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Some link spammers at one of the black hat forums apparently ran an experiment targeting SEOmoz's home page with the anchor text "snuggie dog bed." The results are surprisingly effective: http://bit.ly/IQbL1V

Apparently, anchor text link bombing, even from very questionable sources, still works. I'd be surprised if they leave the links up for long given that Google/Bing webspam can use this as a honeypot, but it's an interesting glimpse into how linkspam and anchor text operate.

p.s. Update - +Pedro Dias noticed that a domain (snuggeez.com) was redirected to SEOmoz, which is likely causing much of this (not just anchor text matching links).
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90 comments
 
Wow. Pretty discouraging.
AJ Kohn
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I believe the Google bomb proc is not a realtime signal. I'm interested to see how quickly Google identifies and resolves it.
 
+Rand Fishkin Any info on number of links needed etc? Only 28 exact match searches a month, I mean, definitely still "impressed" - its a totally random phrase (unless you sold snuggie dog beds once, lol) but not as impressive as something with higher volume / competition. I wonder how much would be needed for something with higher volume, or if its even possible. Very interesting indeed!
 
I was personally hoping that this (exact match anchor text) was going to be the ranking factor that was being devalued as per +Matt Cutts' recent comments... guess not!
 
To be fair, Roger would look rather fetching in a Slanket. (pun intended)
 
+Jonathon Colman It hasn't rolled out yet (they said "next few days") so it might still do that.

+Dan Shure Yeah, me too. I suspect it's in the thousands of total links (maybe 10s of thousands), but only a few hundred to low thousands of unique domains.

+Peter Hamilton I think at one time, it was a great signal of relevancy, but has gotten dramatically worse in the past 8-10 years.
 
+Rand Fishkin WOW. That's a LOT of links just to rank on a 28 per month query. And so sad it will just go away... :)
Bee Gee
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It was done by a WickedFire user as a joke.
 
LOL. The SEO press about this will spike volume on the search term.

I'm imagining the poor pet product manufacturer or retailer next month looking at search trends and thinking they need to jump on this "snuggie dog bed" bandwagon before everyone else does.
 
Out ranking ebay, amazon and buy.com for a product they sell with no on page factors. Very sad indeed. Interesting to see if people deconstruct this one.
 
+Dan Shure it actually worked for "dog snuggie" as well - that term is 1,400 exact searches per month :)
 
Maybe you should start selling snuggie dog beds? ;p Thanks for the free traffic eh?
 
Have you had many irate customers trying to buy one yet ;)
AJ Kohn
 
What's the timeframe for building the links?
 
I think it would be a greater achievement to rank a website with less authority as seomoz for such a term. We all know authority plays a huge factor in rankings. Surely it would take more links to rank my website for such a keyword?
 
+Dan Shure Yes that might be a lot of links, but you have to realize the ease with which these links are made. Also, I've seen the methods used for this used on other sites, and those sites are holding strong going on multiple months at the moment. Even lasting over the recent algorithm changes.
AJ Kohn
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Here's a 2009 excerpt from +Matt Cutts talking about Googlebombs.

Rather than edit these prank results by hand, we developed an algorithm a few years ago to detect Googlebombs. We tend not to run it all the time, because it takes some computing power to process our entire web index and because true Googlebombs are quite rare (we joke around the Googleplex that more articles have been written about Googlebombs than there are actual examples of Googlebombs).

Emphasis is mine. via: http://googlepublicpolicy.blogspot.com/2009/01/detecting-new-googlebombs.html

Now, Caffeine and MapReduce advancements might reduce the overhead, but if Google really thinks this is rare, then it's likely not fully integrated.

Perhaps the new update rolling out will do something like that. The question is how sensitive will it be to this type of bombing?
AJ Kohn
 
Interesting that phrase-based indexing hasn't caught something like this either. Odds that 'dog snuggie bed' would appear on SEOmoz is very low.

Doing that query I do find that Moz has been ranking for the term since, at least, April 16. So it's been live for over a week ... hence, any proc dealing with this is not a weekly proc ;)
 
+Rand Fishkin I see this signed in. I don't see this in incognito mode. Is everyone else seeing this when they are signed out of Google?
 
+AJ Kohn Google bombing is not the same as web spam. If this was done by spammers, then it's not going to be tripped by the google bomb "check" system.
AJ Kohn
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Whether they are spammers or not is immaterial +Julian Sutter. Creating a large number of links to a site or page using specific anchor text is the practice, whether it's a Googlebomb or not is really a matter of scale.
 
+AJ Kohn I don't think you really understand how they are doing this AJ. You are making assumptions that they are using large amounts of exact anchor text, when in all reality the method is different. Julian is correct that this is different.
 
Do Google send in Jack Bauer to disarm the "Bomb" ? :)
 
FYI - there's some suspicion mentioned on Twitter that the spammers may have 301 redirected a domain that was previously ranking for the phrase to the homepage, which gave it the ability to "overcome" the Googlebombing prevention algo (which makes sense - if a company of one name redirects and rebrands, Google would want the new site to rank for the old name).

Not 100% sure that's what happened, but figured I should bring it up as a possibility.
AJ Kohn
 
If they aren't using exact anchor text via many links then it doesn't qualify as a googlebomb +Mitchell Wright . What methods were employed?
 
Very interesting. It will be interesting to see how long it lasts. How did you notice it in the first place?
Bee Gee
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some real elite SEO PI's in here I see o.o
 
Good one +Pedro Dias what tools did you catch that with? I was trying to see it with Link Assistant at the domain level
 
I didn't use any tools, just Google queries (seriously) and intuition I acquired during the years on my previous job ;^)
 
Then more hats off to you.... Nice +Pedro Dias can I call you when I need some sleuthing?
 
