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Google Takes Action On European, German Link Networks
engine




msg:4696356
 2:15 pm on Aug 18, 2014 (gmt 0)

It appears that a link networks in Europe are getting hit, according to the latest information from Google's search quality team.

We have taken action on one European and one German linking network.
[twitter.com...]

 

graeme_p




msg:4696500
 7:45 am on Aug 19, 2014 (gmt 0)

If they need to take specific action, this means that this is something that their algorithm cannot deal with.

jmccormac




msg:4696530
 11:54 am on Aug 19, 2014 (gmt 0)

If they need to take specific action, this means that this is something that their algorithm cannot deal with.
Strange how the true believers never mention such things. Perhaps Google's earlier algorithm could have made it easier to detect and neutralise such activity but the Panda and Penguin muppetry has banjaxed Google's algorithm to such an extent that it is now more a patchwork of questionable fixes than an algorithm. These actions confirm something very unpalatable for Google and its fans - Google's algorithm is exploitable.

Regards...jmcc

FranticFish




msg:4696533
 12:10 pm on Aug 19, 2014 (gmt 0)

You never know exactly what percentage of a site's links you're seeing when you use link data tools, and you never know exactly which of those are being counted by Google, but my view is that these tools pick out sites with better metrics, so what you miss is more 'seedy underbelly of the internet' rather than 'great websites that give you marketing ideas'. You might not get the whole picture, but you're getting the most important bit.

So my impression remains what it was pre-Panda: networks of fake blogs or fake business sites work just as well now as they did. I regularly see sites doing very well with almost 100% crud links. The devil is no doubt in the details, but spam appears to continue to work well.

wheel




msg:4696548
 1:25 pm on Aug 19, 2014 (gmt 0)

The news isn't that they shut down the network, the news is that they found it IMO.

I suspect that done right, that networks work and have worked for years. And I don't believe they're that hard to build either.

Do some Googling, find some dozens of good quality but defunct sites in your niche, page 2 kind of stuff. Email offering $500 a pop. Repeat. Keep the hosting/DNS etc unchanged.

After that, slowly start releasing links.

How's Google going to find that? They can't, not even by hand.

I expect the networks get found out two ways. One, they get too large and secondly they go to generic in an attempt to make the network available outside of a single niche. That'll leave tracks.

Stick to your niche, ultra high quality sites, don't leave footprints when you buy a site.

Shai




msg:4696549
 1:32 pm on Aug 19, 2014 (gmt 0)

One of the biggest footprints these networks produce is the fact that they are offered as packages. So for example, lets say you buy 30 links from these networks, it is very likely that all 30 sites will have the same outgoing links on them. Now that in itself is a very unlikely behaviour in the wild. i.e how many sites do you know that have the exact same outgoing links?

Greed and the fact that the owners of these networks could not care less about the safety of your site is the real reason these networks will always be quite easy to catch. Its in their nature to squeeze as much profit from each network as possible. They are well aware that the time of these networks are limited and you can rest assured that they already have another network ready or in the making.

EditorialGuy




msg:4696553
 2:06 pm on Aug 19, 2014 (gmt 0)

If they need to take specific action, this means that this is something that their algorithm cannot deal with.


No, but the Webspam team can. (And, in this case, has done.)

jmccormac




msg:4696560
 3:17 pm on Aug 19, 2014 (gmt 0)

How's Google going to find that? They can't, not even by hand.
Context. Link Aquisition can be graphed. Even Google could find it eventually.

Regards...jmcc

aristotle




msg:4696576
 3:38 pm on Aug 19, 2014 (gmt 0)

If they need to take specific action, this means that this is something that their algorithm cannot deal with.

Great point !
This is just another example of the shortcomings and defects of their algorithm. In fact it's because of these shortcomings and defects that Google still needs to impose manual penalties, or even needs to have a spam team at all.

