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Spam links to my site got me penalized



6:41 am on Aug 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I realized today, via google webmaster tools, that one of my sites had over 2000 links to one of our landing pages. The links were run-of-site links on spammy looking websites i.e., viagra, pharma. I don't know how the links got there or why they are there - other than to think a competitor may have put them there.?

I started investigating the issues of our site because of a sudden drop from page 1 on google to page 8. The site no longer pulls up for any of our searches whereas we were between the top 5 on page one.

Any thoughts, advise on what we should do?


12:01 am on Sep 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

They know that others can hurt your site's rankings -- if they know a whole lot about Google technically

With respect, I've got a pretty good idea how it's done just from reading this thread. The general idea is to lots of spammy links at a site, and make sure those links are obviously spammy. Spammy links have the following attributes:
* anchor text is "." or other hidden technique
* links come from pharma, gambling or other spammy-type subject sites
* lots of interlinking between the spammy sites
Beyond the details, the general strategy is to use old black hat techniques that now incur penalties.


1:42 am on Sep 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

jd01 what you describe will get you SEO traffic eventually. That is what everybody should be doing. SEO is about making content that is useful. A good site will attract links. If you site is popular without Google it will become an authority and will get the traffic from Google because of that. If you spend your time trying to get people to come to your good content outside of Google you will get links as a side affect.

Yes, that's what logic would say, except the site contains a 'noindex,nofollow,noarchive' tag and will require Cookies & JavaScript to run, because it uses AJAX extensively, which means Search Engines cannot effectively spider the site anyway... (To a Search Engine it looks like a 1 page site with little content, but to a 'real visitor' it is (will be at completion) much more functional and entertaining.)

I know I'm posting this in a Search Engine (IOW SEO) thread (mainly because, I think some of what I have to say might be important to, or could help, some people and I like to post sometimes, even if it's not and doesn't), but inbound links to the site I am referring to Will Not Help (or Have the Possibility to HARM) rankings, or increase / decrease Search Engine traffic, because there should not be any if they follow Internet Protocol and obey the tags!

There is a very specific reason I'm doing it, which is: When you allow traffic from a Search Engine in general, and especially G, once you capitalize on the traffic by generating revenue, your 'standard level of income' generally increases to reflect the increase in traffic / revenue generated, which, at this time IMO is a bad move, because it opens you up to the substance of this thread: Competitors CAN affect your Google rankings and traffic, which directly effects your income and standard of living. (It puts you at the 'mercy' of G and your competitors, which is what I'm personally moving away from.)

If the site were allowed to gain 'search engine popularity (authority, rankings)' with inbound links, I could probably capitalize on the revenue generated from Google rankings, but I am set on going 'Google Free'! Why? Because the reality of the situation is: If their visitors are satisfied, they really don't give a f*** how many visitors they send you or if you used to rank #1 for 10+ years or if your competitors damaged your rankings... They run a site (business) just like you do, and as long as their visitors are satisfied, they couldn't care less about you and your site!

I'm doing exactly what they say you should: Building a site for my visitors (the real ones, people), and I don't care one iota if GoogleBot can navigate it or not... It's not my problem any longer if they can't figure out how to get the 'one right answer' right now, or how to value links without allowing damage to be done by a competitor. The site I'm referring to is built for Real People, not a Search Engine or Search Engine Spider, because once I forget about G I can be as creative as I feel like!

Honestly, I'll seriously consider paying for links (not based on PageRank, but rather on possible traffic generation) before I consider allowing the site to be indexed by G for free...

* Yeah, they'll never charge for inclusion in their search engine... Your site will be summarized along with everyone else's on page one when they provide the 'one right answer' and if someone chooses to surf to page two where you can begin to 'visit the summarized sites' rather than clicking on those links on the right people will be able to find you (for FREE)... All they have to do is click far enough into the results!


7:49 am on Sep 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Spammers posted few pharmacy related posts on my forum, and linked these posts from about 3000 pages. This caused 20% traffic drop, but site is still on the first page for relevant keywords. It looks like Google only applied penalty to "problematic" part of the site (i.e. forum).
Got spammed a month ago, penalty still applied. It appears "do nothing wait it out" is not a good solution in this case.


3:21 pm on Sep 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I have noticed an uptick in the number of SEO email requests lately.
I was tempted to reply to one them asking them how they could improve on my #1 position for all my keywords for one site and then give them the keywords...but then I realized they could do just what has been outlined in this thread to knock me off #1 and then tell me to pay up or I would never get back to #1 again!
very clever bit of potential extortion there. (Hey! It's Just Business!)


