Off-page SEO Google Penalties

by Plish
46 replies
  • SEO
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Does this even exist?

Some 'gurus' believe that aggressive link building and bot submission tactics can get your site DE-INDEXED from Google. Now I'm no genius but if this were true, wouldn't every competitor just dump links on a site and get them de-indexed?

I've had this argument with a very close friend of mine for a couple of years now and neither of us have any proof. He is adamant that aggressive link building tactics will drop your rankings. I'm more of the school of thought that Google will not punish off-page SEO tactics however they will not give credit for such tactics, therefore leaving you with 0 gain.

Does anyone feel they have a really good idea about this? Or better yet, evidence/case studies??
#google #offpage #penalties #seo
  • Profile picture of the author Andyhenry
    You won't get a straight answer here either.

    Most people will tell you no - but they're just guessing and using logic like "your competitors could hurt you if it was true".

    So don't hold your breath.
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  • I agree with Andy. My husband leads and SEO group and he always inclines to say the second thing you mentioned, that you simply do not get recognized for it. Yet, he also does say that people who do the aggressive link building by using Black hat techniques (which I know you did not mention directly but some people can associate bots with black hat) will eventually see it backfiring.

    So, I think you will get an assortment of opinions based on individual perceptions and experiences.
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  • Profile picture of the author grumpyb
    I am an aggressive link builder and these days if I start a new site I pile on as many links as I can as fast as I can.
    I have seen one or 2 of my sites go backwards for a while and some people call that the sandbox effect.
    However at the end of the day I have several sites showing first page SERP and I beleive that this does not happen without lots of links.
    The only exception to this that I have experinced is when the url has the main search term in it for example www. best widgets .com will always have an advantage in a search for widgets I have no 1 page 1 SERP with a few links only using this technique.
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  • Profile picture of the author mikeevee
    Agree with all the above. No-one knows. The most likely is that they will pay scant regard to the extra links. After all they will carry almost zero linkjuice.

    Google is very very adept at knowing the marketing tactics people follows, and will continue to make judgements about which ones are acceptable and which ones are excessive. They are not afraid to block big sites, as was shown by BMW's main site being de-indexed a few years ago.
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    • Profile picture of the author Black Hat Cat
      Banned
      I recommend folks google "traffic power" if you believe the actions of a third party can't affect your site. If I had hired that company to link to a competitor, that competitor would have likely been booted out of the index.
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      • Profile picture of the author Fernando Veloso
        Originally Posted by Black Hat Cat View Post

        I recommend folks google "traffic power" if you believe the actions of a third party can't affect your site. If I had hired that company to link to a competitor, that competitor would have likely been booted out of the index.
        Thanks for the reference. Did a read on some sites and this is what I could understand from that "example":

        They talk about alot of stuff but I couldn't see a UNIQUE reference to backlinking.

        IF people used frames-redirects-shady ONSITE techniques, thats their problem. But we're discussing backlinks, not onpage shady techniques.

        Well, not me.

        I want to keep this discussion alive cause IF it can be proved BACKLINKS can hurt your sites, I want to know asap.

        Fernando
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  • Profile picture of the author JoshBrown
    All I can give is my personal experience. Been doing this since 2001, and can tell you--without a doubt--that leaving a footprint of too many IBLS in a certain time frame will cause a reduction in SERPs.

    Now, this does NOT include rotating URL ads. Those work fantastic for getting tons of IBLS (thousands) each month with total disregard for a spam foot print.

    With that in mind, a static IBL cannot be used the same way. I'd stick to a conservative number. Mine? 20 static IBLS (including blog posts, mind you) per week, but consistently added each week.

    Good Luck,
    Josh
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  • Profile picture of the author jasonl70
    google has repeatedly said that you can not be penalized for the actions of others. Yet Matt Cutt's says that some of traffic powers customers did in fact get de-indexed. I guess the question is this: was it on page or off page tactics that got them deindexed? I don't know, and Matt does not elaborate.
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  • Profile picture of the author Fernando Veloso
    Aggressive backlinking is NOT the same as BH.

