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This 45 message thread spans 2 pages: < < 45 ( 1 [2]     
Do Google Ignore Certain Types of Dofollow Links (Can they spot linkbomb)?
ColourOfSpring




msg:4646594
 10:00 am on Feb 19, 2014 (gmt 0)

A comment was made on another thread:-

I'm pretty sure Google can spot a $5 link bomb from Fiverr by now.
(don't feel it's necessary to quote who has said this - this is a general discussion here, and it was a very interesting comment).

The purpose of THIS thread is to discuss if Google really do try to side-step around the issue of negative SEO by looking for "signs" of negative SEO and therefore deciding "this site is being attacked, we will ignore those links".

And if THAT is the case, how can they possibly know? Sure, you can point 200,000 links to a site, and in the balance of probabilities, it's more likely to be an attack than some foolhardy attempt at "positive" SEO given what most people know about the dangers of such link building. Or do Google even care if the 200,000 new links look like an attack or not? Remember, we live in a time where Google choose to penalise rather than ignore.

And even if they do try to tackle negative SEO, there are other just-as-easy ways to perform negative SEO in a far more stealthy way, while still being automated. You can schedule the building of links on a smaller scale, published randomly over time. This is still push-button automation. You can have a selection of types of toxic links that are randomly published also. Lo and behold, a site has directories, blog comments, forum profiles, splog links pointing to it. All by the push of a single button.

We can see people offering such negative SEO services. Google are paid money to advertise such services. They're on fiverr.com and other service provider sites. It's in the service provider's interest to make their negative SEO service as effective as possible. The whole point of negative SEO is to make the site owner look like they're violating Google's guidelines. On fiverr.com, we can see a number of N-SEO providers with queues of jobs lined up, plenty of positive testimonials, AND they're advertising ridiculously simple methods (200K link blasts). If it didn't work, why all the positive testimonials and queues of new jobs lined up?

Google are obviously good at spotting "bad" links, but their modus operandi since at least April 2012 is all about penalising such links, not ignoring them.

I don't personally see any evidence that Google are even trying to counter negative SEO - a bad link is a bad link. If it's pointing to your site, it's YOUR problem, not Google's.

 

EditorialGuy




msg:4646872
 1:44 am on Feb 20, 2014 (gmt 0)

Can we look at the disallow side of GWT as a tacit admission by G that they CAN'T figure out all the back links? For webmasters the disallow side is all about proving a negative, ie. fighting scurrilous scum.


The disallow tool doesn't exist because Google "can't figure out all the back links," it exists to help sinners return to the fold.

aakk9999




msg:4646879
 1:59 am on Feb 20, 2014 (gmt 0)

I believe disavow tool exist so that Google can collect the data on what webmasters think are spammy sites so that their algo can learn and perhaps in that way deal better with Negative SEO in the future.

I don't think helping sinners is the primary goal.

ohno




msg:4646970
 8:14 am on Feb 20, 2014 (gmt 0)

The debate is more about how easy or hard is negative SEO. In my experience when people talk about it they tend to state their personal feelings as fact. Few people back up their claims with real data which is unfortunate.

An offer was made to some in the other thread to PM their website address & we'd start the $5 link bomb. No one as yet took that offer up.

Why is that?

If they are so sure Google can spot the $5 link bomb take up the offer?

An ideal opportunity for real data surely? I would take up the offer but :-

(1) My zero ads sites have been smashed since the above the fold update(see other thread).
(2) I'm 100% certain any link bomb campaign would hammer me even more.

As captainsalad2 said they even have the added insurance of disavowing the link bomb :)

Or is the truth here they really do not know & would not risk a website?

Anyone can post "Google can spot this that & the other", the proof is in the pudding.

So, if anyone has a great website that has never been affected by any updates (as some on here claim) it would be nice if they would step up to the mark & take this offer up.


That will be some REAL data.

Shaddows




msg:4646972
 8:24 am on Feb 20, 2014 (gmt 0)

The disallow tool... exists to help sinners return to the fold.
I don't think helping sinners is the primary goal.

Interesting side topic.

If I were Google, I would definitely be using the disavow data in order to gain battlefield intelligence about spammy links.

The first phase (when it was launched) would have one type of data- the historical places people used to go to buy links. The second phase (once all historical misdemeanours have been denounced) will be about sources of N-SEO.

But providing the tool just to garner the data? I don't think that is likely. For me, providing the tool was for two reasons:

1) SEO's were calling for it for years, imagining it to be some silver bullet for all their woes. Google gave the masses what they wanted as a PR exercise, and suddenly it looks all Trojan.

