Sorry this site requires JavaScript to be enabled in your browser. See the following guide on How to enable JavaScript in Internet Explorer, Netscape, Firefox and Safari. Alternatively you may be blocking JavaScript with an advert-related or developer plugin. Please check your browser plugins.

How can a site with 24 million links from an automated link network be allowed to rank number one for "loans", "credit cards" and "mortgages" 6 months after Matt Cutts was aware of it?
Comments42 Comments  

Comments

Avatar
from Eavesy 2377 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Good man Patrick, get em outed. They also have links from major UK newspapers, which do go to landing pages but the landing pages have PR and link back to the main pages of the site so they are getting link juice from them. They just rank for too much stuff and it is not fair. I am trying to compete with them on an insurance phrase at the moment and it is pretty much impossible, one of the other sites I am trying to beat also has tons of off-topic links - using these little banners which contain 4 random text links, they are obviously paid for. When I 1st started in this business (and I didn’t know what I was doing) I naively tried to contact them for a link for one of my clients - They said that it would be spam and said if they did sell a link it would be with nofollow  - LOL.

Avatar
from ViperChill 2377 Days ago #
Votes: 1

As you guys know that company is pretty huge in the UK, always doing TV advertisements for those elsewhere who aren’t sure of them.Here’s a comment I posted on the SEOptimise post:The company I work for put this on a test website and it started ranking quite incredibly and very quickly. Then just over a month later EVERY SINGLE PAGE was de-indexed down from around 10,000. We removed the co-op, submitted a re-inclusion request and all was well again so they definitely know about it.

Avatar
from patrickaltoft 2376 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I don’t like "outing" people but since these guys have already been "outed" last year I thought it was OK. The issue is no doubt with a large SEO company using the coop, I bet the actual site knows nothing about it.I fully believe the site should get a ban if Google is serious about stopping spam. This sort of thing is much worse than link buying.

Avatar
from Eavesy 2376 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Deffo Co-Op - I think moneysupermarket are in house u know - could be wrong. I was actually thinking of moneysupermarket.com not the oceanfinance.co.uk - that one doesn’t annoy me too much because it doesn’t show up for every single finance related term. Off topic - 3rd biggest spenders on adwords in the UK I think.

Avatar
from patrickaltoft 2376 Days ago #
Votes: 0

The main one using Coop is moneyexpert.com. Money supermarket just buy links they don’t appear to use Coop much.

Avatar
from Eavesy 2376 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I know who does that one.

Avatar
from evilgreenmonkey 2376 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Yeah MoneySupermarket just has dozens of link monkeys. I think that MoneyWeb, uSwitch and MoneyExpert are all owned by This Is Money and they all use DigitalPoint Coop. In fact I think that uSwitch would be the only site out of the lot that could rank 1st page for those terms without Coop.I’ve told Mr Cutts about it multiple times, even wrote it down for him when in the Googleplex. As it’s still live, it must mean that DP Coop spamming is OK, so let’s all start doing it ;o)

Avatar
from evilgreenmonkey 2376 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Hmm, the guys at work voted my comment down as a joke - must block them on the office network. :oP

Avatar
from wheel 2376 Days ago #
Votes: 0

>>>>>They just rank for too much stuff and it is not fair.Fair?  FAIR?  Here’s a lesson on the fair for you:http://www.actuarialoutpost.com/actuarial_discussion_forum/showthread.php?t=5686&highlight=heiferIf they’re outranking you, it’s not Google’s fault.  It’s not their fault or their techniques.  It’s YOUR fault.>>>>As it’s still live, it must mean that DP Coop spamming is OK, so let’s all start doing it ;o)You mean, let’s all start doing it "again" :).

Avatar
from evilgreenmonkey 2376 Days ago #
Votes: 0

You mean, let’s all start doing it "again" :)You calling me a spammer Glenn? ;o)

Avatar
from derekp 2376 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Isn’t this just that kid who pointed loads of crap links at them to sell his scam ebook?

Avatar
from evilgreenmonkey 2376 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Not that I know of, I think a UK SEO agency is involved. I know who does their PPC, but not their SEO.