    Don't mix white hat resources that can be put to work aggressively, with BH techniques.

    No one can tell you for sure BUT logic tells us this:

    - OUTSIDE techniques (backlinks) can't hurt your rankings.

    That's logic.

    Otherwise big players with big bucks would crush competition.

    But to say this is guessing... wow. I call it logic.
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    • Profile picture of the author JoshBrown
      Originally Posted by Fernando Veloso View Post

      Aggressive backlinking is NOT the same as BH.

      Don't mix white hat resources that can be put to work aggressively, with BH techniques.

      No one can tell you for sure BUT logic tells us this:

      - OUTSIDE techniques (backlinks) can't hurt your rankings.

      That's logic.

      Otherwise big players with big bucks would crush competition.

      But to say this is guessing... wow. I call it logic.
      Hi Fernando,

      I respectfully disagree. In my experience, there are a few dirty tactics that work every now and then from an off-site POV that can hurt a site. Massive IBL bombs being one of them. Try it out and see. :-)

      Best,
      Josh
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      • Profile picture of the author Fernando Veloso
        Originally Posted by JoshBrown View Post

        Hi Fernando,

        I respectfully disagree. In my experience, there are a few dirty tactics that work every now and then from an off-site POV that can hurt a site. Massive IBL bombs being one of them. Try it out and see. :-)

        Best,
        Josh
        Josh,

        I've seen this idea here and there multiple times.

        Everytime it happens, I launch the same challenge: de-index my site, drop my rankings:

        fernandoveloso dot com

        As of now, in Google Portugal, top page 2 for keyword "ganhar dinheiro na internet" (make money online):

        Google

        I don't mind you use my site for a test. Really.

        At least I'll have something "physical" to prove it can be done. Cause frankly, many people say it's possible, but no one did a real test to prove it.

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        • Profile picture of the author Shinxware
          If backlinking could really hurt rankings, I will be blasting the competitors with xrumer all day long LOL
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  • Profile picture of the author JoshBrown
    Guess I better put up or shut up, eh? :-)
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    • Profile picture of the author Fernando Veloso
      Originally Posted by JoshBrown View Post

      Guess I better put up or shut up, eh? :-)
      lol

      I just want to discover IF it's really possible. And for that WE need a test.

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      • Profile picture of the author Jacob Martus
        I believe that way too many backlinks can only hurt a brand new site. No way it would work on blasting your competitors, but if you've got a 1 week old site with no decent backlinks, I do believe you can do damage.
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  • Profile picture of the author __internet__
    It's not getting a lot of links that hurts your site. It's getting a lot of the same anchor text links. If you're trying to rank for "make money" and you get every single link with the word "make money", it's going to get filtered. If you don't believe me, try it yourself. Try it with a keyword that has very little competition, and the exact same thing is going to happen. There's something in Google's algorithm that automatically determines whether the links seem natural. They don't even have to be natural. You can create them yourself, but you need to make it look natural. Getting the same keyword link thousands of times is going to trip a filter.

    People like saying how "There's no way I can get a penalty for building thousands of links. My competitor could just do it to me". Well maybe your competitors aren't smart. Because if you throw thousands of the same anchor text keyword links at a site, it's getting filtered.
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    • Profile picture of the author mikeevee
      Originally Posted by __internet__ View Post

      It's not getting a lot of links that hurts your site. It's getting a lot of the same anchor text links. If you're trying to rank for "make money" and you get every single link with the word "make money", it's going to get filtered. If you don't believe me, try it yourself. Try it with a keyword that has very little competition, and the exact same thing is going to happen. There's something in Google's algorithm that automatically determines whether the links seem natural. They don't even have to be natural. You can create them yourself, but you need to make it look natural. Getting the same keyword link thousands of times is going to trip a filter.

