Google Penalty Notifications Sent To Anglo Rank Link Buyers

Dec 11, 2013 • 9:04 am | comments (69) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

Google's Matt Cutts Calls Out Nailing Another Link NetworkAs you know, Google's Matt Cutts publicly outed that Google went after Anglo Rank's link network and that the penalties and notifications will go out in a few days.

Starting yesterday, some Anglo Rank customers are claiming they have received such notifications and some have claimed they have seen huge drops in rankings.

One shared a screen shot of his link penalty notification publicly in Black Hat World. The link notification was for "unnatural inbound links" and here is a picture of that notification, including the effected site:

Anglo Rank Google Webmaster Penalty Notification

Now, I have no way of confirming this specific site received this specific notification because of Anglo Rank but this person claims so.

Another customer of Anglo Rank claims he saw major drops in rankings, and shared a chart showing the drop in rankings.

Meanwhile, the operator of Anglo Rank, code named bluematter is responding to customers offering cancelations or redirection of links. Here are some of the things he has said in the thread:

It will keep working like It was before, they can target few sites here and there but It Is not possible for them to take these private networks down which has 10000s of sites.

After this whole tweet thing happened, we did a full backend audit which we do anyway in few days. We went through all the links and checked and replaced all the links which were no longer Indexed In google anymore, when they flag network sites this Is the first thing they do deindex them.

The other thing which we are doing right now Is to move all our clients to the sites which were added recently in these networks for example like a week ago, as these sites were added just days ago so there Is no chance they'll be flagged.

Moreover If you are using a blackhat service and not expecting a manual penalty or rank drops after few months then I don't think this or any other blackhat service is for you man. These links are for churn and burn sites like i have said many times before in this thread do not point these links to a site which you can't afford to lose

Thank you for the update but what was you expecting that you gonna be still ranking for 10 years ehhh? thats why i have been mentioning this 10s of times in this thread that this service is blackhat and for churn and burn sites. If you would like us to move your links to a new domain let us know and we'll sort it out for you.

It is always interesting to see the fall out and the reaction on this from both the webmasters and owners of the program.

Forum discussion at Black Hat World.

Previous story: Google's Matt Cutts Agrees, Guest Blogging Is Getting Out Of Hand



12/11/2013 02:35 pm

I have seen where people are buying these network type links and pointing them to their competitors websites. I wonder what percentage of the links bought in these networks are for executing negative seo campaigns? Is there even a way to gauge the number of innocents impacted by paid links and the applied Google penalties?


12/11/2013 02:49 pm

It's time to bet - When does Google disregard links as the rank factor ? Will be interesting to see, what will happen with all big brands who had budgets for link building during many years.


12/11/2013 04:19 pm

99.9% of links is spam in google. Almost all top ranked sites are used similar methods. If you remove all such sites - google will empty (but with white listed sites). May be you need to stop hunting and index only wikipedia, youtube and your lovely amazon? anyway google is not a search engine, it just a stupid joke now.

Durant Imboden

12/11/2013 04:27 pm

If link networks and other black-hat techniques are for churn & burn sites, why doesn't Google bring back the "sandbox"?


12/11/2013 04:56 pm

It is nearly zero. There are virtually no authentic case studies proving negative seo spam link bombing to have any effect on a site that wasn't already doing some spamming of its own. There are quite a few things labeled "case study", but contain nothing more than scary stories of what the writer believes could happen. Most are published by people who profit from the fear and confusion. Follow the rules and you won't have a problem. It's common sense really. Why would anyone believe that garbage articles on spam filled sites, and bogus links from similarly useless sites in a network is a sensible way to do business?


12/11/2013 05:13 pm

Winston, if it's near zero why can I see so many examples when searching for these case studies? One on SEW is a case that includes a lot of details and can be found at To quote their post, "Negative SEO works; it's a very real threat to all webmasters." Another discussion about how a site was negative seo'ed before it even launched can be read on where he says "Having been in SEO for years I always knew it was possible to sabotage sites but never thought it would become so common and before they even ranked!". There are a lot of examples all over the place about innocent sites getting link bombed and there are even some people complaining in Google's help forum too. To say there is no proof of negative SEO one must be ignoring all the evidence posted on top SEO blogs.