EditorialGuy




msg:4696605
 6:38 pm on Aug 19, 2014 (gmt 0)

In fact it's because of these shortcomings and defects that Google still needs to impose manual penalties, or even needs to have a spam team at all.


Or maybe it's simply more efficient and cost-effective to enalize certain types of offenses, networks, etc.

Just as important, such penalties send a clear "You've been caught" message to spammers, and they give offenders an opportunity to repent, clean up their acts, and start afresh. (I'm sure there are many Penguin victims who'd be happier if they could file a reconsideration request with the Webspam team instead of waiting for the next run of the Penguin algorithm.)

wheel




msg:4696612
 7:11 pm on Aug 19, 2014 (gmt 0)

How's Google going to find that? They can't, not even by hand.
Context. Link Aquisition can be graphed. Even Google could find it eventually.


Not if it's done half way intelligently. If I own a mortgage rate site, and buy strong websites from defunct mortgage brokers (and others) and dribble the links out to myself, even a hand check isn't going to find that.

It's only discoverable if you leave footprints. A network of quality sites that isn't differentiated in any automated way, that can get by Google. I've heard enough rumours of long standing networks to believe that this is true. Networks do work if you keep you nose mostly clean and don't get too big.

I've been sitting on dozens of distributed ontopic websites for 5+ years, all strong pagerank with relevante ontopic backlinks. I don't use it, but I disagree that if I started dropping a link from that network that Google would find me. I'm confident that it's a pretty good backup plan.

Crossreferencing this with the the SSL certificate thread, this is a good example of the benefits of an EV SSL cert in Google's eyes.

Sites that have an EV SSL cert, Google knows who you are and where you are. You then get backlinks from strong, relevant websites that also have EV SSL certs proving they are discreet businesses/websites owned by others...well that could be assurances that those links are good. An absolute brand signal.

I don't see how that kills networks, but I do see how it could be used to clarify sites that aren't primarily dependent on networks - which is close to the same thing.

Makes me long for the digitalpoint network days.

aristotle




msg:4696632
 7:53 pm on Aug 19, 2014 (gmt 0)

Or maybe it's simply more efficient and cost-effective to enalize certain types of offenses, networks, etc.

The only reason it might currently be more efficient and cost effective, even if you make that assumption, is because of the shortcomings and defects in the current algorithm.

In fact Google has always said that their goal is to do everything algorithmically, since that obviously would be the most efficient way to produce their search results if they could achieve it. The fact that they currently take manual actions is just more proof of their failure to achieve their goal, and a tacit admission that their algorithm does have shortcomings and defects.

EditorialGuy




msg:4696651
 10:36 pm on Aug 19, 2014 (gmt 0)

The only reason it might currently be more efficient and cost effective, even if you make that assumption, is because of the shortcomings and defects in the current algorithm.


The phrase "shortcomings and defects" makes sense only if Google is trying to fight all spam algorithmically and is failing in the attempt.

(I personally like the idea of having a search engine rely on human judgment when doling out serious penalties, but others are welcome to disagree.)

JD_Toims




msg:4696681
 1:26 am on Aug 20, 2014 (gmt 0)

The phrase "shortcomings and defects" makes sense only if Google is trying to fight all spam algorithmically and is failing in the attempt.

Fighting spam manually is not "scalable" to the entire web in a cost-beneficail way when compared to being able to take algorithmic "spam fighting" actions, especially over the long-run.

Maybe you should research more about how Google *tries* to do things before you post your opinion about how Google *might* decide to do things when Google "can't get it right" algorithmically? Google obviously [to some of us] *can't* get it right algorithmically at this time...

If you did take the time to really research what Google tries to do and how Google would like to do things, it *might* change your opinion so it seems to be more inline with reality, rather than seeming to be contrary to others simply in an effort to be contrary any time there's a chance to say: Well, maybe...

I can say, "Maybe... [blah]" in an effort to not deal with reality and subversively contradict people in most of my posts too, but for some reason I don't.

