Google has been cracking down hard lately on individual link sellers and networks. This time they decided to target a service called “Anglo Rank” which claims to have a network of 1000’s of privately owned sites at their disposal.
Matt Cutts sent out this tweet on December 6th, 2013:
If you read between the lines, Cutts is basically insinuating that their network does in fact have footprints, and they are now in Google’s spam cross-hairs. The quote in his tweet: “There are absolutely NO footprints linking the websites together” is a quote taken directly from Anglo Ranks thread sales page.
Undeterred by all the attention, the service continues to thrive within the blackhat community. One seller even commented: “after seen that matt cutts tweet wanna try you.can i have some sample?”
This type of sales behavior is similar to that in inner-city drug trade: when someone overdoses on a particular product, people flock to find out what it is that they took because they know it is “good stuff.”
Cutts further warns the community with this tweet:
Indicating that not only has the network been “discovered” but buyers should also beware that a service that offers no refunds, reports or guarantees should be weary of.
Blackhat Google Espionage Agents
How do you catch a spammer? Act like one!
One theory that has been floating around for years is the fact that Google has placed employees on blackhat forums to buy services from the link brokers. Some even say Matt Cutts has personally done this on his own.
All Google has to do is purchase links over a period of time from these sellers and send them out for manual review. The link seller will openly sell to anyone who is willing to pay, and eventually the undercover Google agent will gather all of the links within the network, or group of sites within the sellers link portfolio.
Another Huge SEO Outing Courtesy of Gawker
But that isn’t the only drama going on with blackhat link brokers these days. Gawker broke a story last week that outed a firm for trying to broker links on the Gawker.com website itself.
Basically what happened was an SEO firm by the name of “backlinks.us” contacted Gawker and asked for links. Gawker baited them and not only got them to give up their entire strategy, but got them to out their entire operation, as well as name specific clients within their portfolio.
This immediately became a personal interest of Matt Cutts being that it so blatantly violated Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. Cutts again tweeted about the post so that it could be seen by his nearly 300,000 followers:
It doesn’t appear as though Anglo Rank or the company outed in Gawker is actually shut down.
Despite that fact, it is quite evident that Matt Cutts and the entire webspam team is dedicated to outing and punishing anyone who does any kind of paid linking as a business model.
The ones who used to be at risk the most are the ones who publicly made their services available. With the Gawker outing, this is no longer the case. Non-SEO companies are now wise to link brokering and are now capable of outing or reporting those who try to buy or sell links.
Making this publicly known on Twitter and other places will no doubt send a surge of anxiety through the veins of the SEO industry.
No one wants to be the one that gets publicly outed on Twitter, so more people will hopefully rethink their spamming strategy.
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