Google Hosts Low Quality Article Directory with Links They Want Us to Remove

Oh, the irony. Google is hosting the very articles that contain links that Google is telling us that they want removed. Wait. What?!? That’s right, in what can only be a unique twist of irony, Google is playing web host to thousands of low quality spammy articles, the exact same type of articles that Google wants us to remove. And the links that they’re penalizing websites for having.

Let’s first take a look at this ‘article directory’ website:

ez9-articles-directory

If you look at the screen shot, you’ll see that it’s an “article directory” that’s similar to the what Matt Cutts talked recently talked bout. In fact, he said not to build links using article directory websites. Let’s take a look at the video that Mr. Cutts posted about article directories: [Read more...]

Linked from These Directories? Be Prepared To Pay for Removal

There’s a search engine optimization company out there that is requiring that you pay for removal if you want your link removed from their directory. This same SEO company built these web directories several years ago, touting the fact that they would help your search engine rankings if you were to get listed. Now they want payment for removal of your link.

link request removal

If you have a link on one of these directories, then expect to pay $25 for each link to be removed: [Read more...]

Dear Shady SEO Firm: Stop Spreading Rumors about Unnatural Links and Google Penalties

Dear Shady SEO Firm:
Would you please stop, immediately, from spreading false and untrue rumors about the Google Disavow Tool? By spreading false rumors, you’re hurting the SEO industry as a whole and making it even more difficult for us honest, Google-Webmaster-Acceptable-Guideline-Abiding SEOs to get our jobs done properly. And don’t even think about threatening website owners about removing links to your client websites. That’s just flat out wrong. [Read more...]

Use Google URL Removal Tool to Help with Google Penguin Recovery

Google has launched an improved URL removal tool that will make it easier to request updates based on changes on other people’s websites. But there is actually another use for this tool: it can be used to aid in a website’s Google Penguin Recovery if your site has been hit by Google Penguin.

google general url removal tool

Recovering from Google Penguin is not an easy task by any means. In fact, it takes a very highly skilled technical SEO with a lot of search engine optimization experience in order to recover from Google Penguin properly without doing long-term damage to a website’s search engine rankings. The Google Penguin recovery process requires that you remove the “low quality” and unnatural links to your website. However, that is actually a lot easier said then done. Some sites have over 100,000 links pointing to their site. How are you going to gather all of those links (not one single tool out there will tell you about all the links, so you have to use multiple tools)? How are you going to sort through all of them and decide which links must go, which links must stay, and do that efficiently? [Read more...]

Google Reconsideration Request: How to Get a Manual Penalty Lifted

If you have ever received a manual penalty from Google, then you most likely have received this message in Google Webmaster Tools that could be an unnatural link warning, similar to this one that my client received:

unnatural link warning

The message reads something like this:

Dear site owner or webmaster of http://www.XXXXXXXXXX.com/,

We’ve detected that some of your site’s pages may be using techniques that are outside Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.

Specifically, look for possibly artificial or unnatural links pointing to your site that could be intended to manipulate PageRank. Examples of unnatural linking could include buying links to pass PageRank or participating in link schemes.

We encourage you to make changes to your site so that it meets our quality guidelines. Once you’ve made these changes, please submit your site for reconsideration in Google’s search results.

If you find unnatural links to your site that you are unable to control or remove, please provide the details in your reconsideration request.

If you have any questions about how to resolve this issue, please see our Webmaster Help Forum for support.

Sincerely,

Google Search Quality Team

If you receive a warning like this, then you need to take it very seriously. Specifically, you need to look at ALL of the links pointing to your website, over the entire history of your site. I recommend MajesticSEO‘s historical links in order to see all the links that your site has, and combine that with the list of links from Google Webmaster Tools. Put that data into a spreadsheet.

Then, you need to go through the painstakingly time-consuming task of going through each and every link. Make a record of everything that you’re doing, so you can give this information to Google. Again, record it in a spreadsheet.

