Google's Matt Cutts Calls Out Nailing Another Link Network

Dec 9, 2013 • 8:36 am | comments (109) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

Anglo Rank

Friday afternoon, I broke the news at Search Engine Land that Matt Cutts, Google's head of search spam, announced they just targeted yet another link network. This one is named Anglo Rank, which you can learn more about at Black Hat World.

How did Matt announce the demise of this link network? Basically by mocking it:

Is Anglo Rank alone in this network attack? No, Matt Cutts told me, "we've been rolling up a few" link networks in this update.

When will you see a negative impact in your rankings or see notices from Google Webmaster Tools? I suspect any day now. Matt said:

I've been tracking the threads in Black Hat World and so far, no one has been complaining of a drop in Google rankings or link warnings but it may be too early.

Anglo Rank is not alone, here are some past link networks that were hit over the years:

Truth is, Google has been going after link networks well before link networks were all that popular. Even before the times of the DigitalPoint co-op link network.

Forum discussion at Twitter, Google+ and Black Hat World.

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12/09/2013 01:43 pm

Good. One more spam network down.


12/09/2013 01:50 pm

2 words. Private Network

Stephane Brault

12/09/2013 02:25 pm

I think Google shouldn't brag about it though. Let the spammers figure it out and waste time and money for a while.


12/09/2013 02:38 pm

Found 1 network outof 1000+ ? Hell yea even i feel proud of you. All you can do is manual action. :giggle:


12/09/2013 02:38 pm

Another will popup.

Mahesh Mohan

12/09/2013 02:51 pm

Lol! On that thread it says "The Following 7 Users Say Thank You to bluematter For This Useful Post:" One of them must be Matt Cutts. :D


12/09/2013 03:03 pm

Big brands will still continue to cheat their way to the top and get away with it.


12/09/2013 03:05 pm

The thread is an interesting read. "They can't even understand that Anglo Rank is not a "Network". But a service which resells links from networks..."


12/09/2013 03:30 pm

Big brands invest a lot of money, and I mean a lot of money, building their own exclusive ranking networks. And when they get caught they can take them down very fast because they control it all (think of JCPenney). When Google goes after these small potato networks, it only hurts small fries and those that use the networks for negative seo attacks. It's good that Google tries to take down these networks, but the lack of sophistication behind them makes for good Google press only IMO.


12/09/2013 05:10 pm

If google's going after link networks, doesn't that mean someone can just negative SEO a competitor really easily by using the same networks?


12/09/2013 05:22 pm

"There are absolutely NO footprints linking the websites together" Where money changes hands, there's always a footprint. Can't believe that anyone would fall for such a claim. If you do decide to use networks it should at least be a calculated risk. Sticking one's head in the sand never achieves positive results... Link networks can be easily reverse engineered with no inside knowledge through link source/target correlation. All you have to do is recognise that multiple sites (link network's clients) share vast numbers of linked domains; you then tie the data together back at the top, revealing the origin. The reason that link networks fail is that they're lazy. They want to use their few sites to gain as many clients as possible. This in and of itself makes the links easy to trace with minimal effort.

PM Fiorini

12/09/2013 05:28 pm

Blah, Blah, Blah Matt Cutts. Does anyone really care anymore? Cutt's puts out this PR nonsense to justify having a job. Spam? Really? Haven't seen it in a long time. Search results look pretty good - Not bad. But, as the saying long as there is a "web spam" team at Google, there will be "spam" - If they can't find it, they make it up.


12/09/2013 05:37 pm

It's strange that Matt announces such things, negative SEO is too easy this way. I have a spare $200 anyone wants to check if negative seo is real or Google is too smart :) and will disregard the links which I purchase from Anglo Rank and point to some volunteer's website?


12/09/2013 05:46 pm

when matt cutts targets google private blogs/sites network? like their youtube, coupons, etc.


12/09/2013 05:48 pm

negative seo is huggest problem at this days. but google not cares.


12/09/2013 05:50 pm

google is also private blog network. if they want to promote new browser - they just put ads in the youtube, +1, news, web search top1, etc. so google is blackhatware.


