Q&A With Google’s Matt Cutts On How To Use The Link Disavow Tool

disavow-links-featured It's been almost two weeks since Google launched its link disavowal tool. Some have been busy diving in and using it, but others have had more detailed questions about it. We've got some answers, from the head of Google's web spam team, Matt Cutts. Question: How do people know what links they should remove? Answer: When we're taking targeted action on some specific links, the emails that go out now include examples of bad links. We provide example links to guide sites that want to clean up the bad links. At the same time, we don't want to help bad actors learn how to spam better, wh [...]

Google Reminds Webmasters: Selling Links Can Lead To PageRank Penalty

pagerank-penalty Matt Cutts, Google's lead of search spam, wrote a blog post named "Why did our PageRank go down?" The post is a reminder to webmasters that selling links that pass PageRank can lead to a Google penalty. Back in October 2007, Google officially came out saying selling paid links can hurt your PageRank and then shortly after, Google dished out the PageRank penalties to many web sites, including some major newspaper web sites. Since then, Google added the terms to their webmaster guidelines and has done videos on the topic. Matt shared the email he sent to the publisher about why their [...]

Here’s A New Twist: Directories Now Charging NOT To Link

pay-here-featured For the past year, Google has been sending out link penalty notifications for unnatural links pointing to your web site. Those notifications kicked up a notch earlier this year and since then - especially with the Penguin update, webmasters and SEOs have been obsessed with link removals. Link Removal Fees: With this, there are many out there trying to capitalize on this fear. A reader sent us an example of a directory with a special landing page specifically designed to collect money from webmasters in order to remove links from their site. The site offers you to pay them and in exchange, th [...]

Not All Bad Links Hurt You, Google Ignores Links Also

Google doesn't always penalize you for bad links, they sometimes and very often, will ignore links completely that they find to be against their guidelines. Back in 2007, Google started penalizing sites for selling paid links and over the years they have penalized many sites for buying links. Recently, Google has stepped up their notifications of unnatural link warnings and with the Penguin update many webmasters have been obsessed with cleaning up their external link profiles. Ignoring Links But you need to know, not all links that may look bad or even be really bad actually harm your si [...]

Google’s Matt Cutts On Affiliate Links: We Handle Majority Of Them

The video about is from the SMX Advanced show in 2012 where Danny Sullivan asked Google's Matt Cutts about nofollowing affiliate links. Matt responded that although they handle the majority of affiliate links automatically, if you are at all worried, you should nofollow those links to be careful. Here is what Matt said, if you can't watch the video above: We handle the vast majority of affiliate stuff correctly because if it is a large enough affiliate network we know about it and we handle it on our side. Even though we handle I believe the vast majority of affiliate links app [...]

iAcquire: We’re Abandoning Paid Links

iacquire-logo Last week, iAcquire found itself accused of purchasing links for clients. Google seemed convinced, banning iAcquire from its index. Now, iAcquire says that it will no longer purchase links for new clients and will phase out paid links for existing customers and campaigns. "In certain cases, we have allowed finanical compensation to develop links, not as our only tool but one of them," said Joe Griffin, cofounder and partner with iAcquire, when I spoke with him earlier today. "Effectively immediately, we've removed that tool from our toolset. We've issued a company-wide memo and told everyo [...]

iAcquire Banned From Google After Link Buying Allegations

google-penalty-square The search marketing agency, iAcquire, that was allegedly responsible for buying links for clients was just banned from Google's search results. iAcquire was cited as the agency behind Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corporation's link buy request emails. For more on that see our story named What Can We Learn From The Latest Brand To Be Called Out For Paid Links? A site command search for [site:www.iacquire.com] returns no results. Here is a screen shot: iAcquire's robots.txt file and source code has no signs of them manually requesting to be deindexed from Google. So this seems [...]

What Can We Learn From The Latest Brand To Be Called Out For Paid Links?

links-danger-risk-featured Move over JC Penney. Another brand is getting attention over buying links, this time Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corporation. Today's news is less news and more a reminder of lessons that SEO companies, clients and publishers all need to keep in mind, to avoid trouble. Josh Davis drew attention to the DBCC situation in his post today, documenting how after receiving three link requests from the same person, he finally followed up, only to be pitched on placing a link from one of his articles to the DBCC site in return for $30 per month. What's Dun & Bradstreet -- the nearly 200 [...]

Did Google Drop 100+ Small Directories?

Yesterday I covered a WebmasterWorld thread where SEOs were complaining that Google has been removing tons of free web directories from their index. I conducted some random tests and did notice some of these free web directories not coming up in Google. Later in the day, Terry Van Horne began running larger tests on 500+ web directories and noticed as much as 16% or more are no longer showing up in Google. Based on his initial numbers, there are over a 100 web directories that are not indexed by Google. I do not know if these directories were ever listed in Google or removed recently d [...]

Google Sending Warnings About “Artificial” Or “Unnatural” Links

links-danger-risk-featured Have you recently gotten a warning from Google about having "artificial" or "unnatural" links pointing at your site? Google says this isn’t a fresh crackdown on link networks but rather a change from bad links being "silently distrusted" to being more vocal about this type of penalty. Warnings Issued Many people have reported getting messages from Google regarding link violations. If you scan the Google Webmaster Help forums, for instance, you will see many examples of these being posted. Here is how one reads: Dear site owner or webmaster of .... We've detected that some of your s [...]