2) Google was aware that it made some stuff that was tacitly acceptable into something that was not. People who genuinely were not trying to be manipulative were suddenly being penalised for techniques that were historically promoted by "insider" SEO blogs. Google had three choices: ignore historic links, burn the old sites, or allow old sites to rehabilitate themselves. They chose to give the appearance of "Rehabilitation possible" and there are some anecdotes to verify that it can work in some cases

Shaddows




msg:4646973
 8:30 am on Feb 20, 2014 (gmt 0)

Can Google spot really obvious N-SEO, and care about it? I think they can and do, because they don't want spammers winning, even just through last-man-standing.

If this were true, do you have any explanation why negative SEO services are displayed at the top of both organic and PPC SERPS?

Google is not in to supressing results. It took quite a lot of interference from the powerful Copyright lobby to get them to move Torrent files off page 1 for many searches- and that's a legal issue.

I can't think of any non-governmental directives to change the SERP that have been taken up. As soon as Google starts taking manual actions in their own interests, SEOs will be asking where it will end. It's easy to see the upside in theory, but just like the Disavow tool, when it happens in practice people start to see it as nefarious. And it would be.

Shaddows




msg:4646978
 8:49 am on Feb 20, 2014 (gmt 0)

Anyone can post "Google can spot this that & the other", the proof is in the pudding.

So, if anyone has a great website that has never been affected by any updates (as some on here claim) it would be nice if they would step up to the mark & take this offer up.

Taking advantage of the current amnesty:
SEOmoz [moz.com] already did this. The results were inconclusive. Moz said there was no impact, the spammers claimed a victory, nothing was resolved.

It's a bit straw-man to conflate the reasonable position that most peoples penalty issue is not negative SEO, with the dubious assertion that N-SEO does not work.

On a penalised site with bad practices and unsolicited links, the owner will say it is the unsolicited links that caused the penalty, while the gaggle on Google's own forums will claim its the bad practices. A nuanced view might be that the link bomb brought the site to the attention of the manual reviewers, who penalised because of bad practices, but I digress.

No, the point is that even if I think Google can and do detect the fiverr-type N-SEO (which I do), if there is even a small chance of damaging the income stream of my website, I'm not going to risk it. No sane person would.

I was trying to think of an analogy that will work both sides of the pond, but since you are my side, I'll just go with football.

You might think that Man City and Arsenal are highly unlikely to progress in Champions League, but would you actually REALLY bet your house on it to win a debating point in a forum? I wouldn't.

CaptainSalad2




msg:4647010
 9:26 am on Feb 20, 2014 (gmt 0)

Google is not in to supressing results.


G takes suppressive manual/algo action against sites that buy links everyday, but refuse to supress sites that sell the links they tell us NOT to buy? Does anyone else feel that in Gs quest for genius they employed so many people who think outside the box they forgot to employ a couple of people who think inside the box with good old fashioned common sense?

I read that in the near future t-shirts will be electronic and people walking around as paid advertisements, living billboards if you will.

If Matt Cutts were to wear one of these t-shirts, because he is SO associated with links his t-shirt will display adds from fiveer.

I can see the video now "don't buy links" while the t shirt says "buy cheap links here" ;)

ColourOfSpring




msg:4647081
 11:31 am on Feb 20, 2014 (gmt 0)

The debate is more about how easy or hard is negative SEO.


Actually, the answer to that is easy - just don't put "negative" in front of "SEO", and there's your answer. Standard link building tactics will easily give 99% of sites out there a penalty. Doesn't matter if it's "positve" or "negative" SEO when it comes the usual fare of link building practices - particularly with guest posts now added to Google's firing line.

If you're already living on the edge, in terms of penalty risk factors, isn't it reasonable to assume that you'd be more vulnerable to negative SEO than a site that has a clean record with Google and high authority for its topic?


What you've written is an advert for negative SEO. To put a website in Google's firing line, do a little bit of SEO on their behalf (perhaps an automated sprinkle in week 1) - then do a little bit more in month 2 - then do a little bit more 6 weeks in. Penguin will gobble up that site. Scheduled / random automation makes it a doddle.

Proving it's nseo or the site owner's own doing is impossible I think. But the effect of the toxic links are the same.


I agree. It's not even so helpful to even call it "negative" SEO I think - it's just SEO. Who cares who did it?

Can we look at the disallow side of GWT as a tacit admission by G that they CAN'T figure out all the back links?


The disavow tool is explicit acknowledgement by Google that they realise site owners can't control who links to them. The huge problem for site owners is that Penguin only pops up roughly twice a year and it's nigh-on impossible for the average site owner to disavow links in time - they disavow too late because they don't even know about the links til Penguin hits them - then they have to wait 6 months for the next update.

aakk9999




msg:4647109
 1:02 pm on Feb 20, 2014 (gmt 0)

SEOmoz [moz.com] already did this. The results were inconclusive. Moz said there was no impact, the spammers claimed a victory, nothing was resolved.


seomoz.org is established site AND brand. I would also imagine that their link profile is very strong with regards to reputable sites ranking to them. Perhaps this is why the experiment was inconclusive in this case. With seomoz.org 8 million+ existing links, the 3.5 million of spam links did not seem to have done damage.