12/09/2013 06:45 pm

" Haven't seen it in a long time. " Well, take a look. Query ----> spy cams Do you see website on the first page ? Check whois now ... " Created On:02-Dec-2013 " I never checked this domain before and it took me 3 mins to find this example of an obvious spam.


12/09/2013 07:35 pm

Great work Matt!


12/09/2013 07:44 pm

@Barry ... Disqus lost post again.


12/09/2013 07:47 pm

Do you have an evidence, that it is great work ?


12/09/2013 07:54 pm

No but i think it is a good think that Google takes action against link networks, so that it is a fair game for everyone


12/09/2013 08:17 pm

A level playing field is not what google provides or even tries to provide. Your are delusional to think that google plays fair. Google ranks sites and pages based on least punished. That´s not a level playing field. That method of ranking can never be level nor fair.


12/09/2013 08:58 pm

Doesn't it bother you, that Google takes such actions during last two years at least, but SERP is still full of spammers ? Do you really believe, that such work can be called great ?


12/09/2013 09:00 pm

Barrrrrrrrrrrrrrrry, find the post .... Otherwise post here by yourself. It was told you tens of times, that your Disqus sucks.

Barry Schwartz

12/09/2013 09:02 pm

I approved a bunch of your spammy comments. :)


12/09/2013 09:08 pm

What have I to do, when you forgot about your link proposal ? )) Anyway, Disqus is not for serious projects.


12/09/2013 09:27 pm

I don't see that domain with the query you provided.


12/09/2013 09:39 pm


12/09/2013 09:42 pm

Mine's a bit different. US location, private browsing, not logged in.


12/09/2013 09:45 pm

It doesn't matter. If some people see it, then spam still persists despite of endless MC actions.

Alex Polonsky

12/09/2013 11:10 pm

So Anglo Rank says it's impossible to find their footprint and every site is unique... i checked over at BHW and they're still sending people samples and asking for money. Wonder who's bluffing...

PM Fiorini

12/10/2013 12:09 am

I don't see the site your talking about - Anyway, just because it's a new site does not mean it's spam - The site *is about* Spy Cams - so what is so spammy about that? I guess you don't know the definition of spam. LOL!

Yo Mamma

12/10/2013 01:00 am

What Mutt is saying is that even tho they do try hard, no doubt about it, they failed miserably at controlling the uncontrollable: The internet. Its like trying to pick up a slice of butter with tweezers Mutt.


12/10/2013 01:08 am

if they want to penalize all blog networks, let start from most biggest google sites/blogs network (embed youtube videos is biggest example - they even put their ads on 3rd party sites and blogs! same about google images, etc.), later wikipedia blog network (lot of sites, curated content (lot of low quality content, wikipedia even not accepted as relevant source in the schools, colleges and universities) & unnatural links & they make money via "donate pleeeeeeeeeese" via popup), amazon (unnatural dofollow links for $$$$, via affiliate program), etc. So, if Matt Cutts really fighting for web spam, they need to start from that biggest networks.


12/10/2013 01:11 am

otherwise it just a market sharing with other big brands, but not a real "fighting with web spam".


12/10/2013 04:07 am

Yeah that spycameraexpert site is the old spammy site. The guy keeps 301'ing to a new domain until Google catches up.

Soni Sharma

12/10/2013 05:21 am

Good work but there are many other such networks exist.


12/10/2013 08:31 am

double post


12/10/2013 08:33 am

If you believe, that this is normal, then I'm absolutely sure you visit websites, related to web, by mistake ) Stay with Autos Yahoo. There are plenty of pictures for you.


12/10/2013 08:37 am

As guy below mentioned, check the third domain on your image (first on mine). Creation Date: 17-Oct-2013


12/10/2013 08:42 am

Spot on


12/10/2013 08:52 am

Matt's comments sometimes read like a grudge and make me wonder if this is a personal war for him because some kid flushed his head down the toilet in highs school or something? Sorry to say that this obsession with links Mat has just proves how powerful links ARE. Im starting to think google is little more than a glorified link counter!

