A recent forum post inspired this article. A lot of people have joined in the mass debate over whether Angela and PJ, of backlink fame have been penalized by Google for their backlinking businesses.
There are great arguments on both sides, but this article should help you make you mind up, as it is stated on the facts that we actually know, and can run with.
Angela and PJ have always made a point of showing how highly their websites rank for very demanding search terms – such as ‘backlinks’ and even the word ‘Angela’. Recently marketers noticed that the ranking of Angela and PJ’s sites had slipped quite a lot, and a drop in Pagerank had also been noted.
The great debate began with marketers giving ‘I told you so’ lectures about how not to put all your eggs in one basket with forum links etc. Well, right now, the state of play with Google is the same as it has always been. If you step outside of their terms of service for any reason, and you will be penalized. Maybe a small sandboxing problem, or maybe as serious as a drop in Pagerank, but sure enough it will come.
So the hanging question is – does artificially improving your website’s position on the search engines really get you penalized? The answer is, nobody knows. If it were so simple to de-rank your website (by having 1000 profile links with your keyword and username being the same) then it would be simple to get your competition put down on the rankings, and take over their spots. What everybody should take away from this is a couple of good lessons:
- Ensure your backlinks are extremely diverse
- Never use the same username etc. for every link you create manually
- Never tell anyone publicly that you actively use and encourage backlinking to get higher in the SERPs.