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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?

 

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.

fathom




msg:4437120
 4:06 pm on Apr 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

scooterdude wrote:
Re inclusion requests apparently only clear manual penalties

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


A little more research I did find:

[seroundtable.com...]

Dear site owner or webmaster of http://www.example.com/,

We received a request from a site owner to reconsider http://www.example.com/ for compliance with Google's Webmaster Guidelines. We reviewed your site and found no manual actions by the webspam team that might affect your site's ranking in Google. There's no need to file a reconsideration request for your site, because any ranking issues you may be experiencing are not related to a manual action taken by the webspam team. Of course, there may be other issues with your site that affect your site's ranking. Google's computers determine the order of our search results using a series of formulas known as algorithms. We make hundreds of changes to our search algorithms each year, and we employ more than 200 different signals when ranking pages. As our algorithms change and as the web (including your site) changes, some fluctuation in ranking can happen as we make updates to present the best results to our users. If you've experienced a change in ranking which you suspect may be more than a simple algorithm change, there are other things you may want to investigate as possible causes, such as a major change to your site's content, content management system, or server architecture. For example, a site may not rank well if your server stops serving pages to Googlebot, or if you've changed the URLs for a large portion of your site's pages. This article has a list of other potential reasons your site may not be doing well in search. If you're still unable to resolve your issue, please see our Webmaster Help Forum for support.

Sincerely, Google Search Quality Team


This, in and of itself, does not imply what you sort of claim. This is Google sorting based on its algorithm.

If you were driving 60 in a 55 zone and a cop pulled you over for making an illegal lane change... did the additional 5 mph have anything to do with them pulling you over?

It's important to note (in the OP case) that timing is an important clue.

7 days after adding paid links the suggestion was that Google automatically detected those 150 links as unnatural.

I would surmise getting any link even natural would produce the same effect.

The increased speed (in the analogy) could bring the situation in focus just like new link singles (any link singles) bring PANDA into clearer focus.

[edited by: fathom at 4:15 pm (utc) on Apr 4, 2012]

fathom




msg:4437123
 4:12 pm on Apr 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

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 topic captivates me to find an answer... but simple speculation is not an answer... it only provides more questions.

That said... closing this thread (or splitting) makes more sense than simply hijacking it.

fathom




msg:4437128
 4:28 pm on Apr 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

BTW this might help clear up the rhetoric

Page layout algorithm improvement
Thursday, January 19, 2012 at 3:00 PM

NOTE: right about the time the OP noticed his paid links killed his domain (or not)

[googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com...]

As we’ve mentioned previously, we’ve heard complaints from users that if they click on a result and it’s difficult to find the actual content, they aren’t happy with the experience. Rather than scrolling down the page past a slew of ads, users want to see content right away. So sites that don’t have much content “above-the-fold” can be affected by this change. If you click on a website and the part of the website you see first either doesn’t have a lot of visible content above-the-fold or dedicates a large fraction of the site’s initial screen real estate to ads, that’s not a very good user experience. Such sites may not rank as highly going forward.


This describes the OP website and the timing fits and the change in linkage isn't likely a factor.

PANDA changes since then ensures no traffic.

IMHO

Shaddows




msg:4437133
 4:44 pm on Apr 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

fathom: "That said... closing this thread (or splitting) makes more sense than simply hijacking it"
The thing is, almost every other contributor on this thread has kind of discounted the OP, and moved on the the larger question, wheras you have tightly focused on the OP. This would make splitting the thread difficult, as its almost as if two sides were having parallel conversations. One thread would be a monologue of "Paid links can harm" while the other would be "The OP has not demonstrated paid links are what his problem actually is"

fathom




msg:4437138
 5:04 pm on Apr 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

Shaddows wrote:
fathom wrote:
"That said... closing this thread (or splitting) makes more sense than simply hijacking it"

The thing is, almost every other contributor on this thread has kind of discounted the OP, and moved on the the larger question, wheras you have tightly focused on the OP. This would make splitting the thread difficult, as its almost as if two sides were having parallel conversations. One thread would be a monologue of "Paid links can harm" while the other would be "The OP has not demonstrated paid links are what his problem actually is"

Shaddows starting a thread is the point of the thread and if the discussion of the OP is no longer required the thread should be closed and not what everyone else wishes to discuss.