EditorialGuy




msg:4696687
 2:34 am on Aug 20, 2014 (gmt 0)

Fighting spam manually is not "scalable" to the entire web in a cost-beneficail way when compared to being able to take algorithmic "spam fighting" actions, especially over the long-run.


Spam-fighting doesn't have to be "scalable to the entire Web." {For one thing, spam doesn't occur on the entire Web.)

Still, if you feel that Google should be using an algorithmic spam-fighting approach (even at the cost of more collateral damage, which would occur if human judgment were put out to pasture), you're entitled to your opinion.

JD_Toims




msg:4696693
 2:49 am on Aug 20, 2014 (gmt 0)

Spam-fighting doesn't have to be "scalable to the entire Web."

Says you or Google? If it's Google, please, cite even one source to lend credibility to what you say.

I know you cant, so like I said before, it might be wise for you to read more about where Google's coming from before posting your opinion, because the scalability Google wants to have based on it's own statements is totally contradictory to your points of "human intervention" being better overall.

Right now, Google can't "get it right" algorithmically [based on manual actions being necessary], but when someone looks at Google overall objectively and the statements it's made, Google wants to do things algorithmically so what the algo does is scalable web-wide...



Of course we're going to disagree, because even when Google goes against what it says is best [and "aim for", which is scalability], some people "stick up for Google". What do you [or anyone else] expect? Everyone to be sheeple and to not call things how they actually are based on the reality of things and what we can see? I really don't get some people's position sometimes... Maybe I'm just dumb?

Please, feel free to tell me how dumb I am and how much smarter than me you are, but if you do, please remember some of us know what site you run and know you use a link network [spam/bh tactics you advise against regularly here at WebmasterWorld] so your site ranks higher in Google than you would without using the same schemes. Thanks

turbocharged




msg:4696699
 3:21 am on Aug 20, 2014 (gmt 0)

Maybe I'm just dumb?

Not in my opinion. There is a serious disconnect between some of those who develop websites for Adsense revenue and those who sell products and services. Often the former is a one man show with few responsibilities and the later having a physical location, employees they must pay and provide benefits for and still provide for their own families at the end of the day. In other words, most of the MFA crowd has very little skin in the game when compared to a normal small business.

Call me crazy, but I think the reason why Google is somewhat transparent when it comes to penalizing link networks is that it instills fear in webmasters. The psychological impact from their announcements make joining Adwords far more appealing than it would otherwise be if Google remained quiet. Granted, Google wants everyone to be honest and follow their lead to the letter without ever questioning the reason why. But for that to happen, Google would first have to be honest by holding their own properties, investments and partners to the same algorithmic standard as everyone else. From what I've seen with some YouTube videos, they get a free pass on link spam. The same applies for Blogspot blogs, which also rank with copied content in addition to their link spam. I could keep going, and provide specific URLs for analysis if it were permitted, but you get where I'm coming from and probably see this in Google's serps yourself.

JD_Toims




msg:4696705
 3:41 am on Aug 20, 2014 (gmt 0)

Not in my opinion.

Thank You!

I've quit posting regularly here more than once, because I've gotten too much sh*t from people who don't bother with reality or won't listen to the truth... I'm glad *someone* can see what I'm saying -- It makes a huge difference to me -- Thanks again!

GreyBeard123




msg:4696711
 4:53 am on Aug 20, 2014 (gmt 0)

@ D_Toims & jmccormac

I for one love your posts, much appreciated, please do not quit...

ColourOfSpring




msg:4696727
 8:44 am on Aug 20, 2014 (gmt 0)

JD_Toims, I quit posting here about 2 months ago. And I won't be posting here again, not even to replies to this post (if there are any, lol!). I still occasionally come back here to read, but rarely do I get the "itch" to reply, and even when that itch occurs, I shrug it off. This is purely a one-off post just to let you know there's a LOT of people out there who share your opinion (and jmc, and turbocharged, and CaptainSalad2's opinions). When I talk to small business owners (as I do regularly in my job), their opinions are very often similar to our own regarding Google. Opinions are opinions, but we see reality.