Contact the site owners of links that you want removed. As for links to be nofollowed if they bring you traffic but or paid or sponsored links, or are part of a guest post or advertorial.

Depending on the number of links that your site has, it could take days, weeks, or months to go through this process.

Whatever you do, though, you need to be very open and honest with Google. You need to tell them everything that you’ve done to get the unnatural links to your site removed. If there are links that you simply cannot get removed, then you’ll need to disavow those links. Make notes in the disavow file, as well.

Upload a copy of the spreadsheet that contains all of your notes to Google Drive (formerly Google Docs). Notate the URL of the spreadsheet and include that in your Google reconsideration request. I won’t go into the exact details of what you should include in a reconsideration request–because it needs to be customized for every website. But you need to tell Google what you did, the links that you think are unnatural, what you did to remove those specific links, when you contacted the site owners, and that you’ve changed your policies: you won’t engage in unnatural linking again.

Right now, depending on the amount of links you have and some other circumstances, once you file a reconsideration request with Google it is taking anywhere from 5 days to 15 days or so before you hear back from Google. My experience has been that it will take 5 days if you still have unnatural links pointing to your website: Google can spot those pretty quickly and tell you that you’re still in violation of their Google Webmaster Guidelines.

Once you’re manual penalty is listed or “revoked” by Google, you’ll receive a message in Google Webmaster Tools notifying you of their action. It will look something like this:

google manual spam action revoked

Reconsideration request for http://www.XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX.com/: Manual spam action revoked
September 23, 2013

We received a reconsideration request from a site owner for http://www.XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX.com/.

Previously the webspam team had taken action on your site because we believed it violated our quality guidelines. After reviewing your reconsideration request, we have revoked this action.

You can use the Manual Actions page in Webmaster Tools to view actions currently applied to your site. It may take some time before recent updates to your site’s status are reflected on this page and in our search results.

Of course, there may be other issues with your site that could affect its ranking. Google determines the order of search results using a series of computer programs known as algorithms. We make hundreds of changes to our search algorithms each year, and we employ more than 200 different signals when ranking pages. As our algorithms change and as the web (including your site) changes, some fluctuation in ranking will happen from time to time as we make updates to present the best results to our users.

If your site continues to have trouble in our search results, please see our Help Center for help with diagnosing the issue.

Thank you for helping us to maintain the quality of search results for our users.

You see, if you do everything right, and you truly identify all of the links pointing to your website and you get those links removed and disavowed, your manual penalty from Google will get revoked. But it takes time, a lot of hard work, and someone who knows that they’re doing. And remember, having a manual penalty from Google (one where you got a message like the one above) is completely different than having a Google Panda or Penguin Penalty. There are different ways to deal with a manual penalty (which can be much worse) than how you would deal with Google Panda or Google Penguin issues.

Does your site have a manual penalty from Google? Contact me and let’s discuss getting that manual penalty removed.

How Google Finds and Penalizes Advertorials

google unnnatural links webmatster-tools

No website owner wants to log into Google Webmaster Tools and see an unnatural link warning from Google. Yet it’s happening to more and more websites every day.

From what I am seeing, many of these unnatural link warnings and manual penalties from Google are a result of having participated in advertorials. Google wants links in advertorials to be tagged with the nofollow attribute and the FTC requires full disclosure. So how does Google find and penalize websites who have links from advertorials? If we understand this, as a website owner, you can make sure that your links will pass the “sniff test”, thus keeping yourself away from Google’s radar, which means that there is less of a chance that you will receive an unnatural link warning from Google.

First, a little background
Back in 2003, when Google was beginning to crack down on paid links, I had a conversation with Shari Thurow about how Google determined, in an automated fashion, whether a website contained paid links or not. In order for Google to “deal” with the thousands or tens of thousands of websites buying and selling paid links was a tremendous task. The only way that they could deal with it all was to use some sort of way to determine which pages contained paid links and which did not: in an automated fashion. Then, perhaps deal with those sites that they found.

