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Site using spammy backlinks and not being penalized?

9:54 am on Mar 24, 2014 (gmt 0)

So ever since the flux on Feb 14 I've noticed this one site in our e-comm industry (a brand new site mind you) rise to #1 position for over 170 key terms (and when I say key terms they are A-grade money makers!).

I've broken down the site and could not for the life of me figure out why it was ranking so well. It had hardly any products, very thing content, spammy text throughout page titles, h1 tags, descriptions, the lot. When I did a backlink search a month ago it was showing zero backlinks.

I thought I'd do another backlink search tonight and to my surprise, 0 to over 4200 spammy links within a month. I've reported them to the Google WebSpam team twice now and nothing.


I've created fake orders on their site so I know how many orders they are receiving each day and it almost makes me cry. What else can I do?
2:48 pm on Mar 24, 2014 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member planet13 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time Top Contributors Of The Month

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em?


Seriously, if you are absolutely SURE in your analysis, then you could probably throw together a site easily and pay somebody for the spammy links and see what happens.

Just don't link it in any way with your real site.
3:17 pm on Mar 24, 2014 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I think this is because quick acquisition of links replicates social signals. My guess is it won't rank for very long. I see this type of scenario all the time.
4:23 pm on Mar 24, 2014 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Almost all their links look to be nofollow, so they won't get penalised for those, and the report you show says 'referring domains' in excess of 300, which is remarkably good for a new site.

Are you sure they aren't doing exactly the right thing, and promoting themselves widely on relevant sites even when the links are nofollow?

Remember as well that new sites tend to get an artificial boost for a few months and then often disappear - but if that is long enough to make a good amount of money, as suggested above you could always try it yourself.
7:35 pm on Mar 24, 2014 (gmt 0)

While I agree with some of the comments above, I am also experiencing something very similar in one of my niches.

I have been tracking my main competitors for the last 6 months or so while slowly building my site and the "main players" have had solid rankings all that time - while using "spammy" link building techniques that are easily replicated.

I'm struggling to decide on a promotional strategy - go "squeaky clean" and hope that sooner or later they'll be penalized for their hundreds of free directory submissions and paid run-of-site links or trust my research and just go after similar links?
11:53 pm on Mar 24, 2014 (gmt 0)

If I was to test this, I do have another site I built (same industry) which I haven't done anything with. It's on a different IP but on the same nameserver. It in no way links to my main site but could being on the same nameservers cause issues later on?

@petehall @Rasputin
I have seen new sites rank well too and they usually drop away after a short period. This however has got me nervous as they have stayed in their #1 positions for about 6 weeks now. The shear amount and quality of the keywords is mind-boggling. SEMRush shows their SE visibility rising and rising.

It seems that all of these backlinks are from blog comments and their ONE and ONLY anchor term is "blue widgets". This is clearly breaching Google's guidelines of unnatural links is it not? [support.google.com...]

- Forum comments with optimized links in the post or signature
- Large-scale article marketing or guest posting campaigns with keyword-rich anchor text links
- Using automated programs or services to create links to your site
- Links with optimized anchor text in articles or press releases distributed on other sites
- Low-quality directory or bookmark site links

I'm struggling also. Do I stay clean or commit to the same strategy or excessive forum comments targeted anchor text?
12:09 am on Mar 25, 2014 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member planet13 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time Top Contributors Of The Month

"It in no way links to my main site but could being on the same nameservers cause issues later on? "

I am not sure about that.

Is the domain name registrar info the same? Same google webmaster tools / google analytics account?


I have been thinking about doing the same thing for a while. In one niche I (TRY) to rank, the top sites are all spammy.

The problem for me is that if I DID make a spam site, I would probably have to use all new photos and all new text. I wouldn't want to have the same photos and text on the spam site and the live site.