Why A Diverse Link Profile Is More Critical Than Ever

I really hate reading articles where people say "I told you so" or blast someone's techniques, but the recent crackdown and deindexing of blog networks is a great lesson in what can happen if you rely on any one method in link building. I know people who run these types of networks and I know people who use them, and I also really, really hate to see anything bad happen, regardless of what I think about the techniques used. For the record, I don't see networks as being any worse than a lot of other tactics, so I'm writing this to illustrate a point, not to judge in any way. We work with [...]

Google Eliminates Another Link Network, BuildMyRank.com – Just One Of Several?

google-link-networks-featured The battle between Google and those trying to artificially manipulate its search results is an ongoing battle. Google on March 19th took down one of those blog/link networks named BuildMyRank.com. BuildMyRank.com confirmed Google has deindexed an "overwhelming majority" of their network as of March 19, 2012. The management of BuildMyRank.com has decided to immediately shut down their service and provide refunds to customers. BuildMyRank.com thought that Google would allow their network since they felt they provided "better quality service," which was a "bit different from other networks. [...]

Google Chrome’s Paid Link Penalty Now Lifted

google-chrome-penalty-free Google has lifted the 60-day paid link penalty Google Chrome was given the first week of January. Now if you search for [chrome], [browser] or similar searches, the Google Chrome landing page will once again show up on the first page of the search results. Here is a picture showing the page ranking in position number for on Google: As you may remember, right after the New Years, Google was caught running a sponsored post campaign for Chrome. After a day or so, Google's Matt Cutts applied a link penalty to the Google Chrome landing page for 60 days. Now, about days later, Googl [...]

Intervention & Rehab Time: How To Break The Paid Link Habit

So you have finally made the decision to get off of the paid links crack and go straight. Do you go cold turkey? Do you take this in stages? There are great questions and the ones I will take on in today's post. There are two major reasons why you should make this switch, one of which is more obvious than the other: 1. The search engines are gunning for you. The paid link does not add value to their algorithm. Links are not useful as a ranking factor if they aren't freely given as true endorsements. They just aren't. So they want to discount them. The impact of this is that once yo [...]

Google’s Sending Webmaster Notifications About Bad Links Pointing At Their Sites

google-webmaster-tools-featured In January 2011, Google began sending out more webmaster tool spam notifications including notifications that your site has been penalized because of selling links. Now there are reports that Google is notifying webmasters that they have bad links pointing to their web site, as opposed to bad links on their web site pointing outwards. Here is a sample of the email notification from Google: Dear site owner or webmaster of http://www.domain.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 [...]

What The Link Value Economy Hath Wrought

It's often said that paid links have created a false economy. As someone who has admittedly purchased links and contributed to that, I would definitely have to agree. I've caught loads of heck for buying links and there have been recent high-profile slaps for sites caught buying links, but what isn't often discussed is the role of the greedy webmaster in all of this. If webmasters didn't ask for money, we wouldn't buy links. If no one offered money though, webmasters wouldn't ask for it. It's the chicken or the egg, all over again. The recent Harvard porn links outing is just one of many [...]

90 Days Later, J.C. Penney Regains Its Google Rankings

jc-penney-featured J.C. Penney appears to be back in Google's good graces after a 90-day penalty that removed the retailer from appearing prominently in Google's search results for both short- and long-tail phrases. The company has regained first- and second-page rankings on a number of terms that were mentioned in a New York Times exposé of Penney's search rankings and the tactics used to get them -- tactics that violated Google's guidelines. Two recent reports offer visual evidence of J.C. Penney's return to Google's good graces: First, SEO Clarity says it's been tracking more than 2,000 JCP- [...]

New York Times Continues Paid Link Outing Stories, Looks At Online Flowers Industry

Over the weekend, the New York Times published a story called Trying to Game Google on "Mother’s Day Flowers". Yet more big companies got outed for buying links, but this time, Google didn't say the links had helped. The story covers how top web sites that rank for search terms related to online flowers sales also appear to have purchased links. The names large brands such as Teleflora, FTD, 1800Flowers.com and ProFlowers as doing this. The reporter sent a list of 6,000 links (apparently paid links, though this isn't clear) that these companies acquired over a month's time to Google. G [...]

Another Company Outed for Paid Links: Sequoia-Backed Milanoo

milanoo A story on TechCrunch today notes that a Sequoia-backed shopping site called Milanoo appears to be spamming Google with hoards of paid links that are helping them rank for things like [cheap dresses] and [evening gown]. They got news of the situation by way of a site called Digital Due Diligence that checked Milanoo's backlink profile and determined that "we couldn’t find a single inbound link that points to the page that isn’t spam or paid for". Sound familiar? This feels like deja vu except with the name J.C. Penney replaced with Milanoo. Both TechCrunch and Digital Due Diligence do [...]

Functionalism As A Link Building Approach

Functionalism is a concept that first intrigued me when I studied Anthropology in college, as I really responded to the idea that people do certain things for certain individual reasons that matter only to them, reasons that may seem crazy to outsiders, but that truly do make up a necessary part of someone's culture. It's one of those "not sure why I do this, but it works for me" kind of things. For example, I work from home a lot. I have peace and quiet and I get more done here than at the office. It's functional for me. It may irritate my staff, but hey, it works for me. Online market [...]

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