LRT Link Research Tools

Google Penalty for Payday Loans Niche – Deep Dive SEO Case Study

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Are you ready for the Google Penguin 3.0 Update?

cashlady payday loan google penalty

CashLady.co.uk is a Payday Loan site “Stuck with a manual penalty”

Google had picked on the very spammy Payday Loans niche for years and even gave it it’s own “algo update”. After Matt Cutts discussing detail problems about a penalty case it was time to do a deep dive on the domain in question. Bartosz and his team cranked out a highly impressive analysis in only 48 hours finding a plethora of problems and related sites, just as Matt Cutts advised that it could be “quite difficult”.

After reading this case study you will understand why.
And if you only read one of our 30 case-studies, read this one.

We look forward to your feedback and always appreciate you sharing the work of our Certified LRT Professionals.

- Enjoy & Learn!
Christoph C. Cemper

Bonus: Download the FULL PDF report of this Payday Loan Manual Penalty Please TWEET for PDF

Table of Contents

Introduction

In this case study I will try to shed some light on some of the techniques that can be used when dealing with lack of backlinks from customer, crawlers etc. We are trying to help Marie who is working for a pay day loan company trying to help get a manual penalty lifted.

During this case study I will combine the huge power of Link Research Tools, the fact that Link Detox gives me access to 24 link sources (!), combine it with my own experience from finance niche, and SEO knowledge.

History of CashLady.co.uk

For those of you who don’t know, the Cash Lady/Kerry Katona case has been going on for a couple of years. In 2008, Katona was declared bankrupt after failing to pay her taxes. So it seemed fitting that, after she’d got back on her feet a little, she should become the face of a payday lender, and that payday lender was Cash Lady.

Cash Lady Kerry Katona

However, the ad received a flood of criticism. It was accused of being “irresponsible” and encouraging people to look for shortsighted solutions to their financial troubles, and it ended up being banned despite Cash Lady’s owner’s assurances that that was not the case. It seemed that that would be the end of it, but to add insult to injury, Kerry Katona filed for bankruptcy soon afterwards. A spokesperson for Cash Lady then released a statement in which he announced the end of the company’s cooperation with Katona, wishing her well attempting to move his company as far away as possible from the whole fiasco.

Short introduction to “payday loans” niche

Payday loans niche was one of the spammiest niche worldwide until the 2013 and “Payday Loan algorithm” update.

It was officially launched June 11th 2013. The algorithm targeted notoriously spammed Google results. It was rolled out over a 2 month period.

If you want to read a little bit more about finance niche in UK, you can also read my Halifax Google Drop Case Study. The finance niche is really dynamic and always keeps me busy with link audits.

Is Payday Loans a Manually Moderated Niche?

There were some rumors claiming that this niche is manually moderated by Googlers. There was no official report confirming it, so for the sake of this case study I’ve decided to prove it.

March 7th2014 around 5 PM CET (+1), I created a spammy payday loan site and added many spammy links to it with anchors “payday loans” and similar internet trash.

http://paydayloans.widezone.net

payday loans site

Of course all the content etc. was scraped and site was a really low quality.

I did add thousands of spammy backlinks pointing to the site within just few hours.

How long do you think it was till the site got penalized?

Between 12 and 36 hours!

Sunday morning I logged in to my Webmaster Tools to see “pure spam” notification.

Pure spam notification

I didn’t receive a letter yet, and it is still too early to find out the exact hour of the penalty, but between 12 and 36 hours from domain creation clearly shows that this niche is definitely under different rules and a lot of scrutiny from Google.

That is probably why it might be harder to lift a penalty in this niche than in any other. I have some experience in Manual Penalties in the payday loans niche in UK, and those are the some of the most difficult cases I have worked.

Registration and ranking history of CashLady.co.uk

CashLady.co.uk is a domain registered February 19th 2011. I will cover a history connected with this brand later in this case study but first let’s look at the initial overview of this domain.

http://who.is/whois/cashlady.co.uk

Cashlady whois

CashLady.co.uk was created 3 years ago, but it was in the “spotlight” only for 1 – 2 months before it got slapped by Google.

CashLady.co.uk sistrix visibility drop

I can only guess that the site got penalized around late September 2013. I didn’t find any backlinks created after this date and there was massive link building campaign in progress in September 2013. This adds even more fuel to the fire because most (if not all) link activity stopped right around the penalty time. Almost like an admission of guilt from the company side.

After many unsuccessful attempts to lift the penalty form cashlady.co.uk Marie Haynes started to look for help at Webmaster Central.

We have all been there, unable to see the forest because there are so many trees in the way. Google put the forum together for people to get help and insights from others which will pay off after she reads this case study.

https://productforums.google.com/forum/#!msg/webmasters/gqjgXkJxiIU/NpieAPSIsmUJ

marie haynes webmaster central

After not getting much help in the google forum, Marie Tweets to Matt Cutts asking for help. Now it is getting more interesting, because Matt does not usually reply to personal tweets. He gets thousands of those monthly so you can assume it is unusual for this type of exposure.

Initial Tweet started a whole discussion with Matt (again pretty unusual to me).
https://twitter.com/Marie_Haynes/status/441592652631650304

twitter conversation between matt cutts and marie haynes

As you can see above, Matt suggests that the Googlers may consider different sites from 1 owner while looking at a manual penalty. This is a great example of how Matt has helped Marie. While I was putting this deep dive together the internet exploded with rumors that Google is now checking every domain a company owns. The reality is that the payday loans niche is one of the most scrutinized niche’s on the internet and in this case it is easy to see many the domains owned by this company (which I will address later). I think it would be safe to assume, as I said it in the Halifax case study, if you crap all over the internet Google will make you clean it up.

Having Matt Cutts showing examples of bad links pointing to your site is priceless. He gave some examples of bad links from the past.

Before we get into the comments examples, let me shed some light on how easy it was for Matt to find their domains. For anyone with even remote experience in finance niche in UK it takes 5 seconds to find more sites by the same owner.

CashLady footprinting license

Now all you have to do is Google “Consumer Credit Licence 626678/1”. After that you have got all the “live” sites by the same owner.

CashLady footprinting license

We don’t know if Matt Cutts used this way of checking, but in this case the SEO company working for cashlady.co.uk made it really obvious that they are working on many sites for 1 customer.

Spam comments – examples by Matt Cutts

I can only guess he has those links visible as flagged in Google’s internal system. Let’s take a look at some of the examples from Matt.

http://antperiod19.bravejournal.com/entry/121692/

bad link example

OK, some of you may think there is nothing interesting in those examples. But if we look closely, we can find a lot of interesting patterns.

http://d3vbkhiaajuhy1.cloudfront.net/answer/i-have-a-20-000-interest-only-mortgage-which-expires-in-sept-i-also-have-a-loan-of-5-000-which-i-want-to-pay-off-but-i-have-a-poor-credit

bad link example

Footprint behind Cashlady.co.uk

If Matt Cutts was able to see a clear footprint, why shouldn’t we be able to find it too? :)

We have more than enough data to find the problems behind Cashlady.co.uk from Matt’s tweets. All we need to do now is to process it and find the real problem that the Googlers have with Cashlady.co.uk.