The Anti Cutts

12/10/2013 10:36 am

Today’s question comes from Jim in Vancouver, Jim asks, “Dear Matt, I’m small one man local drain cleaner, for years I have received a steady stream of enquiries from google and have been able to provide a small 2 bedroom rented property for my young family which we just about pay for each month, over the past 2 years the work from Google has dried up and our site has been pushed off off page one in place of middle men trade agencies who charge me $45 per referral. I have tried addwords but the same middle men agencies bid so high I make no profit at all and even a loss, I am now badly in debt. What can I do to stop my family breaking down and the hopeless feelings of suicide I’m having this xmas?” Matt: This is an excellent question Jim (Smile). You need to concentrate on your users, build a quality website with unique user driven content; you will need to spend 6 hours per day social networking and writing new and interesting articles on “drain cleaning” and then you will attract editorial links to your site because drain cleaning is an interesting subject people will always want to link out to. Keep building a better site, write daily articles about drain cleaning and spend all of what used to be your family time posting on twitter and Facebook about what you had for dinner that day and any other useless thoughts that pops into your head. (smile)

PM Fiorini

12/10/2013 11:08 am

This is hilarious! Great post!


12/10/2013 11:10 am

Jim's family is in real trouble, if he blames Google, when he can't get customers. Jim has to understand, that Google is not the customers dispenser. Jim has to understand, that drain cleaner must stay away from web business, same as web professionals must stay away from drain cleaning. Jim must focus on the usual methods of the local promotion, instead of pretending he is Hi-Tech drain cleaner. Also it's highly recommended to see professional help regarding "feelings of suicide".

Jim the drain cleaner Best m8

12/10/2013 11:27 am

“Jim has to understand, that drain cleaner must stay away from web business” Why?


12/10/2013 11:33 am

Because in XXI century one person can't be professional in two not related businesses. Jim must concentrate on one business and be the best in it. Father of my ex-girlfriend owns the drain cleaning company. He is millionaire. He didn't spend a dime on the web promotion.

The Anti Cutts

12/10/2013 11:37 am

I have to agree with JustProduct here (smile) and in 2014 we will be pushing out the “no drain cleaners penalty” and amending our slogan "Google it" to "Google it, unless you’re looking for someone to clean your drains, in which case don’t....we don’t do that, we used to know this guy who did once, but we tanked his site, sorry, bing it maybe?" Do you think it will catch on? (smile)

Jim the drain cleaner Best m8

12/10/2013 11:45 am

"Father of my ex-girlfriend owns the drain cleaning company. He is millionaire. He didn't spend a dime on the web promotion." thanks for your share, did you also share that on twitter or should we feel special? I have a follow up question…. did she dump you because you didn't "get" sarcasm and took everything a bit too literally? ;)

Patti Paz

12/10/2013 12:32 pm

Sorry to disagree, but NOTHING is funny about what Google has and is doing!

Khalid Irfan

12/10/2013 12:35 pm

Nice presentation by Anglo Ranks on Black Hat World :P


12/10/2013 12:43 pm

1. You're welcome ) I don't use Twitter and don't care about your feelings ; 2. I will reply this question as soon as you reply the question - When will you stop consume cognac in the morning ? And btw, sarcasm is for winners )

Jim the drain cleaner Best m8

12/10/2013 01:04 pm

JustProduct 1) You don't care about other people’s feelings, business or children they have to feed! 2) Lack a sense of humour and/or ability to spot a joke. 3) You get dumped by girls easily. Have you ever considered a Job at Google? I think you might fit in….


12/10/2013 01:07 pm

and wait for google rectal analysis of your site. at current time ranking of site in google based on elasticity of site owner sphincter :-) + lottery


12/10/2013 01:08 pm

But then if you do discover toxic links, surely you can disavow them?


12/10/2013 01:09 pm

Cheat what? Cheat who? By who's rules??? What's cheating if there is no law? When you say "cheat" you are submitting to matt cutt's stupid rules, which by the way are NOT my rules. Google does NOT own the WWW and therefore DEFEATING GOOGLE AT THEIR OWN GAME IS NOT CHEATING.


