You can’t escape from Google-Jail when …

spammers stuck in google jail… you’ve boosted your business Web site’s rankings with shitloads of crappy links. The 11th SEO commandment: Don’t promote your white hat sites with black hat link building methods! It may work for a while, but once you find your butt in Google-jail, there’s no way out. Not even a reconsideration request can help because you can’t provide its prerequisites.

When you’re caught eventually –penalized for tons of stinky links– and have to file a reinclusion request, Google wants you to remove all the shady links you’ve spread on the Web before they lift your penalty. Here is an example, well documented in a Google Groups thread started by a penalized site owner with official statements from Matt Cutts and John Müller from Google.

The site in question, a small family business from the UK, has used more or less every tactic from a lazy link builder’s textbook to create 40,000+ inbound links. Sponsored WordPress themes, paid links, comment spam, artificial link exchanges and whatnot.

Most sites that carry these links are in no way related to the penalized site, which deals with modern teak garden furniture and home furniture sets, for example porn galleries, Web designers, US city guides, obscure oriental blogs, job boards, or cat masturbation guides. (Don’t get me wrong. Of course not every link has to be topically related. Every link from a trusted page can pass PageRank, and can improve crawling, indexing, and so on.)

Google has absolutely no problem with unrelated links, unless a site’s link profile consists of way too many spammy and/or unrelated links. That does not mean that spreading a gazillion low-life links pointing to a competitor will get this site penalized or even banned. Negative SEO is not that simple. For an innocent site Google just ignores spammy inbound links, but most probably flags it for further investigations, both manually as well as algorithmically.

If on the other hand Google finds evidence that a site is actively involved in link monkey business of any kind, that’s a completely different story. Such evidence could be massively linking out to spammy places, hosting reciprocal links pages or FFA directories, unskillful (manual|automated) comment spam, signature links and mentions at places that trade links, textual contents made for (paid) link campaigns when reused too often, buying links from trackable services, (link request emails forwarded via) paid-link/spam reports, and so on.

Below is the “how to file a successful reconsideration request when your sins include link spam” from Googlers.

Matt Cutts:

The recommendation from your SEO guy led you directly into a pretty high-risk area; I doubt you really want pages like (NSAW) having sponsored links to your furniture site anyway. It’s definitely possible to extricate your site, but I would make an effort to contact the sites with your sponsored links and request that they remove the links, and then do a reconsideration request. Maybe in the text of your reconsideration request, I’d include a pointer to this thread as well.

John Müller:

You may want to consider what you can do to help clean up similar [=spammy] links on other people’s sites. Blogs and newspaper sites such as http://media.www.dailypennsylvanian.com sometimes receive short comments such as “dont agree”, apparently only for a link back to a site. These comments often use keywords from that site instead of a user name, perhaps “tree bench” for a furniture site or “sexy shoes” for a footwear site. If this kind of behavior might have taken place for your site, you may want to work on rectifying it and include some information on it in your reconsideration request. Given your situation, the person considering your reconsideration request might be curious about links like that.

Translation: We’ll ignore your weekly reconsideration requests unless you’ve removed all artificial links pointing to your site. You’re stuck in Google’s dungeon because they’ve thrown away the keys.

I’d guess that for a site that has filed a reinclusion request stating the site was involved in some sort of link monkey business, Google applies a more strict policy than with a site that was attacked by negative SEO methods. I highly doubt that when caught red-handed a lame excuse like “I didn’t create those links” is a tactic I could recommend, because Googlers hate it when an applicant lies in a reinclusion request.

Once caught and penalized, the “since when do inbound links count as negative votes” argument doesn’t apply. It’s quite clear that removing the traces (admitted as well as not admitted shady links) is a prerequisite for a penalty lift. And that even though Google has already discounted these links. That’s the same as with penalized doorway pages. Redirecting doorways to legit landing pages doesn’t count, Google wants to see a 410-Gone HTTP response code (or at least a 404) before they un-penalize a site.

I doubt that’s common knowledge to folks who promote their white hat sites with black hat methods. Getting links wiped out at places that didn’t check the intention of inserted links in the first place is a royal PITA, in other words, it’s impossible to get all shady links removed once you find your butt in Google-jail. That’s extremely uncomfortable for site owners who fell for questionable forum advice or hired a promotional service (no, I don’t call such assclowns SEOs) applying shady marketing methods without a clear and written warning that those are extremely risky, fully explained and signed by the client.