To do it, I will come back to the link with spammy comments quoted above.

http://d3vbkhiaajuhy1.cloudfront.net/answer/i-have-a-20-000-interest-only-mortgage-which-expires-in-sept-i-also-have-a-loan-of-5-000-which-i-want-to-pay-off-but-i-have-a-poor-credit

This link is a really great example. I think it was flagged by Google as part of the pattern. In my opinion, the SEO agency responsible for those backlinks got a little bit lazy (or just not skilled enough to realize their mistake). They used places with do-follow backlinks for all the sites belonging to 1 customer (Money Gap Group Limited). That created a pattern that is basically asking Google for manual penalty.

Getting to the point; those are links from comments links.

Sites owned by Money Gap Group Limited

  • www.paydayin1hour.co.uk – currently redirected to www.cash-in-1-hour.co.uk
  • www.mypayday.co.uk – currently redirected to www.cash-in-1-hour.co.uk
  • www.paydaybank.co.uk
  • www.kwikpayday.co.uk
  • www.cashlady.co.uk

Sites from PDB UK Ltd.

  • www.cash-in-1-hour.com.au
  • www.12monthloans.co.uk – currently redirected to www.flexcredit.co.uk

I am going to cover many different sites owned by Money Gap Group Limited in-detail in a separate chapter of this case study this clearly shows how easily Googlers were able to find the other associated domains.

I know from Marie’s post at Webmaster Central that most crawlers didn’t index the backlinks to cashlady.co.uk, but she mentioned that she used only Ahrefs, OpenExplorer and Majestic SEO. Link Research Tools gives me access to 24 link sources, so there is a huge chance that we may find more links than Marie.

Let’s see if CBLT (Common Backlinks Tool) will find any common backlinks for domains above.

Here I am running the CBLT with the desired domains, 5X link boost for maximum results and the other options check to review all the data offered by the tool.

Common Backlinks Tool

Common Backlinks Tool Metrics

Once the report has completed, let’s take a quick look at the results.

WOW. 366 Backlinks in common here already. Talk about an agency reusing their network for multiple sites.

Common Backlinks Tool Link Profile

Now let’s look at the common backlinks sources.

Common Backlinks sources

As you can see above, there are many sites linking to 7 out of 8 domains I used for CBLT. When looking at common backlinks for large sites, we can often find “normal” common backlinks. Those come usually from forums (niche specific) or some popular sites (e.g. Feedburner.com). In this case we can clearly see a lot of comment – spammed blogs, forums and wiki sites with CEMPER Power*Trust = 0.

Let’s look at some of the examples.

Spammed blog example

http://www.frugalinkitsap.com/2/post/2011/12/emergency-preparedness-and-finances.html

Spammed blog example 2

Spammed blog example 2b

The site above is using the old Weebly engine redirected to its own domain. It used to “give” do-follow links from comments which were pretty powerful around 2012.

There are many more links based on Weebly engine installed on a custom domain.

http://www.chickflickguy.com/1/post/2012/03/confessions-of-a-shopaholic-buy-it-and-credit-debt-not-pride-and-prejudice.html

Spammed blog example 4

Spammed blog example 5

There are many more Weebly sites in CBLT with 7 common targets.

http://www.columbiapacificlaw.com/1/post/2012/03/bankruptcy-the-end-or-a-new-beginning-famous-people-who-have-filed-bankruptcy.html

Spammed blog example 6

Spammed blog example 7

Spammed blog example 8

I did show you many of the comments examples and Weebly sites examples for a reason.

My SEO background helps me understand what happened to CashLady.co.uk. It also allows me to explain why there are so many no-follow Weebly comments to CashLady.co.uk. Let me give you some information about Weebly that will shed some light on what happened to Cashlady.co.uk:

  1. All those Weebly links were do-follow in 2012. Weebly changed it recently (I am not exactly sure when, but around Q3 2013).
  2. Weebly was never an over spammed platform, which is what made it attractive and powerful.
  3. Weebly was really hard to spam with bots compared to WordPress, Discuss etc. So Scrapebox and other auto-submitters were not able to add comments there. To this day I haven’t found any Weebly comment submitting software or bots (there are more than 50 for WordPress)
  4. Within 1 – 2 hours of manual commenting you were able to get 10 – 20 links from PR 4 – 6 PAGES (!) and 100 of PR 0 – 3 links.
    1. Most of Weebly comments are auto-approved.
    2. 90% of the backlinks are deleted within a week, or when the blog owner noticed them.

Getting to the root of the problem

Let’s go back to Matt Cutts tweets for one more second. I think that most of you know that Google sends out manual penalties when they find a link pattern(s).

From what I saw in Matt’s tweets, he seemed to give a first reply to Marie looking at internal data (flagged links) only.

From the tweets above, you can clearly see that Matt is pointing out comment spam. I would definitely focus 90% of my efforts on tracking every comment – link to cashlady.co.uk and try removing it manually and if that doesn’t help, documenting every email in reconsideration request.

Finding more links with Link Detox

As I mentioned before, Marie used only 3 crawlers and she did a lot of manual searching. She also had access to the reports with link lists from an Indian SEO team. We didn’t have those, but that would have enriched the analysis.

Can we find more links to www.cashlady.co.uk with Link Detox?

starting a Link Detox Tool report

Remembering to upload Marie’s disavow file. This way we only see the Toxic score of the “leftover links” and we can see if Marie missed something.

We got access to 19 more link sources after all :)

DTOX Upload Disavowed links
DTOX Remove Dropped Links
cashlady.co.uk link detox report

We got 1,708 links, but after filtering sitewide links, we are left with 415 links from 124 domains.

Now, the question we all have been waiting for. Did we find any more links?

Can we help Marie and CashLady.co.uk?

Before we check it, let see DTOX score for CashLady.co.uk.

Keep in mind that Link Detox Tool score doesn’t take any disavowed files into account. The score presented is based only on the links Marie missed using only 3 tools.

Drum roll please…

drumroll please
Your Average Link Detox Risk

Again, please keep in mind that the score above is based ONLY on links that Link Detox found using its 24 link sources, and that are NOT present in Marie Haynes disavow file (containing more than 2500 domains).

One more thing that should be worrying for CashLady.co.uk is huge disproportion between CEMPER Power TM and CEMPER Trust TM. It is a clear sign that the links pointing to the site are coming from sites of a low quality.

DTOX CEMPER Power and CEMPER Trust

As you can clearly see; a vast majority of links are disavowed, but there are many toxic links banned in Google, that are still live and not removed/disavowed.

What can we do in such cases?

TOX1 links are not indexed in Google – usually banned domains. Because of that, you cannot find any of those links using manual search. There is no way to find those links but:

  • a) Get a report from the SEO company – which we know didn’t include those links
  • b) Find more link sources (crawlers) – screenshot above shows that Link Detox is sometimes best (and only) solution to find all the backlinks necessary to remove manual penalty.
  • But we still didn’t answer most important question. How many links did we found, that are NOT in the 2500 domains disavow file?

To do it, we need to filter out the results.

DTOX Filter links

After applying those filters, we are left with 161 links that are not present in Marie’s disavow file.

  • 35 out of those 161 links are marked as Toxic!
  • 116 are marked as Suspicious
  • 10 links are marked Healthy

DTOX filter links

To show only unique domains, we need to apply further filtering.

unique domains

We filtered sitewide links to only 1 per domain.

DTOX filtered sitewide links to only 1 per domain

This way we are left with 59 links, each one from unique domain.

  • 13 of those domains are marked Toxic
  • 36 of those domains are marked Suspicious
  • 10 of those domains are marked Healthy

If you like black on white numbers, I got a really nice chart that is a really good visualization of our findings.

