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No Hit for Hitmeister – Google Blasts Their Search Visibility


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Spammy SEO Damages this German Amazon Competitor

no hit hitmeister - google blasts visibility

50% off! That’s how much search visibility Hitmeister lost on March 31, 2014. That’s one discount no retailer ever wants to face.

By using spammy SEO tactics like foreign link building, anchor texts rich with Money keywords, cheap PR spam and more, Hitmeister got to page 1, but it didn’t last. Now their search visibility is halved, their keyword rankings are dropping, and their sales are probably also suffering. They have to change a lot…and fast.

This is the second case-study in the “5 German startups hit hard by Google” series by Guntram to achieve Certified LRT Xpert status.

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

- Enjoy & Learn!
Christoph C. Cemper

Bonus: As requested, you can now download this case study in PDF, ePub and Mobi (Kindle) format for easy offline reading. Get it FOR A TWEET HERE

Table of Contents

    1. Search Visibility Analysis
    2. Backlink Profile Analysis
    3. Regular Detox for all Backlinks

Case Study Setup

1. Search Visibility Analysis

Analysis of the analytical drops

2. Backlink Profile Analysis

  1. Anchor Text Analysis
  2. Power & Trust Balance Analysis
  3. Sitewide Links Analysis
  4. Paid Links Analysis
  5. Power*Trust Ratio Analysis
  6. Redirect Analysis
  7. Link Growth Analysis
  8. Link Network Analysis
  9. Country Ratio Analysis
  10. Deep Link Ratio Analysis
  11. Link Status Ratio Analysis
  12. Link Detox Risk Analysis
  13. Competitive Link Detox Risk Analysis against competition

3. Regular Detox for all Backlinks

Review of Backlinks

The Visibility Bomb Blasted on March 31, 2014

Hitmeister recently got hit hard by Google. A German competitor to Amazon, it offers 12 million products from 3,500 retailers and received two million visitors monthly.

They have some competition. Rakuten has 6,200 dealers that offer 9.3 million products. And customers find three million products from 10,000 retailers.

Looking at their categories, Rakuten, which recently declared war on, has the most diversified portfolio and offers books, music, electronics, fashion, sports and leisure. They also offer baby and children’s products, office products, furniture and pet supplies.

Let’s Look at the Search Visibility Chart

There’s a big reduction in visibility from 26.640 to 10.004 SI Index. The domain lost around 10 SI points from the middle of February to early April, cutting their total visibility in half.

Hitmeister LRT Sistrix Visibility

Fewer Keywords Ranking in Top 10 Positions

Recent significant changes are visible, especially on Page 1. Several keywords were pushed from page 1 (red) to page 3 (green), page 4 (yellow) and page 5 (brown).

Hitmeister LRT Sistrix Visibility Ranking Page1

Large changes were also visible in certain directories.

Hitmeister LRT Sistrix Visibility Ranking Directories

Keywords that were ranking for positions on page 2 and 3 lost visibility.

Hitmeister LRT Sistrix Visibility Ranking Keywords Losers

The Importance of SEO at Hitmeister and the Specificity of the SI Index

During my case study research, I was fortunate to find a useful post (written in 2009) on the Hitmeister blog about the Sistrix Visibility index. It was titled, “Der Zusammenhang zwischen dem Sistrix-Sichtbarkeitsindex und der Anzahl der SEO-Visitors.“ In English that means, “The relationship between the Sistrix visibility index and the number of SEO-Visitors.”

Hitmeister LRT Hitmeister SEO Blog

To a certain visibility index, there is a linear relationship between SI and traffic. We conducted a linear regression, resulting in the fact that SEO visitor variable can be described between a visibility index of 2 and 17 by the following relationship: y = 6.7172 x – 11.556. The coefficient of determination R ² is 0.9494 – so there is absolutely a linear relationship. As in the past three weeks our visibility index has risen by over 100% , but our visitor number increases more slowly; you can see no clear linear relationship from a visibility index of 17. The trend is logarithmic rather – we are curious. In recent findings, we will again publish results.

Conclusion: In summary, it should be noted that the analysis can be different because many factors play a role. For us, it confirmed the fact only that the Sistrix visibility index is a good measure of success in the field of SEO.

Link Audit for

Top 10 Keywords

  1. nintendo ds lite games
  2. ps3 spiele
  3. grill
  4. holzspalter
  5. tischtennisplatte
  6. sportausrüstung
  7. rc-toy
  8. klappstuhl
  9. günstige gartenmöbel
  10. dvd kaufen
  11. leinwandbilder

Top Competitors in the Niche of


We did not analyze since eBay is representing the big players in this analysis. Too much focus would rest onto these big and high-trust portals.