Back then, it was a really interesting concept: Google looked at a web page as a whole, and breaks up that web page up into different “parts”. Kind of like several “blocks” or rectangles, so to speak. The likelihood of a list of paid links appearing on the sidebar (the left or right side) of a page, and even in the footer, was very good. Paid links very rarely appear in the navigation of a site, or even in the middle of the text on the page, the main content, within the middle of sentences (more on this later). Take a look at the example below. The likelihood of paid links appearing in the sections that I’ve highlighted in red below is a good example of this.

Search Engine Land Sponsored Links

I’m using Search Engine Land in the example above. There are clearly marked “sponsored” blocks of text (and ads) that are paid links. Although one of the sponsored ads appears in the middle of the page, it just happens to be marked “sponsored” and is next to more text link ads that are sponsored, as well (the ones of the right side). I would like to note that those text link ads do not appear to have the “nofollow” attribute on them.

If Google were looking at the web page (SE Land) today (which I am sure their system is doing), they could fairly easily identify which links are paid (sponsored) and which ones are not.

How Google Identifies Advertorials
Unfortunately, we do not have access to Google’s internal algorithm and how they are identifying issues on websites that they deem to be against their Google Webmaster Guidelines. One of these major issues that they’re dealing with right now (thus this blog post) is the subject of advertorials. Certainly I don’t have access to how they actually identify advertorials, but let’s examine the likelihood of how they do it.

What we know is that Google has to work in identifying advertorials into their algorithm–or one of the “checks” or “processes” that they run from time to time to deal with what I would call “advertorial spam”. It just simply is not “scaleable” to identify advertorials solely based on spam reports that they receive from users or manually review websites. So, what Google does is identify the typical “footprint” of advertorials across the board, and then narrow them down to a specific list of URLs that are most likely advertorials. At that point, how they deal with them is anyone’s guess. Whether or not Google has someone actually manually review those URLs and then decide to give the site that’s benefiting from the advertorial a manual link warning is also anyone’s guess. But my suspicion is that Google’s filter first identifies the sites and then someone works off a list of some sort.

So how could Google identify the footprint of advertorials? Luckily, I have personally dealt with manual link warnings by Google (this is something I specialize in), and have seen the actual URLs that Google has given us as examples: which were advertorials. So I know exactly what Google is identifying as an advertorial because they have given me specific URLs as examples. Keep in mind that Google has absolutely NO WAY to determine whether or not the website owner was paid or compensated in any way for the advertorial. But, nonetheless, Google hands out manual link warnings and manual penalties for these advertorials.

Based on my experience, these are tell-tale signs of advertorials: the kind of web pages that will get your website penalized in the Google search results, even if no money or compensation changed hands for the link on the page. Typically several of these signs indicate that it’s an advertorial:

- The web page contains an article, typically several paragraphs of text.
- The page has one outgoing link, towards the bottom of the page. If an article contains several paragraphs, it is not “natural” to only have one outgoing link at the bottom of the page. What IS natural is to link out a few times to trusted sites in the middle of the article, where the link is in the middle of a sentence.
- That one outgoing link is close to, or at the end of a promotional-type sentence. This is where it gets interesting. I believe that Google has the ability to identify copy that’s promotional in nature. Certainly phrases like “sponsored by” or “provided by” would be good candidates here. But, also something like “for more information, see X” would be a good candidate for indicating it’s an advertorial, as well.

There are other tell-tale signs that an article is an advertorial, and those signs may be a bit more difficult for Google to determine in an algorithmic or “filter” type of way. Once Google’s filter determines if there is the potential for a web page to be an advertorial, they problem look for more “signs”. They might even flag the page for manual review by a human, who would then decide if it’s an advertorial or not.

Typically, from all of the hundreds (thousands?) of advertorials I have personally reviewed in the past, many of them seem to have one common theme in common: the article presents a problem or identifies an “issue”. Then, at the end of the article, the “solution” to that problem is to go do business with another website. The articles have only one outgoing link, at the end, linking to the site (that would receive the unnatural link warning and the manual penalty by Google). In fact, this same common theme is the exact same “theme” or way many articles are presented via the article sites that got penalized so heavily by Google in the past few years.

