homepage Welcome to WebmasterWorld Guest from 54.161.155.142
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?

 

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?

londrum




msg:4439735
 8:08 pm on Apr 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

do any of you use Tynt on your site?
they add a backlink to the end of any snippets of text that a user copies and pastes somewhere else.
i used to think it was a great way of getting backlinks, because most of the stuff thats copied on your site doesnt get attributed, but now im starting to get a bit worried about it, because of this whole hoo-haa about backlinks.

i dont actually use Tynt myself, but ive got my own script that does the same thing. if someone copies something, it will automatically add the URL to the end of the snippet.

i would hate to think how many backlinks i have amassed through this. and they are all legit, in my mind. but would you be risking something like this now?

netmeg




msg:4439755
 8:46 pm on Apr 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

hottrout - cj.com is Commission Junction, one of the largest affiliate networks. If you are not selling affiliate products, then possibly someone is routing something through you, or there's a broken URL somewhere that's pointing to you. I suggest you contact cj.com and ask them. That's a completely different issue than this one.

fathom




msg:4439761
 8:54 pm on Apr 11, 2012 (gmt 0)


then possibly someone is routing something through you, or there's a broken URL somewhere that's pointing to you. I suggest you contact cj.com and ask them. That's a completely different issue than this one.


I would ask off this thought... what are the referral requests for?

hotlinks to pics, a script, an applet?

hottrout




msg:4439768
 9:34 pm on Apr 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

Is there any truth to the suggestion that google would frown upon traffic comming from cj.com?

Could this be used by a competitor to 'hurt' your standings with google?

fathom




msg:4439769
 9:43 pm on Apr 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

Is there any truth to the suggestion that google would frown upon traffic comming from cj.com?

Could this be used by a competitor to 'hurt' your standings with google?


How would Google "Search" know what you got not from it?

Why would that be a bad thing?

I'm 99.99999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999% certain that isn't related to anything associated with your Google woahs.

jsherloc




msg:4439824
 1:17 am on Apr 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

Dangit, didn't see this thread earlier, but I just posted a whopper of a post regarding this very issue in the:

"Google WMT notice of detected unnatural links. So, what now?" thread. Might be interesting for some folks to read as I've been following this issue closely for the past year or so...

fathom




msg:4439844
 2:24 am on Apr 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

I posted in the other thread but will add it here as well...

John Mu suggests:

...it's always possible that something was noticed incorrectly on our side, and you're welcome to submit a reconsideration request with that feedback (from what I've seen, those situations are very, very rare though). Also, when talking to publishers and SEOs, I sometimes hear of situations where one side wasn't fully aware of what other people on the team were doing with a website -- I'm sure that's not commonly the case, but it can happen (and has surprised us internally as well, as you can imagine). Either way, I'd recommend still taking a look at the links and seeing if there isn't something that can be resolved -- just like you would with other issues surrounding a website.


Very, very rare and I'm sure... are strong indications that competitors cannot do damage to your website results... the same way you can.

atlrus




msg:4439998
 1:15 pm on Apr 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

Very, very rare and I'm sure... are strong indications that competitors cannot do damage to your website results... the same way you can.


Whatever dude, you can be the ostrich with the head in the sand if you want to, but for now the evidence suggests that it's not that hard to send your competitor in a limbo:

1. spend $100 to buy links on 100 chity Indian directory websites

2. start sending emails to Google complaining about the links your competitor is buying on some Indian directory websites

3. Google drones see the links from those $1 directories, follow their current "guilty until proven innocent" moto and devalue the website and send the dreaded "unnatural links detected" email

4. the poor webmaster has no idea what the heck is going on, nor has any way of fixing this. Google doesn't disclose which links are problematic - so the webmaster doesn't even know what links Google is talking about

And there you have it.

Shaddows




msg:4440002
 1:22 pm on Apr 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

So THATS how to take down Amazon/Wikipedia/[Your boogie here].

Didn't realise that I was wasting thousands of pounds monthly on marketing and content creation. All I needed to do was spend $100 per competitor, and I would be free and clear for all time.

I reckon at $500 a month, I could dominate not only my entire niche, but all adjacents within a year.

Thanks for the heads up.

atlrus




msg:4440004
 1:36 pm on Apr 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

So THATS how to take down Amazon/Wikipedia/[Your boogie here].

Didn't realise that I was wasting thousands of pounds monthly on marketing and content creation. All I needed to do was spend $100 per competitor, and I would be free and clear for all time.

I reckon at $500 a month, I could dominate not only my entire niche, but all adjacents within a year.

