Blog Archives

Built Our Own Link Farms

We Built Our Own Link Farms – Really Bad SEO

A “webmaster” desperate for backlinks decided to build her own link farms for backlinks… No, I’m not talking about 3 or 5 years ago, this was recent, this year in fact. Worse yet, not only one link farm, an entire network of link farms.

“Old McSpammer had a farm, e-i-e-i-oh,
And on that farm he built some links, e-i-e-i-oh

With a backlink here, and a backlink there,
Here a link, there a link,
Everywhere a link, link…”  Video about link farming

Hasn’t the Webmaster Heard About Google Farmer, Panda, Penguin

Maybe because this is a South African webmaster, the news about Google Farmer, Panda and Penguin never reached this far…

Surely, everyone in the web industry knows link farms are useless these days as a source of backlinksBacklinks from link farms can even harm the site. Read the rest of this entry

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Helping Zillow and Trulia

Are You Helping Zillow and Trulia Outrank You

Are you helping Zillow and Trulia outrank you in Google SERP? Maybe you are, then again, maybe you’re not. An interesting article by realgeeks.com suggests these well-known real estate industry sites benefit from the links contained in the data widgets they provide for realtors in the USA.

Maybe you even thought you’d try to take advantage of their name recognition, and add one, two, or a few of their widgets to your site. Little did you know that by doing so, you are giving Zillow and Trulia more firepower to outrank your site.
It’s a brilliant scheme, really. Both Zillow and Trulia provide a full range of widgets for agents to use on their independent real estate sites.  Read more

On first glance the article makes sense, but is it the whole story?

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No Loss to Penguin

Google Penguin Had Zero Impact on My Sites

google penguin iconApril 24, 2012 and Google hits out against over-optimised sites with its Penguin algorithm. Penguin penalised websites with over optimised anchor text in incoming links – backlinks in other words.

The Penguin algorithm slipped past my attention until I read a tweet from Matt Cutts. I’m nearly obsessive about watching traffic stats for the sites in my portfolio; they get checked daily for activity of all types – traffic, attacks, broken links and so on, and I hadn’t seen any unusual traffic dips on April 24 or shortly after. If anything traffic  has increased to these websites since that time.

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Latest Links to Your Site

Google Webmaster Tools Latest Links to Site

Google Webmaster Tools Latest Links to Site iconLatest Links to your site; something new from Google Webmaster Tools. It’s been a while since Google added anything new to their webmaster tools collection, but this new information tool is a “goody”. Latest Links to your site is a downloadable file, in CSV or Google Docs format, providing the site owner with a list of discovered backlinks, sorted by date and date-stamped.

Find Trackback Spam

The first practical use that comes to mind for Webmaster Tools Latest Links is to check for trackback spam. Trackback spam is a black-hat SEO technique to get you to publish trackbacks. The spammer sends a trackback to a post on your blog, hoping it will be published automatically, or approved if comments approval is required. But the black-hat doesn’t actually publish a link to the post – it’s a scam. And being friendly WordPress.com bloggers many of us see a trackback and think, “how nice, someone has given me a backlink, let me reciprocate”.

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2753 Spam Comments in Two Weeks

The Heavily Spammed Article

spambot graphic imageThree spambots tried to leave 2753 spam comments on a single article in two weeks. I’m pleased to say none were succesful – all blocked by Drupal CAPTCHA. The article receiving this unwanted attention is about the use of website backlinks “Backlinks for Results“. I would take an educated guess at the subject matter of these spammers’ efforts – Black Hat SEO services!

That adds to the tally of around fifty other spam comments blocked most days of the week… I for one am very thankful for CAPTCHA challenges. These annoying, much hated image and text field challenges save a lot of time, and time is money…

Spambots are an evil of the net today, there’s no getting away from them, and the better a site performs in Google SERP, and the more visitors a site gets, the more spammers, both bots and human, will try to leave backlinks in rubbish comments hoping for that elusive “followed” backlink or just the traffic from readers clicks.

