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Legitimate site now ranking for spamlinked keywords



10:55 pm on Jun 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member


this is my first post here but I read all topics according to Google SEO in the last two years or so at this board.

My site:
Very legitimate topic, high percentage of links from institutions, 4k UV/day, 1,5 years old, 80k pages, language: not english, normal backlink scheme: 1000 links from 300 domains

We started a forum on our site used only by us, the admins, for testing purposes because it was so ugly designed. This was because we wrote our own forum.

This happened:
A spambot posted 100 threads of spam in our forum two week ago. Every Thread was made of a few spam image link, 100s of lines of pure #*$! keyword spam and a list of links with more spam keywords as linktext.

I noticed the spam after a few days. Googlebot crawlt it. I removed the spam from our site by deleting the threads. We do "soft 404s", so the forum URLs redirected to our homepage.

The homepage gets most of our backlinks (2/3 or so).

At the same time I found similar spam in other forums. But: some of the spam links were pointing on my spam forum topics.

So I suppose that a blackhat SEO built a linkwheel of sites he is not owning so he can hide his spam sites in the mass of whitehat sites. Or its a tageted attack, but I dont think that one of my main competitors has the skills to do this.

The really interesting part is, that I am ranking good for the spam keywords in my country. Although the keywords are in english language but are still quite potent in my country. I discovered this 5 days ago.

For example by ranking for "p*r*" you should get some visitors worldwide.

My spam rankings are still rising and I reached the top5 for most of the keywords I found (in my country).

My CTR in spam SERPS is very bad because my site totally doesn`t fit to that topic. We dont have the keywords once on our entire site (but we had them in the forum). So I don`t have a Chance to make any money with it, because I will not change the topic of my site because of some spam links.

My question:
What would you do?

Some options I thought about:
1) Write emails instantly to every forum I find to make them aware of the spam and to take the links down. I could do that by crawling my backlinks and auto email them if the page contains spam.
2) Fill out a Reconsideration Request instantly
3) Remove the soft 404 in the specific area of the forum to allow 404 or forward this area to example.com or something similar
4) Do nothing until my real rankings get hurt, then do 1) and 2) and 3)(maybe they will not be affected)
5) Wait for more data to get collected, then autoemail the remaining spam hubs.

BTW: I dont know what I should be more afraid of: Googles stupidness or my new competitors...


1:02 am on Jun 30, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I would just remove the data from your site and forget about wasting your time on the rest. Your problem is not unique and Google can handle it.


2:15 am on Jun 30, 2010 (gmt 0)

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

I would get rid of soft 404 handling. It doesn't really help anything these days and it can cause problems - that's why Google added itnto the Webmaster Tools reports. If spam links bang into a true 404 response, then you have a strong safety net from even accidental bugs.


11:34 pm on Sep 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

After three months my site is still ranking for spam and non-spam keywords. 20k-50k p*rn serp impressions per month include my site (WMT). I even get link exchange requests from p*rn sites...

The spamlinks were continuously created (from March to present). The spammer now uses also autogenerated blogs/subdomains and the links point directly to my homepage in all newer spam versions.

I removed soft 404s a week ago and the content 3 months ago, but I can't see any serp changes yet.

Obviously Google isn't able or willing to detect and remove off topic sites.


12:49 am on Sep 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

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

If you only removed the soft 404 a week ago, you still have a wait ahead of you. I assume those requests now generate a true 404 status, correct?

With a soft 404, the spam backlinks redirect to your home page and their anchor text is counting toward your home page. Google "should" now process the real 404s over the next few weeks, and gradually you will stop ranking for those keywords.


1:21 am on Sep 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

True 404, correct.

I get newer spamlinks directly to my homepage and not to my forum. So the spammers behaviour evolved. This includes using blogs/subdomains... instead of or additional to forumposts (it's hard to analyse this garbage).
I'm not sure why this happens, most of the other sites, although they deleted the forumposts, still get links to their (404) forums.

I suppose that there always will be a new link directly pointing to my homepage replacing the old 404 links to my forum.

So far my site hasn't suffered, but it's interesting to watch, because it's an obvious error and Google doesn't fix it.


3:36 am on Sep 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

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

Yes, it certainly is interesting - and informative too - to see the gap between what Google hopes to do, or says they do, and what they ACTUALLY accomplish.

It's never a good idea to underestimate them because of shortfalls in this moment, however. They do have a way of coming around and fixing stuff sooner or later.


9:33 pm on Sep 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Have had a similar same issue happen, this time with the spammer linking to dynamic pages and adding his own parameters to the URL so a 404 wasn't that easy to implement.

They link to example.com/somedynamicpage?page=1&gt=v14gra etc.

Nonetheless, this shows the power of anchor text...


9:45 pm on Sep 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

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

@mcskoufis - that kind of backlink can be a danger signal. The page may be hosting parasite links that are cloaked so only googlebot sees them. It's always worth a quick check with "Fetch as googlebot" in Webmaster Tools.


10:05 pm on Sep 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

This is a very rare case, perhaps the rarest I've worked with.. The site just wouldn't rank on anything compared to its content. Had been hacked years ago but the links stayed and due to the dynamic nature of these pages they were returing 200 ok..


11:11 am on Nov 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

MajesticSEO shows a small decline of (spam)link growth for october. Exponential growth of spamlinks before.
WMT isn't showing any spam anchor texts since this week. In the past nearly half of the shown anchor texts were spam.
Spam rankings are intact.
Normal rankings are intact.
Lost more than 15% of indexed pages but I suppose this to be normal at the moment.


11:57 am on Nov 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

I agree with Tedster.One should not fear about 404s. If a page doesn't exist on the site then return the mosy appropriate http code. If you still fear a 404 for pages already crawled, will affect your rankings, you could add a noindex meta tag to the pages, use GWT for removal of pages from google's index.Then you could delete those pages and return a real 404.


2:43 am on Nov 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Refering domains discovery declined by 90% in October and November. This means: no new spamlinks!
Spam rankings are intact.
Normal rankings are intact.

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