      People like saying how "There's no way I can get a penalty for building thousands of links. My competitor could just do it to me". Well maybe your competitors aren't smart. Because if you throw thousands of the same anchor text keyword links at a site, it's getting filtered.
      In that case signature links in forums would raise a big red flag with Google?
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      • Profile picture of the author __internet__
        Originally Posted by mikeevee View Post

        In that case signature links in forums would raise a big red flag with Google?
        No. Signature links wouldn't raise a red flag. That's similar to getting an anchor text link on a blogroll for a website. It may end up being indexed on thousands of different pages for that site.

        Since all the links are coming from the same IPs, Google doesn't care about it. The links are devalued anyway. It's when you're getting thousands of anchored text links in a short span from a variety of different IPs. That's when they care. Your sites are going to get filtered for certain keywords.

        Honestly, I don't care if people don't believe what I say. There's plenty of evidence to prove that I'm right. There are certain people that don't really understand what I say on this forum. You can't make someone understand the truth when they have never experienced it themselves.

        Here's just one site describing what actually happens. Have fun throwing all your anchor text links at your pages. Some people can never accept reality.

        Google.com only - Penalty/filter/sandbox?
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        • Profile picture of the author Fernando Veloso
          Originally Posted by __internet__ View Post

          It's when you're getting thousands of anchored text links in a short span from a variety of different IPs. That's when they care. Your sites are going to get filtered for certain keywords.
          So, I launch a groundbreaking APP, thousands of people link to my NEW site from different IP's and I get screwed?

          :confused:

          Dude, I'm not going to launch that killer app or that superb website!!!! No No No!!!

          Honestly, I don't care if people don't believe what I say. There's plenty of evidence to prove that I'm right.
          ..............
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          • Profile picture of the author __internet__
            Originally Posted by Fernando Veloso View Post

            So, I launch a groundbreaking APP, thousands of people link to my NEW site from different IP's and I get screwed?

            :confused:

            Dude, I'm not going to launch that killer app or that superb website!!!! No No No!!!



            ..............
            Yeah. You should be crying about it. You seem to be leaving out "all links are the same anchor text factor". It's not the links you need to worry about anyway. When you launch your ground breaking piece of junk that doesn't become ground breaking, then you're not going to have to worry about the filter at all.
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            • Profile picture of the author Fernando Veloso
              Originally Posted by __internet__ View Post

              It's when you're getting thousands of anchored text links in a short span from a variety of different IPs. That's when they care.
              Originally Posted by __internet__ View Post

              It's not the links you need to worry about.
              First we get in trouble with links. Now, we don't need to worry them.

              Care to explain?
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              • Profile picture of the author __internet__
                Originally Posted by Fernando Veloso View Post

                First we get in trouble with links. Now, we don't need to worry them.

                Care to explain?
                If you read the thread properly, then you'd understand what I wrote already. If you looked at the link I posted, you'd understand as well. I don't have to explain the same thing over and over. I never said links get you in trouble. I said that getting a lot of the same anchor text links in a short span of time aiming for certain keywords gets you filtered for those keywords.
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                • Profile picture of the author Fernando Veloso
                  Originally Posted by __internet__ View Post

                  If you read the thread properly, then you'd understand what I wrote already. If you looked at the link I posted, you'd understand as well. I don't have to explain the same thing over and over. I never said links get you in trouble. I said that getting a lot of the same anchor text links in a short span of time aiming for certain keywords gets you filtered for those keywords.
                  I DID read the thread.

                  And it's impossible to understand what you're saying cause you said one thing and the exact opposite of it.

                  It's quoted 3 posts above.

                  This is what I ask, and I bet other warriors want it too (this is how we get to know each other and this is how we reach success - sharing methods, testing them, and dropping the crap):

                  - Please explain us the tests you made, the results, etc.

                  Cause if you can prove "many" Backlinks with same anchor text can hurt a website OR "filter some keywords", then you're going to be the first guy in history to prove it.

