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Clogging SERP's with multiple Tripod subdomains redirecting to site

     
10:22 am on Nov 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I have just seen this about 2-3 days ago. On a competitive KW (12k monthly volume), a site built a 4 subdomains on Tripod hosting that look like this:
"KW"a.tripod.
"KW"b.tripod.
"KW"c.tripod.
"KW"d.tripod.

All of these redirect clicks to their domain. Currently the page one SERP for the KW includes 3-4 of these domains in positions between 5-10. All of them have different meta descriptions.

How is this done? I couldn't find any links to any of the subdomains, and shouldn't a domain that has a 301 or 302 redirect show up in google as a single result, and not clog the SERP with 3-4 domains actually pointing to the same page?

This seems like a trick from circa 2008 which is why its weird to me that it even worked.
10:29 am on Nov 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Are you sure you see what Googlebot gets served from these domains?

Also consider that potential backlinks to the tripod sites could easily be a private link network of sorts, which can be cloaked/banned when it comes to backlink checkers.

Though from what I've seen the past 4-5 months, well known domains that allow UGC tend to be viewed more preferably and this may be the case here, but that doesn't quite explain why they would rank in their own right.
11:10 am on Nov 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Are you sure you see what Googlebot gets served from these domains?


No not sure, and I'm not sure how to check. Any ideas?

Also consider that potential backlinks to the tripod sites could easily be a private link network of sorts, which can be cloaked/banned when it comes to backlink checkers.


Aren't private networks like this then have a high chance of being marked as spam by Google?

The sites are definitely not UGC, They copied KW from well known competitors in the field and used them to create the main domain which is redirected to from the tripod site, which is an e-commerce site.
11:30 am on Nov 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

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not sure how to check. Any ideas?

Check the tripod subdomains to see the data that Googlebot fetches and also confirm the redirects.
<snip>
Enter this query in your favourite search engine and see what comes up: "check what googlebot sees"

The sites are definitely not UGC

I think what brotherhood of LAN means is that UGC sites are somewhat bouncing back. And tripod subdomains are in effect UGC (just like Squidoo.com, Wordpress.com and others)

[edited by: aakk9999 at 12:05 pm (utc) on Nov 18, 2013]
Sorry, aakk9999, I'm aware of the Charter and I thought "not associated with a particular SEO company" covers mentioning this tool. I'm going to post it in the 2013 Favorite SEO Tools thread because people should use it more often.

[edited by: adder at 12:42 pm (utc) on Nov 18, 2013]

12:11 pm on Nov 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I am sorry, we do not allow links to tools, but for the further clarification, the above tool would not help if someone is cloaking and serving a different content to Googlebot based on either Googlebot IP address or Googlebot User-Agent.

There is Firefox extension that allows you to change the User-Agent to Googlebot. But this may not give the picture on what Googlebot sees if the cloaking is done by recognising Googlebot IP addresses.

Is there a cache on these SERPs entries? If there is a cache, you will see what Googlebot sees.
1:24 pm on Nov 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

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It looks like they removed the redirects from the sites and they now link back to the subdomain.tripod sites.

But even stranger for this case is that all 4 of these subdomains are the exact same content. The only difference is that when using a "view source", that there is about 500 words of cloaked/hidden content that can't be seen on the page itself. This content usually also includes a nofollow link to one of the other subdomains.

The cache shows the exact same site for the first 3 sites, and the default tripod webpage template for the first one (500 pages of garbage content with exact match KW).

I know its for a small subset of searches but seems crazy that this is working for a few days already!
3:01 pm on Nov 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Just because it works for a few days or a week or a month or even three months doesn't mean it'll keep working forever. Some stuff flies under the radar longer than others (specially if it's not getting significant traffic, despite the ranking) Check at the end of the year and see if it's still there.
4:25 pm on Nov 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Google has always allowed Blogspot to rank well, presumably since it's something they own. The problem with Tripod is not unique in the sense of being used and ranking in spam schemes.
9:02 am on Nov 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Just because it works for a few days or a week or a month or even three months doesn't mean it'll keep working forever.


Yes, my assumption was obviously this as well, but its surprising to me that such schemes work in the first place even for a day in this time and age.

Was able to find some of the links pointing at these subdomains, it is total link scheme garbage, exact match anchor text from far east spam forums, pointing at these sites.

Apparently Big G is still easily vulnerable, I wonder if it holds as well for big money KW like P----- L---- in UK, which only need a few days to make their big money.
 

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