Avatar
from thewis 2376 Days ago #
Votes: 2

I am seeing those posts all the time, somebody questions the ranking of somebody else and reveals their secret formula (as he thinks) and their website URL to show how Google still clumsy in fighting paid/artificial/low quality links .. But I didn’t see any of those guys questions the quality of the website, does really offer the services it ranks for? Is it a spammer or it is a real company that has really quality services. From my experience those posts are written most the time by a guy from SEO company that does SEO for one of this website’s competitors but could put the website nowhere in the SERP and now trying to turn its competitors down utilising Google new paid links bottle (God if you cannot make me thin, please make all my friend fat like me)

Avatar
from Tron 2376 Days ago #
Votes: 1

This is Money definitely does not own Money Expert or Uswitch - that latter is owned by Scripps, which explains a whole lot of their links, especially the US ones.@Viper - Looking at my figures, Money Expert are not that big, certainly not in comparison to MoneySupermarket, maybe about a fifth of the size according to Hitwise. They have not done TV either, not as far as I am aware?

Avatar
from Eavesy 2376 Days ago #
Votes: 0

wheel, u don’t think it sucks that the people who follow the rules get beat by the ones who dont? It is impossible to compete with these sites without paid links. You go and outrank one of them without any and then tell me it is my fault.

Avatar
from LtDraper 2376 Days ago #
Votes: 0

If Google goes after Yahoo’s paid link directory they could end up with antitrust charges.  Not that it would stick, but I’ll bet the Google legal department is stopping that from happening.  Have you seen them hit any of their big competitors for paid links? So they roll up small paid link networks and put out lots of FUD.  They hit lots of little guys for using paid links and hope that sends a chill through the ecosystem, thus moving people away from SEO and into paid advertising.

Avatar
from MarkeD 2376 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I think this and other policies (payperpost) shows that Google may say one thing, but cannot actually enforce what it would like to.  This could perhaps be the calm before the storm before all of these pages are kicked out of Google, but for such high profit keyterms such as "mortgage" and "insurance" its worth the risk.  I would say that it is still possible to rank well for the terms using white hat techniques, and that the rankings will probably last longer over time since they will be immune to any Google crackdown in the future.

Avatar
from patrickaltoft 2376 Days ago #
Votes: 0

@ltdraper But these are links from an automated link network. How can that be allowed if adding a link without nofollow in a sponsored blog post isn’t?@MarkeD The coop has been going for years but google seems to somehow let it exist. I have no idea why.

Avatar
from rockybalboa 2376 Days ago #
Votes: 0

in other news, i nominate wheel to be made a moderator here at sphinn, effective immeadiately.

Avatar
from str0ud 2376 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Motion seconded.

Avatar
from DarkMatter 2376 Days ago #
Votes: 0

It’s a dog eat dog world out there. Sometimes people become successful by breaking the rules. It does suck, but it’ll never change. Paid links may be against the rules but they are also a neccessity for many sites. Just make sure that the places where you buy the links will send you quality traffic, and you can make your own success without ranking for anything in Google. Don’t give Google complete control over all the traffic your site receives, and you won’t have to worry about their rules.

Avatar
from wheel 2376 Days ago #
Votes: 2

>>>>>wheel, u don’t think it sucks that the people who follow the rules get beat by the ones who dont? It is impossible to compete with these sites without paid links. You go and outrank one of them without any and then tell me it is my fault.It’s your fault.I outrank multi billion dollar companies.  I beat wikipedia and the government for the name of my industry, and it’s as competitive as the one being discussed here.  And I can do it without paid links.  So do many other people.  Why can’t you?  Because you’re not as good an SEO as the companies that are beating you.  No one’s fault but your own if you can’t develop better backlinks - and it’s as simple as that.  The absolutely amazing think about Google and the web is that joe nobody can clean house on big corps.  Just because you can’t do it doesn’t mean it’s not being done, or even that it’s that difficult.As for the ’rules’, there’s two sets of rules.  Google’s published rules, and their algo rules.  Again, the deficiency is with the SEO who complains about ranking when they are  following the published rules instead of the algo rules.  And nobody’s making you follow either set of rules.  It’s free market baby, and it’s your website.