There is a reason the OP post follows all pages of the thread.

Because your posting may be more pertinent to another on going discussion, or it might spawn its own thread, it may be moved as WebmasterWorld sees fit.


This applies IMHO.

realmaverick




msg:4437655
 6:56 pm on Apr 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

Fathom much of what you've said is incorrect.

First of all, the paid links were on a entirely different domain, tithe website you're speculating about.

The drop in traffic from the domain you're talking about, coincides with the above the fold update, but it's not what this thread was discussing.

Furthermore, implying that my visitors don't find wha they're looking for, most certainly isn't true.

The website you're talking about has a Bounce rate of less than 30%, 10+ page views average and over 10 minutes average time on website.

Don't make assumptions, that because my website doesn't have tons of text, that the content isn't useful to those seeking it.

All in all, you're mixing two entirely different websites up and almost everything you've said, doesn't relate.

Cheers

fathom




msg:4437784
 12:14 am on Apr 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

First I don't rule anything out... "even competitors hurting your backlink profile"... I just believe you (many or everyone misinterprets the signals and by default, like someone drowning, grab onto the first thing that will keep them above water... they kneejerk a response.

That said, let's back-peddle.

Fathom much of what you've said is incorrect.

First of all, the paid links were on a entirely different domain, tithe website you're speculating about.


Site A - your main site
Site B - your satellite site (assuming it links to Site A... we will come back to that later)

Site A losing its traffic has nothing to do with your "paid links" and Site A questionable links that you uncovered afterthefact has nothing to do with the lose in traffic either. (most likely)

If you review any domain that is fairly established they all have questionable links that is the natural impact of an unmoderated Internet.

The drop in traffic from the domain you're talking about, coincides with the above the fold update, but it's not what this thread was discussing.


Well OK but from your original post:

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.


just because PANDA started doesn't mean linking patterns discontinued... one has nothing much to do with the other.

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


That is not true... but I will come back to this as well.

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?


In your own developments, I'm puzzled... you did paid links on Site B and 7 days later lost everything associated with Site B. Site A as I understand has nothing to do with those links other than you believe it seemed so easy to lose results this way (assumption) so must be what happen to Site A because (assumption) Site A has really great content so Panda cannot be the cause of the loses.

It's odd to have two unrelated websites being impacted at the same time for 2 completely different things... Site B for purpose-based developed paid links for testing and Site A for some unknown perpetrator that developed questionable links to you (since the competitor is really irrelevant to this discussion)

Does this make the two coincidence?

Furthermore, implying that my visitors don't find wha they're looking for, most certainly isn't true.

The website you're talking about has a Bounce rate of less than 30%, 10+ page views average and over 10 minutes average time on website.


I'm not implying anything... What web visitors are we talking about here... the ones associated with your test on Site B? Either way is your data from before the drop in ranks (Site B) or lose in Traffic Site A? What's the difference between the before effect and after on both.

Don't make assumptions, that because my website doesn't have tons of text, that the content isn't useful to those seeking it.


I'm not assuming anything. Article websites with trillions of text words are killed by PANDA as well... unless you can clearly demonstrate that PANDA is not involved... it is involved and it does not matter what you or I think about your content it only matters what Google thinks and using their own words on the matter you clearly fall into the category of low quality.

All in all, you're mixing two entirely different websites up and almost everything you've said, doesn't relate.


Sure I agree, because you posted a supposition based on the demonstrated events on Site B as a rational explanation for loses in Site A... (instead of believing PANDA is at work here) and as you just correctly pointed out - one has nothing to do with the other.
_______________________________

But ignoring your specific domains let me address the "can competitors hurt your backlink profile?"... more specifically can Google tell the difference between "YOU" and "EVERYONE ELSE".

I avoided using Google products for many years because the most important aspect in SEO is data collection and I want to ensure Google cannot track me "under the hood".

The "NOT PROVIDED" scares the hell out of me... they can tell when I log into a Google account that is clearly associated with my domains and by default my customers domains.

Google Toolbar, Chrome, Analytics, Adwords, Youtube, etc., etc. and now these are all connected.