12/10/2013 01:11 pm

1. that's correct ; 2. I told you - sarcasm is for winners, humor of whiners is not funny at all ; 3. When will you stop consume cognac in the morning ? Are you head hunter to think about something like this ?


12/10/2013 01:16 pm

Jim shouldn't have relied on Google as his only source of acquiring customers. Any business that puts its customer acquisition solely in the hands of an algorithm they have no control over has no place in blaming Google for anything. Jim killed his own business by depending on Google. Google isn't the villain in this hypothetical. Poor planning for future instability, relying heavily on a third party to funnel customers, and a poor one-channel marketing strategy are to blame. Stories like this hypothetical are sad reminders that complacency is a death blow to local/service oriented businesses. Stories like this hypothetical that attempt to lay any of the blame for a business failing on Google show an inability to accept responsibility for poor business decisions. You can't blame Google at all for the hypothetical provided: it was all the hypothetical business owners doing.


12/10/2013 01:23 pm

And what if you are not a geek and you don't track your backlinks daily?


12/10/2013 01:24 pm

You sound insane. You are playing in Google's house, with Google's rules if you wish to recieve traffic from them. You are free to ignore them completely, block them in your robots.txt and focus on other sources of traffic. To whine and scream about how unfair you find something on the property owned by someone else is just wasting time and air. News flash: Google doesn't owe any site a ranking. If you broke their guidelines and get caught doing it, then don't start complaining that things aren't fair and that you somehow deserve to be ranked. Funny how there are people doing just fine by producing good content and minding the basics. But then again, those people tend not to come here and comment in the ocean of spammers who got caught and now find some great injustice being persecuted against them.


12/10/2013 01:25 pm

If you don't do due diligence on your web property then only you are to blame for the state it may find itself in.


12/10/2013 01:29 pm

Want to give it a try? Just post your URL and we can start the experiment :)

Jim the drain cleaner Best m8

12/10/2013 01:32 pm

JustProduct, you don't care if CHILDREN are fed/housed? Gee I, I wonder why you got dumped? ;)


12/10/2013 01:38 pm

Ha! Part of that due diligence thing is not throwing lambs out to the wolves.


12/10/2013 01:39 pm

I don't see reason why reply your questions, when you don't reply mine ... When will you stop consume cognac in the morning ?

Jim the drain cleaner Best m8

12/10/2013 01:53 pm

This isn’t about me bro, this isn’t even about Jim the drain cleaner anymore either, this is about you, what happened to make YOU so angry and bitter in life, right now… we, all of us, we are here for YOU brother! Tell us about your childhood...


12/10/2013 02:15 pm

omg, stop to consume cognac in the morning

Yo Mamma

12/10/2013 03:03 pm

Nah, what is really sad is that there are far too many cases of small business owners resorting to suicide after a major drop in business/income because of the MAJOR advertising giant, Google, 'algorithm changes' America has failed its people by allowing Google to dominate


12/10/2013 03:09 pm

French culture minister snubs Google at major Paris event

Jim the drain cleaner Best m8

12/10/2013 03:15 pm

"France is also currently investigating Google's practice of channelling revenues through Bermuda to reduce its exposure to taxes in a number of countries." Anyone else here picture Matt cuts fight against people "gaming the system" to make ends meat, then read this and just wonder how the guy can keep a straight face?


12/10/2013 03:17 pm

It is sad if someone takes their own life because of a business failing. It is incredibly sad and unfortunate. But this has been happening for hundreds of years at least, and Google hasn't been around for that long. The failure of a small/local service business because it relied on one-channel customer acquisition, like the hypothetical we are discussing, has nothing to do with Google. The business owner is entirely to blame; poor business decisions (like relying on Google for customer acquisition) is the reason for the business failing. If they choose to end their life because of their failed business, then that is a tragedy on a personal level.


12/10/2013 03:18 pm

I didn't realize Matt Cutts was responsible for Google's corporate and international finances.


12/10/2013 03:39 pm

Am I the only one who read "we are here for YOU brother!" in the voice of the Macho Man? That would be the best intervention ever.