Link Health Breakdown

Link Detox was able to get almost 40% more links “missed” by other crawlers.

Finding more comment spam links

We know that crawlers (probably due to low quality of the sites and on-going redirects) didn’t index some of the backlinks. We’ve managed to find 161 links already, but I am sure that there is even more links not indexed by crawlers.

What do we do with that knowledge now? Common Backlinks Tool did point us in a right direction, but again there may be backlinks that didn’t get indexed by ANY crawler.

But if the site got penalized, did Google have those indexed?

Most of spammy sites got banned already and we can only find them with crawler data, but I highly doubt that all the blogs with spammy comments (e.g. Weebly) would get banned (de-indexed) by Google. This is not a link network, but sites with spammy comments that can hold some value to Google users.

We can look into the disavow file attached by Marie at Webmaster Central.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1HcKeStc_JSt7DP2QYgtUUzNogN6l5X-fMAiIqHdW3dw/edit?usp=sharing

Any link not in this disavow file is a step closer to success. Keep in mind that with Link Detox, we already found 161 new links!

Fortunately, that’s not everything I am capable of. Sometimes at Link Research Tools we come across some hidden links that we have to rip out of Google’s index.

So let’s see if we can find a way to help Marie and CashLady.co.uk.

Falling back on my past experience in SEO and this niche I’ve managed to find links that are not present in disavow file AND not present in any of 24 the crawlers. I did it after finding link patterns created by previous SEO company.

Here is a sample one:

http://filmfinance.weebly.com/1/post/2013/01/movie-money-by-dov-simens.html

Disavow file missing links

Link is also not present in Link Detox, so it was not crawled by ANY of 24 crawlers used by Link Detox.

LRT experts methods research

But we only covered Weebly backlinks. There are hundreds if not thousands of links to go through. There are at least 5 other commenting platforms spammed by CashLady.co.uk.

Of course, to get back the rankings of CashLady.co.uk, our goal is to find ALL the links and footprints. Not only comments that seem to be targeted with this manual penalty.

With my past experience in this niche I did manage to find 61 more backlinks and a good footprinting of the backlink platforms used for comments.
https://www.dropbox.com/s/xpuvt3lcfb4udrp/61links.txt

But our work is not finished yet. Let’s take a look if there are any domains redirected to cashlady.co.uk.

Redirects check

Why redirected domains should always be a part of a link audit?

Sometime around May – July 2013 the Google algorithm got much better with spammy 301 redirects. Christoph believe’s it changed with Penguin 2.0 as he pointed out in the Home24 case study. Before May 2013 you could redirect the domain endlessly and re-gain the rankings within 1 – 2 days.

From what I saw while looking at some of Money Gap LTD. domains, they are not 100% percent aware of these changes.

After 2013 Google “looks” at the redirected domain as a “merge” of domains. Basically if you have got domain A redirected to B, Webmaster Tools for domain B will show you backlinks to domain A as they were direct links to domain B. So if you redirect from Domain A to Domain B you are passing the good AND the bad link juice, in many cases this is one of the biggest mistakes SEO’s can make.

For some strange reason, many SEOs didn’t make a big deal out of it.
However, I believe that change alone was one of the most important changes in SEO in 2013.

Redirects to CashLady.co.uk

This is an unusual case where every single link and redirect we can find will help Marie Haynes and CashLady.co.uk.

To find redirects it is best to go back to Link Detox report and simply filter the list.

Redirects to CashLady.co.uk
Redirects to CashLady.co.uk

So this is good news.

We got 2 more links ;)

www.cashlady.com and www.cash-lady.co.uk

But that is not enough to make me happy though. We need more links don’t we?

Let’s run Link Detox with Marie’s disavow file uploaded and see if we got any new links pointing to this redirected domains and this way directly to www.cashlady.co.uk.

starting a Link Detox Tool report

I did point that huge red arrow to DON’T KNOW button, because you also need to remember that penalties can be transferred through 301s after 2013.

Did Google send you a manual spam action

I did upload Marie’s disavow file from Webmaster Central. This way we get Link Detox score without the disavowed links.

Now let’s take a look at the results.

With Disavow Average Link Detox Risk

We got 15 more links. Great huh?

15 more links - not bad

Even Obama thinks it is good, I can now tell you the bad news.

No backlinks for www.cash-lady.co.uk

No backlinks for www.cash-lady.co.uk.

As we see in examples shown above, with a redirect check we’ve managed to find 2 more domains and 15 new links. In general 17 new links to check.

What else can should we look for?

Remember how I’ve managed to find a link not present in disavow file and online scrapers? In my experience finding a pattern created by previous SEO agency is the key to finding all the backlinks possible.

I went through a lot of link audits and it is a clear footprint of cheap outsourced India (sometimes also Bangladesh or Pakistan) SEO. Those sites hold my records with the “high-scores” for Link Detox risk scores.

We know that CashLady.co.uk had an SEO agency from India working on their SEO so it is a good idea to look for some of their patterns.

Here is what Marie Haynes wrote at Webmaster Central:

SEO agency from India

For those of you who may not have experience with link audits yet, short tutorial on spotting such links.

How to spot cheap SEO from India?

To stop all the comments about this point: NO it is not off-topic J. I want to cover it in-detail as I think it is crucial to understand the strategy of India’s SEO agencies. This way we can easily find more patterns, more links and get the penalty lifted.

Any SEO agency (or even Matt Cutts) get hundreds of emails from SEO agencies offering outsourced SEO services.

What should we be usually looking for while cleaning up after cheap (Indian) SEO companies?

  • Wiki
  • Directories
  • Comments
  • Bookmarks
  • Q&A sites
  • Forum links

To finally lift the penalty from CashLady.co.uk, I would try to find all the patterns and link types/engines created by the previous SEO company and then try to remove them, and then if not possible – disavow the backlinks.

To find clear patterns, we can take a look at CBLT again.

Wiki links

Wiki links patterns

We can clearly see Wiki sites (named as article sites by Indian SEO companies).

Wiki links

http://flyerguide.com/index.php?title=Best_Miles_Credit_Cards&diff=next&oldid=37555

Wiki link example

Question and answer sites

Wiki Common Backlinks

https://www.simplyfinance.co.uk/answer/i-have-a-20-000-interest-only-mortgage-which-expires-in-sept-i-also-have-a-loan-of-5-000-which-i-want-to-pay-off-but-i-have-a-poor-credit

Questions and answers

Comment spam

I’ve already mentioned Weebly spam too many times so now different example

http://www.yonkerstribune.com/2012/07/exclusive-yonkers-hud-108-loan-programs-in-arrears-or-default-over-25-million-by-hezi-aris

comment spam example india

After we know exactly what kind of links were built by the previous SEO Company, we can find a pattern and find more links pointing to our customer’s site.

Different sites owned by Money Gap Group Limited/PDB UK Limited

I am not sure what the exact name of the company behind cashlady.co.uk is. Their SSL certificate says PDB UK limited, but their “Contact Us” info shows the company name as “Money Gap Group Limited”.

Contact us

Naming issues

Address bar

PDB UK 02 Kopia

Matt Cutts mentioned that if Marie wants to have the penalty lifted from CashLady.co.uk, she should take a closer look at different sites by the same owner. This was addressed earlier, the following will blow your mind and show where the root of the problem is coming from.