Let’s take a look at, for example, the type of article that appears in Ezine Articles, a site that was heavily hit by Google’s algorithm recently. Generally, these are seen as “low quality” articles. One reason could be that all of the articles typically have only one outgoing link at the end of each article: which is the exact requirement of these article sites, and, just so happens to be the exact footprint of all of the advertorials that I am seeing that have received manual link warning (and manual link penalties) from Google that have required a reconsideration request.

ezinearticles
This is one of the articles that I wrote back around 2005 that has the same exact footprint of the types of advertorials that are being penalized by Google. And it has the same exact footprint of a “low quality article” that Google penalized during recent major Google updates. Notice that there are no internal links in the article–just one “nofollow” link and then a “do follow” link(s) at the end of the article.

So, there is really a footprint of articles that have been penalized by Google, and specifically these articles are the ones that are resulting in manual penalties by Google. The type of penalties that are not only low quality, but ones that will stop your entire website from losing all of its organic search engine rankings in Google.

This footprint, in fact, is virtually the same for articles that are deemed to be “low quality” than it is deemed to be an advertorial. Are low quality articles really the same as advertorials? It seems to be that way.

Let’s Define Advertorials
Let’s take a look at the actual definition of “advertorial”, according to Google’s own search results. You can search for this in Google to find it:

define:advertorial

The search result is interesting:

define advertorial

“1. a newspaper or magazine advertisement giving information about a product in the style of an editorial or objective journalistic article”, according to the Google search result.

I would actually like to add “website” to that definition, as it could be a newspaper, magazine, or magazine ad. For the purposes of website advertorials, and the fact that some websites or blogs could also be considered “newspapers” or “magazines”, then we should consider that the definition would change ever so slightly. But, what’s important to note is the “style of an editorial or objective journalistic article”. The actual definition does NOT include any reference to whether or not money or compensation (such as a service or merchandise received) in exchange for the article or link in the article. But again, the key here is “advertisement”.

When considering whether or not an article is truly a journalistic article or one that is essentially an advertisement for a particular product, service, or website, we have to ultimately look at the intent of the article. But we absolutely have to start with the way that Google is most likely identifying advertorials, which is using the several “signals” that I suggested above. If the article includes any of the signals that I’ve mentioned above, then you absolutely must reconsider your intent of the article (why it is being written in the first place).

Most articles can be edited and rewritten so that they are NOT advertorials or “low quality articles”. Include research in your article. Include links to trusted sites that tell the reader that they should trust what you’re saying. If they are confused about something or a reference you make, they can click on a link in the article and learn more.

Whatever you do, though, don’t write an article that only includes one outgoing link, to your preferred product, service, or website. That, my friend is an advertorial: and you risk getting penalized by Google or, even worse, given a manual link warning.

SEO Firm Offers Natural Link Building Services

There are so many companies out there that claim to offer natural link building services, which is an interesting type of service. Think about it for a minute. If your company offered something called “natural” link building services, then the links that you get to your website uh, well, would NOT be natural?

My definition of a natural link is one that you did not obtain by asking someone for a link–and you did not obtain that link because you hired an SEO firm to build those links for you.

This is exactly why I continue to be a strong believer in the Link Earning type of linking or link building service rather than “link building”. It’s a strong focus on the actual content: and using social media to get your content noticed. It’s then when you will truly obtain “natural” links.

I just had to laugh when I got an unsolicited email from someone named “Shane” who calls himself a “business development executive”. I have so many problem with this email below it’s amazing. Not to mention the fact that it was sent unsolicited, and I would first consider it to be spam. But first, take a look at it:

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Shane Date: Tue, Aug 13, 2013 at 7:18 AM
Subject: Natural Link Building Services !!
To: Info@ XXXXXXXXXXX.com

Hi,
I am Shane Business Development Executive.

