Google May Have Penalized Another Major Link Network: Ghost Rank 2.0

google-link-networks-featuredGoogle has significantly penalized another underground link network over the weekend and we believe that one of the link networks targeted by Google is named Ghost Rank 2.0.

A few weeks ago, Matt Cutts, Google’s head of search spam, tweeted “Thinking of ghost-related puns for a spam network. “They try to look super natural, but using them will dampen your spirits.” Then I noticed a nice number of webmasters complaining about a weekend Google update.

From there, I received an anonymous tip from an SEO I trust in the industry that told me at least two link networks were significantly targeted by Google over this past weekend. Digging deeper, I spotted a forum thread at Black Hat World where the manager of the network has admitted to some of their clients being negatively impacted by the links in their network after Google took action this weekend.

Leith in the thread, who appears to be the manager of Ghost Rank 2.0, said, “unfortunately, it looks like you were one of the clients affected from the recent update.” Leith added, “Google is getting more strict with these russian links and that’s why we’re changing things up to better improve the service.”

I received a copy of an email from my source, not specifically confirming or denying this was related to the Ghost Rank 2.0 network, but telling me this came from an underground link network. The email said that Google specifically took actions they’ve never seen before, calling the action “more esoteric in nature” than the previous ones. Here is a copy of that email as a PNG file:


It seems from the complaints in the Black Hat World that a nice number of Ghost Rank 2.0 customers were impacted by some Google action has taken over the weekend.

Here is one of many complaints from a Ghost Rank 2.0 user:

This service wasn’t good at all. I was at 10th and now my site also is gone. Rank only increased to 8 for a few days. Poor me, I fell prey to the reviews. I am at 98th position now.

Google has taken action on underground link networks before. They did so with SAPE links back in March and has continuously targeted paid and link spam over the course of the past couple years.

Google would not comment on this story.

Related Stories:

Related Topics: Channel: SEO | Google: Penalties | Google: SEO | Link Building: General | Link Building: Paid Links | SEO: Spamming | 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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  • Karlosb

    no sympathy with any website that got hit with this! If you fall for such reviews then you are a fool!

  • Charles Floate

    Yeh, Leith is a pretty big target… He even used links from his own networks to point at his site. I mean c’mon man…
    Leith is a really well known link vendor on BHW and his SAPE tutorials are pretty freakin epic… That being said, in regards to the part you said Barry about Google targeting SAPE, I find it funny… Just because Cutts decided to tweet that they were going after a Russian network, everyone loses their minds and strays away from SAPE. IMO that’s a good thing, SAPE is super powerful and with over 650,000 sites I very much so doubt Google can stop it now… It’s grown into a powerhouse of a network and even with Googles technical advances, manpower and resources… To stop a network that has 1,000s of new sites added each week, is nyon impossible.

  • Chenzo

    Couldn’t agree with you more – still baffles me that people take part in the black hat side of things still.

  • Durant Imboden

    The e-mail says “There have been no penalties applied to any clients using our links as yet.” Is that a bug or a feature?

  • Durant Imboden

    The e-mail says “There have been no penalties applied to any clients using our links as yet.” Is that a bug or a feature?

  • Jason Dexter

    People looking to rank and bank will move from link network to link network and know their domains will burn at some point.

    Hitting just a portion of SAPE will be enough to stop people pointing them at client websites or their own local business website.

    So you’re right in that Google won’t stop it, but maybe that’s the idea. Not to stop it (because it can’t and they know it) but to hit it enough times to put people off it. Those making £XXXX won’t mind buying a few links from them. Those that don’t simply won’t risk it. Or chuck them at tier 2′s…

  • Charles Floate

    It’s always confused me why people think of using link networks for your Tier 1 links… If you have a juicy big client with a $5k/month budget, build up some micro-sites that look genuinely third party, fill them with really good content then point a couple SAPE links at each site…
    Bobs ya uncle, you’ve got some serious “link juice” (however much I dislike that word) flowing through from your tier 1s to your site and you’ll more than likely still get the same rankings as a rank and bank site.

  • suresh

    Looks even my website was penalized 1 month back. I do not know the reason, but instead of 20K per day visitor, it is now only 5K per day. Its strange on how such things can happen

  • Abdul Wahab

    Just Like that :-) My site also got around 40% drop in SE traffic and now it stopped at one place

  • Jitendra Vaswani


  • Ashish Ahuja

    I see last months update as giving more power to authority sites

  • Charles Floate

    Why? black hat still works very well, buying some BHW links of a vendor isn’t being a smart black hat though…
    Look at ViperChill’s article or my guest post on Matthew Woodward, black hat still rules the search engine rankings…

  • Your Living Body

    No sympathy. Not even a worthy story.

  • Meh

    Until a competitor orders links from these networks and points them at your site…

  • Abdul Wahab

    Authority sites already got more power and Google give them some free hand to some extent.

  • Abdul Wahab

    What was the reason????

  • Jitendra Vaswani

    They were into shady techniques of SEO i.e is spamming

  • Jitendra Vaswani

    Not every but some are affected

  • Abdul Wahab

    As far as my Site concerns. Its not being involve in any kind of shady techniques of SEO. Because i myself handling the whole campaign and unfortunately I am doing SEO from last 4 years.

  • Paul Rone-Clarke

    Yes – rank bank – take the hit. SAPE and other link types can rank URL’s for extremely competitive keywords and phrases in very quick time. Get an ROI of hundreds of times your investment per month. Bank for 5 or 6 months, then take the hit like a man. I stopped microniche building after BMR, but that was 2 years ago, and SAPE is even bigger (MUCH bigger) and only a tiny fraction has been outed by Google.
    Not good for authority long term site building, but for “rank and bank” microniches? These networks offer those in the know a great quick, simple and cheap way to make a ton of cash very quickly.

  • Foo

    What do webmaster expect when they are paying for links? Sooner or later Google is going to catch-up.

  • Karlosb

    As long as the website is authoritative enough, negative SEO doesn’t work. We’ve had in on a few of our clients’ websites, we noticed it quickly and got rid of it, no effect whatsoever.

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