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Thread: How Garbage Ranks in the SERPs: a Case Study

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    How Garbage Ranks in the SERPs: a Case Study

    Great article from one of the SEO Moz guys the result of which is a new free backlink analysis tool called Link Detective that reverse engineers link profiles and which I'm in the process of having a play with and I'll report back on that.

    How Garbage Ranks in the SERPs: a Case Study


    He finishes by saying "It's possible that they didn't just implement this on a domain level, but instead stripped the sites that linked to AutoInsuranceQuotesEasy.com of their ability pass juice. That would mean that if you were duplicating this site's links, you'd be out of business too. Always weigh the risk against the reward and NEVER gamble with a client's site without getting approval (in writing) from them that they are comfortable with the risk of losing all of their rankings."

    A comment there about ethical SEO and also about hurting yourself with links. If he's right then presumably we could copy the link profile structure the site from article used and use it to bomb someone else's site. More smoke, but is there really a fire there?

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    They got greedy and wasted a powerful network for a couple of months revenue. I wonder if what they managed to turn over was worth burning their network out?
    And they thought me broken, that my tongue was coated lead, but I just couldn't make my words make sense to them, if you only listen with your ears ... I can't get in
    Non ducor, duco

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    At millions a month in potential revenue and as they were probably using third party blog networks to do so I'd say it was probably worth it for them. If they were using their own network I'd guess that they would have been a little more careful about it so that it could have passed even a manual review.

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    Hey guys, it's Eppie. That was my post (and link analysis tool) featured at SEOmoz. Just a quick bit from the JJMcClure comment about using the link profile to bomb other sites -- I wasn't suggesting that a penalty was attached to the sites that linked to this one that would allow for negatively link bombing another site. I suspect that Google stripped most of these sites of their ability to influence their algorithm at all -- positively or negatively. So getting links from those sites would now be a completely wasted effort.

    Obviously, that's speculation but I'm pretty sure the folks at Google don't want to create an easy way to knock your competition out of the way. That would result in SERP chaos.

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    Great article, that site is still sticking around though, its on the second page for me with "auto insurance quote". There are others to take its place now which is hilarious..

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    Quote Originally Posted by eppie View Post
    Hey guys, it's Eppie. That was my post (and link analysis tool) featured at SEOmoz. Just a quick bit from the JJMcClure comment about using the link profile to bomb other sites -- I wasn't suggesting that a penalty was attached to the sites that linked to this one that would allow for negatively link bombing another site. I suspect that Google stripped most of these sites of their ability to influence their algorithm at all -- positively or negatively. So getting links from those sites would now be a completely wasted effort.

    Obviously, that's speculation but I'm pretty sure the folks at Google don't want to create an easy way to knock your competition out of the way. That would result in SERP chaos.
    I didn't realise that you were a member here Eppie. Cool! Awesome article mate and I'm looking forward to playing with the tool you developed.

    Just to clarify, I didn't mean to copy exactly that site's links, I meant to replicate the methodology but didn't phrase it very well. We've been having a great discussion here recently about whether or not it's possible to hurt a competitor and how you'd go about doing that. Your summary suggested that if it's possible to hurt yourself with links then it may be possible to hurt a competitor with links, at least that's how I read it.

    What are your thoughts on that and can you link any evidence that it works? Evidence seems to be in short supply.

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    My take on this is that it might appear that you're hurting yourself, when in actuality you're just no longer helping yourself. Make sense? It's not that you're getting penalized by having certain links pointing to you, it's just that once those are ignored, your link profile doesn't sustain the position you were in and re-calibrate to your natural SERP spot based on the remaining valued links.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JJMcClure View Post
    Your summary suggested that if it's possible to hurt yourself with links then it may be possible to hurt a competitor with links, at least that's how I read it.
    I may be wrong but I don't read it that way at all. Quite the opposite. He said:

    I suspect that Google stripped most of these sites of their ability to influence their algorithm at all -- positively or negatively. So getting links from those sites would now be a completely wasted effort.

    Obviously, that's speculation but I'm pretty sure the folks at Google don't want to create an easy way to knock your competition out of the way. That would result in SERP chaos.
    I've read the other thread and have seen the same discussion elsewhere. It seems to me that Google is smart enough to not let a campaign that potentially could be mounted by a competitor knock down a site's ranking.

    The other thing to keep in mind from Eppie's article is that the particular site had virtually no normal linking juice, so once you stripped out its "bad" links, it had very little to rest on. That would not be true of a site that ranked well without the bad SEO tactics. If you add "bad" links and those get dropped from the algorithm, the site is right back where it should be - ranking based on its natural links.

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    Quote Originally Posted by eppie View Post
    My take on this is that it might appear that you're hurting yourself, when in actuality you're just no longer helping yourself. Make sense?
    Yes absolutely, it's what I've been saying for years because it just makes sense, and tallies with what evidence is available and with everything Google have publicly released on the subject.

    Quote Originally Posted by David S View Post
    I may be wrong but I don't read it that way at all. Quite the opposite. He said:
    Did you see this bit David - "NEVER gamble with a client's site without getting approval (in writing) from them that they are comfortable with the risk of losing all of their rankings"

    If I can lose my client's rankings just with spammy backlink building, I can do it to someone else. Right? It could be interpreted that way although Eppie clearly didn't mean it that way. I was reading it whilst mindful of recent discussions here about 'negative SEO'.

    Quote Originally Posted by David S View Post
    the particular site had virtually no normal linking juice, so once you stripped out its "bad" links, it had very little to rest on.
    That's where I am too. Google stripped out all the crappy links, they simply ignored them. What was left wasn't enough to justify high rankings.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JJMcClure View Post
    Did you see this bit David - "NEVER gamble with a client's site without getting approval (in writing) from them that they are comfortable with the risk of losing all of their rankings"

    If I can lose my client's rankings just with spammy backlink building, I can do it to someone else. Right?
    No, it means that you need to ensure that your client is aware that the methods that you are using to get them to the top may not keep them at the top once Google catches on. If they are OK with that then great, if not then they should be using white hat methods to get there.

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