...and everyone here suggests Google cannot tell.

Googlebot is deaf, dumb, and blind... but it is getting its intelligence from something.

It can bias your personal results (and ads) based on your browsing habits... hmmm... if it can do that it isn't a huge stretch to see that we also reviewed those paid links you just acquired and the website getting the links are in your Google accounts... everyone else cannot access those accounts.

_______________________________

An ex-partner of mine not only got links from our developments he developed a network twice the size and had a massive paid link profile that got publicly reported to Google with lots of fanfair.

500+ websites were killed off but not a single website getting the links lost any ranks to speak of.

It was the biggest one time loss I ever suffered... but only me (selling links) got nailed... not a single customer of 300+ lost anything... not even the ones reported on Google forums (by domain name)... possibly because Google could conclude that a competitor might be setting this up. I know full well that it wasn't a competitor but Google couldn't tell (my assumption) because we maintain a strict guidelines on setup systems.

This is what I know from years of doing link networks (paid links). Whether manually or automatically detected... linking websites lose value but those link credits do not get immediately discounted... they cannot... they must filter through a system that is north of 10 trillion pages and 100 trillion links... this does not occur immediately... remember discounting links don't just impact you... Google must recalculate the entire backpath of link credits, and results... everything those 150 websites link to... paid or natural unpaid.

BTW... did you check to see how the paid linked websites were doing? I find it difficult to believe Google would kill you off but allow 150 websites actually doing the manipulation would be left up.

Most people have a very narrow vantagepoint on these matters... they merely look at their own developments... and forget that they are not in an enclosed bubble. In fact, I have seen 4-8 weeks spans which (if true)... you lose your value on Site B 3-7 weeks before you got the paid links.

So... (if true) what possibly happened in November or December?

Also in contrast... when you add 150 paid links... Google cannot know about them until it crawls, and crawling takes time... crediting also takes time.

I can produce results in 5-14 days as a general rule but adding, crawling, crediting, identifying, and discounting in 1 week... I got alot of money to hand you if you can prove that occurred... I'm 99% confident it did not.

I cannot refute the competitor claim... but then another no one can demonstrate it either and as everyone suggests... it is irrelevant.

Clearly, unestablished websites fall into a different category as "if you have no natural link profile cover"... the unnatural is blatantly obvious.

I have no problem sharing a few links to members but I will not post in public. The above example I cited above was an enormous loss... all the linking websites lose results immediately but the link credits were still there 2 months later which allowed us 2 months to recover with different links.

realmaverick




msg:4437841
 4:58 am on Apr 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

On mobile atm. Will reply in full tomorrow.

I did not manage to kill the site. Just a pages target terms. I managed to get the rankings back by removing the links.

The drop of traffic on the other website, happened on Jan 20th so suggests not panda but above the fold update.

I found something this eve, that I believe could be to blame. I'll update the other thread if I've fixed it. If I have, it opens up a can of worms.

Nuttakorn




msg:4437908
 10:52 am on Apr 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

Matt Cutts confirmed that it is possible that competitors could hurt your ranking. Google changed webmaster guideline something like from "impossible to hurt you" to "Google tries very hard to make sure that one competitor can't hurt another competitor"

You can find the video here.

[youtube.com...]

enigma1




msg:4437957
 1:38 pm on Apr 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

Few months ago, we've setup a test with pageonresults due to our redirect differences to see at least if exclusive responses to invalid pages via permanent redirects would hurt a site.
[webmasterworld.com...]
So far I wasn't able to see a difference in ranking or traffic for the particular site. Of course this is a tiny test for the different ways backlinks could influence googlebot or other spiders. I also haven't seen or found a concrete way to twist the spider results. In my view usually these are problems with a server when it misinterprets requests and then the site is hurt.

So check the server logs often if something doesn't look right, go in test it see how the server responds and when necessary fix the associated scripts. It's a routine.

fathom




msg:4438007
 3:31 pm on Apr 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

Matt Cutts confirmed that it is possible that competitors could hurt your ranking. Google changed webmaster guideline something like from "impossible to hurt you" to "Google tries very hard to make sure that one competitor can't hurt another competitor"


This is meaningless in this context.

