It's Here, People Are Doing Anti-SEO

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Thanks to Google punishing link buying, people are now doing Anti-SEO. Here is a forum post I just read on the Google Forum.

Text-link-ads.com Gets Our Site Penalized by Promoting Tagged.com - Webmaster Central Help
#antiseo #people
  • Profile picture of the author paulgl
    Not sure I get what your point is.

    Link brokering, massive link brokering, is bad.
    And people are going to buy links for your page? I find that
    seriously flawed.

    And about other sites doing you damage....
    Here's a direct quote from google:
    There's almost nothing a competitor can do to harm your ranking or have your site removed from our index.
    I know. People will have horror stories.

    You should have read on down the line on that forum post:
    >>"anyone can hurt any site they want using services like text-link-ads.com"
    Except that they can't. When google sees bad linking, the site containing the links gets punished and the site receiving is given no benefit.
    Paul
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    • Profile picture of the author Shaunman
      There's almost nothing a competitor can do to harm your ranking or have your site removed from our index.
      Notice the word "almost" why would they say almost if there wasn't anything a competitor could do to hurt your site?

      Let's look at another quote from Google.

      some SEOs and webmasters engage in the practice of buying and selling links that pass PageRank, disregarding the quality of the links, the sources, and the long-term impact it will have on their sites. Buying or selling links that pass PageRank is in violation of Google's webmaster guidelines and can negatively impact a site's ranking in search results.
      Found that here, Paid links - Webmaster Tools Help

      You should have read on down the line on that forum post
      Maybe you should have kept reading.

      You can most definitely get slapped for buying links, happened and keeps happening to several high profile UK sites for example. It is not that far fetched to imagine that, since Google has no ways to know who actually buy the links, you can actually harm a competitor doing that. TLA is poison, they are completely banned in Google and as was pointed out their footprint is easy to pick up.
      Scary stuff
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      • Profile picture of the author dburk
        Originally Posted by Shaunman View Post

        Notice the word "almost" why would they say almost if there wasn't anything a competitor could do to hurt your site?
        Hi Shaunman,

        I once heard a Google engineer elaborate on why they say "almost", he indicated that a competitor may be able to hack into your website and harm your rankings in that way.

        Originally Posted by Shaunman View Post

        Maybe you should have kept reading.

        Quote:
        You can most definitely get slapped for buying links, happened and keeps happening to several high profile UK sites for example. It is not that far fetched to imagine that, since Google has no ways to know who actually buy the links, you can actually harm a competitor doing that. TLA is poison, they are completely banned in Google and as was pointed out their footprint is easy to pick up.
        I believe those were false claims and the sites in question were not penalized for buying links, instead the link value was removed from the websites that were selling links. People sometimes have a tendency to jump to conclusions without knowing the facts.

        It's always the link seller that gets penalized and never the buyer. In fact Google has no way of knowing who the real buyers are, and buying links aren't necessarily a bad thing in Google's eyes. It's the link manipulation that they have a problem with. The fact is that the seller is the one who controls the links on their website, and a buyer does not have control over the website and how the link is displayed (with or without nofollow attribute). Since the value of the purchased links are removed, the buyer is essentially punished by having paid for links that have no real value.
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        • Profile picture of the author Shaunman
          People sometimes have a tendency to jump to conclusions without knowing the facts.
          Point taken, but then I hear stories like this.

          This happened to one of my sites years ago.

          I ranked page one in G for a big money phrase. I was page one for years. Suddenly I dropped to page three and discovered about a thousand new links to my site. I knew the link broker that sold those links and I called him. He confirmed that a competitor purchased the links and that he had no idea that the target site was not owned by the buyer.

