Recently Google has been sending mixed signals with their capability to penalize websites by virtue of their links.
Until buildmyrank.com’s network was deindexed and they were forced to close their doors.
But before anything else let us first define what is being de-indexed means and what is an unnatural link, because by this it would logically follow that perhaps creating spammy links towards your competitor will result to their being de-indexed.
Being de-indexed means that your website has violated Google’s terms of service (which by the way changes like the weather in iceland) resulting to being relegated to the dustbin of search (either disappearing from the search engine results pages or just plain panda slapped where all your rankings go to the 30th page of Google.
While an unnatural link may be referred to as the unusual growth of the number of incoming links to your website (say around 50,000 xrumer profile signature blast).
Now the ultimate question is, why did Google have to email those 700k webmasters from all over the world just to inform them that their site has unnatural links?
Are they really looking out for the welfare of the website? Because last I heard they automatically disabled my adsense before informing me that there was a problem.
Also the way their email was worded spells more of a threat rather than a sincere interest in helping the webmaster.
The most interesting part of the letter which I think one should be curious of is the last part where it says: “If you have any questions about how to resolve this issue, please see our Webmaster Help Forum for support.”
Now what is it in their forum that can help you when Google can’t even help itself determine where your links come from?
The scenario is riveting if not utterly (excuse the term) stupid. Google goes out de-indexing sites voted as a potential gamer of their algorithm to rank other websites and eventually (or perhaps) add it to their terms of service.
So ultimately the final question remains is Google going to penalize websites that has “unnatural looking links?”
Can you practically create thousands of spammy links overnight and pull your competitors ranking down?
I’ve always believed that it isn’t so.
Google can’t do that unless a handful say another 700k webmasters points to your website as a “Google Algorithm Gamer”
Because links whatever you call it might just get de-indexed but they are still literally links.
The question one should ask is whether those unnatural links created even count in Google’s algorithm, and in my experience even spammy looking blogs still has a potential to be spidered by Google.
Now going back to the issue of buildmyrank.com we must consider the fact that it is their networks that were de-indexed ergo the links created there wouldn’t matter. How they will revive those networks will be something worth studying, yet it goes to say that a link no matter how spammy it is, is still a link as long as its indexed.
But anyway this study seems too biased in favor of link-building let us hear what Google has to say about link-building:
Links intended to manipulate PageRank
Links to web spammers or bad neighborhoods on the web
Excessive reciprocal links or excessive link exchanging (“Link to me and I’ll link to you.”)
Buying or selling links that pass PageRank (source: HERE)
Simply put It just means basically that any link that you create breaks this rule!
Now, with that said, here is what Google gives us as the solution:
“The best way to create relevant links to yours is to create unique, relevant content that can quickly gain popularity in the Internet community. The more useful content you have, the greater the chances someone else will find that content valuable to their readers and link to it. Before making any single decision, you should ask yourself the question: Is this going to be beneficial for my page’s visitors?”
Now, if that is the only way and no active link building can be done, in a pure self regulating market, it simply means this:
The big guys with the biggest marketing budget win, the little guys will never have a chance.
How can they?
They have no way to actively promote their site to gain some momentum for other places to pickup their amazing content.
And if they do actively promote their site, they run the risk of being banned or removed from Google. (source: HERE)
But wait how about what Google says about Negative SEO?
What is negative SEO? Active link building to a competitor’s site to deliberately negatively influence their rankings.
Google have always followed the mantra of “no external link shall ever negatively affect your rankings in Google” (they also said in 2009 that over optimization of SEO would never negatively affect it as well but hey, times, they are a changin!)
The theory was (and used to be) how could an external link negatively affect a sites rankings when all a competitor needs to do is go out of their way to link bomb (in a very specific way, no I’m not telling you how) your site?
Well, to understand this, let’s take a look in their support area back towards the end of last year, where they said was part of their “guidelines”:
“Can competitors harm ranking?
There’s nothing a competitor can do to harm your ranking or have your site removed from our index. If you’re concerned about another site linking to yours, we suggest contacting the webmaster of the site in question. Google aggregates and organizes information published on the web; we don’t control the content of these pages.”
Then, in November, it got “slightly” modified… just a TINY fraction too:
“Can competitors harm ranking?
There’s ALMOST nothing a competitor can do to harm your ranking or have your site removed from our index. If you’re concerned about another site linking to yours, we suggest contacting the webmaster of the site in question. Google aggregates and organizes information published on the web; we don’t control the content of these pages.”
Wow, what a difference one word can make! So hang on, saying “almost nothing” means “can”, no matter which way you spin it.
Then on March 14th, they caved.
“Google works hard to prevent other webmasters from being able to harm your ranking or have your site removed from our index. If you’re concerned about another site linking to yours, we suggest contacting the webmaster of the site in question. Google aggregates and organizes information published on the web; we don’t control the content of these pages.”
In case you missed it, the key difference is in that first line:
From “nothing” to “almost nothing” to “perfect political answer” (source: HERE)
What can we learn from this?
Let me know your thoughts.
I would like to share a really good video by Sir Benj Arriola on Link Building