Now onto another point which I feel should be my parting shot on these forums, because I want to give HOPE to all those good people who are suffering through no fault of their own: I am getting very good (and tangible) success on Twitter (of all places!) - to the point that it's become what Google was to me 4 years ago. Not saying it's easy - it's not - but there's a LOT of business to be gained on this platform if you know what you're doing (and it's taken me a while to get to this point). The game has moved on for me. Google has become a company that occasionally comes to my attention when they announce something - https, the eradication of exact match in Adwords in September, Julian Assange's new book about Google coming out in September - but that's about it. The shackles have been freed. It feels GREAT. Do you remember how it felt to run a business online in 2000? In 2004? In 2007? In 2010? Hand on heart, it feels like that for me now in August 2014. I've got the feeling of having walked out of a (mental) prison and back to freedom. There is a LOT of life outside of Google. My message: Google really is NOT the only game in town. You have to pick another game, and with all of your heart and soul - go for it.

edit: just realised, quitting on my 500th post....oh boy!

CaptainSalad2




msg:4696733
 11:33 am on Aug 20, 2014 (gmt 0)

The posters, developers with technical abilities and knowledge have LOGICAL brains = common sense, unfortunately when posting here it sometimes feels like you have to ignore common sense and drink deep from the kool aid else be branded a negative poster (yikes).

Sorry to see posters like COS/JD suggest leaving the forum as they bring useful technical advice/expertise that posters who simply love Google cant...

I have been a "from scratch" developer for 13-14 years yet still found it useful to consult with COS/JD on several occasions thanks to this forum.

The forum would be a poorer place without posters like JD, turbocharged, jmccormac, COS (and a few others) as basic common sense and technical experience needs representation here more than blind google cheerleading...

Your posts are/were appreciated by others who are on your wave length guys :)

Planet13




msg:4696756
 1:11 pm on Aug 20, 2014 (gmt 0)

I don't particularly want to see anyone leave the forums, whatever their attitude toward google.

jmccormac




msg:4696776
 2:27 pm on Aug 20, 2014 (gmt 0)

Spam-fighting doesn't have to be "scalable to the entire Web." {For one thing, spam doesn't occur on the entire Web.)
It does. Even the slow learners in Google realise this. A general solution to a particular spam problem is far more efficient and easier to deploy on an index (or multiple indices) than a hand tweaked solution affecting a few websites. As for spam not occurring on the entire Web, what absolute rubbish! Spam happens because Google's algorithm and those of other search engines are exploitable. There will always be people trying to gain some competitive advantage whether by whitehat or blackhat means. People running search engines (Google, Bing, Yandex et al) and building search engine indexes (neither of which seems to apply to you) are always looking for elegant and effective solutions to spam problems.

Regards...jmcc

EditorialGuy




msg:4696780
 2:49 pm on Aug 20, 2014 (gmt 0)

In other words, most of the MFA crowd has very little skin in the game when compared to a normal small business.


What does the "MFA crowd" have to do with this thread?

If by "MFA crowd" you mean "information sites," then yes, there are differences between Web publishers and e-commerce vendors (and, for that matter, pure-play affiliate marketers). Webmaster World seems to attract more of the latter than the former, which may be why these threads often end up being echo chambers where (for example) the participants complain that Google is trying to make them buy AdWords.

But let's get back to the original topic of this thread, which seems to have been forgotten:

Google has taken action against some big European link networks.

Is such enforcement of Webmaster Guidelines through manual actions a sign of weakness or shortcomings in Google's search algorithm? I'd say "No, unless you're opposed to the use of human judgment in spam-fighting," but your opinion may vary. I'd also say "So what if it were?" Most searchers care less about how the sausage was made than about the quality of the sausage.

