Seek and destroy – Google’s battle with link networks
The Google search spam team was very busy last year, focusing their efforts on removing and devaluing a number of substantial link networks. Throughout the year Matt Cutts revealed that they have managed to bring down a number of substantial link networks. Every time that they succeed in bringing down a link network, it often results in thousands of link penalties and warnings.
Early at the start of 2013, Cutts published a video warning that Google was planning on increasing its efforts to bringing down link networks – it seems he was truthful to his word. Throughout the year they had major success in tackling a number of high profile link networks including Sape and Text Link Ads. However they didn’t rest on their laurels, going on to bring down another two networks, backlinks.com and Anglo Rank in December.
These latest networks both claimed to be ‘undetectable’ by Google in their marketing pitch to potential buyers. What’s clear from this is that Google’s detection methods are a lot more sophisticated than those setting up link buying networks and still poses a very risky strategy if you were planning on buying links as part of your SEO campaign. If you’re part of a link network that is discovered by Google, it’s very easy for them to then go and send out unnatural link warnings, or worse, hit sites with instant link penalties.
Google aren’t letting up the fight in 2014 either. At the tail end of January, Matt Cutts announced that they also brought down another, a French link network known as Buzzea. After the penalty, Buzzea released a statement saying that they felt they were unjustly targeted by Google, stating that all their links are natural – however they have advised their bloggers to nofollow all links found within their content immediately.
Matt Cutts has also announced that they are planning on going after more non-English speaking link networks and they recently brought down a German link network run by an agency. All these networks brought down over the last couple of months just goes to show the danger of using link buying as part of any SEO strategy.