                  Just some pertinent questions:

                  How "many" is too many?
                  Who decided How "many" is too many?
                  Where is the source of ^^ this information?
                  What is "get filtered for these keywords"?

                  Don't take me wrong here. I just want to bring relevant information alive. And I am tired of all this "backlinks get you penalized" history.

                  If they do, share proofs so we can show them to Google so they can change it asap, otherwise it's a war.

                  If they don't, let's stop this madness every week.

                  Thanks!!
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    • Profile picture of the author Jacob Martus
      Originally Posted by __internet__ View Post

      It's not getting a lot of links that hurts your site. It's getting a lot of the same anchor text links. If you're trying to rank for "make money" and you get every single link with the word "make money", it's going to get filtered. If you don't believe me, try it yourself. Try it with a keyword that has very little competition, and the exact same thing is going to happen. There's something in Google's algorithm that automatically determines whether the links seem natural. They don't even have to be natural. You can create them yourself, but you need to make it look natural. Getting the same keyword link thousands of times is going to trip a filter.

      People like saying how "There's no way I can get a penalty for building thousands of links. My competitor could just do it to me". Well maybe your competitors aren't smart. Because if you throw thousands of the same anchor text keyword links at a site, it's getting filtered.
      Forum signatures prove that and a bunch of other myths wrong.
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  • Profile picture of the author Clyde
    Do it to new sites = sandbox.

    Do it to old established sites with quality high PR backlinks = nothing/improved ranking.

    You can get out of the sandbox by building high quality links to your site to pass "trust rank" and it may take anywhere between 1-3 months.

    Fact.
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  • Profile picture of the author DavidKauzlaric
    The best way is to make sure that everything is relevant and manually build backlinks. Nothing beats manual and relevant! That is the key to ranking #1.
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    • Profile picture of the author Plish
      Originally Posted by actionplanbiz View Post

      I believe this calls for

      /thread
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      • Profile picture of the author michaelvk
        Google is very very adept at knowing the marketing tactics people follows, and will continue to make judgements about which ones are acceptable and which ones are excessive. They are not afraid to block big sites, as was shown by BMW's main site being de-indexed a few years ago.

        thanks,
        micheal
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      • Profile picture of the author Bertil Jenner
        Originally Posted by Plish View Post

        I believe this calls for

        /thread

        Note that the link to Google says "There's almost nothing a competitor can do to harm..."

        But saying so, I do not think bot submission or aggressive link building per se will get you de-indexed as I have tried it (1000 links per day) for a few weeks and my test sites were never penalized.
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  • Profile picture of the author mikeevee
    Well said Fernando.

    I am very interested. Can excessive inbound links really harm? Can joining a link farm harm you?
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  • Profile picture of the author 24kWing
    I don't think there is a penalty for off-paage SEO, UNLESS you are using (abusing) a Bot to perform these task. Moderation is the key, but ultimately there is no penalty.

    Just my 2 cents...... 24kWing
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  • Profile picture of the author sickboy
    If your website 2-3 weeks old - you can kill him by powerfull linkbuilding. For example - Xrumer can. 200.000 bad backlinks from porno sites and your little website goes to ban.
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  • Profile picture of the author arenasocial
    Well, spamming to much with same content can benefit you only for little time, but as soon as you are caught, your rankings will drastically get lower. In my opinion, content is still a king.
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  • Profile picture of the author samstephan9
    I read that but I am also confuse but need to know about it.
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  • Profile picture of the author IPexpress
    Rightly or wrongly Backlinks should not hurt a site in Google. After all, if you look at the number of Backlinks some of the Big Boys have, did they get all those links by fair means? I will leave you to decide this. The Internet used to be an open resource where everyone had the same rights. Sadly, the likes of Google are manipulating things and we have to work within those constraints. The latest Panda and Penguin updates have adversly hit a lot of sites. Yes some of those sites almost certainly deserved to get hit, but a lot did not and some businesses are now hurting or have gone altogether with the loss of jobs. For some of those small business the only option they have to continue is Pay Per Click with Adwords, and of course Google are the winners on that one!! But for some products Adwords is not cost effective, particularly low priced items. For the rest of us, we just carry on and do the best we can.