I actually did it, and the result is pretty shocking. I had to stop after few hours of searching, as I had only 48 hours to create this case study, but the number I came up with is going to be quite shocking to you!

Once again let’s come back to Matt Cutts tweet.

If we open http://arnoldboris.blogs.jcsearch.com/14059, we can see a fake user “Krista Watson”.

Common fake personas

Common fake personas

The comments were posted by user registered by SEO agency working for CashLady.co.uk. The same user – “Krista Watson” also posted some links to www.cash-in-1-hour.com.au

Common fake personas

Common fake personas

Most of the comment backlinks to cashlady.co.uk are on the same domains as links to those .com.au sites owned also by PDB UK limited.

PDB UK 01

Now let’s take a look at HTTPS certificate of https://www.cashlady.co.uk.

PDB UK 02

OK, I think that connection between PDB UK Limited and Money Gap Group Limited is clear now. Now please take a look at the domains owned by this company (companies).

After doing some research, I found out that PDB UK Limited changed its name to Money Gap Group Limited in September 2013.

Are you ready for the list of the domains owned by Money Gap Group LTD?

Drum roll again please…

drumroll please

  • http://123payday.co.uk
  • http://12monthloans.co.uk
  • http://1minuteloans.co.uk
  • http://cash-in-1-hour.co.uk
  • http://cash-in-1-hour.com.au
  • http://cashlady.co.uk
  • http://cashpayday.co.uk
  • http://cashsquid.co.uk
  • http://cashtillpay.co.uk
  • http://cheetahpayday.co.uk
  • http://citycashloans.co.uk
  • http://comparepayday.co.uk
  • http://fast-pony.co.uk
  • http://flexcredit.co.uk
  • http://flexloan.co.uk
  • http://iloans.co.uk
  • http://kwikcash.co.uk
  • http://kwikpayday.co.uk
  • http://moneymatch.co.uk
  • http://mycashtoday.co.uk
  • http://mypayday.co.uk
  • http://paydayau.com.au
  • http://paydaybank.ca
  • http://paydaybank.co.uk
  • http://www.paydaybank.in
  • http://paydaycentre.co.uk
  • http://paydaydirect.co.uk
  • http://paydayin1hour.co.uk
  • http://paydayline.co.uk
  • http://paydayloans300.co.uk
  • http://paydaynextday.co.uk
  • http://paydaypro.co.uk
  • http://paydayselect.co.uk
  • http://quickmonkey.co.uk
  • http://quicksquid.co.uk
  • http://samedaypaydayloans.co.uk
  • http://whichpayday.co.uk

I can only add that those are not 0 backlinks domains. Their DTOX scores also are not the lowest I saw.

After hours of research I’ve managed to find 37 domains owned by Money Gap Group LTD.

One thing is sure now, Marie – you got a great customer for link audits and penalty removals :)

With such a network, they are probably going to focus only on their most important domains. Most of the domains are 10 years old, so I would just in try to clean most of them (in case Googlers are going to be checking it in future).

Money Gap Limited owned domains DTOX:

Here is a great start for Marie. To spot most spammy domains I’ve split them and ran a CDTOX on all the 37 domains.

CDTOX spam network 01
CDTOX spam network 02
CDTOX spam network 03
CDTOX spam network 04

After going through the domains, I did choose the 5 most spammed to run a detailed analysis.

http://1minuteloans.co.uk/

SEO visibility in UK

1minuteloans.co.uk visibility

Now let’s take a look at the Link Detox Risk.

Link Detox network Deadly Risk
Link Detox network Toxic links

72% of Toxic links and more than 5000 Link Detox Risk. I am speechless. I need to let Obama do the talking again.

5000 Link Detox Score

http://paydayselect.co.uk/

SEO visibility in UK

paydayselect.co.uk SEO visibility

Link Detox score

paydayselect.co.uk Link Detox Risk
paydayselect.co.uk Link Detox Toxic Links

78% Toxic links and almost 5500 Link Detox Score! Again, I’m speechless.

Come on Bartosz

http://paydaynextday.co.uk/

SEO visibility in UK

paydaynextday.co.uk SEO visibility

Link Detox Score

paydaynextday.co.uk Link Detox Score
 Link Health Breakdown paydaynextday.co.uk

This one is a little bit “better”. 57% Toxic links and Link Detox Score of 4612.

http://iloans.co.uk/

SEO visibility in UK

SEO visibility iloans.co.uk

This one was ranking for just few days. Lets see why.

Link Detox Risk iloans.co.uk
Link Health Breakdown iloans.co.uk

2200 Link Detox Risk and 63% of the links are marked as Toxic, all that on top of only 2 healthy links!

http://paydaybank.ca/

Sisitrix doesn’t cover Canada so I don’t have that screenshot to share

Let’s take a look at how Money Gap LTD. Did SEO in Canada.

Average Link Detox Risk paydaybank.ca
 Link Health Breakdown paydaybank.ca
Link Detox Anchor Text paydaybank.ca

As you can see above, Link Detox Risk is 4300 with 59% Toxic links and Payday Loans Canada with Link Detox Risk of… 165974.

Buzz after Marie and Matts conversation on twitter

Earlier in this case study the addressed the Search Quality Team checking your customer’s domains, Matt Cutts mentioned it to Marie Haynes. It started a huge buzz in the industry.

After this Twitter conversation, there are a lot of opinion’s and even post topics saying that the “Search Quality Team will look at your other domains” Etc.

I think that some SEO’s get too obsessed with Matt’s tweets.

https://twitter.com/Marie_Haynes/statuses/441592652631650304

If you take a look, it was nothing unusual. I would reply to a similar tweet just like that. First he did show Marie the backlinks (IMHO flagged links from Google internal index. This is where everyone would look after a question like that). After that he just LOOKED at those backlinks to see loads of links to different domains by the same owner.

Any SEO would do the same. If you take a look at those comment links one by one, everyone would point it out, ESPECIALLY Matt Cutts.

Is the payday loans niche different now?

Year ago, “payday loans” were spammed even more than “Louis Vuitton outlet” and “nike air max” keywords. Now I don’t see so many black hat’s going after these keywords.

But what about the sites that are still ranking top 10 for “Payday Loans”?

It is still flooded with spam.

Googler test

Without even using any tools, let’s go through the top 10 results for “payday loans”. I call it “The Googler Test.”

Top 10 results for “payday loans” in google.co.uk (results for March 11th 2014)

  • No. 1 – www.ocics.co.uk
  • No. 2 – www.findyourhost.co.uk
  • No. 3 – www.maxi-media.co.uk
  • No. 4 – www.paydayloans.money.co.uk
  • No. 5 – www.wizzcash.com
  • No. 6 – www.productswelove.co.uk
  • No. 7 – www.berkshirebrides.co.uk
  • No. 8 – www.wonga.com
  • No. 9 – www.peachy.co.uk
  • No. 10 – www.moneysavingexpert.com

Now – it is a tricky one. Many Googlers fail this test since I started doing it in July 2013. By only looking at domain names. Find 5 that don’t fit the word FINANCE.

