Internet Marketing Ninjas Blog

Buying Spamming Links to Penalize Sites by @jimboykin

I couldn’t decide if I should call this post

Can You Penalize a Site in Google buy Buying Spammy Links to it?
Getting to #1 by banning everyone above you.

Last week, some people decided that they didn’t like Dan Thies (even though I’ve always thought he was a great guy….his book Search Engine Fast Start was required reading for our ninjas for years…and I’ve learned a lot from him)….but anyways, some people decided he was too much a Google lover so they decided to buy a lot of spammy links to Dan’s site ( to see if they could get it penalized for a few phrases.

Results have been bouncing around…it may have worked…or it may not have…the dice may still be rolling on that one…

But, the post about trying to penalize Dan’s site by people bringing in links that could get you banned reads like a soap opera. So far it’s an 18 page thread. …SEO’s throwing stones at each other…some are mad at Google, and they’ll lash out at anyone who appears to be a friend of Google’s…some want to prove points….and some are…well….

Even Rand Fishkin jumps in a few times, once stating:

I’d also point out that compared to Dan, I’ve been far more supportive of Google’s webspam efforts and a constant supporter of more transparency in the marketing and SEO fields. I realize that this opinion may be unpopular with many who spam, so I’d like to offer up Moz or my personal website, as targets for these efforts. I think it would be fascinating and revealing if external link manipulation could hurt either one.

Also – just FYI – while I may have disagreements with folks about tactics or philosophy, I am really interested in this experiment and I appreciate the mentality of testing and publicly sharing. Thank you all for that!

I have to admire Rand…

I’m not sure if I should mention this or not…but if you read through all those pages of that forum, you’ll find some ideas for taking sites down via messing with their backlinks…it’s scary, and if google is going to play a game of over optimization on a mass scale that involves unnatural links, there will be people who will want do SEO by taking others out of the game….I really hope SEO don’t have to stoop to this level…”oh, you’re #7…yea, I can get you to #1….I’ll just get the 6 sites above you banned”….scary stuff….

….years ago google used to say “Nothing your competitor can do can harm your rankings”….but now they just say “it’s very hard to harm your competitor”….well there are some people who can work very hard…and some who don’t need to work very hard at…they can just push a few buttons…

I know that some people have asked Google for a way to say “don’t count these links” in the webmaster tools…but there is few issues with doing that…what percentage of webmasters would “catch these” unnatural links in their webmaster tools?…I know, very very few…no one looks at the backlinks, because what they show for your backlinks, even in the webmastertools is crap….Do I have to spend my days saying “this scraped page that you say links to me isn’t real?”

In my webmaster central account, google says I have 968,577 backlinks…that’s a crock…..I know that the vast majority of links they are showing me are scraped, worthless links (I didn’t ask for them…they just came…every site on the web, the longer it’s been around, the the more search exposure it has, the more “crap, scrapped, etc links to it.” they don’t ask for it, it just happens…and I know Google knows this too….they show me tons of links that I know they don’t count, and they don’t show me some links that I do know count…if I had to manually “not count” links to google in the webmaster central account it would take me months to go through nearly 1 million links to tell google what links I think are real, and what links I don’t think are real….and for those I’m not sure of, I’d have to write or call the webmaster and ask if they are real if if they really meant to link to my site??

as even Dan Thies said in a Google groups:

The only reason I am bothering to post anything here now, is to try to get some answers for everyone on whether Google has decided to open up the market for “negative SEO.” Still looks like they haven’t, but I also think they owe every webmaster an answer. Once I see how this all plays out, I expect to be “Google proofing” these particular sites…..

Aaron Wall also said a few thing about this issue of “is is possible to penalize another site for negative SEO”, stating:

Google is betting that the SEO industry is full of ________. If our trade is to worth being in, I hope Google is wrong! If not, you will soon see most of the quality professionals in our trade go underground, while only the hacks who misinform people & are an unofficial extension of Google’s public relations team remain publicly visible.

That might be Google’s goal.

Will they be successful at it?

That depends entirely on how intelligent members of the SEO industry are.

Well…we’ll just have to see what this new google over optimization / webspam update is all about….if we find it’s about unnatural links…it could be a scary world in SEO…..


4 Responses

  1. And here I thought it was a scary world as it is being in this business. Google is now putting everyone in the position to go to war with each other and hopes the industry implodes. I’l just continue worrying about content and traffic and if it ranks, then it ranks. The day I start targeting competitors is the day I lose focus, and the day a competitor starts trying to tank my rankings is the day I know I’m doing something right!

  2. Giving penalties for certain types of links will open the door for abuse.

    If I were google, I would simply continue to find spammy link networks and make links from them worth zero.

    I think it will be painful enough for those who spend their time building link schemes to have their ‘work’ wiped out after google devalues them.

    In fact sites that rely on spammy links instead of good content will experience plenty of pain when their rankings drop.

    There is no perfect solution, but that seems like it would work best.

  3. While I once made the mistake of declaring that “bad links won’t ever hurt you,” only later having to admit that Google has made negative SEO possible, I’m not convinced it’s probable. If negative SEO is something people can do with success, where are the examples? Where are the stories of sites being unfairly penalized by Google?

    I’ve seen a few examples of sites with no backlink profile being blown up, but that’s not really an accomplishment. Knocking out a site with 17 links is like knocking out a 2 year old – it’s nothing to be proud of and hardly proof that there’s a problem.

    So, color me skeptical.

    Still, if it is true that negative SEO is possible to conduct reliably, I simply don’t understand Google’s decision to penalize bad linking behavior. The best way to combat spammers isn’t to penalize them…it’s to let them keep on spamming. Better that they waste their time and resources investing in tactics that don’t work.

    Which brings me back to my previous point. Google isn’t run by stupid people. Perhaps perpetuating the myth that negative SEO is possible is a great way to keep all these spammers occupied.

  4. Hi,

    My name is Emilio Bole, owner of the web site :
    First let me say that I never engaged in any black hat nor gray hat technique in the ten years that i am in business

    But last month I learned that I was “penalized” by google for UNNATURAL LINKS!
    I do not engage in link exchange, I do not buy links or anything related to links with my site

    I am at lost, because this is my only income and now I am 50% down and still going down.
    Google tells me that if I fix the problem I can request a re-evaluation…..
    but how do I do this if I do not even know what an UNNATURAL link is?

    Please, if you have any suggestions in how to tackle this problem I will appreciate it
    very much.

    A very concerned owner

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