Maybe in some cases Google will un-penalize a great site although not all link spam was wiped out. However, the costs and efforts of preparing a successful resonsideration request are immense, not to speak of the massive loss of traffic and income.

As Barry mentioned, the thread linked above might be interesting for folks keen on an official confirmation that Google -60 penalties exist. I’d say such SERP penalties (aka red & yellow cards) aren’t exactly new, and it plays no role to which position a site penalized for guideline violations gets downranked. When I’ve lost a top spot for gaming Google, that’s kismet. I’m not interested in figuring out that 20k spammy links get me a -30 penalty, 40k shady links result in a -60 penalty, and 100k unnatural links qualify me for the famous -950 bashing (the numbers are made up of course). If I’d spam, then I’d just move on because I’d have already launched enough other projects to compensate the losses.

PS: While I was typing, Barry Schwartz posted his Google-Jail story at SE Roundtable.



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45 Comments to "You can't escape from Google-Jail when ..."

  1. JLH on 27 February, 2008  #link

    I’m not convinced that they need to wipe out all the spammy links, but I am quite sure that in order to gain trust in the site back that the person filling out the reconsideration request must at least admit to all shady practices that lead to the links. Removal would be nearly impossible in most cases due to sites being abandoned, no contact details, etc.

    Once a human review has been initiated they must look much deeper at the on-site issues as well as all off site factors. Though off site spammy links may not be enough to get a site in trouble, they surely must be accounted for when getting the site reconsidered.

    I think what I take most from this example is that there is a very human element to the reconsideration request. Though algorithimicaly external spammy links may not be enough to penalize a site, when an actual person is looking at it they get to use their intuition and gut feeling in judging the honesty of the submitter. The reinclussion request is as much about reestablishing your trusted relationship with Google as it is about fixing the on-site spam issues. Out of the box Google could discount the site wider paid footer links and be done, but yet they want the site owner to admit to their wrong doings before releasing the site back into the wild again.

    To me the big story is that JohnMu and Matt Cutts let us all in on a little of their thinking when reconsidering a site which is a valuable lesson for anyone trying to help sites get back in the good graces with Google. Sometimes it goes beyond the technical aspects of following the webmaster guidelines.

    My recommendation to anyone filing is reconsideration request is to include the technical details, such as I did A which is a violation of guideline X, but also include the other salient details of why, what inspired those actions, a promise to not do it again. Write the request not as a technical article but as a reconciliation with ALL the details as leaving out any would only lead to them mistrusting the site even more. I mentioned the other day that it’s like your girl dumped you for cheating on you, yet she’s giving you another chance. She has all the information, you’ve been caught red handed, but you’d better admit to all of your indiscretions. If you fail to mention the night at the hotel out of town when admitting guilt, and she knows about, she surely isn’t going to accept that you are being truthful now. Same with Google, if you admit to the link exchange pages on the site, but fail to mention the 8000 spam comments on hundreds of site with keyword stuffed anchor text you put out there, they aren’t going to trust you again.

  2. Sebastian on 27 February, 2008  #link

    Awesome analysis John, and spot on. I’m quite sure that Google will continue to apply common sense and be nice to great sites that document their efforts to remove the traces of their shady activities. They aren’t too severe or even cruel masters, and they do know that it’s impossible to wipe out everything. Also, when the applicant blames an external source of all evil that’s going to help too.

  3. Jeff on 27 February, 2008  #link

    So a competitor could set up a bunch of spammy links pointing to your site and do some serious damage? This seems like a real problem, if this is how google is handling the situation. When I look at some of the links I have for my site I just scratch my head and say “what the?? Where did that come from??” Some spammy stuff in there, that I had no part in getting.

  4. Melanie Phung on 27 February, 2008  #link

    I think the important lesson is not to mix black hat tactics with white hat sites. Not that black hat tactics don’t work ;)

  5. Sebastian on 27 February, 2008  #link

    Jeff, that’s not the way it works. If you don’t make use of black hat tactics yourself, Google usually ignores your spammy inbound links. They just don’t carry any weight.

  6. Sebastian on 27 February, 2008  #link

    Exactly, Melanie. :)

  7. Kimota on 27 February, 2008  #link

    Just a clarification…

    Does including your site link in your forum signature (for example) count as a spammy link? I often use it in my sig when operating on relevant forums and have seen it advised as a legitimate tactic for link building. White hat or black hat?

