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Over a Million links over a couple weeks.
Auditing SEO

 12:59 pm on Dec 31, 2011 (gmt 0)

I've been hired to consult on SEO for a client and in doing my research found out the person doing the clients SEO built up well over 1 million links on a single keyword.

Obviously this isn't best practice - so I'm wondering how to diplomatically let the client know what this person has been up to and get the groups feedback on just how dangerous this type of link building can be. Feedback's appreciated!



 4:53 pm on Dec 31, 2011 (gmt 0)

What type of links are they?

I mean, when I hear the words "million links over a couple of weeks" and the words "1 million links on a single keyword" I think that site is going to get an over optimization / -950 / goodbye to being indexed penalty.

I think that quite simply you should tell them the truth: That the person who did the SEO did something incredibly risky and that they will probably lose all rankings (if they even have any now). You should also mention that some sites when penalized by google for link building have taken over a YEAR before they are allowed to rank for anything in google.

Sorry I don't have better news.


 5:08 pm on Dec 31, 2011 (gmt 0)

Historically Google seems to take an awful long time to relent on any "penalty" applied to a site (unless they do respond to a re-inclusion request). Anything dodgy and it'll be next year before one can work their way out.


 8:44 pm on Dec 31, 2011 (gmt 0)

Anything dodgy and it'll be next year before one can work their way out.

thanks for the time frame, Tangor. I had mentioned that to someone (in a different place than here), and I was worried that I had given them inaccurate information.


 1:50 pm on Jan 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

The links were the typical static site links.

It would appear that the pattern I'm seeing is they are building a wack of links (the first example being one of many, although not all are quite so extreme), for a handful of terms for a couple weeks, then pulling them down.

I think their argument will be that they think it's safe because they are only live for a couple of weeks.

But if I can see they links, even if they are dead when I check, I'm sure G has ways to see what they were when they were live.

It's still dangerous link building practices in my opinion though - not something I'd ever risk doing, but would like to get more feedback from others before I share with the client.


 3:42 pm on Jan 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

Well, I think that it might be good to go to the google forum and share this. Maybe start a thread with a title like:

What's the effect of having massive short term links?

Or something like that, because I think you will get a better response, possibly from people who have been there / done that.

The google forum is at:



Personally, it sounds VERY risky. I am sure that seeing such a large fluctuation in inbound links is easily detectable and has to send off a huge red flag at google. Since just RECEIVING a huge number of inbound links has led to being penalized, wouldn't gaining and then LOSING a huge number of links be even more easily spotted and penalized?

Also, the TYPE of links sounds suspicious, too. If they are able to pull the links down, then they are obviously under the control of the SEO, right?

Well, I was just looking at a site the other day that had several DOZEN links that were under the control of the SEO. You know where that site is today? Banned from the google index.

So if only several dozen links that are under the control of the SEO can get you banned, then I am quite certain that having thousands or a million links will get you excommunicated from google pretty quickly.

Again, just my opinion.


 5:06 am on Jan 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

It's unlikely they built that many links in real practice.

You need to determine the unique linking domains, or unique c class links by using one of the many more popular link metric tools available.


 8:27 am on Jan 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

For the purpose of discussion, in general, there are two kinds of positive reactions to links.

The first class is the reaction to a surge of links that indicates to Google's algorithm that a site is important at this moment in time, like it's newsworthy, a subject of sudden interest, etc. This is short term.

The second class indicates that your peers believe your site is relevant for a particular phrase. This is long term and gets folded in over the course of months.

It sounds like they are exploiting the short term ranking algorithm by building links for the short term then replacing them with a new set. This is a "trick the search engine" type of SEO. It's short term and benefits the SEO company because it keeps the client returning in order to sustain the rankings- which is good for the SEO company doing that work for them. If they're in a competitive industry and don't mind burning a few domains while on the path of big profits then it might be what they need.

But if the company is interested in achieving rankings for the long term, then "tricking" the search engines may not be in their best interest.


 2:32 pm on Jan 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

Yes, I've submitted our recommendations to them, telling them that this type of link building is considered "high risk" and that they need to evaluate exactly what the company who is providing the links has been up to, and to stop all activity until they do so.

They wouldn't release details surrounding the links, which to me is a huge red flag. This is just one example for one term, there are many others like this, although this was the one that was really obvious.

This was also for an important domain, definitely not throw away - which again, was why I called it high risk.

Not sure how well received my recommendations will be, but I was honest, the rest is up to the client.


 3:52 pm on Jan 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

@ CainIV:

It's unlikely they built that many links in real practice.

Hmm... that is an interesting point. It would be quite difficult for ANY SEO company to build one million "static html" links in a short period of time, would it not?

Is it possible that all those links are NOT built by the SEO company?


 5:16 am on Jan 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

What I meant by this was there are no accurate tools that can measure 1 million inbound links to any website unless they are site-wides / total link counts.

Building 1 million unique c class, or root linking domain links isn't impossible, but highly unlikely for anyone that is not a massive name brand.

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