I was on your website and observed that you are an online service provider. I was just wondering if you would be interested in outsourcing your campaigns to us. We would be happy to execute the same for you on a white level basis.

Why choose us?

The answer is simple! We provide very UNIQUE link building service. It’s not the same as what most SEO companies do:

Top 20 Benefits of Our Service:

1. Securing “unidirectional” (One-way) or only-Incoming (non-reciprocal) links
2. Links with relevant “Keywords” in the Anchor Text
3. Links from industry-relevant pages.
4. Links from industry specific article pages
5. Links for your Website should not be through a “redirect” script
6. No JavaScript links
7. No links from “framed” pages
8. No “flash” embedded links
9. No paid or time-bound links
10. No email spam used to solicit links.
11. No links from “Link Farms”
12. No links from FFA (Free-For-All) link networks
13. No links from Pornographic, Casino, Viagra and other sites containing offensive content
14. Full data sheet of links created at the end of each month
15. Only relevant established links are counted in the final report
16. No links text nude
17. No “no-follow” links
18. No more than 75 outgoing links
19. No links from blog, directory, forum posting.
20. All the links will be Google cached and indexed pages.

However, all these benefits leads to one goal: “Increase in Sales”.
Let me know your views and I would be happy to provide further details.

Kind Regards,
Shane
Business Development Executive

First off, I would NEVER do business with someone who sent a spam email to an “info@” type of email address on my website. I just wouldn’t. But that’s just me.

I wouldn’t call myself a “Business Development Executive”. We all know that he’s a sales guy. Well, now a sales guy that’s a spammer. But I digress.

“I was on your website and observed that you are an online service provider”… Really? The site it was sent to is a local geo-type blog. Think “cityname + blog” type of keywords for this site. He never visited the site. That’s a lie. I don’t hire liars, either.

“It’s not the same as what most SEO companies do”… really? The problem is that all the SEO firms out there claim and do exactly what this guy is claiming. All of those statements, I would hope, are followed by just about any other SEO firm claiming to do link building nowadays. So, what exactly is unique about what Shane’s SEO firm does that no other SEO firm does? Well, uh, he never says!

Who builds links from FFA (Free For All) sites now anyway? That’s Sooooooo, 1998 link building I’m amazed that it’s even a tactic listed here.

One more thing. What the heck is “No links text nude”. I mean really, I didn’t know that links could be nude.

In a Post Google Penguin World, It is Still Okay to Link Out

In a post Google Penguin world, it is still okay (an natural) to link out to other websites. Here in June of 2013, I am horrified that I actually have to have this conversation with other website owners and bloggers. I mean, really. Why would it possibly hurt your search engine rankings if you linked out to a company’s website when you mention them in your blog post?

Linkout Out to Other Websites

Well, apparently there is a rumor going around. The rumor is that if you write an article or blog post and put it on your website, you should NOT (ever) link out to another company’s website–even if you mention them in the article. Supposedly Google will somehow mistaken your outgoing link for a paid link and penalize your website in the process. So, apparently the answer to all of this is to stop linking out to other websites.

What?!? When I heard this from a fellow blogger, the first thing I thought of was the fact that that is one of the most ridiculous rumors I have ever heard (and I’ve certainly heard a lot of them). But I can honestly say that with all of the information (and misinformation) out there about the Panda and Penguin Google Updates, I can see where people could get confused.

Let’s first start with this. At the Pubcon conference (yes I just linked out to another site), in April 2013, I gave the following presentation about Google Panda and Google Penguin. It’s important to understand the basics–what Panda and Penguin are about.

If you look at the following article (there again I linked out yet again and it won’t hurt my rankings), Guillaume Bouchard writes for Search Engine Watch and mentions the following about what constitutes a fishy link:

Outbound links using exact match anchor text from low quality sites (or penalized by Google), or from the same IP address

Well, that certainly could be confusing. He’s talking about LINKS THAT ARE POINTING TO YOUR SITE, not links that you have on your site pointing to other websites. What you don’t want is exact match anchor text links on low quality sites pointing to you. Get rid of those. Get them removed. Or disavow those links.

