Understanding Google’s Latest Assault On Unnatural Links

google-war-links-featured Without much fanfare or publicity, Google quietly updated the Link Schemes/Unnatural Links document inside the Webmaster Tools section of their site last month. If not for the excellent work of Barry Schwartz, many of us would have missed it. (I have a page change tool app set up for that exact URL, and it didn't catch it for several days.) Since this news hit the mainstream linking/SEO community, there's been no shortage of reporting on the changes themselves, with nearly 6,000 results for the exact match search phrase "google updates link schemes." The Web is certainly a remarkable e [...]

Google: Links In Press Releases Should Use Nofollow Like Paid Links

news Friday we broke the news that Google updated their link schemes webmaster guidelines. Now that the dust has settled, I aimed at getting more clarification on what Google meant by the new example around keyword-rich anchor text links within articles or press releases. The specific line in the link schemes document is: Links with optimized anchor text in articles or press releases distributed on other sites. John Mueller, one of Google's lead Webmaster Trends Analyst, was kind enough to answer some of my questions around this documentation change in a video hangout. The questions from SEOs [...]

Google Warns Against Large-Scale Guest Posting, Advertorials & “Optimized Anchor Text” In Press Releases

Google logo Google has quietly updated the link schemes document under their Webmaster guidelines to add large-scale guest posting, advertorials and optimized anchor text in articles or press releases to the list of types of links that violate their guidelines. The new guideline examples that were added to this document include: Large-scale article marketing or guest posting campaigns with keyword-rich anchor text links Advertorials or native advertising where payment is received for articles that include links that pass PageRank Links with optimized anchor text in articles or press releases di [...]

Google: Guest Blogging For Links? You Better Nofollow Those Links

john-mueller-google-guest-links Marie Haynes spotted two video responses from Google where Google's John Mueller, said in general, it is best you nofollow links in stories you write, especially when those stories are guest blog posts for the purpose of link building. In general, that is Google's advice. If you link to something with the intent that it should help your Google rankings - then nofollow the link. If you write something without that intent and the link is really natural, then there is no reason to nofollow the link. Here are the video snippets from Google's John Mueller, start around 49:56 in: Generall [...]

The Problem With Identifying Problem Links

AG Risk Since the last Penguin update, there has been a lot of chatter about examining your link profile in order to identify bad links. Whether you've been hit by that update or your site remains unscathed (for now), the potential danger of "unnatural" links is top of mind. Many people who've never given a second thought to their link profiles are running backlink reports and trying to identify whether they stand a chance of being hit by a future update or manual penalty. However, if you've ever used a tool like Link Detox or LinkRisk (for the record, I do use both), you might have noticed somethi [...]

“Text Link Ads” Was Latest Hit By Google’s Actions Against Link Sellers

tla-logo On May 15th, we reported that Google targeted yet another link selling network that resulted in several thousand penalties. Google's head of search spam, Matt Cutts, has revealed which link network was the target via Twitter last week. The target was one of the oldest, and arguably the most prominent, link selling brokers on the Internet, Text Link Ads. Matt said, "you might have noticed a big drop in PageRank on thousands of TLA linkselling sites a couple weeks ago." Matt added that this specifically targeted "capital TLA." The Text Link Ads web site currently has a PageRank of 6 but ac [...]

Big Brand SEO & Penguin 2.0

Matt Lays Down The Law

Taking a broader look at Multinational SEO, though, throws up particular issues for the big brand sites out there, and I though that in light of the upcoming Penguin 2.0 update confirmed by Matt Cutts recently it would be useful to look at particular areas of concern for big site SEO and how to ensure you come out smiling when Google’s planned updates take effect.

Video: Google’s Matt Cutts On Advertorials & Webmaster Guidelines

google-penalty-square Google's head of search spam, Matt Cutts, posted a new video today on YouTube clarifying Google's stance on Advertorials and "native advertising." Advertorials are editorial-like content that is published because an advertiser has paid the publication to publish the story or the content. Recently, we covered a story on how a major U.K. floral company was penalized for using advertorials as a way to boost their Google search rankings in an artificial way. Google's Cutts wanted to make it clear that it is against Google's Webmaster Guidelines for webmasters and advertisers to use advertori [...]

Google Zaps Another Link Network, ‘Several Thousand’ Link Sellers Hit

google-link-networks-featured What a week it's been where Google and SEO are concerned. The company, via Matt Cutts, has issued several warnings about things to come -- and, late Tuesday night, also revealed that it's just acted against another link network. In a pair of tweets, Cutts -- the head of Google's webspam team -- said that Google has taken action against "several thousand" link sellers that were part of a link network that bought and sold links that pass PageRank. In addition to mattcutts.com/blog/what-to-e… it's safe to assume webspam will continue to tackle link networks that violate our guidelines as we [...]

More Proof Google Counts Press Release Links, Using Matt Cutts’s Own Blog

google-links-featured About six months ago, Google's head of search spam, Matt Cutts, made a comment in a Google forum thread that links within press releases won't "benefit your rankings." Since then, we showed one case where Google not only discovers the links within typical press releases but uses the anchor text for ranking purposes. Maybe it was one fluke, or maybe that particular case was not fair? In fact, Matt has said this numerous times that press release links don't count. The other day, Daniel Tan released another press release, this time on a smaller release site and added the anchor text "l [...]