    Not every small business can afford to spend a lot of bucks on professional SEO, and in my own experience, I spent money with a number of supposedly respectable SEO companies and they achieved very little for the money I spent.

    Some things dont change when it comes to getting ranked in SERPS:

    Good quality unique content
    Good Quality Backlinks
    Good Quality Article submission
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  • Profile picture of the author sudhanshu013
    Originally Posted by Plish View Post

    Does this even exist?

    Some 'gurus' believe that aggressive link building and bot submission tactics can get your site DE-INDEXED from Google. Now I'm no genius but if this were true, wouldn't every competitor just dump links on a site and get them de-indexed?

    I've had this argument with a very close friend of mine for a couple of years now and neither of us have any proof. He is adamant that aggressive link building tactics will drop your rankings. I'm more of the school of thought that Google will not punish off-page SEO tactics however they will not give credit for such tactics, therefore leaving you with 0 gain.

    Does anyone feel they have a really good idea about this? Or better yet, evidence/case studies??
    Some where i found the same, but i am still wondering to get the proper answer, If off page can hurt they why we are not linking our competitors there , :confused:
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  • Profile picture of the author MikeFriedman
    If backlinks cannot hurt a website's rankings, then nobody would be complaining about sites that got hit by Penguin.

    Now, sites with high authority, you are not going to harm. You are not going to destroy Amazon's or Best Buy's rankings no matter how much you blast them.

    IM'ers little sites though... like I said, if backlinks couldn't hurt rankings, there wouldn't be 4 or 5 new Penguin threads created here everyday.
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    • Profile picture of the author cooler1
      Originally Posted by MikeFriedman View Post

      If backlinks cannot hurt a website's rankings, then nobody would be complaining about sites that got hit by Penguin.

      Now, sites with high authority, you are not going to harm. You are not going to destroy Amazon's or Best Buy's rankings no matter how much you blast them.

      IM'ers little sites though... like I said, if backlinks couldn't hurt rankings, there wouldn't be 4 or 5 new Penguin threads created here everyday.
      That's true. The effects of Penguin show that it isn't merely a link devaluation because the SERP drop is so drastic, so backlinks can hurt a site ranking. I think many people in this thread have been drinking and posting.
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  • Profile picture of the author Theeban
    I had experienced such off-Page penalties (kind of), specially with new sites.

    Say, you launched a website and started getting backlinks as soon as possible. That will give you some good ranks on SERP, (As far as Google likes new sites at inital age and rank them in good position). After sometimes, you stop working on it, that really makes Google to suspect about your backlinks and put your site in dustbin (I mean rank drop). It is a kind of penalty. I had experienced this with one of my client's website.
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  • Profile picture of the author nik0
    Banned
    The more poor the site the higher the chance you can hurt them, we have one tiny test site with real poor content and we didn't even test that much on it. Google decided to deindex the whole site, oh well.
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  • Profile picture of the author DizenSounds
    Geeze talk about bumping old thread.

    Mike is right, little sites can get penalized. Older sites that have huge domain authority you can't though. Go ahead and try it yourself and youll see what im talking about.
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  • Profile picture of the author malta
    Yes, following the Penguin update, there is absolutely no doubt whatsoever that some off-page SEO can give your site a penalty. This has been proven over and over with regards to blog networks.
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  • Profile picture of the author Danny Shaw
    I test this out on one of my squidoo lenses. It was PR3 and 2-3 years old. #5 in google for its master search term. Now this test was before "Penguin" but after hitting my site with 10,000 xr links one day and 10,000 sb links the lens dropped to page 4.

    I am sure if I kept blasting it google would have no choice but to take a closer look at least.

    Anyway I left it alone for a month or so and now it is back to #5
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