Remember, linking out to other web sites is natural and part of one of the core principles of the internet: other websites links to you and you link out to them. Want more proof? Here is what Web Page Mistakes has to say:

Providing Relevant Outbound Links is Good

Why is linking out good? Because as you write your article and make statements you should provide links to related and respected sources to backup your statements. This can be done by quoting a source and providing the link to the original article you quoted from (besides being good manners on the net).

Another way to provide relevant outgoing links is to provide a further reading or resources section at the end of your article.

Wait, what?!? Look at the sentence just before this quote. I linked out to another website, another web page that has all sorts of information to back up what I’m talking about. And, technically speaking, you probably came across this article because it ranks well in the Google search results. So, don’t be afraid to link out to other websites, especially when it is appropriate to do so.

You are not participating in a link scheme that Google will penalize you for if you link out to a company’s website when you mention that company in an article on your blog. That’s just insane to think that way.

In a post-Google Penguin world, yes, it is still okay to link out to other websites. In fact, if you don’t link out, it’s unnatural. That’s what might actually hurt your rankings.

Penalized or Banned in Google? Don’t Issue a Press Release Like IGXE Internet Gaming Exchange

If your website is banned in the Google search engine or if your website is penalized, then I don’t recommend writing and distributing a press release about it. IGXE the Internet Gaming Exchange, a company that specializes in selling MMORPG currencies, items, power leveling, and CD-keys, such as World of Warcraft gold, apparently got penalized in the Google search engine for buying links. As a result, instead of admitting that they did something wrong, they issued a press release telling others that they should not hire network marketing companies.

Here is some of the text from the press release that IGXE issued today. Essentially, they blamed someone else (network marketing companies) rather than themselves for getting penalized. They bought links, which is against Google’s acceptable Webmaster Guidelines. Google caught them, and penalized their website as a result.

igxe penalized google press release

WILMINGTON, Del., May 13, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — In January 2013, IGXE (www.igxe.com), one of the top in-game branding service websites specializing in MMORPG currencies, items, power leveling, and CD-keys, was punished by Google after IGXE took advantage of network marketing companies to improve its website ranking. When IGXE disappeared from the Google search engine, customers were left wondering why. Some even assumed that IGXE was closed. Others felt panic over their unused bonuses and vouchers. For this, the manager of IGXE marketing department, Vinson Hall, sought to assuage all concerns in an interview.

This punishment brought big losses to IGXE.com, as we lost lots of customers including our old customers. We learned a lesson. Vinson said that IGXE has already terminated its cooperation with network marketing companies. What’s more, bonuses or vouchers can still be used on IGXE. At any given time, IGXE will always protect its customers.

The whole premise for this press release (the reason behind it) is to blame some “network marketers” which I think honestly is a mistake. The problem mean “online marketers” or “internet marketers” rather than “network marketers”. The person who wrote the press release doesn’t appear to have a good command of the English language.

Rather than blaming some other company for your mistakes (buying links), then IGXE should only blame themselves. The company is ultimately responsible for all of their online marketing activities. If you choose to outsource your marketing efforts, then you must police those efforts and monitor everything that is being done.

There is absolutely no excuse for not knowing that you’re paying for links (which is against Google’s Webmaster Guidelines). There are plenty of tools available for you to check the links to your website, and even some like Majestic SEO will give you all the data about your own website for free (as long as you prove you’re the owner of you site).

So, what happened?

According to IGXE, in January 2013, IGXE received a notice from Google (most likely via a message from Google Webmaster Tools) stating that there were unnatural links pointing to their website. Google also at the time apparently either banned IGXE from the search results or they severely penalized the site. for what it’s worth, IGXE is back in the search results now for brand-related keyword phrases.