Did you pick your 5 domains?

pick your 5 domains

  • No. 1 – www.ocics.co.uk – Expired domain
  • No. 2 – www.findyourhost.co.uk – Expired domain
  • No. 3 – www.maxi-media.co.uk – Expired domain
  • No. 4 – www.paydayloans.money.co.uk
  • No. 5 – www.wizzcash.com
  • No. 6 – www.productswelove.co.uk – Expired domain
  • No. 7 – www.berkshirebrides.co.uk – Expired domain
  • No. 8 – www.wonga.com
  • No. 9 – www.peachy.co.uk
  • No. 10 – www.moneysavingexpert.com

Yes – a black hat solution to moderation of Payday Loan niche (whether it is algorithm or manual), is using expired domains. It has worked for more than 6 months now.

As I mentioned before, I am deeply involved in finance niche. It is extremely dynamic, mostly because of the spammy sites that come and go. Each of the expired domains above didn’t rank for “payday loans” 2 months ago. One thing is clear – Googlers are always close behind spammers. I don’t want to give CashLady.co.uk any excuses. They worked extremely hard on spamming this niche a lot to get fast results.

I am far from proposing a simple solutions (like hiring 1 person to solve this problem worldwide by watching the niche every day). I am sure they have got more sophisticated solutions to this problem.

With one of the largest computing powers worldwide, Google have got to have a way to see that www.berkshirebrides.co.uk is somehow not fitting into top 10 for “payday loans”.

Summary

My recommendations for lifting the penalty from CashLady.co.uk.

What I covered in this case study was everything I was able to come up with during 48 hours of work to uncover links that were not in the initial disavow report this includes 61 from my initial search, 161 links from the DTOX, 17 Redirections with who knows how many links, and 1 from Weebly. It is far from enough. I tried to cover all the solutions for cashlady.co.uk in this case, but I definitely didn’t find all the backlinks that are possible to find. With more time and cooperation from site owners, reports from previous SEO agency, it is possible to find even more crucial data.

It definitely requires a lot of time, experience and patience to solve such a difficult problem. I also don’t think that Matt Cutts will be very helpful now after seeing that Money Gap LTD is responsible for so much spam on so many domains.

I think I’ve managed to shed some light on this case and actually help Marie (and CashLady.co.uk) a lot.

We highly recommend Marie to use all the extra links to get that penalty lifted.

After all “Humans do review every reconsideration request” – so better not mess with them.

Future of CashLady.co.uk

Let’s imagine for a moment, that penalty for CashLady.co.uk is lifted.

They will be left with only a few links and a domain that in my experience is going to be much harder to rank than a new or clean one.

CashLady competitive analysis

If you look at the chart above, CashLady has a lot of power and trust to build (skip those expired domains, because they are based on 301 redirects).

I actually work on white hat SEO for few sites in finance niche and I know that gaining 1 natural link to those sites is close to impossible. At the same time, a new site may get penalized even for few links that seem unnatural.

There is a huge challenge ahead for Marie Haynes to lift the penalty, and after that for Money Gap LTD. to come up with a really good strategy.

One that will not include using tens of thousands of domains and low cost SEO agency.

What do you think?

Can you find problems we haven’t found yet?

This case study was written by Bartosz Góralewicz, SEO Consultant, Online Marketing Specialist, and proud user of Link Research Tools and Link Detox.


A word from Christoph C. Cemper

Certified LRT Professional This analysis was conducted and written by our Certified LRT Professional, Bartosz Góralewicz. The case study was completed in approximately 48 hours and required a team effort. To learn more, you can check out his own post here: From the outside looking in…

Bartosz demonstrated his expertise in doing a SEO link audit on CashLady’s penalized SEO strategies. I am thrilled by the dedication he continues to display in his case studies. Already a Certfied LRT Professional, Bartosz Góralewicz publishes his 3rd case-study and is one step away from becoming a Certified LRT Xpert.

Our goal is to provide our user community and clients with quality service and knowledge. Our Certified LRT Professionals and Xperts are key to achieving this goal.

I look forward to his future work, and personally recommend working with Bartosz Góralewicz whenever you get the opportunity!

Certified LRT Professional Bartosz Góralewicz

This analysis was created using our Superhero Plan and the new Competitive Link Detox tool extensively. The Superhero plan allows you to perform professional SEO and backlink analysis for your own or your competitor’s sites. If you only need Competitive Link Detox (CDTOX), that’s also included in all new Link Detox Pro plans and up.

Don’t miss our next FREE LRT Associate Training. Get one of the last spots if you’re up for 8 hours of free professional training with Christoph C. Cemper.

Don’t forget to signup for our notification list to get informed on other Case Studies on Google Penguin updates.

Are you ready for the next Google Penguin Update?

Bartosz Góralewicz

Bartosz Góralewicz specializes in link audits. He does consulting mostly for corporate customers and large sites. You can find some of his case studies or interesting posts at http://goralewicz.co

Bartosz Góralewicz

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48 Comments

  1. @lnkresearchtool March 13, 2014

    Google Penalty for Payday Loans Niche – Deep Dive SEO Case Study http://t.co/GYyHiYb4PP

    reply
  2. Marie Haynes March 13, 2014

    Interesting article. I have a few points I would like to make. The dropbox list of 61 links that were not on our disavow file contains links that are not in the disavow file because they are either natural or nofollowed links.

    The sample comment link that you provided (http://filmfinance.weebly.com/1/post/2013/01/movie-money-by-dov-simens.html) is a nofollowed comment.

    reply
  3. @seowoman March 13, 2014

    RT @cemper: NEW: CashLady Payday Loan Google Penalty Deep Dive http://t.co/20hAK4SY4D

    reply
  4. @PageRankSEO March 13, 2014

    Google Penalty for Payday Loans Niche – Deep Dive SEO Case Study /by @bart_goralewicz via @lnkresearchtool http://t.co/pQrfTJcZR5

    reply
  5. Bartosz Góralewicz March 13, 2014

    Marie – it is REALLY obvious that this comment has to be removed or disavowed. I am a little bit surprised to hear such a statement from you. Especially after your tweets with Matt Cutts where he pointed out Weebly links as your customer’s problem.

    No doubt here – Matt Cutts said it loud and clear – mass no-follow spam CAN and WILL hurt your site.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=QSEqypgIJME

    reply
    • Alex March 13, 2014

      Hi Bartosz

      In the link you posted to that youtube video Matt Cutts says that if users complain about comment spam (manual spam report) Google may take ‘Manual Action’ – Essentially what the disavow file appears to do is drop links off a sites link graph (the same as rel=”nofollow”)

      A ‘Manual Action’ is where a real person reviews the links and make a decision based on anchor text, comment value, overall link perception (does the link benefit users) etc. and looks at link profileas a whole – granted the link in question is not a good one, but it is unlikely that the link would need to be added to the disavow file. Essentially that would be like nofollowing a nofollow link.

      About mass nofollow hurting a site – because algorthmically (if there is even such a word) nofollows are excluded – the only way for Google to identify and punish these nofollow links is via a manual spam report with a manual action – otherwise it would go against everything Google has said about nofollow attribute on links and go against what they have said about hwo the algo works…

      reply
      • Derek Devlin March 13, 2014

        Hi Alex,
        I know what you’re saying and I take your point about disavowing a nofollow link, this would seem pointless. However, I do think it would be prudent for the site to attempt a manual outreach to get some of these nofollows taken down. You can’t deny that they are clear evidence of SPAM, regardless of being nofollow. If prevalent enough I don’t see how a spam engineer would blindly ignore them.