5:52 pm on Sep 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

No matter how good the reasons for applying penalties are, it's in Google's best interest to reliably prevent abuse of their system. Otherwise, they'll eventually see blackhats and spammers rank as #1, #2 and #3.

And you know how and why Altavista died...


7:05 pm on Sep 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I just can't believe in "Google Bowling" - or I don't want to. I might be blind to this - but nobody can help who links to this and Google has to understand this.


10:00 pm on Sep 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

very clever bit of potential extortion there. (Hey! It's Just Business!)

If SEO's are really doing this, ( and apparently they are) it's highly illegal, although completely unproveable.


5:16 am on Sep 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Which law are they breaking?


5:25 am on Sep 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Which law are they breaking?

I would think it might have to do with coercion... (They might not have their 'free will' to sign a contract with you.)


6:25 am on Sep 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Extortion in the real world is illegal, but to the best of my knowledge, no one has ever brought a case against any black hat SEOer for ruining their position at Google. I'm not a lawyer so I'm not saying that will never happen, but for now, the Black Hat Gang is shooting up Dodge City and the sheriff can't do much about it.



12:15 pm on Sep 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Hi there

I like to step in here and add that something like that happened to my website. My pages took a deep dive a few months ago (-90%) - I always thought it has been an error on my side. Charset changes or incorrect 301s or 410s. Whatever a busy webmaster might trash on his site...

However - I found exactly what has been described in the initial post. Thousands of links to a certain page. Thousands of links in adult forums - especially and exclusively targeted for MY SITE.

Furthermore I discovered several automated bots which are reading the according page through proxies and with changing user agents. The same page thousands of times each day. Not only that these bots are reading the source of the site - they are working just like real browsers. I don't care for bandwith - but if someone reads my adsense ads automatically... well...

To add some cream on the top - the guy filed a DMCA complaint against my site. Sometimes life is funky.

So, I have thousands of incoming links from #*$! forums. My site increases traffic in a unnatural way. And off course, I steal other peoples content. (I DONT!)

I sent a reinclusion request to Google a few days ago and got the message that it has been processed. I am curious whats happening now...

Just my experience...



1:38 pm on Sep 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

Which law are they breaking?

if you have to pay to not have your site taken down in the SERPs, that's extortion.


4:14 pm on Sep 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member ogletree is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

It would be very hard to prove sabotage since Google won't tell you why you fell in SERPS.


5:05 pm on Sep 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

The experience itloc documents above is horrifying, and... could happen to any one of us. I know Google is paying attention but in the meantime, legitimate online businesses are being crushed. And it all goes back to one thing -- allowing external incoming linkage to wart the algo, which then demolishes the page ranking in the SERPs. One fix, as has been stated, is to do away with any penalty from suspicious incoming links (simply give them a value of zero). If the engineers at G won't do that, then at the very least I'd hope that Google would "pause" that approach until a fix can be put in place. These are not just websites being sabotaged -- in too many cases, it is family income, so this is serious stuff.



6:19 am on Sep 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member ogletree is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Whenever this kind of stuff comes up I see Matt Cutts doing site reviews and almost always he points out some egregious spamming. I also see the same in forums. Google is doing this because the vast majority of the time Google gets it right. They are ok with a small amount of collateral damage. I have become somewhat shaded over the years because people are always screaming they have white hat sites when they don't. It reminds of COPS when they arrest somebody the person always swears they did not do what the cops say even though they just watched them do it.


7:30 am on Sep 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

tedster Other efforts look like a very vanilla paid link - in the sidebar or footer, and sometimes even in the main menu. But if you investigate the domains involved, you find a style and template that is widely replicated across a significant network.

I wonder what the difference is between what you describe here and what just about everyone is doing these days. I see lots of sites that rank well with paid links across networks. The networks you describe must be particularly crass.

I wonder if these particular networks are specifically banned from Google and act as a poisoned challis. Maybe they continue to be indexed in order to identify sites and then penalise them. Perhaps Google is using entrapment and either didn't realise or don't care that this can be used maliciously.

Examples of this type of attack have been discussed here many times and the most common suggestion is that rather than ban sites for backlinks from dodgy neighbourhoods Google should simply discount all links that are not shining beacons of naturalness and rank sites on the basis of how many top quality clean links they have. This would seem to me to be the perfect solution.




7:36 am on Sep 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

i feel google won't punish one site vir competitor's spam links,it's so easy for a competitor to made it
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