The overview comparison of these six players is in the Used-Goods and Wholesale Online Retail Segment.

It’s clearly visible that two players have the highest Domain Popularity and strongest CEMPER Trust: – being a TV-advertised brand, and Yatego – also well known.

Hitmeister Domain Trust

The players, vs. vs. vs. vs., are all of comparable magnitude. Ebay is significantly bigger.

Hitmeister Quick Domain Compare

What is the German Secondhand Industry like?

To get an impression of the industry and a feeling for the engaged brands, watch their TV ads.






Was Anchor Text Overdone?

Yes, the amount of Money keyword-rich anchor texts is clearly not organic. Users just would not link pages with keywords like “ratgeber günstig kaufen.”

The result of the keyword report gives one clear message: From more than 2,400 links, more than 750 backlinks are holding strong Money keywords like “Kinderfilme” or “Werkzeug günstig kaufen.”

Hitmeister Link Profile by Keyword

Specifically, when looking into the link landscape of our competition using the CLA tool, we see that Hitmeister used more keyword-rich anchor texts.

Hitmeister Link Profile Metric Comparison by Keyword

How is the BLP Classification done effectively?

When classifying keywords for the Backlink Profiler (BLP), I consider it helpful to first identify Money keywords.

It is most critical to sort them out in the first place, since there is a high likelihood that they are getting pulled into other categories that will then lead to faulty classification.

Definition: What is a Money keyword?

Money keywords are the keywords you want to be ranked for in Google. In case of, this includes phrases like “ps3 spiele günstig kaufen.” Link builders considered it to be safer to attach the brand to every Money keyword in order to mix Brand and Money keywords. We still consider this as a Money keyword and not as Compound in order to have a clearer result.


lampen und leuchten günstig kaufen – hitmeisterCompound
werkzeug günstig kaufen – hitmeisterCompound
tapeten günstig kaufen und verkaufen- hitmeisterCompound
ratgeber günstig kaufen – hitmeisterCompound
die treue der frauen – la fidelite mit sophie marceau und pascal greggory – hitmeisterCompound
güde werkzeug günstig kaufen – hitmeisterCompound
final fantasy x – hitmeisterCompound
100% sicher kaufen & verkaufen – hitmeisterCompound
20.04.2013 – hitmeister e-commerce day 2013Other
ps3 spiele günstig kaufen – hitmeisterCompound
prostata-massage – der männliche g-punkt (dvd) kaufen – hitmeisterCompound
kaito kid 02 buch von gosho aoyama (comics & mangas) kaufen – hitmeisterCompound

Process to Classify Keywords with the LRT Keyword Classifier

StepTask performed
1Use the Keyword-Search and display only keywords that contain the Brand
2Set the list to 100 items and scroll to the end. Start with the end.
3Identify schemes you can see. In case of Hitmeister, I saw that they used a hyphen in front of their brand.
4Update the filter to the new criteria, e.g. “- hitmeister” to see only these entries
5Now add them all to Compound and deselect all keywords that do not match that criteria. In our case this looks like the image below:

Hitmeister Keyword Classification

Did the Websites Have More CEMPER Power than CEMPER Trust?


Even though the Hitmeister site appears to have equal Power and Trust, and that is in a more dangerous Power vs. Trust position, it gets problematic when looking into the details.

Hitmeister Cemper Power Trust

When analyzing the Power and Trust by source, we see there is a significant power overage in the Power*Trust segment of 3 and 4. They have too many relatively strong links and stand out in the industry comparison.

Hitmeister Cemper Power

Hitmeister Cemper Trust

Did They Have Too Many Sitewide Links?

Yes, several domains are sending significant sitewide links. That’s a problem.

Hitmeister Site wide Ratio

These two examples are sending several thousand links. When you calculate 646 pages x 10 articles + amount of tags + amount of categories, it equals a significant amount of footer links with the keyword “werkzeuge.”

Hitmeister Screenshot Bloggeralarm

Hitmeister Screenshot Footer Link

Did They Have Paid Links?

Yes, they had several obviously visible paid link sources.

For example, sold a link for a porn movie.

Hitmeister Screenshot Bild De, part of the glam network that also monetizes (, is running that site about Bollywood movies. A real editor would probably not create such a homepage link.

Hitmeister Screenshot Glam Network

Also, sponsorships for open-source projects with do-follow links might be pretty close to the edge. At least it’s a high trust page.

Hitmeister Screenshot Videolan Payed Link

Is Link Power*Trust Distribution Unnatural?

Yes, there is a visible peak of PT 8 – 12 domains. Projects like Shop Usability Award are sending tons of footer links from logos.

