This is an update on my seo experiment that I started last month. I posted about it earlier on NB, so here is how it started:

I did a very interesting experiment last month. I purchased a link spot at a large private network of sites, which has millions of pages and sites indexed.

It was for a relatively unestablished site. The site was actually pr2 and had maybe 50-100 backlinks in yahoo. It’s also a few years old, but I’ve rebuilt it completely several months ago.

Before this experiment it was ranking somewhere between #9-12 spots in Google for the main keyword and somewhere on 2nd or 3rd pages for other keys. The site wasn’t making any serious money and I didn’t have much expectations from this, so this was done purely in scientific purposes to see what effect a million links can have on serps.

First few days I watched in yahoo backlinks how my link counts grew, first it was around 100, then 500, 1k, 5k, 10k.. 50k.. 100k – it was rather surreal to watch backlinks growing by thousands every few hours.

Now, a little less than two weeks into the experiment there are about 200K backlinks shown in yahoo for the site, all going to the frontpage. These are only backlinks shown and only in the yahoo tool. So take into account that yahoo doesn’t list all the backlinks they find in their tool and that Google might find more backlinks, so this could easily go up to a few million links for Google.

And guess what happened to the serps?

They are all gone! The main keyword where my site used to be #9 in Google it’s now #190 and for the other one #163.

The site is not banned or deindexed and ranks #1 for the domain name, but all the serps for keywords are gone and Google is not sending any traffic now.

I guess that means adding tons of backlinks very fast can cause you to lose serps and now I have some definitive proof for it, as nothing really says SEO like doing your own experiments and analyzing the results.

So.. adding 200K links in 2 weeks will kill your serps, on the other hand it should work on your competitors too.

It’s been 2.5 weeks into this now and the site is now back to its former place around #9-12 spot in Google for the main keyword (it’s actually an exact match domain, but the keyword is rather competitive).

There are around 300k backlinks shown in yahoo now and growing daily, but despite all that the rankings haven’t actually changed, after a short Google dance it’s back to former positions in Google.

My quick analysis of this is that these links aren’t counted for much since they are all similar and from similar and rather spammy looking sites. It’s important to have a well diversified link profile. I guess it’ll take a bit longer to see some more conclusive results on this. I’ve expected the serps to improve but that hasn’t actually happened yet, however I still believe that this should get the site closer to #1 place for that keyword and improve serps for other keywords once it all settles.

4 Responses

  1. Google is working just like I expected.

    Right now google is trying to judge if it would appropriate for it to rank the website higher or not, since adding these many backlinks at once, they are amazed by it and are trying to keep the index clean of BlackHat spammers,so, the google dance.

    But, next, you website will be ranked at #6 to #1 at different google datacenters ( europe first and then propagate to US datacenters). If your website gets good CTR when placed at position 1 and if the visitor actually spend more than 30 seconds on the website ( ones that come from google ) then.. it WILL stick at #1 spot.

    Other things that I would do help google decide would be:

    1) Add more content , almost 3 pages per day

    2) Do social bookmarking, submit to digg, stumbleupon and facebook shares.

    3) Get a facebook fanpage for the site and add users to it.

    4) Increase the content quality of the site and try to make users stay longer.

    You have to make it seem like you have published some great content because of which you got so many backlinks at once.

    Problems with these links are:

    1) Most of such networks have the links placed in the footer of the website. Google does not consider these links important.

    2) Almost of all of these websites are on the same Class C and B IPs. So, that raises another red flag.

    3) All of the links are pointing to the homepage. The links are supposed to be spread out, deep linking is the best strategy.

    I would love to hear updates on this experiment. Please write more and let us all know.

    Thank you.

  2. Good information, thanks. I always wondered if backlinks from these directory sites actually added any juice. I tried this a long, long, long time ago and didn’t see any real improvement.

    My feeling was that Google has gotten only better – not worse – at being able to recognize quality and appropriate links into your site.

  3. I’ve known cases of people screwed by their competitors doing this to their sites. Ironically, with Google trying to make rankings difficult to manipulate, they’re just as manipulable if not more so.

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