONE can purchase those links and point them to ANYONE and cause harm.

Google cannot know who purchased those links and with what intent.

I know of people who have done exactly this. I don't condone it, but if you've been in this business long enough, you meet both white and black hats. It works, it happens, it happens more than most would realize and now it's gotten easier.

optimist




msg:4436809
 6:34 pm on Apr 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

The answer for Google is simple...

Devaluation of the link from passing value vs. penalties to the sites linked. That is the only way to prevent the negative.

If it does not work, they're not going to try and use it from both sides. They'll spam articles and Press Releases instead (haha).

fathom




msg:4436822
 7:01 pm on Apr 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

google emailed a guy (in that earlier thread), telling him he needed to remove the backlinks before he got his ranking back. isnt that proof?

it came from google -- straight from the horses mouth.


Proof of what?

I agree that it may be proof that Google said (paraphrasing) "remove the backlinks before you get your ranks back"... but you don't need Google to email you anything to understand that...

It is public knowledge here... [support.google.com...]

What else does it factually prove?

Speculating about something is not proof.

CainIV




msg:4436823
 7:03 pm on Apr 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

Fathom - I am not jumping to causation from possibility.

I am also not doubting your experiences.

But it only takes one instance of a false positive to render any supposition not true for all. Which seems to be the case here.

Certainly there are examples where Google has seemingly completely discounted links. And there appears to examples where Google has NOT discounted links that were NOT put in place by the client or marketing company.

Again, whether or not those were done by a competitor is moot point. They were built by someone. And the suggestion that they could hurt rankings then leads to the point that obviously a competitor could have done it (or could replicate those results if careful by doing the same thing)

fathom




msg:4436824
 7:14 pm on Apr 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

fathom, I get what you are saying, but I don't think you quite understand what is being said.

IF you can purchase links (you being anyone with a website) and point those links at yourself and cause harm then ANYONE can purchase those links and point them to ANYONE and cause harm.

Google cannot know who purchased those links and with what intent.

I know of people who have done exactly this. I don't condone it, but if you've been in this business long enough, you meet both white and black hats. It works, it happens, it happens more than most would realize and now it's gotten easier.


I understand things perfectly.

You say "Google cannot know who purchased those links and with what intent."

But to start with (in this thread) we do know by the OP own admission that the website owner purchased the actual links...

So in this specific instance you want to take a leap of faith and imply that the a competitor did it. Well the evidence (in this case) is 100% against you.

IMHO the paid links have nothing to do with the loses suffered by the OP... but because he open the door on the subject... it must be true.

fathom




msg:4436826
 7:23 pm on Apr 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

But it only takes one instance of a false positive to render any supposition not true for all.


In this specific thread the false positives are many and you wish to ignore them all in favor of false positives elsewhere?

If you read ALL of the OP posts on the matter... you are barking up the wrong tree.

PANDA has nothing to do with paid links... thin website content... there is a great place to start.

londrum




msg:4436828
 7:28 pm on Apr 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

so how do you account for the fact he got his rankings back when he finally got the links removed? if he got demoted because of thin content it shouldnt have made any difference

AndyA




msg:4436829
 7:39 pm on Apr 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

I can't understand why Google would allow its SERPs to be compromised in this manner. If true, they are allowing an outside party to manipulate their results. Links from bad neighborhoods should have zero value, they do nothing of benefit nor do they do any harm. When that's the case, any benefit of buying links is gone, regardless of the motive, and the practice will stop. No one is going to pay to have a link put on a site if the result of doing so is zero. And if they decide to do it anyway, let them waste their money.

If you don't own the site with the bad link, you have no control over it. If they ignore your request to remove the link, or refuse to move it, what is one supposed to do? Go through expensive and lengthy litigation in an attempt to have it removed?

Does anyone know if there is a precedent on this? Can the owner of one site force another site to remove a link?

fathom




msg:4436833
 7:45 pm on Apr 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

so how do you account for the fact he got his rankings back when he finally got the links removed? if he got demoted because of thin content it shouldnt have made any difference


I account for facts not I saw, after I did, so that must be a fact.

    1. Paid links added
    2. lost results
    3. paid links finally removed
    4. results recovered


Wait:
Google didn't email anything in webmaster tools and no re-inclusion request... how did we get #4?