This is the language difference...

    It is impossible for you to beat radar detection on the highway. (very definitive language)

    If a competitor steals your car and speeds down the highway at 200 mph and pretends to be you... you just may be able to get away with it when the wrong person shows up in court. (OK not so definitive language anymore but seriously continues to demonstrate normal and usual real world events)

fathom




msg:4438018
 3:42 pm on Apr 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

Few months ago, we've setup a test with pageonresults due to our redirect
A redirect is a server side response... this means from a user-agent vantagepoint (like Googlebot) the original destination no longer exists.

Therefore before crawling the redirect Google only knows about the original destination and after the recrawling Google only know the original destination as the replacement.

In short, there is no difference and there can never be any different.

Exception to the rule... I'm sure if you really put your mind to it you can find ways to exploit anything that wouldn't pass a manual sniff test... but these are not the norms.

conroy




msg:4438271
 1:24 pm on Apr 7, 2012 (gmt 0)

I filed a reinclusion request for an 11 year old content site that I've never built any links to. Top quality content, timeless, some of the best in its area etc. etc. Google sent me a notice that there were links to my site that they detected that were unnatural.

Dear site owner or webmaster of

We received a request from a site owner to reconsider for compliance with Google's Webmaster Guidelines.

We've reviewed your site and we still see links to your site that violate our quality guidelines.

Specifically, look for possibly artificial or unnatural links pointing to your site that could be intended to manipulate PageRank. Examples of unnatural linking could include buying links to pass PageRank or participating in link schemes.

We encourage you to make changes to comply with our quality guidelines. Once you've made these changes, please submit your site for reconsideration in Google's search results.

If you find unnatural links to your site that you are unable to control or remove, please provide the details in your reconsideration request.

If you have additional questions about how to resolve this issue, please see our Webmaster Help Forum for support.

Sincerely,

Google Search Quality Team


I am so excited to see that one of my jobs as a site owner now is to clean up "unnatural" links to my site! Google is totally absurd.

fathom




msg:4438302
 5:17 pm on Apr 7, 2012 (gmt 0)

totally absurd.


A 5-minute look back through your recent posts suggests you have more than 1 website and you claimed that PANDA aided 1 domain while punishing another.

I filed a reinclusion request for an 11 year old content site that I've never built any links to. Top quality content, timeless, some of the best in its area etc. etc. Google sent me a notice that there were links to my site that they detected that were unnatural.


Is this the site that got hammered by PANDA for low quality content as well?

Or is it getting links from the one that got hammered by PANDA?

I'm just spitballing here but maybe your own internal developments are the unnatural part you suggest isn't your job.

seoskunk




msg:4438354
 9:40 pm on Apr 7, 2012 (gmt 0)

Why don't google allow a tool in webmastertools to dismiss the inbound link. This would prevent abuse from competitors and also be a quality score for other sites ie. to many votes against your outbound links could show a low quality site that may be being misused. Its impossible to control inbound links but its entirely possible for google to make it possible which ones you accept.

rlange




msg:4438772
 3:36 pm on Apr 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

fathom wrote:
[...] maybe your own internal developments are the unnatural part you suggest isn't your job.

From Google's response to conroy's re-inclusion request (bolding mine):

We've reviewed your site and we still see links to your site that violate our quality guidelines.

Specifically, look for possibly artificial or unnatural links pointing to your site that could be intended to manipulate PageRank. Examples of unnatural linking could include buying links to pass PageRank or participating in link schemes.

We encourage you to make changes to comply with our quality guidelines.

Whether or not this site was hit by Panda, they're pretty clear about there being an issue with backlinks to the site, which is something website owners have little to no control over. Google has apparently assumed that he's the one responsible for these violations when it could very easily be someone else.

Edit: Wait. I think what you're suggesting is that possible links from his other site are the links that Google is considering suspicious. If so, that would be interesting.

--
Ryan

fathom




msg:4438831
 6:53 pm on Apr 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

rlange wrote:
which is something website owners have little to no control over.


Since I believe... "competitors cannot harm you," by just linking to you... the website owner must have control... so looking at things where we each have absolute control is the place I start.

rlange wrote:
Google has apparently assumed that he's the one responsible for these violations when it could very easily be someone else.