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Website Disabled – Too Many Backlinks

Website Disabled Because of Too Many Backlinks

Too Many BacklinksThis search term led to my blog this morning. The full term used was “disabled my website because I make too many backlinks”, leading to my post Too Many Backlinks Bad News. No idea where the website referred to was hosted, but a semi-educated guess would suggest WordPress.com or similar service, nor what sort of “too many backlinks” the searcher had created. A further educated guess would suggest these were to products for sale, or so many had been posted the site was considered a link-farm, contravening the terms and conditions of use of whatever platform the author used.

All blog providers and website hosting services have terms and conditions of service; most of them will not permit link farming or spamming!

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Trackback Spam

A Rising Trend – Trackback or Pingback Spam

What is Trackback Spam? Trackback spam is a way for spammers to garner backlinks from your posts to their website. I categorise trackback spam into several groups. Firstly, false trackback spam. Then we find the obscured related article link. Finally mass trackback spam.

False Trackback Spam

trackback spam diagram
Image from Rice University – Computer Security Lab

This is the most insidious, and unethical of the three groups. False trackback spam is when a spammer creates a list of related article links, publishes the post, so a ping is sent to your blog resulting in a trackback (or pingback) that the spammer hopes will get published, either automatically if moderation is not in place, or by a blogger thinking, “how nice of this person to link to my post”.

After the ping has been sent, the spammer then REMOVES the links to your article… This is a trackback spam method I see more often lately.

Obscured Links

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Do You Post Effective Comments

Or are Your Comments Trashed?

Posting comments on other blogs is one of the things bloggers do; some post a lot of comments, others only occasionally. Whichever group you fall into, do you post effective comments?

What are Effective Comments?

Blog commentsEffective comments fall into several main groups:
1) Effective Comments get your own post referred to (from a link you place in the comment).
2) Comments generating discussion or further interest.
3) Comments that add value to the article

But most importantly, EFFECTIVE COMMENTS are comments that get published! Unless your comment gets published, it’s a waste of time writing it… So how can you improve your published comment rate?

Ethical Comments Get Published

By ethical I mean comments that are not spam. Most bloggers hate spam comments, and anything ‘spammy’ in nature is likely to get trashed. Following a few simple guidelines will improve the publishing rate of your comments: Read the rest of this entry

SEO Friendly Website Links

Creating SEO Friendly Outgoing Links

Many WordPress.com bloggers have other blogs and websites, and would like to have these links displayed on their plug. There are several ways to do this; the easiest is using one of the menu or blogroll widgets in a sidebar or footer

Custom Link Widget

Custom Link Widget

Many don’t realise however that having outgoing links from every page of your blog (or any website for that matter) reduces the value of these links to other sites. Google (and other search engines) do not like to see outgoing links to the same site from every page of a site or blog, and downgrade the link value. I previously mentioned having too many backlinks (Too Many Backlinks are Bad News) from a single domain being seen by Google Panda (Farmer update and 2.5) as possible  link farming.

Outgoing links also bleed page ranking from the blog or site pages, so we need to “nofollow” these links stop this loss of value to our pages. In fact, as I mentioned in Fix the Panda we should “nofollow” all outgoing links apart from those we want to let search engines know are important – in other words those pages we want to transfer page ranking to.

Creating a Search Engine Friendly Footer Blogroll

Custom RSS menu widget

Custom RSS Links Widget

As an alternative to using a pre-configured menu or blogroll widget, Bloggers can use a Text Widget with a bit of simple HTML to create a neat, compact list of friendly websites to display on every page of their blog (or website) This works perfectly on for WordPress.com blogs – the footer of this blog contains some of these widgets, one for my other websites, and one for a list of my RSS feeds, and possibly another for a list of sites I find interesting.

All these links have been “nofollowed” to prevent leaching away page rank, and preventing Google considering these as spam or farming…

Here’s how to do it:

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Missing Images

Image Links Broken?

Broken LinksAnyone who has linked to images on graphicline.co.za, as well as all sub-domains, may notice these are no longer displaying on their website or blog.

We at Graphicline do not mind you using and sharing our images (apart from company logos and a few copyrighted images). We have simply blocked external linking to images (HotLink Protect and Leach Protect) on our server to reduce server load.

Please download the image(s) used and upload them to your own server!

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