Thanks for the heads up.


lol, here is the class clown...

As soon as Amazon/Wiki start getting the same treatment as the rest of us do, yes, you could take them down.

P.S. Since you are soooo witty, why don't you let me know your website - I'd be more than happy to spend the $100 and see if your theory about Good Mother Google really pans out. Unless, of course, you are afraid that you may get demoted for unnatural links?

fathom




msg:4440007
 1:47 pm on Apr 12, 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?

1. Google sends canned emails

2. Google advised he has unnatural links

3. Google advised lost ranks until links are gone

Google didn't say a single word about a competitor which is what did not come from the horses mouth.

fathom




msg:4440008
 1:53 pm on Apr 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

Whatever dude, you can be the ostrich with the head in the sand if you want to, but for now the evidence suggests that it's not that hard to send your competitor in a limbo:

1. spend $100 to buy links on 100 chity Indian directory websites

2. start sending emails to Google complaining about the links your competitor is buying on some Indian directory websites

3. Google drones see the links from those $1 directories, follow their current "guilty until proven innocent" moto and devalue the website and send the dreaded "unnatural links detected" email

4. the poor webmaster has no idea what the heck is going on, nor has any way of fixing this. Google doesn't disclose which links are problematic - so the webmaster doesn't even know what links Google is talking about

And there you have it.


Can we start before 1.

0. how many times have you done this?

0.1. Can we assume you're speaking with a wealth of skilled experience?

atlrus




msg:4440009
 1:53 pm on Apr 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

Proof of what?

1. Google sends canned emails

2. Google advised he has unnatural links

3. Google advised lost ranks until links are gone

Google didn't say a single word about a competitor which is what did not come from the horses mouth.


Proof that backlinks can harm you. This was never the case in the past - backlinks were devalued but your website did not suffer loss of ranking because of them.

Google sends a webmaster the message that the website lost ranking because of backlinks. I don't know how much clearer you need to be told, seriously.

[edited by: atlrus at 2:02 pm (utc) on Apr 12, 2012]

Shaddows




msg:4440010
 1:54 pm on Apr 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

Ok, so you disavowed the obvious flaw in you argument by claiming special treatment for Amazon and WikiP.

What about the rest. $500 wouldn't scratch my AdWords budget, and by having no competitors within a year would DEFINITELY show a better ROI.

I guess we're all super lucky that not a single one of our competitors decide to take us out- especially as they seem so ruthless and savvy in every other way.

atlrus




msg:4440011
 1:56 pm on Apr 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

Ok, so you disavowed the obvious flaw in you argument by claiming special treatment for Amazon and WikiP.

What about the rest. $500 wouldn't scratch my AdWords budget, and by having no competitors within a year would DEFINITELY show a better ROI.

I guess we're all super lucky that not a single one of our competitors decide to take us out- especially as they seem so ruthless and savvy in every other way.


Still waiting for your website. You have the guts to stand behind your words - then put up or shut up. I am willing to put my money where my mouth is, now it's your turn.

Marketing Guy




msg:4440017
 2:00 pm on Apr 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

Proof of what?

1. Google sends canned emails

2. Google advised he has unnatural links

3. Google advised lost ranks until links are gone


4. Google isn't prepared to disclose actual information, probably because it would leave them on very shakey ground because;

a) They would be basically autogenerating claims that some websites are bad / evil / nasty / dangerous...

b) ...which is not only a tenuous legal position in the first place, but considering Google has market dominance in the website ad publishing market, it would be seen as an attack on a source of ad revenue for independent websites (link selling in whatever shape or form) and open the door for some very interesting discussions on the subject of monopolies.

I think it's highly unlikely we'll ever see the day that Google tells individual webmasters that site a, b or c is hurting them due to links. That's a major can of worms that will never be opened.

Shaddows




msg:4440019
 2:05 pm on Apr 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

Good Mother Google

Look, blink hatred of Google is damaging your objectivity. I don't LIKE Google. I've been "not liking" Google since before it was all the rage. But thinking that every bad story you hear is true is stupid.

And thinking everyone who disagrees with the latest screwball theory is a Google fan is just crazy.

We turn over more than $10m at current exchange rate. $100 to take us down is laughable.

atlrus




msg:4440022
 2:11 pm on Apr 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

We turn over more than $10m at current exchange rate. $100 to take us down is laughable.


Then let's all laugh together - let me know about that $10m website.

Chances are, of course, that your website doesn't even rank #1 for your keywords, otherwise you wouldn't have to spend the money on Adwords...which should make this even easier

Look, blink hatred of Google is damaging your objectivity


Hatred? Not really, I don't hate Google, before or after it was fashionable.