          95% of the links were removed very quickly and my site returned to page one. The link broker would not identify the buyer. I did not take legal action because my site was back in business.
          I'm going to just build an authority site and hope that it takes care of itself and nothing a competitor can do will harm me. But it is scary that things like this are happening.
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      • Profile picture of the author Tom Goodwin
        Originally Posted by Shaunman View Post

        Notice the word "almost" why would they say almost if there wasn't anything a competitor could do to hurt your site?
        Note that they are talking about what the entire universe of things a competitor could do with that statement, not just sending links to their site. If I hack into a competitor's sites, and install nasty malware that gets picked up by Google, would that be harming a competitor's site? yes, likely. The point is, is there a potential crazy situation, like the hacking that could have one competitor harm another's sites? sure. Google is covering their ass with that statement.


        Found that here, Paid links - Webmaster Tools Help

        The point is, Google will not know that a site is buying links, unless the buyer or seller tells them that they are. Just because you have an outgoing link on a page on a site that sells links does not mean that you are buying links, nor does Google know that you are buying links.

        Tom
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        • Profile picture of the author paulgl
          Paid links in and of themselves are not bad.

          Selling a link or 2, 3 on your site is no problem.
          You are doing nothing nefarious.

          It's when trying to manipulate PR that you get
          in trouble.

          Those 1,000's of paid links would be devalued instantly.
          I find it hard to believe that someone would buy 1,000
          links. I charge at least $30 a month. How much for 1,000?
          Even at $5 each that's $5,000. If I had $5,000 to bet on
          a losing hand, I sure would not toss it in the garbage can
          like that.

          And how long is years ago? And being #1 for years before that?
          Google (as we know it) is less than 10 years old. Really the incarnation
          we know and love is from about 2004.

          Paul
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          • Profile picture of the author hotftuna
            Originally Posted by paulgl View Post

            Paid links in and of themselves are not bad.

            Selling a link or 2, 3 on your site is no problem.
            You are doing nothing nefarious.

            It's when trying to manipulate PR that you get
            in trouble.

            Those 1,000's of paid links would be devalued instantly.
            I find it hard to believe that someone would buy 1,000
            links. I charge at least $30 a month. How much for 1,000?
            Even at $5 each that's $5,000. If I had $5,000 to bet on
            a losing hand, I sure would not toss it in the garbage can
            like that.

            And how long is years ago? And being #1 for years before that?
            Google (as we know it) is less than 10 years old. Really the incarnation
            we know and love is from about 2004.

            Paul
            My site was page one for my primary phrase since 2002. This event was about 2005. Not sure how much this cost my competitor but I think he was a regular customer of this link broker- I'm sure he got a bulk discount.

            Why would anyone spend that much money to drop a competitor? Like I said, I was ranking for a big money phrase. In 2003 & 2004 I had the top spot. In 2005 I was ranking between #3 and #6 page one. Site was earning $15k+/month in 2005. Make sense now?
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  • Profile picture of the author anthon
    Interesting story there!
    It's as easy as that to defeat your competitors the internet is very unsafe.
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  • Profile picture of the author HunterSnake
    I am going to guess that this is a smoking gun but in the event that it is legitimate, nobody here should worry.

    This has been posted officially on the Google forums. If it's real, this would be a high priority item on the to-do list and fixed very quickly. Why? Because Google knows, and everyone else knows now, too, meaning that people may already be abusing this, in which case Google would be under even more pressure to apply a quick remedy.

    I'm not worried. I don't think anybody else should be worried, either.
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    • Profile picture of the author rockingcow
      I think the term is google bowling. I wouldn't worry too much unless you are ranking for some very competitive terms and are competing against people with big big budgets.
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      • Profile picture of the author Zen2health
        Originally Posted by rockingcow View Post

        I think the term is google bowling. I wouldn't worry too much unless you are ranking for some very competitive terms and are competing against people with big big budgets.

        Michael Graywolf wrote a post about this. I've never heard of it being done with text link ads, but he said links from Warez sites will do the job.

        Pretty evil stuff if it actually works.

        On the other side, I've heard of companies buying links to try to bump up favorable reviews--in this case they don't intend on bowling the site.

        I've noticed that any time our site publishes an honest, unsolicited review, it seems to generate strange backlinks that help it rank well.

        This story does sound crazy just in terms of the number of links purchased. Sounds far too expensive and excessive if they were doing it for reputation management or any other reason.
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  • Profile picture of the author hotftuna
    This happened to one of my sites years ago.

