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We're getting our pants beat by a site using a lot of comment backlinks.
I thought this crap would have been filtered out long ago, but nevertheless it seems to be working for them.
I've always worked to get relevant backlinks from on topic sites and blogs.
Thinking about doing some 'free' directory submissions.
How can I compete with this? Will it continue to be effective?
What else should a webmaster know that has been 'out of the game' for a while? What's the key to link building in 2010?
1,2 and 3 have been working for a while. No end in sight, if ever for 2 and 3. You're not the only one complaining about it :). It seems that Google is not doing anything about this. I compete with folks doing directory submissions, theme sponsorship, and other stuff.
In short, high quality and lower quality both seem to work fine. Pick your poison.
Don't just do very high volumes of directories though. I've seen that take a sight ranking then seen it disappear.
[2) Report some of the bad backlinks they are using to Google. Bad linking will fail, just a matter of time.
It used to be that bad linking had it's enddate. You could confidently state that eventually poor linking strategies would catch up to you. I'm not certain that this is the case anymore. Less than squeaky clean link building techniques work, have been working for a while, and Google's making no discernable effort to clean things up.
I've heard it speculated that they don't care how you get to the top of the rankings, as long as you have decent content. makes sense. They can get rid of the blatant crap at the top, as for the rest, if the content is on target for their users, why would they care? Their job is quality search content, not policing link quality.
The truth is spam works - end of story.
I've just finished plotting every link I could find for a site I've started working on. Aside from DMOZ and two or three genuine links resulting from sponsorship it has nothing but:
- obviously machine generated articles on article directories and splogs
- links from niche link farms (fake sites with machine generated content then hundreds of links, many to #*$!, gambling, meds)
- about a hundred links from reciprocal links pages (2/3 on-topic) that have not been honoured so are seen as one way
- SEO directories
Total about 175 links. 95% of the anchor text is one popular auto term (average 22,000 impressions monthly exact match acc. to AdWords, 49,500 group match) and they rank highly for this term.
I'd be staggered if it survived a hand review, but the algo isn't catching it. I suspect that the fact that they've cheated on the reciprocal links (still trying to work out how they did this unless it's disguised link buying, because the site has NEVER had a link page to reciprocate from) and have about 20 IBLs from very old niche sites is bringing 'authority' to their profile, and that trust is letting them get away with tightly focussed anchor text.
I'm still trying to work out if the overseas company that did this was clever and really understand how it works, or just stupid and lucky (there was a far more relevant term they could have chosen to rank for).
I've heard people saying for years that spam doesn't work, that Google will catch up. I even used to believe it myself.
The difference is now that Google doesn't seem to be stopping the spammy link building techniques like they used to.
The lesson to take away I think is that it's not about how you got to the top, it's justifying your content once you're there.
Long term, quality editorial links rarely fade.
If you dig in and do some really creative hard work to contact established, authority websites, and find unique ways to generate links, you will beat out the competition, regardless of how many comment links they are using.