Hitmeister Cemper Power Trust Distribution

Hitmeister Screenshot Shop Usability Award Sponsor

Are Sneaky Redirects Involved?

Yes, there had been more than 20 redirects, one of them is It’s collecting some juice from other links and forwarding it to Hitmeister. Most likely, the domain is just forwarding bad karma to Hitmeister from these Link sources.

Hitmeister Sneaky Redirects

Is Unnatural Link Growth Involved?

No, reduced SEO effort is visible.

Hitmeister Link Growth

Especially relative to other domains, we see that and eBay have been working full power to build links during the last 12 months, whereas Hitmeister has slowed down.

Hitmeister Link Growth relative to my domain

Are Link Networks Involved?

Yes, mainly they were generated by link baits, affiliate links and crosslinks between and hitflip. However, no reciprocal or asymmetric linking schemes are visible. They also used cheap press portals. For the record, back in the summer of 2013, Google outed press releases as a spammy tactic if done for SEO value. Today they call out such tactics in their link scheme guidelines.

Using the BLP tool, it is handy and quick to identify footprints, like similar DNS, Class-C Range or Registrars.

Hitmeister Link Network

Hitmeister Link Network 2

Hitmeister Link Network 3

A second link network results from cheap PR marketing.

Hitmeister Webstar-Seekagent-Social-Bookmarking-Service

Hitmeister Link Directory


Hitmeister Online-Artikel-Verzeichnis

Is There an Unnatural Country Distribution?

No, the mathematical distribution was normal. There were several free blogging platforms and online services from the U.S. What was really strange was the obviously built link from U.S. software and startup blogs in blog comments. The relevance of these sites was very limited.

Hitmeister Country Distribution

Hitmeister Country Distribution Links

Foreign Link Building

There was significant blog comment spam and cheap guest posts in foreign languages. Some even involved forum posts with very shady, invisible links.

Blog Commenting with Keyword-Rich Anchor Texts

Hitmeister Blog Articles

Keyword-Rich Anchor Text on a U.S. Style Blog

Hitmeister Blog Articles Sarah Palin (2)

Some of these blogs grew into poisonous link lists during the last years. On the blog of, more than 300 comments have grown that are links to other toxic SEO projects, since they also involve automatic link building. Bad karma.

Hitmeister Blog Articles Just My Opinion Hillary Clinton Balba

Even More Foreign Link Building

Hitmeister Blog Article Basement

Almost invisible anchor texts like a dash sign were also used. The content environment of “Sex and Drugs during Clubbing” might also not be the neighborhood you want to be associated with as an honest and trustworthy shopping site.

Hitmeister Forum Drugs Sex

Hitmeister Vbulletin

Is There an Unnatural Deep Link Ratio?

Yes, compared to our niche competitors, Hitmeister had more deep links than others.

Hitmeister Deep Link Ratio

Did the Websites Have an Unnatural Link Status Ratio?

Yes, instead of 7% they had 32% percent no-follow links.

Hitmeister Deep Link Status

Did the Websites Have a High Link Detox Risk?

Yes, the calculated link risk score is high, as can be seen in the following chart:

Hitmeister Dtox Risk

Hitmeister Dtox Risk Table


Toxicity Distribution on

Hitmeister Dtox Risk Charts


Footprint Distribution

Hitmeister Dtox Risk Footprint


Anchor text placement looks suspicious
Domain has the same website footprints as other linking domains – possible link network.
Domain has the same DNS as other linking domains – possible Link Network.
High Risk score associated with URL
Page has no PageRank™ but at least some weak links.
Page has no CEMPER Power*Trust™ and CEMPER Power*Trust™ Domain < 5 – a page without external links on a weak domain.
Domain has the same Website Footprints as other linking domains – possible Link Network.
Link with Anchor Text classified as Brand, Money or Compound coming from a potentially Spammy Forum.
The Link Detox Genesis™ algorithm classified this link as highly unnatural. We recommend removal or disavow.
Domain has the same Class-C as other linking domains – possible Link Network.
Old domain with no homepage PageRank™
Domain has the same Website Footprints as other linking domains – possible Link Network.
Domain has the same IP as other linking domains – possible Link Network.
Domain’s homepage has CEMPER TitleRank-home™ 30+, CEMPER Power*Trust™ Domain < 5 and CEMPER Power*Trust™ < 5.
Domain has no CEMPER Power*Trust™ Domain – probably a new or very weak domain, or a penalty.
Domain has Link Velocity Trend < -70% – probably part of an Expired Domain link network or a domain that the public has lost interest in.
Page has more than 10 backlinks from 1 Class-C, CEMPER Power*Trust™ Domain < 5 and CEMPER Power*Trust™ < 5 – possible Link Network.
Domain’s Theme is listed as suspicious (Hacking, Suspicious or Pornography).
Sitewide Footer Link detected – a typical way how paid links or “friend”-links are artificially placed.


