Google's Matt Cutts Issues Subtle Warning To Ghost Networks

Aug 30, 2013 • 8:30 am | comments (29) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

moving targetLast night, Matt Cutts tweeted that he is working up several "ghost-related puns for a spam network."

I suspect they are working on targeting more and more link and spam networks and it is thus on his mind. I would think this spam topic is always on his mind, since he has been working in this area for over ten years now.

That being said, the pun he shared was "They try to look super natural, but using them will dampen your spirits."

Now, more importantly, is this a sign that Google just released yet another target aimed at another spam network? Could be.

The folks at BlackHat Forums asked if this is the time that the SAPE network of links was finally completely busted. He cited an increase in the number of complaints from SAPE link network users and how many of them have seen either manual actions in their Webmaster Tools accounts or a decrease in search traffic from Google.

This webmaster wrote:

A lot of movement has been occurring around the forum regarding SAPE links.

Its no news that Google has been trying to shut SAPE down for some time now.

Has the time finally come? Is it time to move onto some underground link exchanges?

He then references Matt's tweet from last night:

And then cites other threads of complaints from SAPE users.

Supposedly, Google went after SAPE before but it seems to still be working for some webmasters.

Forum discussion at BlackHat Forums and Twitter.

Image credit to BigStockPhoto for target

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08/30/2013 01:40 pm

Well Barry, there are more than 48 underground sape-like networks of millions of Russian and english websites, which are working like a gems for everyone, and its nearly impossible for Google to de-index all of them as it will lower there shares in Russian market...just my two cents :)


08/30/2013 02:34 pm

"...other link networks still work; I should use those to rank my and my clients sites!" ::A Year Passes:: "Hello Webmaster Central, I was told by Google to post about my problem on this forum. We think we have been penalized and our traffic has hit the floor in a matter of days! We have never spammed and our site looks nice/users love it." "Have you ever hired an SEO?" "We had about a year ago. The SEO claimed they could boost our rankings in a penguin/panda safe manner. They did a great job and the contract ended...months have passed and suddenly we aren't ranked number 2 for our money keyword..." ::People in Webmaster Central go digging into the sites link profile:: "You have 13,000 links created in the space of two months...most of those are ::insert all sorts of spammy domains/tactics here::. Your site is tanking because you or the SEO you hired spammed and finally got caught" "This is outrageous! We have never spammed and ranked great for months..." Every. Single. Day.

Craig Hamilton-Parker

08/30/2013 02:40 pm

I tweeted: @mattcutts Spook the Spammers but remember not every site is a Zombie. @chamiltonparker #psychic


08/30/2013 03:15 pm

"Matt Cutts against Link Spammers : Spirits" - season XX , episode XXX


08/30/2013 04:10 pm

how we get tired from that horny warrior, think this people


08/30/2013 04:11 pm

it pretty natural in this days. what matt cutts see as unnatural here? One sitewide link can create much more urls in one second. google like pioneer, trying to fix problem which it created (links). But elephant not see damages they cause when trying to catch the small mouse.


08/30/2013 04:34 pm

one year later.. oh yeah we got over that white hat crap and it now takes just 5 minutes to build a site with our script and $100 to rank it for our keywords. churn and burn baby.

gangnam style

08/30/2013 05:15 pm

- matt cutts pay day loans - ghost style-


08/30/2013 05:30 pm

try to dig deeper .... Why do people still hire SEOs ? Why does Google still need website optimization ? Technology improved drastically since Google was founded ( NSA is reading almost every email on this planet ) but Google still need optimization to be able to see website properly. Why is it so ? Ok, lets assume Google still needs SEO for any reason. Why can't they establish kind of certification for SEOs ? It's so easy. Every SEO would have person certificate and every website he/she worked with would be signed by him/her. Why they can suggest new tags as an industry standard, but can't make standards of how optimization should be done ? Two years ago I also thought like you do - these whiners are just not for this industry and they will be out the market soon, because of the search market evolution, driving by Google's smart team. Two years past - nothing changed. Nothing ! Did evolution take place during last two years ? Anyway I'm already not sure, if I can blame those who hire questionable SEOs and then whine all around. Who is responsible - not smart enough student or professor, who allows him to attend classes, but can't teach him properly ?


08/30/2013 06:27 pm

This comment. God bless it. Nail on the head.