12/10/2013 03:40 pm

This is not about Google, but about America. Blame your representative, who allowed to spend YOUR money on the endless wars all around the world, then later on questionable bailouts and then allowed to print money as the toilet paper. I'm not big fan of modern Google, but at least it doesn't request bailout.


12/10/2013 03:43 pm

Then you're fcuked. I don't consider myself a geek if I check my backlinks, however. MD's and CEO's take note, hire geeks only.

Jim the drain cleaner Best m8

12/10/2013 03:52 pm

You can’t be the public face of a company and say “don’t game our system” while your company games the tax system around the world. It’s called having a moral compass bro and a sense of shame! id feel deeply ashamed to be reasonable for helping destroy small business with one hand while my company is fiddling the tax system so there is less money to support the small business owners I just helped destroy. It’s called having a morals and caring about human beings, don’t worry I don’t expect you to understand, some people care about fellow humans is all!


12/10/2013 03:56 pm

They'll be more we can use. don't worry.


12/10/2013 03:57 pm

This is sad. Just think about it - the member of government, instead of using her authorized power to deal with another power (Google) and make something good for people, who authorized her to be the power, just snubbed Google. Yeah, this is what electors expected from her - to snub Google !!! Pure populism, but what else could be expected from the current French government of socialists.


12/10/2013 04:12 pm

It's so easy to care about people you will never see, isn't it ? It so easy to care about all instead of help to the certain person near you, isn't ? Don't bother to reply. No doubt you're full of morals online only.

Jim the drain cleaner Best m8

12/10/2013 04:25 pm

I buy and hand out meal deals to the homeless whenever I visit the nearest city to me, I also support a homeless charity and am organise a yearly fundraising event. It’s okay though cos I know you’re only trolling me! We need to get back to talking about you and your problems spud since you have some bigger issues going on…like why you post under 2 different names “ethalon” and "justproduct". It’s like talking to someone with schizophrenia but both personalities are completely in agreement with each other and back each other up on anon forums, it must be nice to have someone have your back like that? is it wrong that I find that just a little bit sexy?


12/10/2013 04:35 pm

WoW, thank you for the compliment about my American English, since ethalon, is a native speaker ! I'm proud of myself )

Jim the drain cleaner Best m8

12/10/2013 04:41 pm

Ethalon………………….is it ethalon im talking to right now? or are you back in justProduct mode? Anyway, whoever you are right now...if either one of you wants to talk though your social problems over private email me we can get the healing process underway! I dont want to mess up Barry's site anymore so this is my last reply to you sweetieI I really feel like your trolling is a cry for help? Im here for you, both of me k ;)


12/10/2013 04:42 pm

You do realize that JustProduct and I aren't the same person, right?

Yo Mamma

12/10/2013 05:09 pm

You're wrong. Google became the internet. To blame someone for using or relying on business from the internet is not stupid, as u say, its smart. Its innovative. Its tech savvy. So say now that because Google changed the rules, over night, yes they did and u know that, its dumb to have used the internet to gain a market position is asinine. By Google not enforcing its rules for many years, was akin to not having those rules. Its like copyright laws. If you don't enforce them over time, its like they don't exist. Fair is fair, remember that

Yo Mamma

12/10/2013 05:13 pm

Belly Ache wrote: "Google idiot saying it`s about global culture. Hope the French stick it to them, we have had enough of so called global culture wrecking our society in the UK." I can say the same for America We are sick and tired of Google Dan wrote: "Google are just plain greedy, no if's or but's, just plain greed." Marvin wrote "Go to hell Google" I wrote: Google has a major issue moving forward

Yo Mamma

12/10/2013 05:17 pm

Right. You are Mutt Cutts


12/10/2013 05:45 pm

Google is not the internet and is not necessary to build and grow a customer base for a small/local service oriented business like the one we are discussing. It can be a great source of inquiries and customer acquisition, but it isn't the only way online and should not be thought of as such.

