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Link Text Spam in Google Search Console?

     
7:50 pm on Feb 11, 2019 (gmt 0)

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For months, some of our highest ranking "link text" (external sites) in our top 10 have been very graphic adult oriented phrases.

We've run numerous searches under these graphic phrases and our site never comes up on Google. Those phrases are also not found on our site and there is zero adult content or language on the site (profanity is censored out).

Is this some kind of spam to our site to create these keywords phrases, to force the webmaster to search for the phrase on Google?

I remember these types of tactics were common on Google Analytics, with weird sites popping up as referrals but they were never actually sending traffic or had site links.
1:51 am on Feb 12, 2019 (gmt 0)

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"link text" nust be the same as "anchor text". Anyway, if a phrase is in the list, then the corresponding external link should be in the external links list.

An old idea that some spammers still use, although google is surely wise to it, is to outlink from their spammy sites to some high quality respectable sites, with a view to making their own spammy sites look more respectable by the association. Probably doesn't work but they still do it anyway.
2:47 am on Feb 12, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I managed to find the site, but the weird thing is - the adult sites in question are no longer operational. Apparently they had thousands of pages linking to a single page of our site with those keywords. Unsure of why, but I cant see the sites in question as none of them are up.
2:59 am on Feb 12, 2019 (gmt 0)

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"link text" must be the same as "anchor text".
Isn’t it the opposite? Anchor text is
<a id = "studies">studies have shown</a>
while linking text is text that links to you:
<a href = "https://example.edu/respectable-page/#studies">get cheap viagra</a>
If this is located on the site example.spam, it gets their garbage site associated with your respectable site, whether you like it or not.

:: detour to GSC ::

Holy ###. Oh ###. And ###, and also ###. Where the ### does that stuff come from? I don't normally look that far down, but about half the list of “linking text”--starting around 1/3 of the way down and becoming increasingly more common--is pure garbage, exactly as OP describes. In fact I think this is the first time I've looked at “linking text” in the new-style GSC. The old style mixed up external and internal links, so I had to plow through the “back to top” and “the rest of the story” to get the real links. For, evidently, a given definition of “real”. Sigh.

There's no way to get them to say what site uses a given bit of text, is there? You can separately see the number of garbage sites that link to you, but you can't see how they link.

How do you get the thumbnail of offending sites? It was straightforward in Old Style but I can't find it in New Style.
4:54 am on Feb 12, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Many sites have weird random links. Google discounts them. Google has been consistent about this point.

Certain SEOs and tool makers have introduced FUD to make people believe they need to be afraid of them.

But the truth is that they're nothing and have no effect.
10:13 am on Feb 12, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Holy ###. Oh ###. And ###, and also ###. Where the ### does that stuff come from?

Best sentence ever written on webmasterworld.

As for that stuff, if it's on someone else's domain out of my control and GSC isn't flagging a problem then, to me, it's not a problem. I'm sure it has a tiny effect on some level but the value of links coming from adult spam sites is minimal to non-existent so I imagine the negative effect would be as well.

As the OP discovered it doesn't work for them and they go away, eventually.
12:14 pm on Feb 12, 2019 (gmt 0)

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My site is over 15 years old and I have thousands of these type of links. You would think Google would catch all these but they don't. I have a page that use to rank high in Google but it is now no where to be found. Currently it has thousands of these type of pages (pretty much the most of any of my pages) linking to it (and Disavowing them does nothing). Visiting the pages gives you a range of results from the site not working to a pile of #*$!o ads. Some pages I get warnings from my Antivirus software and others will display something different if you visit them as Google Bot.

I always assumed it was some Negative SEO attack. Most links are from Russia and deal with either Adult content or prescription drugs (which does not relate to my content).
3:59 pm on Feb 12, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I have a page that use to rank high in Google but it is now no where to be found.


Red Herring
A clue that is misleading or distracting precisely because it points to a logical and obvious suspect.

Google is now using AI for 30% of all search queries. In 2018, Google made several major updates to their core algorithm that changed how it matched search queries to web pages, i.e. improvements to relevance.

Your ranking issues are far more likely to do with the updates to the core ranking algorithm than with scraper links that are common across the entire web.

Spam sites link to normal pages.
Normal pages don't link to spam pages.
The link architecture of the web reveals linking patterns that makes it easier to remove those kinds of scraper/spam links from the link graph- especially the kind of links that you are describing.

Your time may be better spent looking for a solution elsewhere other than common spam links.

Good luck,
;)

Roger Montti
9:30 pm on Feb 12, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Where did you get the 30%? I hate the term AI, it's like the term Cloud that gets so misused all the time.
10:18 pm on Feb 12, 2019 (gmt 0)

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In 2018, Google made several major updates to their core algorithm that changed how it matched search queries to web pages, i.e. improvements to relevance.

I agree up to "improvements to relevance", I think changes to how relevance is determined is a better description. Whether or not those changes resulted in an "improvement" is very much open to the debate.

I hate the term AI, it's like the term Cloud that gets so misused all the time.

The cloud is where the AI lives....
12:13 am on Feb 13, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Where did you get the 30%?


The 30% number came from a tweet Danny Sullivan made almost six months ago...
https://twitter.com/dannysullivan/status/1044276380098158593 [twitter.com]

Last few months, Google has been using neural matching, --AI method to better connect words to concepts. Super synonyms, in a way, and impacting 30% of queries. Don't know what "soap opera effect" is to search for it? We can better figure it out.


I wrote the first article about Neural Matching, identifying a relatively new algorithm that matched what Danny Sullivan was discussing. I had already been studying and researching this algorithm before Danny announced it, and when I saw it, I noticed many similarities.

Several other sites actually copied my article (including my screenshots in one case), without giving me attribution. Kind of annoying but whatever...

What is Google’s Neural Matching Algorithm? [searchenginejournal.com]

"Google’s AI Blog recently published a link to a new research paper called, Deep Relevance Ranking using Enhanced Document-Query Interactions. Although this algorithm research is relatively new, it improves on a revolutionary deep neural network method for accomplishing a task known as Document Relevance Ranking. This method is also known as Ad-hoc Retrieval.

The new algorithm that was published in Google’s AI blog doesn’t directly use traditional ranking factors. However, traditional ranking factors are used first. Then the Ad-hoc retrieval part of the algorithm is used.

The research paper states that it is re-ranking web pages that have already been ranked.
12:46 am on Feb 13, 2019 (gmt 0)

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But seriously ... the bare fact that I’m seeing this kind of nonsense on my teeny-weeny remote-niche site lets me say with 100% confidence that this is not a matter of personalized targeting by some disgruntled rival. It’s utterly automated with no human involvement at any stage. (And if G can't figure this out, heaven help us all ;))
 

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