        Whilst we are on the subject… whenever Matt Cutts talks about nofollow links, the line is always the same and very calculated “nofollow links do not pass Pagerank” or “nofollows are ignored for PageRank calculations”. So yes we have to believe him on that and I do totally. He’s said it a million times but what he doesn’t say is that they don’t track and use nofollow in any way, shape or form.

        In my opinion, logic tells me that nofollows have to be factored into the trust score for a site, i.e. your “TrustRank”. So as usual it’s not what he says that is important, it’s what he doesn’t say. It doesn’t stand to reason that Google will just let a site spam to death with nofollows and not be judged on this behaviour.

        I think it would show real intent if they try at least to get some spammy nofollows taken down manually.

        Cheers,
        Derek- LRTX

        reply
        • Alex March 13, 2014

          Derek, I couldnt agree more with the attempt at manual removals…

          I was merely stating the fact that it is impossible that adding them to the disavow would help – As we all know (and as per John Mueller fromGoogle) disavow files are pure automatic – e.g. they are assessed by a machine. This is why they say that your #notes etc. in a disavow dont get read. The notes are more for the webmaster to keep track of whats going on.

          reply
      • Christoph C. Cemper March 13, 2014

        Alex,

        >otherwise it would go against everything Google has said about nofollow attribute >on links and go against what they have said about hwo the algo works…

        I hear this every day, because Google said Nofollows don’t hurt etc.etc.

        I don’t agree that 100s or even 1000s of attempted Spam comments cannot hurt.

        Do you think Google “is not allowed” to penalize you for Nofollow links?

        Do you think this case is NOT a manual action with Matt Cutts coming back dozens of times?

        And as you can see here, Google is not even consistent in their own message about this.

        http://www.linkresearchtools.com/case-studies/162-questions-answers-how-to-use-disavow-tool-toxic-risk-links/#129

        My advice: better safe than sorry for Nofollows.

        And if they “don’t help as Google said” you can safely disavow them anyways, because they “Don’t pass Page rank” (who cares about page rank in 2014 btw?)

        Christoph

        reply
        • Alex March 13, 2014

          I am not saying that nofollows are not tracked / checled by Google – I have done my own little self study test where I found that anchor text and to some degree page relevance is passed by them. One of the automatic triggers for spam is over optimised anchor text – so if you had 90% of you links with a mix of follow / nofollow but all said ‘buy viagra online’ that would likely activate a trigger.

          And yes, I agree – the links are dodgy and should be removed.

          reply
      • Ryan Lockhart March 13, 2014

        Hey Alex.
        Any thoughts on why no follows are equated into the mix if they are excluded? Example may be a YouTube link pointed to a site that adds weight to an overall campaign.
        Thanks. Ryan

        reply
        • Alex March 13, 2014

          Because they pass other relevant signals… (e.g. anchor and page relevance) Also, Google has stated in the past that they ignore the majority of nofollows – so in the case of a high value site like youtube this may not be the case

          reply
  6. Rick Lomas March 13, 2014

    Nice one Bart, there are two techniques in here I really like:
    1) setting the sitewide filter to 1 to show the unique domains and
    2) using the CBLT to research the domains with the same owner
    I learned a lot from reading this case study and I look forward to meeting you in May.

    reply
  7. Bartosz Góralewicz March 13, 2014

    Rick – same here. See you in May :) Can’t wait too!

    reply
  8. Jon Bones Jones March 13, 2014

    Guys,

    Do you really think its fair to throw some random business under a bus with one of these unrequested ‘case studies’ ?

    All you’re doing is making their own job harder by wrapping this turd in whats effectively just a self serving advert for yourself.

    reply
    • Rick Lomas March 13, 2014

      Yes I do Jon – just because their SEO was rubbish, doesn’t mean their business was – although personally I think Pay Day Loans are the work of the devil. These case studies will help other businesses protect themselves from Google updates. As for businesses like Cash Lady, they know where to get help now – so yes it is an advert for ourselves and LRT, but it’s better they use us rather than some random ‘SEO’ company who have just given up building link wheels.

      reply
      • Alex March 13, 2014

        Work of the devil Rick? – haha… your just saying that probably just because you couldnt rank for the term payday loans :)

        On a more serious note – I think that this might do the company some good getting this exposure

        reply
      • Jon Bones Jones March 13, 2014

        You’re heaping more pressure and publicity on them, without even asking them. It suits you as you get some eyeballs but its unfair on the site you’re doing it on. Some of the past ones have been ridiculous, deliberately outing things they’ve been doing.

        I’d never give linkresearchtools a single cent because of what you’re doing to these companies.

        Why not ask for volunteers to put their own sites forward for these hatchet jobs?

        reply
        • Alex March 13, 2014

          Yeah I have to agree with Jon on that one – publicly discussing them so critically without permission on your blog is not too good. – But even worse, outing them and then trying to sell them your 1200 Euro per month link finding tool? Come on…

          reply
          • John watson March 13, 2014

            got to be said, outing others like this without permission for your own promotion is unethical, sure the woman who was doing this audit might have missed some links but as she pointed out the ‘new’ links that were highlighted in this article were either nofollow, missing or healthy.

            There are a couple of points, though calling Marie Haynes ‘some random woman who’s just given up building link wheels’ is insulting, slander, technically illegal and damaging to her name! If I was her I’d sue you for at least the cost of how many sales you made from this self proclaimed advert. ~ “so yes it is an advert for ourselves and LRT, but it’s better they use us rather than some random ‘SEO’ company who have just given up building link wheels.”

            Also in this article and LRT comments there is an obvious lot of nonsense being spouted about nofollows and convincing people to be paranoid about these links, Matt cutts couldn’t have been clearer in the Youtube video (above) stating no follow links don’t hurt a domains ranks. Plus all the link examples Matt provided were do follow links contrary to the statement in this article about weebly and nofollows.

            The concern here is that with all the noise and time you spent (two days work apparently) pushing all your buttons and running all these reports, you have only ended up with just (61) new ‘nofollow’ links, more than Mary (who does not believe in nofollow), and who’s just ‘stopped playing with linkweels’.

            Quite frankly this ‘exposes’ does not show your company in a good light, more importantly it highlights ignorance and mistaken beliefs about nofollows from your director downwards. It also shows how much noise and extra work is created when running your tools which clearly highlight false negatives and false positives leaving much noise and manual work with hardly any gains over doing the whole lot manually.

          • Bartosz Góralewicz March 13, 2014

            @ John watson

            I would read whole case before posting such a long comment.

            http://www.linkresearchtools.com/case-studies/cashlady-payday-loan-google-penalty/#11

            There is more than 200 links I’ve found in total. 61 links attached are not all no-follow.

            I am pretty shocked with all this negative comments. Believe me, Matt Cutts has more data than we do to see all the spam without this case study. It is not like I need to help him. Come on guys!

            My intentions were never bad towards Marie Haynes. I follow her on Twitter for a long time and I respect her work. I think it is clearly visible in my case study.

            What is most important – don’t blame LRT for exposure of this case. Look at Matt Cutts and Marie Haynes Tweets. If you think about SEO community, you can’t have more exposure than talking on Twitter with Matt Cutts!

            Marie asked for help with finding more links and solution. I can not think of better solution than pointing more than 200 new links and many proven ways to find even more.

            Of course I dont know Marie’s strategy and SEO believes. Even if only half of the links I’ve found are OK for her, that still gives 100 links she didn’t have after many hours of her extensive search.

            @John Watson
            “but as she pointed out the ‘new’ links that were highlighted in this article were either nofollow, missing or healthy.”