JD_Toims




msg:4696788
 3:04 pm on Aug 20, 2014 (gmt 0)

<aside>
Thanks to all who have posted and/or stickied me for the support -- It was totally unexpected and I definitely appreciate the time you all took to reach out to me. Thanks Again!
</aside>

mrengine




msg:4696796
 3:23 pm on Aug 20, 2014 (gmt 0)

Webmaster World seems to attract more of the latter than the former, which may be why these threads often end up being echo chambers where (for example) the participants complain that Google is trying to make them buy AdWords.

I've tried Adwords, and am no pro, but it seems to be a bad direction for many small business owners to go in my experience. To be on the first page for certain non-competitive keywords they want over $1 a click when my competition included two search engines who are advertising there too - violating Google's own arbitrage policy. Include me in the group that thinks Google is trying to push people into Adwords, though I see it as a shady moneypit for the inexperienced entrepreneur. Google would not create Adwords, which my experience left me feeling it was a total scam (see [webmasterworld.com...] ), if they wanted everyone to be seen for free in the organic search results. This is no different than people putting Adsense on their websites hoping that nobody clicks their ads.

I'm tired of these link penalties being dished out, negative seo thriving and our customers being penalized for God knows what. Our customers are primarily businesses, that purchase less from us because of Google's brand preference. Whether it's through manual or algo actions, I feel Google is killing the small business community and many of our suppliers and customers feel exactly the same way.

ColourOfSpring, I'm sorry to see you go. You added a lot to each discussion you participated in with much objectivity. This community will feel the loss from your departure. May you find great success in your future ventures.

JasonD




msg:4696812
 4:19 pm on Aug 20, 2014 (gmt 0)

I think it's perfectly fair and reasonable to build a search engine computationally delivers good enough results for the majority of searches. Yup, you read that right - 51% good results is good enough to keep the shareholders happy.

Having a manual process within the algorithm is fair and right.

An algo doesn't have to be computer driven to succeed and quite simply, people do some tasks better than computers.

Why not scale in manually removing the stuff you can find as a person but is hard to find in code?

I do think that the link networks let themselves down by not putting in place good enough "Security" within their systems but as someone who has helped shaped and deliver rankings using 'home grown' networks at scale (And by scale I mean S C A L E), and seeing them still delivering I am glad to see lots of the competition continuing to deliver crap that is simply identified :)

martinibuster




msg:4696821
 5:55 pm on Aug 20, 2014 (gmt 0)

If they need to take specific action, this means that this is something that their algorithm cannot deal with.


This is a valid observation. It's worthy of discussion.

In the past, a manual action was similar to being removed from the index. I believe this is still the case. If so, then a manual action can viewed as being removed from the link graph altogether, to not be considered for ranking at all. An algorithm however, can cause a site to be prevented from ranking but it will still remain in the index. It still has a chance to rank, once the negative signals are cleared up.

Perhaps a manual action can be thought of as removal from the index altogether. While an algorithmic action can be thought of as being prevented from ranking in the SERPs while simultaneously remaining in the index.

Just speculating. But I think it's a reasonable explanation.

[edited by: martinibuster at 6:06 pm (utc) on Aug 20, 2014]

Planet13




msg:4696822
 6:01 pm on Aug 20, 2014 (gmt 0)

Thank you, martinibuster, for the input. that does seem to make sense with a lot of the anecdotal evidence there is out there.

jrs79




msg:4696845
 7:49 pm on Aug 20, 2014 (gmt 0)

We have known for a very long time that Google is not good at determining good links from bad links. I am not sure what the surprise is.



51% good results is good enough to keep the shareholders happy

I would take you up on this bet.


I've tried Adwords, and am no pro, but it seems to be a bad direction for many small business owners to go in my experience.

You are right in that it doesn't work for all small businesses. At least it is easy to figure out if it works. You only need to know a few things such as your site's lead conversion rate, sale conversion rate, average sale, and lifetime value of a customer. Then it is just looking at the price per click and seeing if it makes sense.

This 42 message thread spans 2 pages: 42 ( [1] 2 > >
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