Yo Mamma

12/10/2013 07:00 pm

Ethalon - u sound like a disclaimer Seen this one? "Google will be excused from performance in this Agreement to the extent that performance is prevented, delayed or obstructed by causes beyond its reasonable control." Another dubious part of the same "The relationship between Google and You is not one of a legal partnership relationship, but is one of independent contractors."


12/10/2013 07:20 pm

so what's the service to order at bhw?


12/10/2013 09:08 pm

None if you are working for clients who aren't aware that you are simply assuring their site to be penalized in the future.


12/10/2013 09:08 pm

Does that make me an adorable puppy version of Matt? Would I be a puppy with his stock portfolio?


12/10/2013 09:10 pm

No, I sound like the exact sort of business 101 advice you would get from anyone. Do not rely on a single channel of customer acquisition...doubly so if you are not in control of or have a perfectly clear understanding of that channel.


12/10/2013 09:23 pm

Time until a new link network pops up that completely defeats Matt's little schemes. About 4 and a quarter seconds...and done. Time to go join it.


12/10/2013 09:57 pm

Yeah no doubt. Time to hire a new spam team and redo the algo.


12/10/2013 11:32 pm

Google needs an Edward Snowden employee to spill the beans on Google's nefarious and poisonous strategies that deliberately help big brands while hurting smaller companies.

PM Fiorini

12/11/2013 12:45 am

A little humor would do you some good. Lighten up!


12/11/2013 02:40 am

It's funny that Matt has never went after the biggest of these services "Speed Rank" the Anglo rank and the ghost rank came after it they where basically copies of it yet Matt has never went after it, it still runs in the blackhatworld

Friv juego

12/11/2013 07:14 am

Another interesting information, really thank this information.

Bilal Sarwari

12/11/2013 08:28 am

BHW thread is update, many members start receiving emails from Google

Roman M

12/11/2013 09:45 am

you sad little nutter!!

Roman M

12/11/2013 09:48 am

..or JustConsumer?

Rahul Trivedi

12/11/2013 10:31 am

@barry - i think you are not moderating comments now...

Barry Schwartz

12/11/2013 11:04 am

Or I do sleep for a couple hours a night.


12/12/2013 02:44 am

Haven' hear Anglo Rank yet, don't use black hat anyway


12/12/2013 11:47 am

sorry but I agree with the OP... the business didn't change the market - you could argue maybe Google didn't either - but the market definitely changed. Clients I represent have seen up to 95% of the 'which business to choose/contact for a product/quote' decisions transfer to being made on the web in the last 5 years. Close to 90% (of the first 95%) of those internet decisions are actually channelled through Google. So more than 85% of people in some niches use Google to find a service or product. Hence if no one reads the offline marketing, press or the yellow pages etc to find a drain cleaner any more... and they all go to Google to find one... and Google bins this guy in favour of brokers spam, then ultimately they play a huge part and there isn't much this business can do about that, other than go all out after Google rankings, paid or organic. My experience is from data collected not hypothesis... but it's only for a sample of clients in this instance (it's not a factor I really study, it's one I just see). The companies I know are involved in various verticals (why I said some niches earlier) but include, law, IT services, financial services, charities and retail. No it's not 'drain cleaners' but it does support the principle of the OPs post. For many companies it's "success on Google or bust". I'm sorry to say I see the data to support that statement, so for me it's a fact. Caveat - for many companies not all.


12/14/2013 06:32 am

Based on Matt's PUBCON presentation, I thought the web spam team was on an extended holiday leave. Guess not. Matt now is now openly mocking link networks for their folly. Next up spammy guest blogging.


12/22/2013 04:23 pm

It's strange that Matt announces such things, negative SEO is too easy this way. I have a spare $200 anyone wants to check if negative seo is real or Google is too smart :) and will disregard the links which I purchase from Anglo Rank and point to some volunteer's website?

EGAN Medical

01/22/2014 08:00 am

I thought those went out of style five or six years ago...

Andre Buxey

02/10/2014 01:11 pm

you have to be a complete idiot for buying services on BHW, google sends in a spy, buys a few $100'S of the service then kills that network... the very best bet is to switch to something under the radar..

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