            Is the link below no-follow, missing or healthy?

            http://unsecuredloanreview.com/why-i-endorsed-a-payday-loan-company/

  9. @nickgarner March 13, 2014

    Cashlady Payday Loan Google Penalty: http://t.co/ohRVWqK4tY

    reply
  10. @CJerusalmy March 13, 2014

    RT @Jacknine: Google Penalty for Payday Loans Niche
    http://t.co/3cMA8ipVgY
    #seo

    reply
  11. @MBSeoService March 13, 2014

    Google Penalty for Payday Loans Niche – Deep Dive SEO Case Study http://t.co/D1F22gKjPM via @cemper

    reply
  12. Paul Macnamara March 13, 2014

    >>>>Is the link below no-follow, missing or healthy?

    http://unsecuredloanreview.com/why-i-endorsed-a-payday-loan-company/

    The page isn’t in the index.

    reply
    • Bartosz Góralewicz March 13, 2014

      I would double check it Paul.

      1. It is indexed
      2. Anyways – is link from de-indexed/banned domain something you want to keep?

      https://www.google.com/search?q=site%3Aunsecuredloanreview.com%2Fwhy-i-endorsed-a-payday-loan-company%2F&oq=site%3Aunsecuredloanreview.com%2Fwhy-i-endorsed-a-payday-loan-company%2F&aqs=chrome..69i57j69i58.1004j0j4&sourceid=chrome&espv=210&es_sm=93&ie=UTF-8

      reply
      • Paul Macnamara March 13, 2014

        There was no cache of that page when I made my comment. Pinged?

        >>>>>Anyways – is link from de-indexed/banned domain something you want to keep?

        No, but if a page is not in the index it’s unlikely to be passing cooties and I am not familiar of any instance where Google has provided an example of a link that wasn’t in the index.

        reply
        • Christoph C. Cemper March 13, 2014

          Paul – thanks for your interest and comments.

          No-Index is not good. At all.

          1. No-Index is NOT good.

          We’ve seen a couple 10000s of penalized websites in EVERY major link network crack down Paul. Un-indexed domains are SOMETIMES a mistake by uneducated webmasters, but most of the times a Google penalty, and every link from a penalized site hurts you too.
          If someone told you “it doesn’t matter”, I’m telling you, it does.

          2. No-Follow does not mean “No-Effect”.

          3. In my book finding 196 additional toxic links with 4 false positives is a lot better than not. Especially for free, Marie and her client should get rid or disavow them all. Use a machete not a scalpel. Obsessing about single links is the wrong approach we found and had confirmed by Matt Cutts.

          4. Personal attacks as I’ve read here against our valued client Rick Lomas above are and were never intended. Whoever felt attacked personally misread that and am I’m sorry for that. No need to attack my clients either.

          5. Various comments from weird country free-hosters in AR,PT,etc. with fake names above will be automatically deleted in a couple hours

          Everything we analyze and present here is public available data.

          If you’re interested, we provide free training for our clients here in the LRT associate training, 8 hours – http://lrt.li/lrta starting every week

          I also highly recommend reading these 162 Q&A here
          http://www.linkresearchtools.com/case-studies/162-questions-answers-how-to-use-disavow-tool-toxic-risk-links/

          Lastly it’s of course an opinion thing. Whoever believes he can SAFELY ignore NOFOLLOWs as some comments imply, can easily take them out of the equation using our “slices” feature. We built that specifically to not have to evangelize the whole world for one approach. SEO wise I believe you should very well care about that or do you think one gets away with 1000s of spammy comments just b/c they are nofollow?

          best, Christoph

          PS: on a side note – that unsecured thing blog is PURE SPAM in my book. An automated scraper blog from what my eyes and our systems can tell.

          reply
          • Rick Lomas March 14, 2014

            Thank you Christoph, when I said “it’s better they use us rather than some random ‘SEO’ company who have just given up building link wheels.” That is exactly what I meant, absolutely nothing personal towards Marie at all.

          • Paul Macnamara March 14, 2014

            >>>>PS: on a side note – that unsecured thing blog is PURE SPAM in my book. An automated scraper blog from what my eyes and our systems can tell.

            Exactly. It is a scraper. The article was scrapped from The Huffington Post here:

            http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/kerry-katona/kerry-katona-pay-day-loans_b_2457204.html

            The Huffington Post link is obviously a natural link, so how can a scraped version of that page be considered toxic? The link was not made for the purpose of SEO.

            It is entirely NATURAL to have some links that are the result of scrapers and it is rare to view a link profile that does not have links that are the result of that. These links are out of the control of the webmaster and are a “natural part” of the web ecosystem.

            To suggest that this reconsideration has failed as a result of not addressing nofollowed links, scraped links and the other examples that you have pointed out is quite frankly absurd.

            At this point, It is embarrassing to watch you attempt to spin your way out of the sloppiness of this “case study” that for the sole purpose of pimping your tool, called in to question the methods of one of the most respected penalty removal professionals in the field.

  13. Paul Macnamara March 13, 2014

    Just for shits and giggles, I just spent a few minutes going through some of the other links in the dropbox file and I see pages you reference that have unlinked brand mentions and no links, a page that isn’t even indexed and what look to be clearly natural, editorially given links.

    It is ironic that in painting the original audit as sloppy that you in turn would be so sloppy in your attempt to frame it as such.

    >>>>Why not ask for volunteers to put their own sites forward for these hatchet jobs?

    I couldn’t agree more. This whole tactic of jumping on a “high profile” case and attempting to make it look as if there is some type of neglect that your tool could solve smells funky and is insulting to the professionals that work on these projects.

    reply
  14. @Webstandard March 13, 2014

    Google Penalty for Payday Loans Niche – Deep Dive SEO Case Study http://t.co/cDXuhcCucV

    reply
  15. @Aekateryna March 13, 2014

    Google Penalty for Payday Loans Niche – Deep Dive SEO Case Study http://t.co/X20jLpfSIY via @cemper

    reply
  16. Todd Mumford March 14, 2014

    Hi Christopher, another awesome case study. Great job Bartosz.

    I think the only way to build new quality links for this client is to invest a lot of new resources into remarkable content, widgets, tools and assets that benefit the industry and consumer, then massively promote those.

    reply
  17. Marie Haynes March 14, 2014

    I’ve refrained from remarking on most of these comments, but I really do need to comment on something that Bartosz said above. I didn’t see a reply button, so I’ll put it here. He said,

    ===========
    “@John Watson
    “but as she pointed out the ‘new’ links that were highlighted in this article were either nofollow, missing or healthy.”

    Is the link below no-follow, missing or healthy?

    http://unsecuredloanreview.com/why-i-endorsed-a-payday-loan-company/
    ============

    Bartosz, this link is from a scraped version of a Huffington Post article: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/kerry-katona/kerry-katona-pay-day-loans_b_2457204.html

    That link was completely unsolicited and is a perfectly natural link. Sure, the scraped version that you pointed out probably isn’t counting for much as Google likely sees it as duplicate content. But, it is not a link that was made by Cash Lady.