David DuVal

08/30/2013 06:41 pm

My main issue is people trust Google's opinion of sites with the visible pagerank. There are black hats making millions off of pagerank EVEN when the links don't improve rankings. Since February, me and others have sent numerous reports of a hacker group tha has made several million dollars by selling links based on pagerank they harvested placing hidden links on hacked sites like Creative Commons and Cornell University.. The hackers are doing great 6 months later.

lez bennet

08/30/2013 08:48 pm

I have no respect for anyone remotely friends with Cutts the returd

lez bennet

08/30/2013 09:00 pm

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08/30/2013 11:10 pm

shhh, not tell anybody his small blackhat secret.


08/31/2013 10:40 am

Matt has gotten rid of you guys... start working on content and not externally and you will be a much happier webmaster.

Rahul Ranjna

08/31/2013 11:49 am

Its all the things what Matts says is only to say. I still see many site which should be penalized by Penguin, ranking very well. And also some of sites that looks good, might did early off page span but now every thing look solved, still couldnot rank. Its hard to say what Matts will do and what not, but ya one thing is sure some good and some spammy sites get out of SERP.

Mestre dos sites

08/31/2013 07:38 pm

Finally they doin something


08/31/2013 09:42 pm

Guys take it easy on me and google, we are facing tough competition from yahoo now. No one uses bing. Please just go back to making good content and use adwords, please. I'm sure your going to love adwords, because your buying links from us, google. Our links are the best, tested to work. So stop buying your links from strangers, and trust us.


09/01/2013 04:53 am

Why are these spammers relentless in spite of Google's effort to curb them. Can they not use their skill more positively and respect and play by the rules?


09/01/2013 10:05 am

because of evEl hunting for Evil now. Both using same ways, but different quantity and amount of money.


09/01/2013 10:10 am

looks like mr. cutts, you already lost search engine wars. At current time we wish victory (mass people immigration) to bing (yahoo using their search results), but hope later will more competitors in search engine market.

Vaishnav Kumar

09/02/2013 05:21 pm

What About the People / Organizations which are getting high traffic also using that traffic to increase keyword ranking as well as generate money by automated clicks on Affiliates or Adsense ? How Google will Filter that Traffic ?


09/02/2013 09:11 pm

Cuz we are not as retarded as you and feel no joy in licking google's ass


09/03/2013 12:25 am

What SAPE accomplished (to the credit of its masterminds who are genius by all means) is to leave Cutts the only choice to penalize any site that has some links that look like SAPE which in many cases are very natural looking. This opens the Pandora's box of negative SEO which is rampant affecting small website owners. It is an alarming trend which showed how Cutts was pushed into the corner and the only weapons he had is to throw the white flag of defeat by assigning negative weights to links as his last resort. This of course paved the way for the now well known Disavow Tool as they are trying to give webmasters who suffered from negative SEO as well as false positives to file an appeal. This is how powerful SAPE is and only fools think that this network is going to die. It will push Cutts further down to his knees as white hat webmasters cry out loud from the harsh cross fire. Nowadays it is practically impossible to rank with a new site with white hat methods in a competitive niche as you will be subjected to harsh reality of negative SEO (Xrumer, Sape, etc). While older authority domains will be doing whatever they want and get away with this for a long time. The people at Google who will decide the fate of small webmsite owners will who no mercy once they see any resemblance of sape footprint in your link profile. The verdict will be automatic GUILTY with no appeals/ The penalties will be manual with long expiry periods. This is what sape is and how it punished Cutts and made him use the only last resort option that basically showed his absolute weakness before sape.


09/03/2013 08:58 am

You sound like a TWAT mate!


09/03/2013 10:27 pm

Let's have a good laugh, again :) Is this guy Cutts for real? Does he read off of cheat sheet or something?

Ashish Ahuja

09/04/2013 05:18 pm

What it shows it that links like Sape work and google can only take manual action against big networks like sape, but it cannot take any algorithmic action against all people who are using private networks to boost their rankings.

Ashish Ahuja

09/04/2013 05:20 pm

because it works and generates positive ROI instantly whereas do good Cutts rules have no guarantee of income even in long term and after going by the rules you one day find your site has been hit by negative seo (another google creation) PS: I do not spam


09/04/2013 05:23 pm

i have large scale sape links and it havent hurt my site infact i increased the serp ranks.

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