Edit: Wait. I think what you're suggesting is that possible links from his other site are the links that Google is considering suspicious. If so, that would be interesting.

--
Ryan


You do need to read between the lines to help people get passed their own prejudices.

We all have warped biases towards our own achievements.

Anyone that posts

Top quality content, timeless, some of the best in its area etc. etc


Has a mega innovative mind or a really huge pocket of cash... and would never arrive here with an SEO problem or they just have a big ego and when you look ... well how many natural links do you believe are flocking to a "thin website"?

I never claimed the website lost anything through PANDA but when that is your belief you can believe shady links are the reason a thin domain has ranks to start.

atlrus




msg:4439545
 11:35 am on Apr 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

I did the same experiment a couple of weeks ago, albeit on a smaller scale. It appears that links can harm you.

Case 1: I had a website which was bouncing between #5 and #8. Purchased 20 links from the same service to see if I could "settle" it. It was settled alright, at #8. After a couple of months I let the purchased links expire - my website shot to #2 within 2-3 days.

Case 2: Using the same service I purchased 10 links to a website ranking on the second page for its main keyword. The website has not been touched in at least 2 years. After I purchased the 10 links that website instantly dropped from page #2 to page #6, within 2-3 days. I'll be letting those links expire to see if there would be a positive move.

Bad links can certainly harm you now and I have no idea what Google was thinking...


Just wanted to follow up on my experiments. As expected with "Case 2", after I let the purchased links expire, the website regained its page #2 ranking within days of the removal of those links...

I think the community should really pay more attention to this, since it's clear as day that as long as your competitor doesn't mind spending a few bucks (the cheaper the links the faster they'd be "flagged") - you could be taken down very easily.

enigma1




msg:4439572
 12:58 pm on Apr 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

your competitor doesn't mind spending a few bucks you could be taken down very easily.

I find this very hard to believe. Unless you've found the sources Google looks for verifying paid links. And if you're certain, by all means, use it wipe out your competition.

Maybe demonstrating the flaw is the only way to have them fix it.

petehall




msg:4439573
 1:04 pm on Apr 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

I find it hard to believe too... surely it's some sort of coincidence?

Point those links at google.co.uk to see if you can get it to drop. Interestingly, they don't rank very well for search engine (7th!).

Andy Langton




msg:4439576
 1:12 pm on Apr 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

Point those links at google.co.uk to see if you can get it to drop


That's not really the point, though - realistically, link profiles can only be "disrupted" if they are weak, which doesn't apply to brand names - but that doesn't mean all sites with weak link profiles have something wrong them!

Look at it another way. If you went online with the aim of damaging the reputation of (say) the BBC, you're rather unlikely to make enough noise to have any real world impact. But if you aimed to do the same for a small local business owner, you're likely to have some degree of success.

kellyman




msg:4439595
 1:37 pm on Apr 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

Fact

Links to your site can harm you

Dear site owner or webmaster of www.mysite.co.uk,
We received a request from a site owner to reconsider www.mysite.co.uk/ for compliance with Google's Webmaster Guidelines.
We've reviewed your site and we still see links to your site that violate our quality guidelines.
Specifically, look for possibly artificial or unnatural links pointing to your site that could be intended to manipulate PageRank. Examples of unnatural linking could include buying links to pass PageRank or participating in link schemes.
We encourage you to make changes to comply with our quality guidelines. Once you've made these changes, please submit your site for reconsideration in Google's search results.
If you find unnatural links to your site that you are unable to control or remove, please provide the details in your reconsideration request.
If you have additional questions about how to resolve this issue, please see our Webmaster Help Forum for support.
Sincerely,
Google Search Quality Team


Now the question really is, how easy is it for a competitor just to point a few dodgy links and you get flagged

We've reviewed your site and we still see links to your site that violate our quality guidelines


In theory i think they can, but a lot would depend on the history of that URL,

This happened to me i put in a reconsideration request they responded with that message.

totally unfair I think but fact is the profile is spammy, maybe if i had a few more authoritve links it would not be picked up, we dont know without more testing.

