Is link spam really on the rise?


Mark Jones

Technical SEO

It has been common practise in recent years, when optimising websites, to avoid using any techniques which could be remotely regarded as Black Hat. For instance, anybody hoping to gain quick, high ranking results in search engines using spammy, grey hat link building would be a venturing down a dangerous path.

These types of tactics can (unfortunately for all us white hat SEO’s) work in the shoLinkbuilding spamrt term. Websites may be able to creep under Google’s radar and rank on the first page with little effort, but eventually those kinds of sites would be caught and penalised, heavily!

It is far better to optimise a website with white hat techniques, building a solid foundation of backlinks from high trust worthy authoritative sites. This is far more advantageous in the long run. It may take months to build such a back link network but eventually after a lot of hard work you can reach the first page of Google, and your website will have the authority to remain there.

Within the last 6 months however I have started to notice slightly worrying trends within search engine results. An increasing amount of websites are somehow slipping through Google’s web spam detection. Sites are ranking in very high positions despite having poor off page optimisation .

After further investigation of these unusually high ranking websites I have noticed a lot of these sites are using paid link services, low quality directories and reciprocal link exchanges.

The alarming thing about this is that these sites have managed to remain in these high ranking positions for months. One would assume Google would have been alerted to these sites and dealt with them accordingly.

There have been other instances where sites are ranking well due to their URLs having an exact match keyword contained within them, yet they have no backlinks at all.

Why could this be happening?

  • The sheer size of the internet – with its billions and billions of webpages there is bound to be some cases where spammy websites slip through the net. Google is monitoring millions of websites every day for spammy content, but unfortunately some it seems are still evading punishment.
  • Google is waiting to release something big – It is quite possible that Google already knows about these spammy websites ranking in positions they have no right to be in. Google may be allowing these sites to temporarily slip by whilst it waits for the release of a potentially crippling new algorithm which could land a devastating blow to a large chunk of spammy websites.
  • Link manipulation and Spammy link acquisition is on the rise – If these techniques are starting to become more popular, Google may have to re-access its spam detection algorithm. Penalising a technique which may be on the increase could dramatically effect Google’s own index.

What should you do?

It is extremely important that you don’t come to the conclusion after reading this article that is ok to start creating spammy back link networks, full of paid links and low quality directories.

There are plenty of websites out there still being caught and penalised severely by Google.

My advice is to carry on with white hat techniques and focus on obtaining high quality links. By ensuring your link building strategy is following Google’s guidelines your site will be rewarded in the long run by ranking in top positions and will have the authoritative influence to remain there.