Google Busts Yet Another Link Network: Anglo Rank

anglo-rankGoogle’s head of search spam, Matt Cutts, just confirmed on Twitter that Google has targeted another “private link network” – this one is named Anglo Rank.

Matt’s tweet was pretty direct, he wrote:

“There are absolutely NO footprints linking the websites together” Oh, Anglo Rank.

That is a quote directly from Anglo Rank’s marketing material, and a dig from Cutts suggesting that indeed, Google was able to spot sites in the network.

In response, Search Engine Land’s editor-in-chief Matt McGee suggested on Twitter that those in the network were likely to find that it was “torched.” Cutts responded by saying “messages can take a few days to show up in [Google Webmaster Tools], so timing of when to post can be tricky to predict.”

In other words — yes, Cutts confirmed that Anglo Rank was penalized, and that those involved with it were getting penalty notifications, and since those were finally starting to appear in Google Webmaster Tools, Cutts felt it was OK to finally go more public with a tweet.

Over the past year or so, Google has been going after link networks at greater speeds. Here are some of the reports we have on those stories over a year or so:

Cutts did say that Anglo Rank is not the only link network targeted in this effort. He responded to me that Google has “been rolling up a few” link networks in this specific target.

So if you get a message in Google Webmaster Tools about paid links in the next day or so, it may be related to this update.

Related Topics: Channel: SEO | Google: SEO | Link Building: Paid Links | Top News


About The Author: is Search Engine Land's News Editor and owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics. Barry's personal blog is named Cartoon Barry and he can be followed on Twitter here. For more background information on Barry, see his full bio over here.

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  • UK Tutoring Services – Cambodi

    Hooray! I think it is great news that the SEO landscape is getting a good clean up. About time.

  • Michael Martinez

    I’ll just sign up for some tutoring services myself, I think.

  • Scott McKirahan

    I honestly do not believe that this has anything to do with Google’s algorithm or team getting “smarter” at detecting footprints. I think they are just a little better at monitoring threads at places like Black Hat Forum. It’s a very small investment for them to join one of these networks and then work backwards through the links they get to see the pattern and all of the websites that are using them.

  • Chris Rempel

    Congrats on the big takedown, Google. I guess blackhatters will now be forced to use one of the other 5,000 networks out there…

  • Suzan

    So what he is meaning with the term Anglo Rank? The link network which is shown in the footprint of the sites?

  • Russell Hayes

    That’s probably exactly what they do. I would!

  • Durant Imboden

    Maybe Google should simply take a cue from Yandex, which (according to yesterday’s SEL story) will “cease attributing any ranking factor value to links for commercial queries in its Moscow regional results.”

  • Anton Ja


  • Adam

    The fact that Cutts keeps publicizing these network busts is pretty comical. Wasting resources on manually taking down networks is like individually killing single ants with a tweezer to kill an ant hill colony. Not to mention he gave the negative SEOer’s a great resource to down their competitors. This is not a win for Google in my opinion.

  • Durant Imboden

    I suspect that Google’s objective isn’t to play Whack-a-Mole with link networks, but to create uncertainty among the networks’ clients and among site owners who sell links.

  • Danail Donchev

    These are just websites form SAPE network in English, nothing more :)

  • Barry Schwartz

    I asked Google for their take on it, I got a no comment.

  • igl00

    public networks = BAN. thats obvious. get some brains people!

  • igl00

    public networks = BAN. thats obvious. get some brains people!

  • David Parker

    After reading the sales thread on BHW, It seems like ANGLO RANK Is not a network Itself, It is a service which resells links from various private networks with 1000s of sites.

    So not sure what you busted there ehhh? Next time do bit more research before posting matey:-)

  • atentat

    yandex is probably just lying.

  • Ankiit Gupta

    I think Matt is referring to Guest post networks and if he is serious, guest posting networks need to be alert. Anglo rank is a network that offers back links on different partner website and most of them are contextual guest post links.

  • Jatin Chhabra

    Great work Google. Would be great if they could kill link exchange program in same niche. Like Hotels using resource pages and performing link exchange with other hotels and ranking on money keywords.

  • Timothy W. Crane

    It is based on the fact that they are placing links on predominately English language websites and domains. Previous link networks were notorious for their use of ru and chinese domains. Pretty easy to see that these links have only value as backlinks and not human readable content to an English speaking webmaster with an online consumer target only slightly larger than their own metro location (at least in the language of choice).

  • Richard

    Agreed. It is like lawsuits against people who download pirated movies. You just need one or two high $ cases to convince millions that the risk is not worth it.

  • Josh Zehtabchi

    “They can’t even understand that Anglo Rank is not a “Network”. But a service which resells links from networks…” From the thread.

  • Josh Zehtabchi

    Bingo. Just like the FBI did in SilkRoad :P

  • Winston

    Well, except a devalued link network won’t work for negative SEO. Not much will unless the target site was already doing some link spamming.

  • Winston

    Sounds like Matt understated it then. By knocking out Anglo, perhaps those spam networks of 1000s of sites are also neutralized?
    Cutts measures his words carefully and tweets are too short to provide details for nit picking, so I wouldn’t be so smug & sure about the details.

  • Adam

    To the contrary…link networks are more alive than ever. The same people just rebuild the network with a different set of domains, using different methods this time around to hide footprints. It’s all money in vs money out for them. I’m sure there are plenty of people deterred from these “shakedowns” but these networks are more alive now than they were a couple years ago. I’m not saying I use these tactics, but I do think it’s silly when Google publicizes this when in reality they are doing more harm by giving the same spammers a blueprint for what NOT to do next time. I have plenty of contacts in this scene, and can assure you, what I’m writing is not conjecture. Google will always lose the war with spammers by taking them down manually, and not by algorithms. Especially when they publicize.

  • Durant Imboden

    Again, the point of whacking link networks isn’t to deter the people who run the networks, it’s to lower the comfort level of the networks’ clients and suppliers. In other words, it’s like discouraging prostitution by making the johns uncomfortable.

  • Corey Northcutt

    Whatever you want to call it. If it’s a private network of sites made for robots and not humans, it’s been incrementally targeted by Google’s anti-webspam efforts for more than a decade.

  • james

    I don’t think it would be a wise decision to completely discount links. If at all, Google should at least wait for few months to see the after effects on rankings in Yandex after it implements the new policy. Then Google would be in a better position to decide.

  • mwtrag

    About time? Google has been declaring war on links for years now. For some reason they haven’t figured out a way to not make links a huge part of their algorithm.

  • mwtrag

    About time? Google has been declaring war on links for years now. For some reason they haven’t figured out a way to not make links a huge part of their algorithm.

  • mwtrag

    absolutely correct. if you are advertising selling links it’s just a matter of time before someone from Google infiltrates the network

  • kamaldws

    I realy happy with this news.

  • Scott McKirahan

    Agreed. Google is conducting their own version of a sting operation. It’s no different than cops who bust Johns soliciting prostitution or drug users purchasing from an undercover cop. It has little effect on those selling illicit services but acts as a deterrent to those who are thinking of buying those services, which is really the group Google is after.

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