What is amazing to me is that IGXE’s CEO is blaming Google for all of this. The company’s CEO is doing everything they can to blame someone else for this loss of revenue and “reputation”, and they’re not blaming themselves for doing something that is so very clearly against the search engine’s guidelines. Here is what IGXE’s CEO had to say:

It influenced our reputation significantly. Even now, some customers think that IGXE is closed. Besides, Google’s punishment affected IGXE negatively. As far as we know, we have already lost 30 percent of our old customers. Although we tried many other ways to reduce the loss, we still lost the trust of customers. This cannot be calculated.

Apparently IGXE has lost a lot of money and a lot of traffic. It even “influenced their reputation”. And they’ve already lost 30 percent of their customer base. IGXE apparently took a big hit in rankings and traffic when they were “caught” by Google buying links to their website. They are apparently now cleaning up the links. But, based on my experience, the site may not fully recover.

What’s my advice, here? Don’t buy links. But if you’re going to buy links (or participate in link schemes that are against Google’s Webmaster Guidelines), don’t blame someone else for something that you did. Don’t blame the network marketers. Don’t blame the SEOs. Don’t blame the online marketers.

And whatever you do, don’t blame Zac, the “famous” SEO specialist:

Zac, the famous SEO specialist, said that there many ways to cheat SEO including hidden links, link spam, paid links, keyword stuffing, and more.

Who the heck is Zac?

It is Still Possible to Spam the Google Search Results

Breaking News: It is still possible to game the Google search results, even for commercial keyword phrases. In fact, you can even put up low-quality, low-content, spam web pages and get them to rank well in Google. Not only that, it is still possible, even when the Google Penguin and Google Panda have been in full force, to rank well with that low quality spam content and redirect visitors using a javascript redirect to another website.

Can you tell that I’m disturbed by this? Well, I am.

Let’s take a very specific example and take a look. It isn’t normal that someone in the SEO community comes out and gives concrete examples, so take a look while it lasts. Take a look at the page, take a look at the backlinks to the page, and take a look at the search results (currently showing up on the 2nd page of results) for a Google keyword search for “wholesale sunglasses”. A highly sought-after commercial keyword phrase.

wholesale sunglasses

You’ll need to click on the screen capture above in order to see the larger version. In this case, there are two sites ranking in the top 20 for “wholesale sunglasses” that are some of the worst spam sites I’ve seen in a while. Visitors are redirected via javascript to another web site, something that Google supposedly took care of about 10 years ago. It’s a classic spam tactic and does NOT belong in the search results.

Furthermore, let’s take a look at one of the sites, why it’s actually ranking, as we can learn a lot from this.

First, it appears that the person doing this hacked a legitimate web site and put a page of content on the site without the site owner’s permission. Or, they may have bought the site and put up the old content. I’m not sure in this case, because I have not actually called the business to see if they are still in business or not.

Secondly, the actual content (shown below) is pretty low-quality. As low-quality as it gets. It is on-topic, though:

My Kids Spending

In this case, it’s this page: http://www.mykidsspending.com/wholesalesunglasses48.html which is ranking. If you click on the search result, it’s going to redirect to another site. If you have javascript turned off in you browser, it shows the content. This is what I call “poor man’s cloaking” at its finest. If you’re to cloak, at least do the cloaking at the IP level by using “IP Delivery” or some other product/script that identified Google’s IPs and only serves up the content to Google. But I digress.

What’s driving the actual rankings to that mykiddspending.com web page? It’s the links.

mykidsspending-majestic-seo

Links from Unique Domains: 1455
Links total: 11,801

There are a lot of links from a lot of unique domain names. That’s exactly what Google is looking for now–a lot of diversity. But take a look at the anchor text. This is the most colorful link anchor text that I’ve seen in a long while. And I see a lot of web sites’ backlinks.

wholesale-sunglasses-anchor-text

So, we can definitely learn from this. Although the web sites (there are more than one ranking) are spamming and redirecting users to another site, and it appears that they’ve hacked other web sites in order to get the pages listed, the sites rank well. They rank well because of the diversity of links (lots of links from lots of unique domain names) as well as the diversity of anchor text links pointing to the site.