Avatar
from Chris1 2376 Days ago #
Votes: 0

If Google really wants to stop webmasters from using black hat tactics, they need to enforce a ban on sites like this.  Just simply saying "clean up you act and everything is forgiven" offers no deterrent whatsoever.

Avatar
from ViperChill 2376 Days ago #
Votes: 0

@Tron I was referring to OceanFinance

Avatar
from Tron 2376 Days ago #
Votes: 0

@Viper - Ahh, sorry fella, with you. Yeah, no doubt that they are the Kings of afternoon TV advertising. Them and Picture Loans.

Avatar
from the1982smith 2376 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Evil is right - I can hand on heart guarantee that UK SEO companies are behind those top two rankings for credit cards and mortgages.

Avatar
from Gab 2376 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I for one, have learnt a lesson. And also, I agree entirely with wheel’s statement here:"As for the ’rules’, there’s two sets of rules.  Google’s published rules, and their algo rules.  Again, the deficiency is with the SEO who complains about ranking when they are  following the published rules instead of the algo rules.  And nobody’s making you follow either set of rules.  It’s free market baby, and it’s your website. "

Avatar
from Eavesy 2376 Days ago #
Votes: 0

"I outrank multi billion dollar companies. I beat wikipedia and the government for the name of my industry, and it’s as competitive as the one being discussed here."Which site is this then and for what phrase? Back up what you are saying with some facts, instead of talk. You don’t get much more competitive then loans and these sites even outrank all of the US sites on Google.com

Avatar
from snipergrunge 2376 Days ago #
Votes: 0

There are a lot of examples when website rank well with crappy links. I was promoting a website about video games. Their competitor which rank #1-5 on Google still use link farms and it doesn’t hurt him...

Avatar
from wheel 2375 Days ago #
Votes: 1

>>>>Which site is this then and for what phrase? Back up what you are saying with some facts, instead of talk.It’s not me complaining about getting my ass handed to me by a bunch of inhouse SEO’s. I’ve got nothing to prove.  Doesnt’ mean that what I’m saying isn’t true.  I’m not bragging, I’m handing you a counter example.  Consider learning something from it instead of getting defensive because I quite aptly described your SEO skills as second rate.  For proof, apparently we can visit Google on some loan related terms.You’ve got two choices.  Get better backlinks than they have (because you can beat crap with quality backlinks.  Google’s actually doing that right for the most part.).  Or see what they’re doing and if it’s too risky, do the same thing on a secondary domain and beat them.Sorry, there’s a third choice.  Come here and complain about it and stay at #2.

Avatar
from Eavesy 2375 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I do pretty good for most sites and even the one that I am complaining about is ranked 9th on Google, 4th on MSN and 4th on Yahoo for the phrase medical insurance. It is incredibly difficult to secure good links for this site, although I have got a couple - it is governed by the FSA and all content takes 8 weeks to be approved; the sort of stuff I would like to put on there would not get approved. The owners are very cautious and they would not want me to use any grey hat techniques. I believe that I am doing the best I can under the circumstances. You have a point though, complaining isn’t going to solve anything.

Avatar
from Halfdeck 2375 Days ago #
Votes: 1

It’s sink or swim out in the world wide web. You can’t wait for Google to hand you high rankings - when you do that, you become your worst enemy.

Avatar
from Zonk 2375 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Link buying works no matter how automated it is and Google has nothing to do with it. Automation just helps to save our time.

Avatar
from wheel 2375 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Well that’s true enough zonk.   My only concern with link buying is that too much of it and you’re leaving a pattern/footprint/network, and one we all know Google’s trying to stop.  Nothing wrong with a bit of it, and you can rank if you do a lot of it, but I’d be concerned there’s an end date to that ranking.  We’re going to see it, this place is going to be freaking with people worse than a stock market crash when it happens.  It wouldn’t surprise me to see that in 2008.I would tend to treat paid links (when viewed as a long term strategy) as a backfill strategy.    It’s the mortar filling up the chinks in the bricks, not the complete structure.

Avatar
from Eavesy 2375 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I don’t think any of the MoneySupermarket sites are going to be going any where. (Rumor) I have heard that in a Google seminar, a Google representative said that they were model SEO and PPC clients.