12/11/2013 08:38 pm

@Barrrrrry, lost post alarrrrrrrm

PM Fiorini

12/11/2013 08:53 pm

I'm sure sooner than everyone thinks...

PM Fiorini

12/11/2013 09:08 pm

Anglo Rank RULES!!! Go Anglo Rank! This is like David vs Goliath...

Jan Dunlop

12/11/2013 11:00 pm

Not true, get enough spam pointed at your site and it can trigger a penguin penalty.


12/11/2013 11:21 pm

I don't know, I think you know.

Jonathan Hatton

12/11/2013 11:42 pm

It baffles me why someone would use the links off bhw on a site they need to keep. I am convinced Cutts probably has an alias on these sites and stirs the pot from time to time haha

Eric Ward

12/12/2013 01:05 am

To those thinking Google will soon remove links as a ranking signal, they already ARE, just selectively based on identifiable patterns. But there remain millions of outstanding pages containing billions of valid and credible links. From the hundreds of thousands of academic institutions to the millions of library based curated pages to the millions of associations, societies, government sites, to the regional and hyperlocal news and event, club, enthusiast, special interest and small business sites. It's comical to believe that the trillions of credible links no longer provide credible signals. Foolish really. What will happen is google will just continue to get smarter and prune the crap, and the links on that crap will simply stop doing anything. The web equivalent of litter. But the good will always be good, and the great will always be great, and the signals will become easier and easier to spot as the crap is ignored. I've only been preaching this shit for 20 years, and those of you who have listened to me at the 150+ conferences I've made this very speech at are seeing it finally happen. It's the natural evolution of the algorithm. Deal with it and create a real content publicity strategy.


12/12/2013 01:19 am

The mere fact that google can penalize you for having unnatural links is in itself a form of negative SEO except in this case you are doing it to yourself.

Michael Martinez

12/12/2013 01:20 am

Looking at Hummingbird's crappy search results, I would say the "sandbox" never left. It's just an old part in a new car. Or something Danny Sulliivanish like that.

Michael Martinez

12/12/2013 01:21 am

Dude, get some facts.

PM Fiorini

12/12/2013 02:01 am

Thank you, Lord Eric

Eric Ward

12/12/2013 03:00 am

Any time:)


12/12/2013 03:30 am

so it's safe to say your 150+ conferences is conference litter. Eric must be head of the new web spam team at google, since cutts is getting the boot.


12/12/2013 05:01 am

Well it seems not in the near future. they have just updated the page rank on 6th December,2013.


12/12/2013 06:19 am

This is my thought.


12/12/2013 08:36 am

Eric has friends in low places...


12/12/2013 08:39 am

Your so right,, his alias on bhw is jhatton. Thanks.

Jonathan Hatton

12/12/2013 08:59 am

haha I wish! Wouldn't mind his salary either!


12/12/2013 09:12 am

Your approach is kind of strange. Link IS NOT the signal, but the way to connect pieces of information. Google uses link AS the signal. So called "credible links", you mentioned above, will still serve as the way to connect information no matter how Google considers links in general. Link, by its nature, shouldn't be good or bad. It's just the way. If Google will disregard links, then no doubt it will disregard all of them. Otherwise there always will be space for cheaters, link manipulators and other conferences attendants ) Do you need proof ? Here it is : Even manually selected links from Wikipedia appears to be questionable, not to mention others. Means Google MUST disregard all of the links to make non-link algo works. So, Eric, I would suggest you to search for the new BS to sell to believers )

Eric Ward

12/12/2013 10:37 am

Yes, and they are much more fun than the country club crowd.

Eric Ward

12/12/2013 10:48 am

One last rant then take your shots. My approach has always been to seek links that help send you direct click traffic and improve your exposure to your intended audience, rather than for searchers. The single litmus test question I have always recommended is this: "Would you still want that link if there was no Google?" If you can answer "Yes", you are doing it right. If you answer "No", your linking and publicity strategy is not sustainable, and you need to develop non-google traffic streams. THIS is what you've all heard me preach, and it remains the key to long term success. YMMV. Thank you for the good natured back/forth and I've enjoyed the replies as well as insults, very much :) its all good.

Eric Ward

12/12/2013 10:52 am

Bingo! And for many content creators, especially those with structured data and high trust signals, hummingbird might just be an unexpected traffic siphon, not a traffic source.

Eric Ward

12/12/2013 11:22 am

See above.


12/12/2013 11:26 am

Your question makes no sense, because ANY link would be good, if there was no Google, since link is just the path. If Google wouldn't exist, then you could spam billions of links all around and it would be good, because you would simply create new paths to the website and nothing else. New path is good anyway. When the link is considered as signal of something, then this is another story. So, your question is pure misleading, because there is only one possible reply - YES. Psychological tricks, used by marketers ... nothing new )


12/12/2013 11:28 am

See above )


12/12/2013 12:15 pm

P.S. "Would you still pay me for the link job, if Google wouldn't consider link as the signal of quality ?" this is the question you should ask.

Eric Ward

12/12/2013 01:48 pm

Good grief you don't get it. Let's try one last time. I have a client who operates an outdoor archery training center. He has a web site showing the features and details of his training center. So, my publicity and linking strategy for him is to identify all related archery clubs, discussion groups, and archery guides near him to let them know about my client's site. As I earn more archery related links for him on archery related sites, he gets more clicks and awareness that his archery training center exists. This has nothing to do with google, It's about archery related content being introduced to archery enthusiasts who would be most inclined to care and click on those links. And the amazing bonus effect of this topical relevance approach is Google ends up rewarding those link profiles, because of their curated relevance. Now contrast this with your thesis: Get thousands of links that have nothing to do with archery or the area where this archery training center exists. Any link will do, according to you. But this mass random links approach is not going to be as effective as a topically driven selective link outreach approach that is based on those who have already shown an interest in archery. Ok, enough of this pointless argument. There's a reason I've ranked #1 for Link Building Expert" since the day Google lauched. It's because my approach may just actually make sense.


12/12/2013 02:09 pm

That SEwatch article is exactly the kind of fear based hype I was talking about. You can quote it all you like, but a claim that it is a "very real threat" without a single shred of proof is not really a credible case study. The author neglected to show any evidence that the site did not already have plenty of spam links before the attack, and it did. When I read it weeks ago, there were a few comments pointing that out, and that it really doesn't prove anything beyond "bad links can hurt". Those comments have been removed. What in that article, aside from the author's assertion, makes you believe that this evidence that negative SEO works? In the comments, the writer even posted something that showed an example of a spam article used in the attack, but when you searched for some of the text from that, you could find copies that were spun on article marketing sites for at least 2 or 3 years. If I recall correctly, the writer did acknowledge that since she couldn't provide any of that pre-attack data or even the name of the site, that it wasn't the best choice for an example. "I saw it, but I can't tell you where or what it was" is not evidence. Unfortunately those comments have been removed too. One of them had a screen shot that still didn't show any older data, but did have the site URL. Wait - I looked again and one of the comments (not mine) is still there saying: "I looked into the domain in this case on SEMRush and Majestic SEO. A few things need to mention: 1. The target domain had a much larger increase in back links in 2010 (according to Monthly view mode in Backlink History tools at Majestic SEO). 2. The target domain had a quite steep jump in organic traffic in 2010 (according to 3. I think the site could be involved in more aggressive black hat activities a few years ago. The recent drop in organic traffic is not just the results of recent link acquisition." So the writer conveniently left out that the site was already doing some spamming, and deleted some comments that questioned the validity of this "case study". "Top SEO blogs" indeed. You really believe all those comments in the Google product forums are from people who have done no spam linking?! Ever notice how most of them won't post their URL? When they do, it doesn't take long for the regulars on the forum to find all the bad links that were there before the so-called attack started.

Nick Ker

12/12/2013 02:17 pm

I think Yandex now claims to have a new algo coming soon that does not use links. If that works well, I would expect Google to follow suit soon enough.

Nick Ker

12/12/2013 02:25 pm

I was one of those who commented pointing out the lack of important info in that article. Disappointing to see they were deleted. I guess fear and confusion are more important than facts over at searchenginewatch. SEJournal has had an article or two like this also. I guess it is like the local TV news: "Man Drives To Ex-Wife's House And Pulls A Gun" doesn't get as many viewers as "Drive By Shootings On The Rise". On the other hand, my site has had thousands of spam links pointed at an alarming rate of as many as 3000 links from a few hundred domains per day for about a year now with no negative impact, aside from making it hard to track the benefits of legit links or even spot them when they appear. Still getting about 100-200 nasty little spam links a day.


12/12/2013 02:30 pm

there is a good video here about neg seo

Nick Ker

12/12/2013 02:34 pm

"Another discussion about how a site was negative seo'ed before it even launched..." If your competitors are psychic and know what site you are about to launch, I guess this could be an issue.


12/12/2013 02:41 pm

You have explained it very well, Eric. There are just a lot of people who don't get that link strategies and other online marketing should be about the PEOPLE and not the search engines. Better SEOs & link experts like yourself have been saying "for users not search engines" for years, but some people refuse to listen.

Rob jH

12/12/2013 06:44 pm

Well said sir

Rob jH

12/12/2013 06:48 pm

Very true, link building for serps is dead, link building for traffic and link earning for content is the way forward.


12/12/2013 08:39 pm

So you've been link building before Google existed? -- I guess everyone has, if you've created a link you're technically link building. So the first link builder was whoever created the first link.

Ashish Ahuja

12/12/2013 08:59 pm

I don't know how many times google has to put down the ban hammer for people to understand that push button seo does not work anymore


12/12/2013 09:02 pm

Stop spamming your Link Auditors nonsense all over the place. The accent in the video is hard to understand.


12/13/2013 06:35 am

You really don't have to justify and defend your approach, Eric. Some people just can't comprehend link building beyond its function in Google and SEO. They can't understand that a link's original intent and real purpose is to serve as a document's references and citations to other related documents the same way old school, printed research papers cite other papers that are relevant and form a basis of their thesis.


12/16/2013 01:36 am

I'd argue automated linking was never SEO. However, there was a time when anyone who could rank a website using spam was considered a SEO expert.


12/16/2013 01:41 am

Based on part of your comment, those who think they are doing Seo will likely now purchase an edu link blasting service. What's next? Fake social signals. I have always thought the majority of automated link programs were catering to affiliate site operators and not to real sites. However, many people in the SEO industry were lured into using push button link sellers because these systems worked for ranking when Google did little to stop link spamming, they were cheap and they were easy to implement.


12/16/2013 04:36 pm

I believe you are whiter than white then, Winston? As a practical proof of concept, can I have the URL of one of your sites that has never done any spam so I can try and negative SEO it? If what you say is true, there should be no harm in it to you so you lose nothing and prove your point.


12/16/2013 05:01 pm

Completely - probably never


12/16/2013 05:32 pm

Content schmontent... With all due respect Eric, try ranking a site on content alone in one of the spammier niches - what will you say then?


12/16/2013 07:45 pm

Prove there is no Bigfoot


12/16/2013 08:12 pm

I don't own any sites so I would need to ask the owners of the sites I work for, but you could use this one: When you prove once and for all that negative SEO link spam works against a white hat site, you will be famous and won't need that site anymore. Unless that site is already a linkspam magnet like every other "victim" of negative SEO. Seriously, it is difficult to prove a negative. Why is it that nobody, including you, can point to just one site that did not already do some link spamming as an example of negative SEO actually working? I can point to a few where there was clearly an attempt at negative SEO that didn't work, like this one Since it is posted on Black Hat Forum, it probably isn't even a white hat site but it still didn't work. And this one which is hard to miss, looks like a mostly white hat site and has had thousands of spam links built to it for months and still counting. Unlike all of the Be Afraid of Negative SEO articles, the story checks out when you go to ahrefs and majestic to see the history: It does not look like it is having any problem. If you search for negative SEO case study or proof or something like that, most of what you will find are sensational headlines backed up with little or no real data. At least you can verify the story on this one. So how about it? Got an example URL that would finally prove that link bombing a white hat site can do any harm to its ranking?


12/16/2013 08:12 pm

Wish I had said that instead of wasting time trying to explain.


12/16/2013 08:14 pm

Hope you don't mind I used your site as an example

Nick Ker

12/16/2013 08:30 pm

Um, thanks... I guess. It would be nice to check my site's link profile and see nothing but what has been earned for a change. Every time I get into one of these negative SEO rant-battles, another asshat decides he is going to make an example of me. It didn't work for the first one over a year ago, the much larger scale attack in the spring of 2013, the attempt that started after I posted that article, the one that came after the last time I commented somewhere about negative SEO, or the one that an affiliate spammer who tried to link drop about his petition on that article started after I pointed out that his link profile didn't match his negative SEO victim story (I guess he was trying to get some attention by faking an attack?! Then the numbskull used his self-branded Fiverr account to hire a link builder!)... I am not trying to provoke additional nonsense. Like you said, proving a negative isn't easy. But I think my experience with negative SEO comes pretty close. It definitely shows that it is much harder than a lot of people think.


12/16/2013 08:56 pm

Winston, I'll ignore your attempt at insulting me and won't even comment on your lack of personal sites while doing client side SEO. Instead, I'll stick to the subject of the discussion. I'm sure this will be more valuable for everyone reading this. It's a great pity you cannot personally back up your statement by offering a site to run a clean test on but I think we'll cope. Examples - I've got quite a few, cannot disclose most of them because dohh, I was hired to do it and it worked. For the record, negative SEO is not only about links - something an average BHW user doesn't know of course, which is why their "negative" attempts often fail. Just because someone doesn't know how to properly negative SEO does not prove it is not possible to negative SEO. You want links - here goes one: (old story but still worth a read), here's another (this one used to say "There's almost nothing a competitor can do to harm your ranking" but in May 2012 they changed it to "Google works hard to prevent other webmasters from being able to harm your ranking" - there must be a reason they did that don't you think?) If all above is not enough have a look at this one: - strictly speaking this is not a negative SEO case where negative SEO has been the original purpose but rather a side effect of link spam that happened for other reasons, before it happened the Welsh Centre for Crime and Social Justice had hardly any links built to it at all (so as whitehat as one can possibly imagine) - after the link spam, whatever positions it had for its own legitimate keywords have dropped - e.g. see this screenshot in case you haven't got SearchMetrics access: Does it prove my point?


12/16/2013 09:12 pm

"Examples - I've got quite a few, cannot disclose most of them" That's what they all say. All the people who make stuff up, that is. Changing the subject to malicious hacking and paranoia over a minor change in Google's wording doesn't really prove anything. When I got into this conversation it was about the idea that people were able to get links on these banned networks as a way to knock down other sites. A link about hijacking from 2005, a text change at Google that probably came from the legal dept, and another hacking story, and still no captured Bigfoot.


12/16/2013 09:39 pm

Hi Winston, Your comments suggest that other than doing something wrong internally / on-site yourself then there is nothing that a webmaster could possibly do that would negatively affect their rankings via linkbuilding, conflicting business citations, self targeted DMCA requests etc. I'm curious because these seem like things that either you or a third party could do without a search engine knowing the difference. Does this mean that there are no dangers to offsite SEO? :D


12/16/2013 09:48 pm

If a factor is seen as negative, it can be used to achieve a negative effect. Simple logic. There is no way a link can be credited to the site owner vs a competitor trying to hurt a site, hence bad links built by a third party will hurt a site just the same as bad links built by the site owner himself. If you have been practising SEO for any amount of time and still fail to see it, I have no words. Apparently you fail to see any point different from your own. I refuse to feed the trolls any more.


12/16/2013 10:03 pm

Not sure where you got that idea. Webmasters do things wrong external to the site all the time, and sometimes that can have a major impact. Buying links for example. Where the confusion about negative SEO comes in, is that some assume that just one or two tiny bad moves will get a site banned, and that Google's algorithm is delicate and stupid enough to not recognize when a burst of spam comes out of nowhere when the site has no history of such activity. Google's algorithms are smart enough to tell the difference between years of clean promotion with a recent surge of spam, and a pattern of trying to manipulate search results over months or years. Otherwise, you wouldn't see any familiar brands in the SERPs at all because it would only take a blast of bad links to knock down any site. It just doesn't work like that. I think it is pretty clear that spam link building could sometimes work to hurt sites that already have spammy links by pushing them over the edge, but not as easy as many want to believe. Conflicting citations could cause a short term problem, but most of the legitimate citation sources like YP do phone verification most of the time. I think those would have to be in high numbers when the real site didn't confirm any of their listings for that to be a reliable form of sabotage. Probably easy to track down who did it and prosecute for fraud or something too. If you mean inconsistent listings where the company name or address don't always match, that won't help a site but it isn't going to cause any penalties. Not sure what you mean by "self-targeted" DMCAs. DMCAs are not likely to attract sabotage since there are serious legal implications when filing, someone has to put a name on it, IP addresses are logged, etc. Things like that, and hacking, are probably the reasons why Google now says they "work hard to prevent" instead of "there is almost nothing".


12/16/2013 10:10 pm

"If a factor is seen as negative, it can be used to achieve a negative effect. Simple logic." Simple, for sure. Too simple. Google did not become what it is because their algorithm is "simple". If it was that easy, why don't the top spots in the SERPs change completely every time you search for something? Wouldn't everyone be doing this by now to the point that you would never see the same site for more than a day or two?


12/16/2013 10:15 pm

Ever looked at "buy viagra" or any other top competitive SERPs? OK I said I won't feed the trolls any more so that's it, I pity your clients.


12/16/2013 10:26 pm

Yes, the boner pill niche is EXACTLY like 99% of the searches people do all day every day on Google. Great example. You make claims that link bomb negative SEO is easy, but can't back it up with a fact or two, and call me a troll? Don't feel sorry for my clients. They are quite happy. I feel sorry for you though. Lashing out because you don't know what you don't understand, even when someone explains it to you.

Nick Ker

12/16/2013 10:52 pm

Viagra sites are not a good example of anything, except maybe spam. I seriously doubt there is even one spamless viagra site in existence.


12/16/2013 10:53 pm

Hi Winston, I think that in a number of your points above, you are confusing ethics with possibility sometimes with a touch of naivety. I'm not looking to start a comment war though so will just wish you the best of luck in Utopia! :)


12/16/2013 11:02 pm

I don't doubt for a minute that people TRY all of those things. But in regard to SEO and Google, it just isn't as easy to do those things as some people think. When people start posting comments claiming that it is as easy as going to Fiverr when there is no evidence to back up such a claim, it just confuses and frightens people. Misinformation has been screwing up the SEO industry from the beginning. Unfortunately many SEOs spread misinformation on purpose because it is easier for them to sell to a confused and frightened customer than it is to sell to an informed one. I may be naive at times, but until someone catches a Bigfoot, I am not taking some anonymous internet poster's word for it.

Eric Ward

12/17/2013 07:42 pm

It would depend on the caliber of the content and the opportunities I could find compared to what the spammier competitors have done. Have they left me any openings? Have they used easy to spot crap? It's always a puzzle, and yes, it's quite possible that I will fail. I have failed many times. But please note my objective is to help sites succeed based on traffic coming from NON-Google sources. The best approach for long term viability is to NOT rely on Google for your business to succeed. You have to create and execute linking and publicity strategies that allow you to to succeed without Google. That is what I've always done, because I began before there was a Google. Then when Google arrived, I saw my clients all ranked 1,2,3, and it was then that I started digging to figure out exactly what it was I did right. As I studied backlink profiles by the thousands, the larger lesson became clear. By pursuing a public relations and affinity based outreach approach on behalf of high caliber content, I accidently ended up earning the types of merit-based links and creating the very type of link profile Google wanted to see.


12/18/2013 12:03 am

>The best approach for long term viability is to NOT rely on Google for your business to succeed. - Can't help agreeing, this has always been a fail-safe strategy and is becoming even more so now. Now, if only we could get a strong competitor for Google who could bring at least half of the traffic coming from Google today... I know this is not (only) about search - but search, too, could benefit from getting demonopolised.

Spook SEO

01/06/2014 08:48 am

I would say that it's better to spend time , resources and money on those sources which could give you long term benefit and white hat SEO is one of them which give a long term profit .So its better to work on quality metrics so that could sustain in the search engine ranking.

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