  8. Sebastian on 27 February, 2008  #link

    Jonathan, signature links are perfectly legit, as long as you don’t post me-toos only. Of course I wouldn’t use a siglink when I post in a DP link exchange thread, respectively my signature would point to Google’s quality guidelines or Matt’s blog. ;) Bear in mind that forum links aren’t exactly strong signals, use them within the mix, but not exclusively.

  9. Colin Cochrane on 27 February, 2008  #link

    Great post Sebastian, as well as a great follow up comment by John.

    “My recommendation to anyone filing is reconsideration request is to include the technical details, such as I did A which is a violation of guideline X, but also include the other salient details of why, what inspired those actions, a promise to not do it again. Write the request not as a technical article but as a reconciliation with ALL the details as leaving out any would only lead to them mistrusting the site even more. I mentioned the other day that it’s like your girl dumped you for cheating on you, yet she’s giving you another chance. She has all the information, you’ve been caught red handed, but you’d better admit to all of your indiscretions. If you fail to mention the night at the hotel out of town when admitting guilt, and she knows about, she surely isn’t going to accept that you are being truthful now. Same with Google, if you admit to the link exchange pages on the site, but fail to mention the 8000 spam comments on hundreds of site with keyword stuffed anchor text you put out there, they aren’t going to trust you again.”

    Well put!

  10. SearchCap: The Day In Search, February 27, 2008…

    Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web…….

  11. Andy Beard on 27 February, 2008  #link

    That was a fun read

    It will be interesting to see if in the future Google will discount all offsite footer links and what that might do to Wordpress.com, Ebay etc

    Not going to point out any lesser sites

    The comment links stuff intrigues me as I allow people to use anchor text if their site is about them and are not search spam - I feel that adds relevance.

    I wonder how that will affect my reconsideration request, though I don’t to my knowledge have any ranking problems.

    Now if you don’t mind, I have some newspaper sites to go and comment on ;) j/k

  12. Jeremy on 28 February, 2008  #link

    I’m looking for a clarification here-

    If I do comment-posting with my name and will give the URL in the related tab [as I did in this comment], Should it also considered as spamming or not?

    According to the concept, I’m not promoting it on a keyword but yes, I’m getting backlink from that high pagerank site. In anyways, it’ll give value to my website. What do you think guys, waiting for your reply….

  13. Sebastian on 28 February, 2008  #link

    Thanks Andy. :) A few somewhat legit footer links and such won’t harm IMO, as long as there are enough strong editorial links. Sometimes I’ve the feeling that the engines count a gazillion of ROS/footer links as one vote. Not that I’d be offended by WordPress or eBay footer links. ;) I’m quite sure that the links you’ve released in your comments don’t hurt, as long as not too many point to places that Google dislikes. AFAIK you didn’t use the link building tactic mentioned by John Müller, at least I never saw a hollow comment of yours with a spammy anchor text pointing to your blog. I hope your reconsideration request will boost your toolbar PR, it can’t accomplish more IMO. Best of luck! :)

  14. Sebastian on 28 February, 2008  #link

    Jeremy, comment when you’ve something useful to contribute, and feel free to put your URI in the comment author field. If you’ve a good link elaborating what you’ve said in your comment, drop it in the message body. The blogger can remove it, or nofollow it, or whatever. As long as you don’t spread canned garbage or mee-toos, you shouldn’t offend anybody, not even search engines. However, link to unique and original content, not to reprinted stuff.

  15. Jeremy on 28 February, 2008  #link

    This will be same if I use my targeted keyword instead of my name in the name field.

    The summary of the story that if you’ve right comment OR something interesting to say in the comments field that no matter, whether you’re using your name or targeted keywords but if you’re doing for spamming purpose then whether you use your name or keyword, both will be spam.

    I hope I’m on right track….

  16. Jaan Kanellis on 28 February, 2008  #link

    So I dont really see an answer here…can competitors start link campaigns to get your website banned or in trouble? I have always thought NOOO, but seeing posts from Google Groups like this lead me to believe it is YEEEES. How does Google know the intention here??? What if the person did not place all these links on these porn websites? Would they still be penalized?

  17. James on 28 February, 2008  #link

    I really cant imagine that Google would penalise a site based purely on its incoming links. Surely this would create a whole new industry of selling links to penalise competitors?

    Also as Andy pointed out, if they did start doing this then some pretty big sites should fall under this penalty?

    Obviously Google can and does reduce the effect of links and a site relying completely on one type of link building technique would suffer a big drop in rankings.