Apply the same to a smaller site which did not manage to build the brand and dominate their (however small it may be) niche, and they will probably be toast. The number of links they may have would be quite low, often from not authoritative sites plus some general spam every site gets and a "small package link bomb" would almost certainly tank it.

It does come back to trying to build a brand, to build these other signals that help counter-balance link bomb - but building a brand is a long process and tanking a site with link bomb can happen overnight.

EditorialGuy




msg:4647148
 3:41 pm on Feb 20, 2014 (gmt 0)

The disallow tool... exists to help sinners return to the fold.

I don't think helping sinners is the primary goal.


It's impossible to know Google's motives in creating the tool. My comment was based on how the tool is being promoted and used by Google and site owners.

I was an early advocate of a "link disavowal tool" (the concept, not the name). For me, the value of such a tool was in giving peace of mind to site owners:

"Google, I don't know where those 15,000 links from crapsite dot com came from, but in any case, I didn't ask for them and you're welcome to ignore them."


After the Link Disavowal Tool was introduced, the generally-accepted purpose of the tool was quite different: It had become a tool of last resort for linkbuilders who weren't able to get all of their "unnatural links" removed after being penalized by Google.

One could argue (in fact, I would argue) that the current vision of the Link Disavowal Tool does nothing to encourage peace of mind among site owners who have never tried to game Google and who simply feel uncomfortable when they discover that they've got 15,000 unsolicited inbound links from crapsite dot com. Those site owners may well feel that using the Link Disavowal Tool is a tacit admission that they acquired those 15,000 links unnaturally (and on purpose) when they did nothing of the kind.

In short, the Link Disavowal Tool (like penalty notices in Webmaster Tools) is may be a kindness toward sinners on Google's part, but it suggests that Google is more interested in helping site owners who push the limits of SEO than in rewarding site owners who follow the Webmaster Guidelines.

ColourOfSpring




msg:4647154
 4:01 pm on Feb 20, 2014 (gmt 0)

In short, the Link Disavowal Tool (like penalty notices in Webmaster Tools) is may be a kindness toward sinners on Google's part, but it suggests that Google is more interested in helping site owners who push the limits of SEO than in rewarding site owners who follow the Webmaster Guidelines.


Your underlying assumption is that 99% (or let's say, the vast majority) of links built are from site owners "trying to game Google" and the other 1% (or let's say, tiny minority) are unsolicited. This is 2014, not 2012. I think you'd have had a strong point 2 years ago, but not now. You have to realise that automation never tires, but people do. Hundreds of millions (billions?) of links are published everyday - all done by scripts, not humans. Even the scripts are run by other scripts running on a schedule. There is negligible human effort or cost involved with this. The net is being scraped and spammed on a level I don't think you fully realise.

Shaddows




msg:4647177
 4:54 pm on Feb 20, 2014 (gmt 0)

The net is being scraped and spammed on a level I don't think you fully realise.

Yet people wonder why Google use the solution-to-the-cesspool of just publishing uber-brands.

Everything else is suspect*, and the alternative of ignoring all links doesn't work [webmasterworld.com]

Not my opinion, just a convenient rhetorical device

superclown2




msg:4647201
 5:53 pm on Feb 20, 2014 (gmt 0)

Linkbombs are like nuclear bombs. Anyone who uses one invites instant and devastating retaliation.
In my own niches I have very few real competitors apart from Brands that are hardly likely to stoop to such tactics. If I suffered a linkbomb attack, would I calmly turn the other cheek, or nuke the most likely offenders back into the stone age? I'm English so come to your own conclusion. And this is why I think a lot of people are worrying about this a little too much.

EditorialGuy




msg:4647214
 6:37 pm on Feb 20, 2014 (gmt 0)

Your underlying assumption is that 99% (or let's say, the vast majority) of links built are from site owners "trying to game Google" and the other 1% (or let's say, tiny minority) are unsolicited.


I'm not assuming any such thing.

My comments are based on what Google and site owners (including Webmaster World Members) have said about the Link Disavowal Tool.

Google, SEOs, and site owners who have engaged in high-risk linking practices are promoting the Link Disavowal Tool as a way for acquirers of "unnatural links" to repent their sins and roll back the clock. Because of that, site owners who haven't committed any sins may feel that the very act of using the tool sends the wrong signal to Google.

ColourOfSpring




msg:4647273
 10:24 pm on Feb 20, 2014 (gmt 0)

Because of that, site owners who haven't committed any sins may feel that the very act of using the tool sends the wrong signal to Google


In that case, they can't win. If they don't use the tool, those bad links that they didn't build are still "counted". If they do use the tool, Google sees them as a "bad guy" trying to cover his tracks.

would I calmly turn the other cheek, or nuke the most likely offenders back into the stone age?


You're never going to know who did it. So you have 3 competitors (for example) - you would retaliate to all 3?

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