SEO Gets Ugly

First things first. Sorry I have not had time to blog recently. Long story short, I tried to make a full-blown consultancy website and unfortunately after a few different experiments, I gave up and decided to focus back here instead…AND…in terms of my SEO tactics, I’m taking the content road…which is the genesis of this article.

Get ready for a rant.

Everything I have been taught when working with SEO is “DO. NOT. SPAM”. Blog Spam, Forum Spam, all those links created to manipulate search engine metrics such as anchor text and inbound links, those based not on quality but on numbers. Great. Just read Google Webmaster Guidelines which, in a nutshell, says make links that offer a great user experience. For example, a link on a forum or blog post to relevant content that extends the discussion is just what search engines and web users are looking for.

But over the years, many spammers used this to build hundreds, even thousands of links which the knowledge that this would boost search engine rankings. So search engines and webmasters made rel=”nofollow”.

So the second thing I was taught was that if you still spammed with no user benefit in mind, Google would crush you.

Great. Everyone is reading from the same hymn sheet. So I decided to do some research.

I looked at some SEO providers in the Newcastle upon Tyne Area and did some poking and browsing through their backlink profile via Opensite Explorer. A few things came up.

  1. Huge Backlink profiles made from footer links,
  2. Very little in the way of shared content or natural links
  3. Masses of blog and forum spam. Loads of it.
  4. Concentrated anchor text

Now, I am not going to name the website that is #1 for SEO in Newcastle for legal and various other reasons, but I will rant nonetheless.

My evidence:

  1. Few natural links.

This company is an UK company for the English market, providing SEO services. So explain a blog link on this website:

classic blog spam

…with a comment saying “Thought I’d say that I like the post and your blog in general seems pretty good too, well written.” Useless! So general, and offers nothing to the actual body of the article and acts only as a anchor text link!

So the second thing I looked at was anchor text diversity, something which Google have said should be widespread, targeting a variety of keywords rather than focusing aggressively on just one (read Danny Goodwin’s article on post-penguin anchor text advise).

anchor text

Oh! And yet this is the number one website for this keyword on Google! 91% diversity!

I have met the webmaster of this site once before and he also told me about his link network of targeted websites which he uses to build quick links (worthless links I would note) for clients.

Now my point.

I totally understand that over the years, many webmasters have moved from White to Grey hat techniques, but using just a tiny bit of SEO savy, it is pretty obvious that this website has not built a clean, natural backlink profile which, in Post-Pengiun/Panda updates has been so brutally advocated.

Maybe I am wrong. So I tried these techniques for myself (on a different website) and after just 2 days, I received this email from a website visitor:


This was the post:

blog test

So, despite what Google says, spam still seems to carry some weight (Sorry Matt Cutts) but that is not to say that it is a good thing. I think now that more uses like Matt above are becoming much more skilled in how to evaluate what they see on the Internet and as such, they are beginning to see through the spam. I just hope that Google becomes more aware of these techniques and reflects website rankings based on quality like they preach.

As for me? Lesson learnt and now I am back to white hat SEO and Social Signals.

Sorry for the rant.


One thought on “SEO Gets Ugly

  1. Pingback: DuckDuckGo: Back from the Challenge | Kwai: An SEO Blog

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