    The site in question also had issues with reciprocal linking and spammy links within their forum. I personally think they would be the causes for any penalty rather than incoming links.

    So if you are going to use things like comment spam as a link building technique its probably best to mix it up with other techniques so when Google kills the influence of them links your site doesnt vanish from the SERPs.

  18. Dr. Pete on 28 February, 2008  #link

    It’s hard for me to feel sorry for someone who’s left a trail of thousands of spammy links, but this is a really interesting review of the consequences of a misguided SEO campaign.

    I’ve got to believe that, for some of these folks, there comes a time where you just find a new domain, 301 what’s salvageable, and start with a clean slate.

  19. […] or when your competitor has been naughty himself, I think that it’s possible to do some serious damage. In all other cases, you probably would have to invest a lot of time if you really want to hurt […]

  20. Sebastian on 29 February, 2008  #link

    Jaan, as I said in the article, negative SEO isn’t that simple. It’s not impossible, but just throwing a bazillion of stinky links to a competitor without other negative signals shouldn’t do the trick. Of course a skilled SEO can produce other signals too, for example outgoing links to places that are obviously spammy to Google’s algos, but not that easy to spot as linkspam by humans, and later on inserting “reciprocal” links there. Easy to do when the targeted site has a blog or forum, but not impossible otherwise. Also, not fully SEOed sites that e.g. lack proper URL canonicalization are vulnerable to negative SEO in general. It’s interesting that Google has removed the “There’s almost nothing a competitor can do to harm your ranking or have your site removed from our index” statement from the help system (404s now, but still avail here), but I wouldn’t interpret that as “we tolerate negative SEO now“. I’d interpret it as a signal to SEOs telling “don’t think that spammy inbound links are safe, at least not forever”, and maybe even “you guys are smart too, currently there are a few negative SEO tactics we’re struggling on, but don’t halloo till you’re out of the wood!”. To answer your question, IMO it could happen that an “innocent” site gets flagged or even penalized for shady promotional tactics, but in this case a reconsideration request should succeed.

  21. Sebastian on 29 February, 2008  #link

    James, Google looks at a bigger picture. They don’t penalize a site for one single sin after the other. Spam filters don’t work this way, and especially not manual reviews. In the teak furniture example that became pretty clear, because the site itself provided enough evidence, e.g. spammy (reciprocal) outgoing links and such stuff. In other cases it’s not that obvious, but even a weak signal like a link to WordPress themes sponsored by the site in question could tell Google that the link spam is intentional. Once there’s a red flag or negative signal, Google weights other signals stronger, or, in case of inbound link spam, weights signals that were ignored previously.

    I can’t agree with your idea that having shady links in the mix is a good idea, or at least not harmful. Actually, I highly recommend not to use any black hat technique that produces irreversible traces (comment spam, machine generated forum posts, …) to promote white hat sites. It’s just too risky. Even when you’re good at it, shit happens. One pissed blogger or forum owner who can connect the white hat site to spammy link inserting in a spam report is enough to tank the white hat site on the SERPs, if it has questionable inbound links. And a pissed competitor will dig even deeper. It’s not just a question of Google ignoring links once they’re classified as spammy, Google does penalize for intentional link building applying deprecated methods too.

  22. Sebastian on 29 February, 2008  #link

    Dr. Pete, I can feel sorry for a site owner who’s a victim of an unscrupulous, respectively clueless, promotional service. I mean how can a small business owner know what Google considers deceitful? Even some folks calling theirselves search geeks have absolutely no clue when it comes to predictions of long term consequences of optimization methods that work today, but could become risky in the future. And exactly that’s the problem. Say a small business orders SEO services, gets good results, hence trusts the services provided. A year later, when the Web site became sheer black hat, Google enhances a spam filter and the site gets penalized. It’s hard for the small business owner to understand that, and even harder to reinstate the previous SERP positions. Black hat search marketers do know that their sites are short-lived, and they don’t ask for mercy when caught. With SEO consulting that’s a completely different story. And by the way, 301-redirecting a penalized site to a fresh white hat site is a negative signal too, even when cloaked so that only humans run into the redirects.

  23. JLH on 29 February, 2008  #link

    Great discussion you’ve got going here. I think another point that needs to be highlighted is that the spammy links that JohnMu pointed out from certain newspapers were added in October. 5 months ago.