Did the Websites Have a High Link Competitive DTOX Risk?

From the CDTOX overview table we see that eBay lifts the level for Power and Trust and that Rebuy and Rakuten appear to be weak in Trust. Hitmeister had a Power of 5 and good Trust of 6.

Hitmeister CDtox Risk Footprint

The comparison to average Link Detox Risk shows us that Hitmeister and the sister portal have the highest link risk. Still, their link risk appears to be moderate.

Hitmeister CDTOX 2 Bows

A negative aspect becomes clear: Hitmeister has the highest Money-Keyword rate. Compared to the total average, their Money keyword factor is 2x higher than any other portal.

Hitmeister CDTOX 3 Type

Looking at link health status, we see that Hitmeister is evenly balanced and blends into its environment.

Hitmeister CDTOX 4 DTOX

The Link Detox Risk breakdown finally shows where Hitmeister has the biggest issues. There are several link sources that provide increased Moderate, High, Very high and Deadly risk.

Hitmeister CDTOX 5 Risk

Results Analysis

1.Anchor Text AnalysisYes, overdone
2.Power & Trust Balance AnalysisYes P*T out of industry
3.Sitewide Links AnalysisYes, too many SWLinks
4.Paid Links AnalysisYes, Paid Links
5.Power*Trust Ratio AnalysisYes, peak at PT 8-12
6.Redirect AnalysisNo
7.Link Growth AnalysisNo
8.Link Network AnalysisYes, some link baits created network
9.Country Ratio AnalysisNo
10.Deep Link Ratio AnalysisNo
11.Link Status Ratio AnalysisNo, this was standard
12.Link Detox Risk AnalysisYes, high risk
13.Competitive Link Detox Risk Analysis against competitionNo, moderate risk


The amount of hard Money keyword jumps is destabilizing the whole portal from an SEO perspective.

Even though their team added a Brand reference in the anchor texts, the pattern gets too obvious. Their site is additionally weakened by their many sitewide footer links.

Aggressive marketing resulted in an unnatural Follow/No-Follow status compared to the industry, and an unnaturally high deeplink ratio.

The biggest issues are international links from foreign networks and cheap links from press networks and link lists.

Money-rich keyword links from blogs and forums, as well as several link networks, also impacted Hitmeister. This is confirmed by the Link Detox analysis that rated link networks’ footprints and suspicious Money anchors as highly dangerous.

This case study was written by Guntram Bechtold of StarsMedia IT Management KG, and proud user of Link Research Tools and Link Detox.

A word from Christoph C. Cemper

Certified LRT Xpert

This analysis was conducted and written by our new Certified LRT Xpert, Guntram Bechtold.

Guntram demonstrated his expertise in doing a deep dive on why Hitmeister lost half of their search visibility. It’s the second of five studies he’s doing for his Xpert certification.

He did a great job investigating the possible causes and isolating the penalized tactics in his case study. Therefore, I’m very happy to certify Guntram Bechtold as the latest Certified LRT Xpert by approving and publishing his research on our site.

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 Guntram’s future work, and I personally recommend working with him whenever you get the opportunity.

Certified LRT Xpert Guntram Bechtold

Take our survey on Link Risk Management and the Penguin 3.0 update here and get a chance to win free Link Detox credits.

This analysis was created using our Superhero Plan. 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.

Are you ready for the next Google Penguin Update?

Guntram Bechtold

Founded in 2011, a SAASoftware and Project-Management Company. Being Project Manager for, i-Magazine’s Selfservice Publishing Platform with readers from 180 Countries world wide, the StarsMedia is specialized on Online Marketing Consulting for established Onlineplayers and Startups. Guntram is certified Scrum Master, LRT Certified Professional and graduated. Industrial Designer, living in Dornbirn, Austria

Guntram Bechtold

Guntram Bechtold

Guntram Bechtold

Guntram Bechtold
Google Penguin 3.0 is here any day.

Hire one of our 29 Certified LRT Professionals, Certified LRT Xperts and Certified LRT Agencies to conduct your Penguin 3.0 link audit – TODAY.


  1. @lnkresearchtool May 7, 2014

    No Hit for Hitmeister – Google Blasts Their Search Visibility

  2. @seonational May 7, 2014

    No Hit for Hitmeister – Google Blasts Their Search Visibility –

  3. @PageRankSEO May 7, 2014

    No Hit for Hitmeister – Google Blasts Their Search Visibility /by @guntrambechtold via @lnkresearchtool

  4. @JohnPeter135 May 8, 2014

    A case study on SEO damages for Hitmeister


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