I used to think he was crazy, but after looking at the SERPS for the past 6 months, I'm starting to think he may be onto something.
I have an SEO client in the International Dating niche so I follow the SERPS pretty closely for a big set of those keywords.
Over the past 6 months the search results have been infested with a network of sites, all owned by the same company. These sites are dominating for all the prime keywords in the niche.
I've found 13 of the sites so far and more pop into the SERPS every day.
Here are the current top 5 results for the search term "mail order brides"
Everything except wikipedia.org appears to be owned by the same company.
Here are the current top 5 search results for the term "Asian mail order brides"
Everything except rosebrides.com appears to be owned by the company.
The content on these sites is terrible, they are ranking based entirely on massive amounts of links from a super-spammy blog network.
According to Ahrefs the sites all share links from over 18,000 sites.
These are not 2019 style stealth PBN's built by Matt Diggity - they are 2009 style spam links with terribly spun content and titles like:
A Spotlight on No-Hassle Programs For Mail Order Brides
A Background In Factors In Free Mail Order Brides
The Options For Sensible Mail Order Brides Systems
INSIDE FAST ADVICE IN MAIL ORDER BRIDES
This group of sites have been ranking for about 6 months now, and get stronger every day; Panda, Penguin, Fred, Medic and all the other updates just seem to pass right over them.
I did blackhat SEO back in the day - I was good at it - I made alot of money. And then I didn't...
Because Google found me out.
That was like 9 frigging years ago!
Has the Google algo really gotten that much worse?
Does Panda really not recognize this as spun text:
"In this specific article, we highlight for you personally a few of the most essential recommendations that will help live a pleased life along with your Russian spouse; simply use them and wait for amazing outcomes!"
Let's get this out there before we proceed - YES - I absolutely HATE Google and think that their Motto "Don't Be Evil" is the biggest pile of crap since "Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Führer"
BUT - I know they have alot of smart people working for them. If they wanted to uncover this network of sites - they probably could.
So, why haven't they?
Let's look at this from another angle...
Why would "The Company" spend tens of thousands of dollars building these crappy sites and Spammy links if they knew they could be hit by Panda or Penguin, Fred or some other update at any minute.
I live in fear of getting links from anyone except maybe whitehouse.org - my finger is poised above the google disavow tool most days ready to placate the Penguins bots - so why the f--- aren't these guys worried?
They just keep churning out these crappy sites - all using the same basic content?
So, now back to my original thesis - is it possible that someone at Google is selling SERPS?
I'm not saying this is an official Google policy.
But what if some dude in the search spam team just taps in a few lines of code - and BAM! Your site is Teflonized - no updates can touch you and you are free to pile on 18,000 spammy backlinks with no fear of retribution.
I would love to hear from anyone out there who knows a little bit about how Googles internal structure works.
And for all you Matt Cutts Fanboys out there - please keep your "Just Write Great Content"s to yourself - the adults are talking here...