When Google take out large scale link networks, there is always an aftermath that follows as websites see their rankings slashed and organic traffic plummet as their web development teams wake up to a Google manual action warning in their Webmaster Tools account.
Following the news that MyBlogGuest had been subjected to action by Google last week, speculation grew towards whether the search engine giants were going to be able to take further action towards sites that were acting as both publishers and advertisers within the network but the final word came from Google's head of web spam, Matt Cutts, during a conversation on social network Twitter with the owner of MyBlogGuest, Ann Smarty.
Following a user of the network tweeting to Ann regarding whether she thought there would be sanctions against publishers following the actions against the network, Ann introduced Matt Cutts into the conversation, saying that they should "ask Matt".
Cutts stepped up to the invitation to pass comment and said "When we take action on a spammy link network, it can include blogs hosting guest posts, sites benefiting from the links, etc."
The comment may have been directed at one single Twitter user but the message was firm, Google were going to be taking action and they wanted to ensure that both publishers and those that benefited from those placements were going to learn the ‘error of their ways'.
Following an update in SearchMetrics.com, a search engine visibility tool , a look at the sites that have experienced a significant downward spiral seems to contain a number of brands who have clearly suffered from something following large scale drops in their search engine rankings.
So with so many people in the community questioning who could have been subjected to the backlash of MyBlogGuest being taken out, we thought that we would take a little look at just one of the well-known brands that have suffered a huge decline in organic exposure thanks to what clearly appears to be a manual action being applied to their site.
Fashion retailers USC have clearly taken a links based penalty hit based on the statistics being shown by SearchMetrics, the visibility tool showing that they have suffered a 98% visibility decline compared to the last week of data.
A clear indication that the drop seems to be legitimate rather than a software glitch is found when searching for the brand in Google, where the only existence of the site within the search engine results comes from their Google Adwords position:
A look at the SearchMetrics visibility graph for the site also shows that they have seen a stern drop in search engine visibility:
A small scale dive into the backlinks that the site has pointing into them seems to show that there are some low quality, old school tactics being used to push keyword terms into their profile, including forum signature links like these:
Comment spam links like this:
Guest posts like these:
With such a mix of link styles that Google are known to frown upon, it becomes clear that unless USC have an extensive Google Disavow file in place at the moment, they are about to have to embark on a painful journey of backlink removals and disavow creation.
More Brands Suffering Right Now…
Links of London seem to be feeling the wrath of Google too at the moment, a look at SearchMetrics showing that their .com variation of the domain has suffered a 97% decline in search engine visibility.
A look at Google for a branded search of ‘links of london' seems to show that there could have been a domain change in place with the LinksOfLondon.co.uk presence being felt, however just like many other penalised sites that we have seen, Google are displaying a domain that is being 301 redirected into the .com variation and we can expect to see that slide over the next few days.
TravelBag.co.uk have been reported to have also seen a dramatic drop in search visibility after suffering a 97% drop.
The message is clear from Google… It’s only a matter of time…