    The reason this is important is that I am always hearing site owners say, “well it was like that for two years and we ranked just fine” and then mention that last week they changed their meta description so that must be the reason. In reality Google doesn’t spot spam real time, but when they do, they go back and look at the sites history.

    As they say in the financial world, PAST PERFORMANCE IS NOT INDICATIVE OF FUTURE RESULTS.

  24. Dr. Pete on 29 February, 2008  #link

    @Sebastian: You’re absolutely right; I was oversimplifying. There are plenty of people who are the victims of bad advice and get left suffering the consequences while their SEO company or consultant moves on to greener pastures. Unfortunately, I don’t know how Google can tell the victims from the con artists at this point.

  25. Sebastian on 29 February, 2008  #link

    Dr. Pete, in a reinclusion request you can document that the promotion was done by an external service. Then when the site itself is clean, Google usually sets the rankings where they belong, that is without impact of shady links etcetera.

  26. Sebastian on 29 February, 2008  #link

    Exactly John. Also, Google crawls everything out there quite frequently and knows when which links were created. They’ve link history on file that includes stuff from BackRub crawls done in the last century or so.

  27. JLH on 29 February, 2008  #link

    Let’s not also forget that Google gives you a big out right there on the reconsideration request form where they encourage you to throw your SEO firm under the bus, “If you used a search engine optimization (SEO) company, please note that. Describing the SEO firm and their actions is a helpful indication of good faith that may assist in evaluation of reconsideration requests.”

  28. Craig on 3 March, 2008  #link

    I think an important point that people are missing is that the case mentioned is not a case of a competitor setting out to tank another site, it is a site shooting itself in the face.

    In the past, there was a case of a site that actually was damamged by someone else setting up MANY bad links to the target site but the number of links that it was said to accomplish something like that was orders of magnitude greater than what it took for a site to tank themselves.

    So, does that mean that Google was able to tell the difference, 10’s of thousands, or even more, links set up to discredit another site aa compared to only 1,000 links set up by a site to game the engines in their favor?

    Personally, it would seem difficult to do the latter but it is the only explanation I can think of to explain why spammers linking to legitimate, but new, sites don’t tank the sites they link to or why we don’t see more cases of little more than 1,000 links tanking a site as badly as the site mentioned in the article.

    Maybe the saying, “No competitor can adversely effect a site.” should be modified slightly to say, “Forget about competitors, just don’t do anything totally stupid while holding that shotgun with the barrel opening pointed towards yourself.”

    In all fairness, the activity earning the mentioned site the ire of Google supposedly was carried out by an SEO of somewhat ill repute, it would seem, but that doesn’t really change anything, someone of the site or working for the site caused what happened, not a competitor.

    Craig

  29. Sebastian on 4 March, 2008  #link

    Craig, although the post is not about tanking competitors, the discussion moved to negative SEO because folks do worry about 3rd party linkspam. In the example from the Google Groups thread the site, respectively its promoters, did stupid things that a good SEO would have avoided with a white hat site, and they were caught (rankings partly reinstated yesterday by the way). The fact that Google requested the removal of all the linkspam made people nervous.

    What if a competitor launches a linkspam campaign for my site? Would Google penalize me for his actions?

    The answer is perhaps, because IMHO it’s not enough to stay away from questionable shortcuts. Way more important is to make sure that a competitor cannot use exploits to create even the slightest evidence that the site itself is involved. I can think of many ways to make a site look bad in Google’s eyes, an expert in negative SEO can tank most sites out there. Even when the loss of Google traffic is short dated, that’s enough to kill many businesses. It takes time to discover the issues, file a reconsideration request, and get rankings reinstated.

  30. Craig on 4 March, 2008  #link

    Right, I know people are nervous, that’s why I tried to show that there isn’t necessarily a good reason to be.

    Like other things Google Webmaster Guidelines related, e.g. “hidden text”, people get stuck on a word or short phrase and stop reading after or even before that.

    In the case of “hidden text” those two words cause people to ignore another word there, “intent” so that any mention of those two words, “hidden text”, results is many people instantly saying one shouldn’t even in cases such as cascading menus.

    In the damaging links case, people seem to be getting stuck on “inbound links” and forgetting to consider who put those links there.

    I agree that an expert in negative SEO could take down just about any site they wanted to but at what cost? I have no illusions that ANY of my sites are worth enough to anyone that they would pay the kinds of fees it would take to tank them.

    The average site doesn’t have to worry about this simply because their being tanked would not benefit anyone enough to validate the cost.