Avatar
from Tron 2375 Days ago #
Votes: 0

@Eavesy - I bet they are model PPC clients. To be honest, I think their SEO practice is pretty straight down the line now, but they did get a whole lot delisted last summer. Admittedly, they were only down for a week before they were back higher than ever before.There is also an argument that Money Supermarket may deserve a prominent position, they are the biggest of their kind, and they are the biggest with good reason.I think you could throw a whole lot of wheel’s reasoning into this as well, not everything has to be fair, no one complains that it costs so much to get to the top of PPC listings. Well, ok maybe they do, but they don’t blame Google.

Avatar
from wheel 2375 Days ago #
Votes: 0

>>>.There is also an argument that Money Supermarket may deserve a prominent position, they are the biggest of their kind, and they are the biggest with good reason.I personally don’t subscribe to that theory.  I work on the basis that large or small, we all live and die by the algo.  Real world value has nothing to do with ranking, despite that being the ’intent’.  I also don’t subscribe to the idea that PPC affects serps.  Google’s denied it, and I believe them.  There’s plenty of folks spending gazillions on PPC that are getting beaten in the serps by joe nobody, so there’s some examples  that what I’m saying is correct.  I think being large may stop you from getting a hand penalty appliced, or for a reinclusion request, but it won’t stop the algo from biting you.  If they’re ranking primarily due to paid links then I think they’re going to get rapped, no matter what.  Then how’s that reinclusion request going to go?  How do you reverse paid links (not easily though I know it’s been tried)?Ranking on paid links right now is a fabulous strategy for a secondary domain.  Rank like crazy, but squirrel away some of your nuts for later, because it won’t last.  yeah, I know it’s tough to go wrong predicting gloom :).In short, if they are ranking primarily on paid links (and I don’t have a problem with that) then I think we’ll find this is a self correcting problem.  I not infrequently hear from people in my industry who made out like crazy in years past, but got nailed completely after one or another algo change in2001 or 2003 or whatever...and no rankings since.Smart money says get some paid links now for the short term ranking money, but betta be building other links to prop you up when the paid ones get devalued.

Avatar
from Eavesy 2375 Days ago #
Votes: 1

They do have plenty of high quality payola:http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/house-and-home/Brought to you with Money SupermarketI wonder how much one of those baby’s costs?

Avatar
from InsidersView 2374 Days ago #
Votes: 0

There’s always going to be significant debate toward the key players in the Google SERPS. Those that can’t achieve the top spots will always be jealous and seek to defame with supposed evidence of foul play. People cheat. That’s the way it is. These filthy linking rich remain in the top spots because they cheat but also because they often deserve to be there. Google will never be able to combat this. Competitors who cheat but don’t deserve the top spot often get burned. The latest example is the GoCompare ban who originally stole the car insurance crown from moneysupermarket. GoCompare have now been given a -50 penalty from Google.

Avatar
from derekp 2373 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Google say "don’t buy links" but lets be completely honest. Who can stand up here and hand on heart say they don’t do it? The fact is we all buy links, but some of us are better at it than others.It’s a basic case of people throwing stones while in the proverbial glass house. Top spot envy?So we all cheat, if google is to beleived that we shouldn’t buy links the fact is some people are more effective at it than others.GC was number 1 before, and it will be back...

Avatar
from 5ubliminal 2363 Days ago #
Votes: 0

@derekp: I NEVER buy links. Never E.V.E.R!

Avatar
from mrwhite 2237 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I think its the sheer scale of this link buying that has rubbed many people up the wrong way.  Looking at the SERPs they seem to have slipped a few places recently.  In terms of Google taking a stand though I doubt that will be enough to convince people, a large penalty or ban is what’s needed, they will still be getting some sweet traffic from their current rankings.  We recently covered moneyexpert’s strategy and we’ve seen more and more sites signing up.  Until a big ban or penalty is handed out that will only continue.

Upcoming Conferences

Search Marketing ExpoSearch Engine Land produces SMX, the Search Marketing Expo conference series. SMX events deliver the most comprehensive educational and networking experiences - whether you're just starting in search marketing or you're a seasoned expert.



Join us at an upcoming SMX event: