Google Defends Bad Link Theory & Repeats That Competitors Can't Hurt You

Jun 18, 2008 • 7:48 am | comments (10) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Link Building Tips & SEO

There is no doubt that Most SEOs Believe Competitors Can Hurt Your Google Rankings specifically with using link building tactics. But when the topic was raised recently at a Google Groups thread, Googler, JohnMu, pretty much denied it.

Let me quote you John's post:

In theory, I can imagine that there might be some borderline situations where that would be possible, however in all the time I have spend diagnosing website issues I have not once run into a situation like that. Also, I know that if a situation like that were to come to our attention, it would be resolved very quickly.

When very technical people say the phrase, "in theory," it typically means its not really possible. It typically means that the chances of the event occurring is slim to none. At least, my experience around programmers all day taught me that.

John flat out said that he has never seen a situation where a competitor driving bad links to a site has hurt the site, ever. Now, John has been with Google for about a year now and during that time, I suspect he reviewed about a site per day. That is a lot of sites and not to see any of those sites impacted by a competitor sending harmful links to it, is a bit shocking to me.

Of course, John might be saying that the harmful links were not from the competitor. Or he might have perceived them as not being from the competitor. In addition, these sites may have have other technical issues that were against Google's TOS. Hard for me to tell you what John has seen or hasn't seen - even harder for me to tell you what John is thinking.

But if you read through the thread in detail, you will see some things that might be hard to explain. In the case of the thread, it seems like John is hinting that the site in question has several on-page issues that need to be addressed. But the webmaster, as are several webmasters not associated with the site, seem to believe what many other SEOs believe - that Competitors Can Hurt Your Google Rankings.

Forum discussion at Google Groups.

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06/18/2008 03:47 pm

you have an unclosed html anchor in your page, which is hiding some of your content...

Barry Schwartz

06/18/2008 04:02 pm

Oopps, fixed. Thanks for letting me know.


06/19/2008 01:13 am

So if I buy a bunch of obviously paid links to my competitor's site, Google will realize that I'm trying to sabotage them... NOT!

No Name

06/19/2008 03:37 pm

I don't think your title correctly relates the information you are providing in your post. What I get from it is that it is possible to google bomb someones site using these black-hat techniques. So I think your competitors can hurt you this way, even if Google wants to lead you to believe it is very unlikely.

No Name

06/19/2008 07:32 pm

It is my site John Mueller is talking about on google groups, John Muler from google also said I had virus's on my site and in effect told people to stay away from my site... when in fact there there was (and is) no virus at all on my site. This has been confirmed by several AV experts and just about every AV program on Earth. So far MR. Mueller has not bothered to apologize for making such an outrageously false claim. I hope the the other search engineers at google are a little more grown up than Mr. Mueller. Googlebowling as I describe it does work. You can see it for yourself, right this minute on my site. just take a few minutes to read through the thread at google groups so you understand what is really happening to my site. As far as the site being low quality, well the site has been good enough to still maintain top rankings for its primary targeted keywords, [lottery information], [lottery websites]. The site is still number one in google for those keywords. So if in fact it is a site "quality" issue, then why is my site not only ranking for it's chosen keywords, but google has selected my site to be a google 'site words' site... However the, keywords that the spammers don't want my site showing up for (keywords my site came up in the top five for before my site was googlebombed) keywords like [lottery scam], [email lottery scam], [microsoft lottery] keywords my site is no longer in the google search results for, after the googlebombing by thousands of links with p0rn keywords in the anchortext. Obviously, by claiming my site had viruses and was low quality and not discussing the inbound p0rn links was this google employee's way of explaining his way out of a sticky situation. I don't think googlebombing comes as any surprise to many folks that read this blog.

Jonathan Dingman

06/19/2008 07:51 pm

Well, John proved himself to be right. Your site is low quality. There's really no unique content and doesn't provide any great resource. It's a huge link directory with a ton of outbound links and it's trying to game search engines by keyword stuffing with subdomains. There isn't much of a benefit by visiting your site. On top of that, to a person, it's not very attractive -- design wise. It looks like the site was built in 1992 and was left that way.


06/19/2008 07:55 pm

On top of that, I just noticed in the Google Groups thread, that Bowled links to a Yahoo! page. why are you talking about Google Bowling and then linking to Yahoo! There's a slight disconnect there...

No Name

06/19/2008 08:43 pm

>"design wise. It looks like the site was built in 1992 and was left that way." No it was 1995. >"I just noticed in the Google Groups thread, >that Bowled links to a Yahoo! page. why are >you talking about Google Bowling and then >linking to Yahoo! There's a slight disconnect >there..." You gotta be kidding me... I thought I was posting on SEO Round Table not, SEO kindergarten. Your folks should have taught you not to comment on things you don't understand.

No Name

06/19/2008 08:59 pm

Added... you failed to note that Mr. Mueller also stated I had some "good content" on the site as well and that it still ranks at #1 for it's primary keywords and that google lists the site as a google "site links" site, all proof that at least the google algo finds my site OK. What really gets me is the fact a google rep told people in a very public forum to stay away from my site and insinuated the site was infested with viruses/spyware, when that is just not true. My site has been verified as completely and totally virus/spyware free by dozens of experts in the last 48 hours.

Barry Schwartz

06/19/2008 09:01 pm

>> >"I just noticed in the Google Groups thread, >that Bowled links to a Yahoo! page. why are >you talking about Google Bowling and then >linking to Yahoo! There's a slight disconnect >there..." Yea, most people use Site Explorer for link discovery. I don't understand your problem with that, there is no disconnect here.

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