    The Huffington Post article is one that came from press coverage of a controversial situation surrounding the hiring of celebrity Kerry Katona. There are similar articles here:

    http://metro.co.uk/2013/05/08/watchdog-bans-irresponsible-kerry-katona-ad-for-2000-apr-payday-lenders-cash-lady-3715299/
    http://montiefm.com/2013/07/04/kerry-katona-bankrupt-again-star-dropped-by-payday-loan-lender-cash-lady/
    http://insolvencyguardiancanberranorth.com.au/irresponsible-payday-loan-ad-featuring-kerry-katona-banned/

    All three of these natural links are included in your list of links that you recommended disavowing. In fact, none of the links in the list that you provided were ones that I would recommend disavowing.

    reply
  18. Graeme Jones March 14, 2014

    I agree totally with @johnwatson!

    Also, link research tools are useless and it seems that they are resulting in ignorant posting for their own advertisement.

    reply
  19. John watson March 14, 2014

    when companies start to threaten to remove fair comments and debate when they are on shaky ground, you know the game is up.

    “Various comments from weird country free-hosters in AR,PT,etc. with fake names above will be automatically deleted in a couple hours”

    FWIW being in Argentina and knowing how to speak English does not constitute a crime, stick to the debate and argue your case if you believe you have one. The points that I and others made were valid criticism based on things that were said by LRT and negative comments that were made against Mary.

    The fact remains that the links found were of no significant value to this project being recovered. Nor are they the main cause of the penalty. MOST IMPORTANTLY: This site will be impossible to recover! The company has shown contempt and blatant disregard for Google T&C and there is no way (in this sector) with this site and the companies previous nature shown across their whole network (now penalized) that they have a hope in hell of getting the penalties lifted. Have you ever genuinely told such clients when they have NO hope of recovery given the history and discoveries which were already public?

    The really disingenuous act here is that LRT are proclaiming that such sites could have their penalties lifted – IF ONLY THEY WOULD PAY LRT instead of using these random SEO’s who have just stopped playing with linkwheels. The TRUTH IS THIS: LRT wouldn’t be able to get this penalty lifted and you know it! It’s disingenuous to lead people on, clearly only so you can leach a few more bucks out of them with no hope in hells chance of any success.

    If you really want to demonstrate your prowess as a company, you need to publish real case stories about sites which were banned and recovered using your services, with as much detail when they are your own clients as you do when they are random companies who you pick off the net who you have no connection with, where you undermine the people working on the projects, lead others to believe LRT would have had the penalties lifted where there’s not a chance in hell, all the while creating more public mess for those companies who never asked you for your advice in the first place.

    reply
  20. @RogerJanik March 14, 2014

    Google Penalty for Payday Loans Niche – Deep Dive SEO Case Study http://t.co/FPoO0gX0FN via @cemper

    reply
  21. Marie Haynes March 14, 2014

    Made a comment this morning and it appears to have gone into moderation, perhaps because it contains links? Or was an editorial decision made not to publish it?

    reply
  22. John watson March 15, 2014

    My comment was deleted. It was fair criticism so why was it deleted?

    I hate it when companies start doing that to hide from criticism instead of defending against it. I’ll post it on to the other blog commentators to ensure its seen by others who have engaged in this debate.

    (ed: dupe repost removed)

    reply
    • Christoph C. Cemper March 15, 2014

      I see the comment you copied a bit above this one. No reason to “hate” more. I assume you overlooked it.

      Apparently I touched you with that statement about fake comments quite a bit.

      Let me re-state that anonymous or fake user comments
      are not welcome here and might be removed at our sole discretion.

      The same is true for repetitive posts, so I’ve edited your duplicate one.

      Therefore I would kindly ask you to provide some identity proof that doesn’t make it look so unlegit,
      a G+ profile or similar would be fine, but that film site you’re using doesn’t mention your name either.

      In regards to your technical SEO opinion,
      all we can do is to agree that we disagree on a couple ways to conduct SEO and link analysis.

      reply
  23. Christoph C. Cemper March 15, 2014

    Summary – so by now we have the
    following SEO facts that are disputed here by
    various commenters
    that don’t agree to:


    1. No-Index is NOT good.

    Some people believe you can ignore Unindexed sites.
    We do not recommend that.


    2. No-Follow does not mean “No-Effect”.

    Some people believe you can ignore No-Follows
    in your link audit.
    We do not recommend that.


    3. Link greed is bad for your link penalty risk

    Some people would rather KEEP a link than remove it if unsure.
    We do not recommend that.

    ONE spammy link can hinder your penalty removal success.

    So we recommend rather use a machete not a scalpel in your link audit, just like Matt Cutts said. (yes we’ve been there, building/paying for links was expensive – get rid of them if in doubt!)


    4. Links from Scraper Sites are NOT “Natural”

    Keeping scraper links?
    This sounds like “Google figures Dupe Content out itself” from 2005
    and seems to be a rehash of what various hangouts mentioned.

    We do not recommend that.
    In fact we believe it would be very risky problem and failure to not try to get rid of scraper links, via Link Removal outreach or Disavow of those links.

    The idea that “Google would magically figure out” that it’s a scraper site and therefore it’s natural link is just wrong. We have data folks.


    5. A tool can make a Link Audits more efficient

    Some people say tools don’t help.

    As a tool provider we might be biased, but going thru 1000s of links by hand
    and the much proposed Excel sheets (where consultants can spend many hours)
    takes a LOT of time. And consultants have to charge a lot for manual reviews anyway,
    it’s a lot of boring repetitive work.

    Software like LinkResearchTools and Link Detox helps weed thru the heaps of data a LOT more effective and precise than any human, especially when many data sources are involved.

    This does not mean a manual review is not necessary or that the software figures out 100%.

    Just like Marie didn’t get 100% right, Bart had a mistake on one to four links, too.
    Given he only spent 48 hours, I think that’s a great result still.

    On the other hand – selling “purely manual audits” creates a biased opinion too
    for some of the commentors. Well if you can charge your clients 30k for an audit,
    good for you – we think it could be more efficient than that.

    I strongly believe that some of these above opinions come from false information from various forums, ebooks or even Google hangouts where both Matt Cutts and Jo Müller contradicted themselves or AT LEAST were vague in their specification. As usual.

    The best example for that is that classic “Nofollow does not pass page rank”.

    Judging from what I heard about Marie’s book’s content I do believe that at least Marie has other opinions on some of the above points which would explain the difference in results.

    Discussions of SEO facts and experiences is what should happen here and will remain published.

    I would again ask all participants in this discussion to stick to the SEO facts rather than attacking our clients or other commentors here. We reserve the right to remove or edit any comment that we deem violent or coming from an anonymous or fake persona.

    reply
    • Stephen Patmik March 16, 2014

      I have been following this discussion with interest. This line made me laugh:

      “I would again ask all participants in this discussion to stick to the SEO facts rather than attacking our clients or other commentors here.”

      I don’t think it is the commentors that are doing the attacking of other people’s clients.

      reply
  24. Gene Cavalli March 18, 2014

    Really Great Research

    Can You Please Explain What kind of link building strategy helpful in 2014, and how to recover website from Google penalty one of my website is stuck between page 10-12 also from Lawsuit Loans or Pay Day Category.

    If we remove all back-links and start with fresh then it’ll be helpful or not ?

    reply
  25. @fan_tomette May 23, 2014

    @rudy_som @Hams38 Y’a ça aussi ;-) http://t.co/vBsxOhJBvL

    reply
  26. @rudy_som May 23, 2014

    RT @fan_tomette: @rudy_som @Hams38 Y’a ça aussi ;-) http://t.co/vBsxOhJBvL

    reply

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