Link Seller Linking To You? Google Says You Won’t Benefit From It.

google-matt-cutts-links-1364992271 Matt Cutts, Google's head of search spam, posted a 90-second video on what happens if a site that is selling links also links to your site. In short, Matt Cutts explains that when sites that sell links (with Google knowing about it) link to you, Google won't pass value from that link seller website. So, if a site that sells links is linking to you, it most likely won't hurt you. Matt said that the link will not benefit you and most likely will not hurt you. Matt explained: (1) Websites that sell links will see their toolbar PageRank downgraded by 30, 40 or 50%. (2) The site wil [...]

Google Penalized One Article On BBC’s Web Site

bbc Google did end commenting on why the BBC received an unnatural link notification despite offering us a "no comment" on our story this past Friday. Was the BBC penalized for unnatural links? Was it possible that the world's largest news organization was not trusted by Google's algorithms? The answer is, only one article was penalized. John Mueller, a Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google Switzerland, said in a Google Help thread: Looking into the details here, what happened was that we found unnatural links to an individual article, and took a granular action based on that. This is not nega [...]

Google Sends BBC News A Manual Link Penalty Notification

bbc Google has sent the world's largest broadcast news organization, BBC News, an unnatural link notification last Saturday. The Search Engine Roundtable reports Nick, a BBC News representative, posted in the Google Help Forums about the notification. Nick was seeking advice from Google or SEOs on how he may find those unnatural links so the BBC can remove them and submit a reconsideration request. Nick wrote: I am a representative of the BBC site and on Saturday we got a 'notice of detected unnatural links'. Given the BBC site is so huge, with so many independently run sub sections, wit [...]

Did Google Just Penalize Another Link Network? SAPE Links

google-link-networks-featured Unconfirmed reports are surfacing throughout the SEO community that Google has penalized yet another link network. The rumors within the industry are that the link network targeted by Google is named SAPE links. Webmasters who have used the SAPE link network are reporting that their sites have taken hard penalties within Google, resulting in a huge downgrade in ranking. Not all webmasters agree it is the SAPE link network but feel it may be a different network all together. There are forum thread discussions at Black Hat World and Black Hat Group that have webmasters and SEOs claimin [...]

Will Google Penalize Chromebooks, Google Analytics, AdWords & Google+ For Using Advertorials?

google-chrome-penalty-free A day after warning publishers against advertorials, will Google's search team now have to penalize parts of its own company for running advertorials? Perhaps, and if so, it wouldn't be the first time. It's also another absurd chapter in Google's war on paid links. Google Says: Advertorials, Beware! After news came out yesterday that Google had apparently penalized Interflora for running advertorials -- and also reduced the PageRank values of many UK newspapers that carried these -- Google finally blogged a general warning against such practices. From its post: Please be wary if some [...]

Google’s Cutts On How To Locate Unnatural Links Pointing To Your Web Site

google-links-featured Google's head of search spam, Matt Cutts, released a video today explaining how a webmaster can locate which links pointing to their website is "unnatural." As you know, Google has been sending unnatural link warnings to Webmasters for about a year now. Webmasters should act when they receive this email; they should remove the unnatural links. What happens if you really do not know which links pointing to your site are unnatural? Google's Matt Cutts gives you two ways to discover these links. (1) You can sort your links to your site within Webmaster Tools by most recent links. (2) [...]

Infographic: When Link Building Turns Into A Linkpocalypse

If you want to succeed with gaining search traffic through SEO, building links is one of the most important ranking factors that can help you. But go too far, and the search police might crack down on you. How do you avoid a disaster? To help, the folks at DNA created a "Link Apocalypse" infographic summarizing some recent missteps in building links and the consequences, including Google even punishing itself for buying paid links (click to enlarge it):     A note about the first example. iAcquire is called a "gray-hat" firm (well, the "grey-hat" spelling is used). It [...]

Links From Press Releases Do Have Ranking Benefit Despite What Google Says

links-featured A few weeks ago, Google's Matt Cutts posted in the Google forums that links from within press releases do not "benefit your rankings." I covered this tidbit of news at the Search Engine Roundtable and it got a lot of feedback from the community. Today, the SEO Consult blog posted a test showing how links from within press releases can indeed have a ranking benefit in Google. This was tested, ironically, on Matt Cutts blog, where SEO Consult issued a press release on PR.com with the anchor text "sreppleasers" pointing to Matt's blog. The press release was indexed by Google and shortly lat [...]

Will 2013 Bring A Paid Link Resurgence?

With Google rolling out frequent changes, the last couple of years have been alternately amazingly fun and freakishly terrifying for anyone who builds links or has links built. It should be clear by now that your site can be harmed by poor quality links, whether you bought them or got them for free, or heck, didn't even intentionally get them. I previously stated (in several places) that I thought negative SEO was more of a scare tactic than a reality but I've since changed my mind after witnessing it firsthand a few times. As much as some people like to think that links aren't as import [...]

Link Building Scam Alert: When Links Are Held Hostage

On November 1st I reached the 19 year mark as a content publicist/link builder. Nineteen years. I won't bore you with how we went after links back then by rubbing two sticks together and sending up smoke signals. Smoke signal spam was not a big problem yet. I poke fun at myself but at the same time there are a few things that longevity is quite good for. First, I have seen just about every linking scheme ever created, whether by clients eager to get my opinion of them, by seeing them in a backlink analyses, or by being the recipient of a spam email trying to sell them to me. Other advant [...]

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