    The only other option is some sort of vendetta but you would have to do some pretty nasty things to my sister before it would be worth my while to pay someone to tank Pamphlets. :-()

    Now that we are on the subject, ;-) I would guess it would cost maybe $10,000 to $100,000 to get a site tanked, what would be your guess? Maybe talking dollars and sense would put it into a better perspective?

  31. Sebastian on 4 March, 2008  #link

    Craig, I don’t post the consulting fees I’m aware of but rest assured it’s affordable and worth the money in particular industries. SEO consultants capable to develop counter strategies usually charge $700-1,000+/hour, that might give you an idea of the costs you’ve asked for.

  32. Craig on 4 March, 2008  #link

    “… particular industries” skirts the issue of how likely it is that this is something the average webmaster has to possibly contend with.

    Take the average site that is brought to the Google Webmaster Help Forum, what are the chances that someone may have set out to sabotage one of them? Slim to none with slim being on a crash diet?

    The average webmaster is more likely to tank their own site doing stupid things than they are to have to worry about someone else targeting them.

  33. Sebastian on 4 March, 2008  #link

    Craig, can you imagine that someone is willing to pay for tanking a not exactly high-profiled body builder site? Well, I’ve seen such a case in the Google Webmaster Help Group (at least I lack a better explanation), and I bet there are many I didn’t spot. Just because negative SEO is not business as usual in a particular industry, that doesn’t mean that it isn’t worth to make use of this tactic. It happens. Everywhere.

    I don’t want to create a panic, but I strongly recommend to check for negative SEO tactics when doing a security review. Most well known potential exploits are easy to fix, for example with proper URL canonicalization or reviews of user generated contents.

    Of course most penalized Webmasters did stupid things, but ignoring potential threats is stupid too.

  34. Andy Beard on 4 March, 2008  #link

    Off the top of my head I know 5 bloggers in the last year who have been hacked - just hidden link spam, not taking the whole site out, but enough for Google to deindex.

  35. david deangelo on 5 March, 2008  #link

    I think he got penalised because of linking out to bad neighbourhood. If he was penalised because of spam links etc, his competitors could just use his url for spam. However, what probably happened as well is that google devalued the links pointing to his site that was deemed spammy, paid etc

  36. Craig on 5 March, 2008  #link

    “I don’t want to create a panic”

    Exactly.

    “but I strongly recommend to check for negative SEO tactics when doing a security review”

    Point well taken. :-)

  37. KDye Vertical Leap on 6 May, 2008  #link

    The site in question is now back ranking at no.1. for “garden furniture”. They previously described themselves as top 5, so I guess they have had a little boost from this situation.

  38. Claris on 9 September, 2008  #link

    It’s hard for me to feel sorry for someone who’s left a trail of thousands of spammy links, but this is a really interesting review of the consequences of a misguided SEO campaign.

  39. Aftanga on 17 September, 2008  #link

    So a competitor could set up a bunch of spammy links pointing to your site and do some serious damage? This seems like a real problem, if this is how google is handling the situation. When I look at some of the links I have for my site I just scratch my head and say “what the?? Where did that come from??” Some spammy stuff in there, that I had no part in getting.

  40. Sebastian on 29 September, 2008  #link

    Well, it depends on the site owner’s own actions, usually.

  41. Hailee on 2 October, 2008  #link

    The comment links stuff intrigues me as I allow people to use anchor text if their site is about them and are not search spam - I feel that adds relevance.

    [I agree. That’s why I’ve removed your link.]

  42. Mattie on 14 October, 2008  #link

    If you don’t make use of black hat tactics yourself, Google usually ignores your spammy inbound links. They just don’t carry any weight.

    [Does comment spam count as black hat tactic?]

  43. Daisydaffodilia on 19 October, 2008  #link

    Hi,
    Does including your site link in your forum signature (for example) count as a spammy link? I often use it in my sig when operating on relevant forums and have seen it advised as a legitimate tactic for link building. White hat or black hat?

  44. Sebastian on 20 October, 2008  #link

    Well, I’d consider leaving sig links pointing to paving search dot net pretty much questionable, coz this thingy funnels all its link love over to kitchen cabinets tips dot com. Your link got removed for comment spamming.

  45. Perlapennylope on 28 October, 2008  #link

    This seems like a real problem, if this is how google is handling the situation. When I look at some of the links I have for my site I just scratch my head and say “what the?? Where did that come from??” Some spammy stuff in there, that I had no part in getting.

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