I mentioned in another post that i have one of the best authoritys in my niche (accorsing to SEOmoz ) what ever thats worth but i am now struggling with traffic dwon 60% (please take into account we in the UK are on a Long 2 week easter break and that effects figures)

enigma1




msg:4439613
 2:39 pm on Apr 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

I think you need to do something to your site to put you in that league. Maybe placing links inside your pages where google eventually finds a loop and considers them deceptive, or triggering a trap based on how the server responds to some requests (redirects, portals etc).

See the note about "participating in link schemes", I am sure they have ways to detect multiple way linking. In some cases social engineering is used and it's enough to convince webmasters to do "transparent" link exchanges.

hottrout




msg:4439626
 2:59 pm on Apr 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

I have read through this thread with interest. Can anyone here tell me if they know of false traffic appearing as www.cj.com in their stats?

Does Google frown or penalize a site that appears to receive a lot of traffic from www.cj.com?

Could it be possible that a competitor is making false traffic appear as www.cj.com in order to hurt my google standing?

fathom




msg:4439650
 3:41 pm on Apr 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

Just wanted to follow up on my experiments. As expected with "Case 2", after I let the purchased links expire, the website regained its page #2 ranking within days of the removal of those links...

I think the community should really pay more attention to this, since it's clear as day that as long as your competitor doesn't mind spending a few bucks (the cheaper the links the faster they'd be "flagged") - you could be taken down very easily.


I did almost the same thing. I was picking my nose and Case number 1 & 2 bounced all over the place.

When I noticed that my neighbor was watching me... I stopped and results settled down too.

Course when I set it all up again to prove that I wasn't getting false positive Cases... I couldn't repeat the results of the test.

What does that mean?

"Competitors won't do anything twice so it must be irrelevant."


Actually my question... what happen to the domains selling the links?

fathom




msg:4439654
 3:49 pm on Apr 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

Could it be possible that a competitor is making false traffic appear as www.cj.com in order to hurt my google standing?

A false... would be a null and a null cannot be proven... so anything is possible but I wouldn't worrying about anything that can't be proven.

Like: Prayer may make you feel better... but just because it did nothing does not imply the answer was no.

fathom




msg:4439655
 3:58 pm on Apr 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

Fact


Dear site owner or webmaster of www.mysite.co.uk,
We received a request from a site owner to reconsider www.mysite.co.uk/ for compliance with Google's Webmaster Guidelines.
We've reviewed your site and we still see links to your site that violate our quality guidelines.
Specifically, look for possibly artificial or unnatural links pointing to your site that could be intended to manipulate PageRank. Examples of unnatural linking could include buying links to pass PageRank or participating in link schemes.
We encourage you to make changes to comply with our quality guidelines. Once you've made these changes, please submit your site for reconsideration in Google's search results.
If you find unnatural links to your site that you are unable to control or remove, please provide the details in your reconsideration request.
If you have additional questions about how to resolve this issue, please see our Webmaster Help Forum for support.
Sincerely,
Google Search Quality Team


Google sent an email is the only fact.

Since Google did not mention a single link by name leaves you guessing about everything accept the email... and those are not facts.

The fact that you must guess about everything else after the receipt of the email is actually more like an oxymoron.

hottrout




msg:4439657
 4:06 pm on Apr 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

The fact is that my stats show huge numbers of referral traffic from www.cj.com even though I am not a member of cj.com or do I pay for any traffic or adverts. Ever.

Here are the actual numbers of referrals from cj.com according to my server stats

2011
Jan 0
Feb 0
Mar 1564
Apr 8970
May 7300
Jun 27620
Jul 27683
Aug 32183
Sep 154605
Oct 136889
Nov 129042
Dec 128367

2012
Jan 155913
Feb 113293
Mar 123869

fathom




msg:4439726
 7:33 pm on Apr 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

The fact is that my stats show huge numbers of referral traffic from www.cj.com even though I am not a member of cj.com or do I pay for any traffic or adverts. Ever.


Your stats report user-agents... most commonly the browsers of patrons but a user-agent can also be a crawler, bot or spider of the referral domain... like googlebot for google.

hottrout




msg:4439731
 7:50 pm on Apr 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

Does anyone know why cj.com would be constantly crawling the site? Is this common?

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