Maybe one has nothing to do with the other.

scooterdude




msg:4436842
 7:59 pm on Apr 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

Re inclusion requests apparently only clear manual penalties

The point of this thread is that the penalties appear to be automated and probably algorithmic

rlange




msg:4437044
 1:17 pm on Apr 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

fathom wrote:
Ryan I doubt anyone lied and I never implied anyone did.

You can't be serious. Keep in mind that people can go back and read what you typed. You quoted realmaverick's "A couple of months ago, I did a test on a page," and then yourself said, "There was no test."

Please clarify what you meant when you said "there was no test" in reference to his "I did a test", because I'm sure most people would read that as you accusing realmaverick of lying about having done a test.

Edit: And that's completely ignoring your implication that he might just be "stupid".

--
Ryan

fathom




msg:4437093
 3:18 pm on Apr 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

And that's completely ignoring your implication that he might just be "stupid".


Amazingly enough... we are all a little stupid. 95% of what happens is hidden from us so we all assume alot to begin with.

"how do you account for..."

I'm of the belief "if you think you are going to die... you'll usually find a way to achieve it"... Loosely translated, if we believe something so strongly we we fill that belief even if what we find isn't true to start with.

If I understand things now he doesn't have traffic and this is new it has nothing to do with paid links (today) because:

1. he removed the paid links

So

2. someone developed new spammy links for him and this is the new cause

or

3. PANDA

...and if you research PANDA you will note that website lose & and gain and lose again all the time.

I don't have a clue... I'm not privy to the website, data, or Google accounts or even Google itself... but then again you don't have that stuff as well so you can't really account for anything either... and it does not matter whether we make good guesses or bad guesses... they are all just guesses.

Since his problem remains... the likely occurrence with the paid links were coincidental... at least now they are 100% immaterial to the current problem.

[edited by: fathom at 3:38 pm (utc) on Apr 4, 2012]

fathom




msg:4437094
 3:22 pm on Apr 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

Re inclusion requests apparently only clear manual penalties


Apparently?

I can't find where Google actually disclosed this.

Can you point to the reference.

How would you know "IF" you got a manual one or an automatic one?

Blind faith?

Shaddows




msg:4437111
 3:51 pm on Apr 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

I think it's fair to say the OP is a weak example of the phenomenon being posited by other members.

Making it a pseudo-strawman to repeatedly knock down attempts to make parallel claims about other experiences is a disservice to other contributors.

I'm not sold on the idea that paid links have been returned to the blackhat aresnal. It would be crazy for Google to do so.

But I'd rather the debate was allowed to take in other experiences, rather than allowing the sole case of the OP to be used as an analogue for every other potential case.

Andy Langton




msg:4437112
 3:51 pm on Apr 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

How would you know "IF" you got a manual one or an automatic one?


Google will reply to re-inclusion requests with a "no manual action" email if a site has algorithmic problems. It's up to you if you believe that settles that particular question ;)

Regardless, there are two separate issues here:

1. Is the OP a victim of competitor link sabotage?

Seemingly not, although it's impossible to determine such things in a forum like this one. This is also the least interesting question. The thread title is "The return of competitors hurting your backlink profile?". So:

2. Is it possible for competitors to hurt you site via links?

This is the interesting question, and one that affects all website owners. It strikes me that this should be the main discussion here.

It makes no sense to discount #2 by using the specifics of #1 - we don't know the specifics of #1. It's also a very narrow discussion that only really affects one website - even if it may serve as one example.

Perhaps if we were to leave the specifics of the OP's situation, there could be a more fruitful discussion about whether hurting a competitor is a real possibility, and how concerned site owners should be (or not be) about this.

This 245 message thread spans 9 pages: < < 245 ( 1 2 [3] 4 5 6 7 8 9 > >
Global Options:
 top home search open messages active posts  
 

Home / Forums Index / Google / Google SEO News and Discussion
rss feed

All trademarks and copyrights held by respective owners. Member comments are owned by the poster.
Home ¦ Free Tools ¦ Terms of Service ¦ Privacy Policy ¦ Report Problem ¦ About ¦ Library ¦ Newsletter
WebmasterWorld is a Developer Shed Community owned by Jim Boykin.
© Webmaster World 1996-2014 all rights reserved