I simply don't agree with the fact that backlinks can now hurt your rankings, and I find it funny when people put some kind of blind fate into Google to "do the right thing", that's all.

fathom




msg:4440033
 2:23 pm on Apr 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

Proof that backlinks can harm you. This was never the case in the past - backlinks were devalued but your website did not suffer loss of ranking because of them.


I never claimed you cannot harm yourself through manipulation...

Google sends a webmaster the message that the website lost ranking because of backlinks. I don't know how much clearer you need to be told, seriously.


I claim that Google will not penalize you if it cannot determine "you did it".

If a competitor developed unnatural links to you... this means your competitor aided your ranks, traffic and sales and when Google discount these (because they are unnatural) you go back to where you were... with less ranks, traffic and sales... and that isn't bad because "you didn't do it in the first place".

If you manipulate results intentionally and Google determines that "you did it" (and they can) ...as clearly as you repeated yourself... you lose it all... and that is equally fair because you are not allowed to manipulate Google to get ahead.

[edited by: fathom at 2:26 pm (utc) on Apr 12, 2012]

fathom




msg:4440036
 2:25 pm on Apr 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

Look, blink hatred of Google is damaging your objectivity.


It's all fun & games until someone loses an eye!

Shaddows




msg:4440047
 2:54 pm on Apr 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

Chances are, of course, that your website doesn't even rank #1 for your keywords, otherwise you wouldn't have to spend the money on Adwords...which should make this even easier


Chances are?! Would those chances be the same chances that you could take it down?

Tell you what, I'll give you a list of 5 websites. If you take any 2 down, I'll give you $1000.

rlange




msg:4440049
 3:03 pm on Apr 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

Look... It's pretty clear that there are cases where backlinks can harm your site. This is obvious from the messages that Google occasionally sends about "unnatural links". Denying even the possibility in the face of these messages is... unhealthy.

But these messages may be an indication that any punishment for these questionable links are the result of a manual review. If they were algorithmic penalties, the messages would say so.

On the other hand, we have at least two people claiming what can only be an algorithmic penalty to their backlink experiments (due to the turnaround time between change and possible effect).

So, these are possibly two different, if somewhat related, issues.

Still...

Fact: Backlinks can harm you. Evidence in favor? Manual penalties and messages given out by Google themselves. Also, JC Penney and others.

Assumption: Google can't reliably determine the entity ultimately responsible for links placed on other websites.

Hypothesis: There's some (new?) algorithmic component that detects backlink "violations" and applies penalties automatically. Evidence in favor? Purchasing links to a page appears to result in a loss of ranking for that page. Once those links expire, rankings return. Evidence against? No control for other variables, not enough testing. (Has anyone done a similar experiment and gotten neutral or even positive results?)

Hypothesis: Competitors can use backlinks to harm you. Evidence in favor? Mostly anecdotal, "I know someone who does this" stories that it works. Evidence against? That it doesn't happen all the time.

My personal opinion, based on the evidence available, is that it is indeed possible for a competitor to harm you with backlinks. I feel that we don't see it very often because it either requires a manual review or most sites have a backlink profile that's too strong to be affected by any attempts that are being made by the site's competition.

fathom wrote:
If a competitor developed unnatural links to you... this means your competitor aided your ranks, traffic and sales and when Google discount these (because they are unnatural) you go back to where you were... with less ranks, traffic and sales... and that isn't bad because "you didn't do it in the first place".

I agree that this is a strong possibility in a number of cases. But Google isn't threatening to devalue unnatural backlinks in their messages. If you remove them or Google devalues them, it's all the same.

If you manipulate results intentionally and Google determines that "you did it" (and they can)

But how? Do they have access to a link seller's client list?

--
Ryan

[edited by: rlange at 3:24 pm (utc) on Apr 12, 2012]

Shaddows




msg:4440054
 3:10 pm on Apr 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

Yes, that is my understanding too (see also the other active thread). Once you have a legitimately ranking site, with a backlink profile that supports your ranking, you become immune to negative campaigns.

You could POSSIBLY get a penalty by being JC Penney, BMW etc, but that is general manipulative practice beyond mere link campaigns. And unquestionably a result of the deliberate actions by the company penalised.

crobb305




msg:4440066
 3:55 pm on Apr 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

I think JohnMu made an important point on the Google Groups forum:

"While we have just recently started sending out these messages, they may apply to issues that were already known (and affecting your site's standing in our search results) for a while."

fathom




msg:4440071
 4:07 pm on Apr 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

Hypothesis: Competitors can use backlinks to harm you. Evidence in favor? Mostly anecdotal, "I know someone who does this" stories that it works. Evidence against? That it doesn't happen all the time.