I knew I was gonna fall for it eventually.
 
FYI - a bunch of spammers have been commenting on this thread - feel free to use the "flag" to help remove. The "Matt Cutts" profile seen here is not the real one.
 
I'm seeing serious A/B/C split testing for Google SERPS as of the last 5 days. Pretty intense algo changes per split.
 
Aside: There are plenty of "white hats" on WickedFire. Perhaps a more interesting glimpse into anchor text can be found by googling, "click here"
Bee Gee
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I TOOK GRINDSTONES 12"

If you search for the sentence above in Google, it will show you exactly what kind of animal you're dealing with when it comes to this "Grindstone" person. Oh boy.
 
Thanks Mitchell that is good stuff. IMO Rand really made a troll post by calling "link spammers" at "black hat forums" those names. That really is kind of a label especially since most of "them" very earnestly do not promote black hat methods, and even frown upon using BH methods ideologies in their campaigns.

Sure I think a lot of folks competed in the competition link bombed,or whatever you called it but that was not the intention of the competition to see who could blackhat their way to the top.

The competition is just like any other set of SERP results - you will find black/white/grey hat type links all over the place.
 
I'd say Rand got pwned. Grindstone, way to go!
 
It's things like this that make me lose faith in non-spammy techniques
 
Wow it took you that long to figure out it was a 301 redirect? Oh great SEO MOZ GOD... Just fyi this was a huge joke on a forum called wickedfire. We are lol'ing right now fyi.
 
I heard that some of the commenters in this thread used to represent some big brands at some point. Can anyone confirm?
Niv Asp
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+Barry Maurice Rand wants to rank for some other keywords too. Please help him.
Niv Asp
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+Chris Smink Yes you're right. I too represented some big brands when working for my small start up GoogleHammer.com
 
HAHA - Regardless of what people say...apparently it still works!
 
Anchor text links still pwn Google SERPs quite easily regardless =/
 
You people need to relax. The original project was set up as a challenge. There was no direct personal gain associated with the initial objective. It was both, a way to show your stuff, and watch a bunch of really brilliant SEOers rank a site in real time. As he states, the 301 was just a spur of the moment lulz. There could be some potential knowledge to be gained here, though. He mentions: "..good test of unrelated link juice to an authority domain like seomoz". So, if you and Grindstone actually analyzed the resulting data, perhaps we could finally put the will-competitors-shooting-a-ton-of-bad-links-to-my-site-bring-it-down? question to bed. So I say, bring Grind on Seomoz for a guest post!
 
+Lauren Starling hit the nail on the head. This has nothing to do with the "negative seo" request/challenge a week ago. The competition was really interesting to see, especially if you knew every site in, the speed it ranked, the staying power, and now how it behaves when redirected.
Niv Asp
 
+Barry Maurice (aka ly2 from wf) is another SEO mastermind who can rank any sites with trash links alone. Don't <censored> with him. He became 2nd in that dog snuggie SEO competition. If you want any tips, ask him very politely and nicely. He's a very descent person.
Ed Fry
 
Pffft... love how they now rank your Google+ post ahead of moz now!
 
+Ed Fry — and so we have a Reputation Management example :)
 
"These WickedFire SEO masterminds"

lol yeah ok. Cause a 301 redirect is SEO mastermind. When you guys gonna stop playing the guru game?
 
"our next move"? Sounds like the little girl who runs the lemonade stand next door telling Coke to watch out.

Based on the behavior they've demonstrated here and in other comment areas, your forum of SEO experts would be more at home on 4chan.
 
Rand, you're claling these people "spammers", but didnt you ask for this? anyway, rather than you, Matt Cutts own blog has been targeted and now ranks around 39 for his name.

What do you think of that?

This is the bed Google made for itself.
 
+matthew hoey I see Matt Cuts as the first result on the SERP.
IMO this was not that great of an experiment. After all no harm was done to the SEOmoz site, and the timeframe that all this happend in is instant. From my understanding of SEO things should be calculated on a broader scale. Yes this term has had a spike via a 301 redirect. However, over time user interaction will be greatly reduced along with its rankings.

This experiment would only be valid if they were able to take away SEOmoz's 4th place ranking for the term SEO. I thought the point of this experiment was to see if negative SEO works.
 
+David Fishman Again. Another joke. For the literalists out there: It's making fun of "masterminds" "gurus" "specialists" and all the other trash that clogs up these boards.
 
+Donnie Strompf This has nothing to do with any negative SEO challenge, completely unrelated. This event does however point out some glaring weaknesses in the Google algo which are well known to those who study these things.

This event also highlights a lack of knowledge on the part of those who hold themselves out to be "white hat", "experts", "gurus", and those who sell their hyped SEO knowledge.
 
+Neal Crush SEO knowledge is like the bible. Everyone has their own interpretation of it. In reality god, I mean Google, is the only one that knows everything.

This example does not make sense to me. How does making me rank for another keyword with low competition hurt my site exactly?

Is this an attempt to tell search engines that seomoz is about snuggie dog bed? instead of SEO?

What am I missing here?

As far as people who tell you they are "white hat", "experts", "gurus"? this is the same in every market. If you ask a real successful business man what they do, they will not use the term "expert" "Guru" "profesional" this is a sign of weeknes IMO.

We are all noobs in SEO. There are always new strategies and updates that can change everything in ones game plan to rank.
Niv Asp
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+David Fishman I'm just curious after seeing your name (along with OPs name). Does SEO have anything to do with "fish"? Fishkin, Fishman and who else?
 
Awesome, hilarious, comical, ingenious, ridiculous, many adjectives come to mind.

He should have got Rand's blog to rank for "Gefilte fish recipe"
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