    I ranked page one in G for a big money phrase. I was page one for years. Suddenly I dropped to page three and discovered about a thousand new links to my site. I knew the link broker that sold those links and I called him. He confirmed that a competitor purchased the links and that he had no idea that the target site was not owned by the buyer.

    95% of the links were removed very quickly and my site returned to page one. The link broker would not identify the buyer. I did not take legal action because my site was back in business.
    Signature
    HeDir.com ranks #1 for "human edited web directory"


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  • Profile picture of the author Groovystar
    There's almost nothing a competitor can do to harm your ranking or have your site removed from our index.


    Almost
    nothing. I see this as a non-committal answer. They aren't saying nothing they are saying almost nothing. That still means there is something.
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    • Profile picture of the author dburk
      Originally Posted by Groovystar View Post



      Almost
      nothing. I see this as a non-committal answer. They aren't saying nothing they are saying almost nothing. That still means there is something.
      Yes, it means that if your competitor is a skilled hacker, they may be able to hack your site and install malware or something along those lines. The reason that don't expressly state this is because they don't want to give people ideas of such scummy tactics.
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  • Blah, blah, blah. Too much conclusion jumping. People need to take a CLOSER look at what the complainer said in his posts...

    First of all, the site in question is (in my view) basically junk. It's nothing more than a site that lists sites, and offers no original content. There is no value added over just a simple search of Google itself. If I were Google I'd find little value in his site, too.

    He doesn't even offer a place for people to comment on the sites in the list, or provide a forum or anything that would elevate it above the results I could get by typing "sites similar to youtube" into Google.

    Additionally, he says his site was banned from the Google index, but that's not true. His site still has pages indexed by Google, hundreds of them.
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    • Profile picture of the author Shaunman
      First of all, the site in question is (in my view) basically junk. It's nothing more than a site that lists sites, and offers no original content. There is no value added over just a simple search of Google itself. If I were Google I'd find little value in his site, too.
      Really? The site seems increadibly valuable to me. Where else can you type in www.ezinearticles.com and get a list of hundreds of other article directories. Or type in www.youtube.com and get a list of hundreds of video sharing sites.

      It seems like the kind of thing you would bookmark and come back to later.
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      • Profile picture of the author connorbringas
        Regardless of him having a good site or not. The fact of the matter is, his site was unindexed from quality keywords he used to rank for. Im not sure if thats a "fluke" or not. I read previous posts who believe its just a nonsensical argument.
        Personally, I believe that anyone can hurt anyone else's website through various SEO efforts: link building being one of them, as well as indexing hurtful websites such as complaints board and other sites.
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        • Profile picture of the author EMarketingProfessional
          Banned
          [DELETED]
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          • Profile picture of the author Tom Goodwin
            Originally Posted by EMarketingProfessional View Post


            I don't think anti SEO will not be a prevalent danger in the future.
            So you are saying that anti-seo will be a prevalent danger in the future?

            Tom
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      • As I said, it's just my own opinion of the value of his site. Everyone is entitled to their own view on that subject.

        Originally Posted by Shaunman View Post

        Really? The site seems increadibly valuable to me. Where else can you type in www.ezinearticles.com and get a list of hundreds of other article directories. Or type in www.youtube.com and get a list of hundreds of video sharing sites.
        You can't even do that on the site in question! There aren't HUNDREDS of alternate sites listed for either of those sites.

        Originally Posted by Shaunman View Post

        It seems like the kind of thing you would bookmark and come back to later.
        Right. But you don't need to search Google for his site every time you're looking for similar sites to the site you're looking for. You don't have to search Google to find Google.

        If you search Google for the words "similar sites" you'll find his site has a lockdown on the #1 spot. Clearly his site isn't delisted.