My personal opinion, based on the evidence available, is that it is indeed possible for a competitor to harm you with backlinks. I feel that we don't see it very often because it either requires a manual review or most sites have a backlink profile that's too strong to be affected by any attempts that are being made by the site's competition.


Please direct this company or person to me... I will hire them to take out 5 of my domains (5 to ensure the first 4 were not flukes)

fathom wrote:
If you manipulate results intentionally and Google determines that "you did it" (and they can)


But how? Do they have access to a link seller's client list?

--
Ryan


How do they determine "NOT PROVIDED" on search queries?

How many Google products do you use?

How often are you logged in?

How many of your websites are included in your accounts?

Surely the company that controls all this and so much more... it isn't too much of a stretch for them to develop footprints using your online activities.

Google's AI has grown immensely... look at the updates they do each month compared to a year ago, 3 years ago... and you blindly think they are web incompetent.

Googlebot is deaf, dumb and blind and yet in can recognize picture by faces, videos by frames, and tracking 10 trillion pages and 100 trillion links on a million+ servers... you really think it can tell the difference between you gaming it to get ahead as oppose to someone else gaming it to drop you down?

Blindly believing a competitor without 170 billion dollar in revenue, no internal data on you, only a few computers, and not having the brainstorming power of 100+ PhD can do something fishy and Google with all of that is powerless to prevent it from occurring... well OK... but I sure love to see that evidence... first.

I don't trust anyone and I don't blindly follow based purely on a leap of faith.

fathom




msg:4440073
 4:12 pm on Apr 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

crobb305 wrote:
I think JohnMu made an important point on the Google Groups forum:

"While we have just recently started sending out these messages, they may apply to issues that were already known (and affecting your site's standing in our search results) for a while."


Interesting indeed.

What Google doesn't say is often more important than what they do say.

SnowMan68




msg:4440078
 4:23 pm on Apr 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

Surely the company that controls all this and so much more... it isn't too much of a stretch for them to develop footprints using your online activities.


Wow...and they are worried about people buying links? Lol.

atlrus




msg:4440082
 4:25 pm on Apr 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

Yes, that is my understanding too (see also the other active thread). Once you have a legitimately ranking site, with a backlink profile that supports your ranking, you become immune to negative campaigns.


I don't understand why you assume that every website in the world is the size of Amazon. You don't need a backlink profile of any kind to rank good. As a matter of fact I have a website that ranks with ZERO backlinks, I mean absolutely no backlinks AT ALL - currently #6 out of 14m results for its keyword. It has been sitting dormant for over 3 years (I don't have the opportunity to make money from it as I did at the time of purchase of the domain) with ONLY 2 pages. It was discovered by Google through the old "submit your website" deal.

I don't claim it's a good website, I don't claim it's a bad website. The fact is that it ranks through absolutely nothing - no backlinks, no content.

There are many other niche websites which rank like that - with only a few links, probably the majority of the internet. For example - a guy who crafts something in his garage. He doesn't need millions of backlinks to rank high for his crafted goods, but his competitor doesn't need but a few dollars to send him away. The new algo would punish him instantly, no review needed. Is he a "bad webmaster" because he did not get thousands of natural links?!?

Shaddows




msg:4440089
 4:42 pm on Apr 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

@atlrus

Ok, fair enough, we're talking about different things. I would never claim that it was hard to take out a site with no links.

But then, I would never claim that it was unfair for same to be taken out.

fathom




msg:4440090
 4:51 pm on Apr 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

I mean absolutely no backlinks AT ALL - currently #6 out of 14m results for its keyword. It has been sitting dormant for over 3 years (I don't have the opportunity to make money from it


non-$$$ phrases isn't a valid claim especially for this thread... your competitors are equally disinterested in making money so I don't see any reasons for them to want to harm a "no backlink website"... with even free spammy backlinks that only cost time.

There are many other niche websites which rank like that - with only a few links, probably the majority of the internet. For example - a guy who crafts something in his garage. He doesn't need millions of backlinks to rank high for his crafted goods, but his competitor doesn't need but a few dollars to send him away. The new algo would punish him instantly, no review needed. Is he a "bad webmaster" because he did not get thousands of natural links?!?


Now we don't just have hypothetical competitors we are diving into hypothetical website owners to represent real world events.

IMHO this is just BS for the sake if BSing.

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