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

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by tke71709 View Post
    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.
    Yes, thank you for the clarification but I do understand that already. I'm looking at what it implies.

    The implication: There are methods you can use that could cause rankings to get squished, perhaps those methods would get a competitor's rankings squished.

    However, if you read the posts above yours, you'll see that I don't actually think that and I agree with what eppie and David S think.

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by JJMcClure View Post
    Yes, thank you for the clarification but I do understand that already. I'm looking at what it implies.

    The implication: There are methods you can use that could cause rankings to get squished, perhaps those methods would get a competitor's rankings squished.

    However, if you read the posts above yours, you'll see that I don't actually think that and I agree with what eppie and David S think.
    Yes, you can get a site de-indexed (whether by manual review or automated filter) -- BMW and JC Penny have been hit with manual penalties for shady SEO tactics in the past (not de-indexing, but a -50 or something). I know of sites that have been de-indexed (no longer show any pages in the SERPs for a site: search). That said, I think it's pretty rare for these types of actions to be implemented as opposed to stripping a linking site of its power to pass authority.

    So... in theory, I guess you could overwhelm a competitor's backlink profile with enough garbage to knock them down in the SERPs, but the risk you run is that you could improve their rankings until you hit the critical mass where they get dinged (if you can ever reach it). And if Google doesn't ding them, but instead just discounts the value of those spammy links, all of your effort is wasted.

    Keep in mind that this is all an educated guess by me based on my previous analysis of SERPs and sites known to have been hit with penalties. I've never tested trying to hit another site with a penalty so I can't really speak authoritatively about the potential for this.
    Last edited by eppie; 17 March 2012 at 9:33 am. Reason: further clarification

  3. The Following 5 Users Say Thank You to eppie For This Useful Post:

    Clinton (17 March 2012), David S (17 March 2012), JJMcClure (17 March 2012), Kay (18 March 2012), KenW3 (17 March 2012)

  4. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by eppie View Post
    but the risk you run is that you could improve their rankings until you hit the critical mass where they get dinged (if you can ever reach it). And if Google doesn't ding them, but instead just discounts the value of those spammy links, all of your effort is wasted.
    Which is the theory I'm going with but I don't have any practical experience with that either, just some logic that makes sense to me.

    I guess the onus is on the people who are suggesting that it can happen to prove it.

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    Eppie -
    Quick Question.
    Do you have a financial interest in ranking in the car insurance vertical, either as your own site or for a client?
    Last edited by KenW3; 18 March 2012 at 12:19 pm. Reason: Spelling correction, rule 2

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    Quote Originally Posted by eppie View Post
    So... in theory, I guess you could overwhelm a competitor's backlink profile with enough garbage to knock them down in the SERPs, but the risk you run is that you could improve their rankings until you hit the critical mass where they get dinged (if you can ever reach it). And if Google doesn't ding them, but instead just discounts the value of those spammy links, all of your effort is wasted.
    Almost every post in this thread saying the first part of this sentence has had a bunch of thanks, and everyone of my posts saying the second part of this sentence hasn't. Is that because no one can see past their mistaken belief that I'm defending Google to see the logic of what I'm actually saying? I've been saying exactly what eppie says in that sentence the whole time.

    If it's something else, by all means explain it to me because right now I'm a little frustrated and annoyed. There's not much point me posting on any subject concerning search engines if people are projecting their misconceptions onto me all the time and misunderstanding what I'm saying.

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  8. #16
    Administrator Clinton is a Premium Member
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    I fail to see the logic. I can understand the argument that when spammy IBLs are discounted a site can drop out of the (artificially) high position it enjoyed. However, that says nothing about whether the discovery of those spammy IBLs drops the site to an even lower level than it would have had if the spammy IBLs never existed.

    What about sites that haven't enjoyed a higher rank as a result of spammy IBLs?

    If you were looking to hurt a competitor with spammy IBLs you'd probably focus on building those spammy IBLs that Google can detect easily as spammy. There is scant evidence either way that such spammy backlinks can/can't damage a site. Till we run a controlled experiment we won't have any evidence and, again, I offer these forums as an experiment subject. Anyone, on either side of the fence can take up the offer. Till then we've got to consider that there's a reason why Google changed their claim on spammy backlinks affecting a competitor. It's no more a case of nothing you can do to damage a competitor but a guarded "almost" nothing you can do.

    That, taken together with the fact that Google often screws up (canonicals and 301s, anyone?), is enough circumstantial evidence, I feel, to conclude there's a high chance someone who knows what he's doing could use a BH technique to knock a competitor out. It's happened in the past with 301s.
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    I've been following this thread closely this week but I have to admit I am slightly confused as to the overall opinion. It seems like people are saying it in different ways and with different degrees of emphasis but that the bottom line is

    Quote Originally Posted by eppie View Post
    So... in theory, I guess you could overwhelm a competitor's backlink profile with enough garbage to knock them down in the SERPs, but the risk you run is that you could improve their rankings until you hit the critical mass where they get dinged (if you can ever reach it). And if Google doesn't ding them, but instead just discounts the value of those spammy links, all of your effort is wasted.
    Is someone here still saying something that is substantively different?

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    Quote Originally Posted by ari View Post
    Eppie -
    Quick Question.
    Do you have a financial interest in ranking in the car insurance vertical, either as your own site or for a client?
    I have no interest whatsoever in that vertical.

  12. #19
    Top Contributor crabfoot is a Premium Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by eppie View Post
    I have no interest whatsoever in that vertical.
    Y dang pervert. You'd have to be a bot to say that. It's lucrative, and whatever you say it is interesting because it makes money.

    I think you really mean to say that you are not trying to exploit that niche right now. Be careful to avoid the messy event - that next week's actions make you look like a porky distributor.

    @ari - be careful - the REAL trolls on here can REALLY eat you. They wouldn't even burp ...

  13. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by crabfoot View Post
    Y dang pervert. You'd have to be a bot to say that. It's lucrative, and whatever you say it is interesting because it makes money.

    I think you really mean to say that you are not trying to exploit that niche right now. Be careful to avoid the messy event - that next week's actions make you look like a porky distributor.

    @ari - be careful - the REAL trolls on here can REALLY eat you. They wouldn't even burp ...
    Yes, I suppose I should have been more careful about the wording of that post. My answer was intended as a direct answer to the question. Interest = position. I didn't have anything to gain by "outing" that site, which I believe was the inferred intent of the question. Since I'm going to read into it that much, I should note that I don't believe this was "outing" as the site had already been dropped in the SERPs.

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