        I do need to make one correction, however. I see that he does have a place for comments. My apologies for not seeing that before. I also now noticed one other thing as well, the first entries on each page are Adsense ads designed to look like the other entries in the list as well.
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  • Profile picture of the author Trumps
    Hi all, I just got started in IM and joined this forum and learned to do my first blog in blogger to help my site. Anti-SEO sounds super scary to me a newbie... : (
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    • Originally Posted by Trumps View Post

      Hi all, I just got started in IM and joined this forum and learned to do my first blog in blogger to help my site. Anti-SEO sounds super scary to me a newbie... : (
      Don't worry, you'll hear about a lot of scary stuff. Most of it, however, is usually bunk.
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  • Profile picture of the author HunterSnake
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    • Originally Posted by HunterSnake View Post

      "Buying links to a competitor isn't a new idea but it can be costly and the results may go the opposite way."
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    • Profile picture of the author Tom Goodwin
      Originally Posted by HunterSnake View Post

      I could also post on a blog today that the earth is flat, but it doesn't make it so Unfortunately people (especially IMers it seems) keep on regurgitating info again and again until somehow people accept it as fact.

      Tom
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      • Originally Posted by Tom Goodwin View Post

        I could also post on a blog today that the earth is flat, but it doesn't make it so. Unfortunately people (especially IMers it seems) keep on regurgitating info again and again until somehow people accept it as fact.
        Actually, Tom, what he said in the blog post could actually work. His writing skills aren't very good, so you have to figure out what he's getting at...

        Basically, find competitor's links, find the "good ones" like natural, high-PR pages and find the "bad ones" the competitor clearly paid for. Then e-mail the natural, high-PR sites and warn them that they're linking to a site that uses tactics which are deemed inappropriate by Google. The idea is to scare the high-PR pages into removing the natural, quality links to the competitor's page by spinning a false tale about being penalized by Google for linking to a site which bought links from another site.
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        • Profile picture of the author dburk
          Originally Posted by Steven Carl Kelly View Post

          Actually, Tom, what he said in the blog post could actually work. His writing skills aren't very good, so you have to figure out what he's getting at...

          Basically, find competitor's links, find the "good ones" like natural, high-PR pages and find the "bad ones" the competitor clearly paid for. Then e-mail the natural, high-PR sites and warn them that they're linking to a site that uses tactics which are deemed inappropriate by Google. The idea is to scare the high-PR pages into removing the natural, quality links to the competitor's page by spinning a false tale about being penalized by Google for linking to a site which bought links from another site.
          Since clearly that would be spinning a lie, you could do that with any competitor even the most spotless.

          This is not a new idea, it predates the internet by hundreds of years and is ofter called a Whispering Campaign. The problem with this tactic is the blow back often does more harm to the person out to topple his competitor.
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          • Profile picture of the author HunterSnake
            Originally Posted by Tom Goodwin View Post

            I could also post on a blog today that the earth is flat, but it doesn't make it so Unfortunately people (especially IMers it seems) keep on regurgitating info again and again until somehow people accept it as fact.

            Tom
            Well, duh. I was just sharing an on-topic perspective. I never stated whether it was or wasn't my own opinion.
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          • Originally Posted by dburk View Post

            Since clearly that would be spinning a lie, you could do that with any competitor even the most spotless.

            This is not a new idea, it predates the internet by hundreds of years and is ofter called a Whispering Campaign.
            Absolutely. But, as with such campaigns, the idea is that playing on irrational fear to could achieve a nefarious result you couldn't achieve otherwise.
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            • Profile picture of the author dburk
              Originally Posted by Steven Carl Kelly View Post

              Absolutely. But, as with such campaigns, the idea is that playing on irrational fear to could achieve a nefarious result you couldn't achieve otherwise.
              Yes, Whispering Campaigns are particularly sinister, in part due to their effectiveness, regardless of whether it is based on truth or not. The one-sided perspective of such campaigns is a particularly scummy aspect that often causes all participants to lose credibility and respect. At best it is a risky gambit, and often exposes to the dubious nature of those participants propagating the campaign.
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    • Profile picture of the author dburk
      Originally Posted by HunterSnake View Post

      Ooh... ooh... ooh... Where do I sign up to be his first victim? I could really use the free promotion!
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