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  • What Happens When You Build 10,000 Dodgy Links to a New Domain in 24 Hours?

    You get penalised. You get a heap of traffic, and then get penalised.

    While I am certainly no black-hat by any means, and do not advocate the techniques outlined in this post for long-term SEO projects, I love testing the theories and rumours that circulate in the SEO community about what link building works and what doesn’t. Regardless of how dodgy the rumours are,  it helps me build a bigger picture of  how Google treats link building.


    So during the Christmas period a few months back I decided to set myself a challenge:  to see what would happen if I built a very large quantity of low quality links in a short period of time into a new domain, in order to gauge where Google draws the line with this type of link building and to understand better what pattern this kind of link building penalty might have. Call me crazy, but these things are good to test and they help you to understand what to do and what patterns to look for when something goes wrong unintentionally.

    So, I took a new domain that I wasn’t too worried about destroying, picked a reasonably competitive keyword, and built about 10,000 really nasty-looking low quality links in to the home page with a mixture of phrase and exact match anchor text (note: these weren’t ‘paid links’ per se). I assumed that this should easily be enough to obliterate the site from search results.


    The Result

    The site ended up ranking #1 on Google.com for this keyword for about three weeks, which as you can see had a significant impact on increasing the site’s traffic. Just as I was beginning to lack faith in Google’s ability to detect the most unnatural of link patterns, the site suddenly dropped out of search results for everything including brand searches, and what’s more it’s never bounced back.



    The test confirmed what I had assumed might happen (the site would receive a ranking penalty), but I was surprised to see that it took over 3 weeks (and several thousand visits) before Google decided to do anything about it. So how could you utilise this?

    I think one of the most practical uses for this tactic is to get a  website ranking for a seasonal or short-term one-off high traffic keyword. For example, it might have worked wonders to get a website ranking competitively for ‘vuvuzela’ for a few weeks around the South Africa World Cup last year, or you could use it to rank for a term such as ‘gym equipment’ for a few weeks after new year when people are keen to get back into shape. However, it’s important to be cautious and aware of your local advertising laws and to know Google’s view on this type of tactic.


    123 Responses to “What Happens When You Build 10,000 Dodgy Links to a New Domain in 24 Hours?”

    1. AlanHunt says:

      I get the ‘what happens’ part, but got just one question, how did u build 10K links in 24 hours?

    2. Kyle says:

      How long has it been since this test was run? The sandbox could easily last a few months and then the site possibly return to the first page.

    3. I ran the test around November – December time, and there still hasn’t been a bounce back but I’ll be sure to follow up if something interesting does happen!

    4. Gareth James says:

      I did the same experiment, but it bounced back after the penalty was lifted (2 months ish):)

      You can also use this to get traffic volume data, then build a proper site with the findings.

    5. Mercy Livi says:

      Excellent one! Thanks for taking your time and making a must do case study in this! Appreciate it Marcus! Few (Should I say Many) SEO rumors / facts were un-tested and good to note that you cleared one among the major here! My 2 cents :-)

    6. hyderalis says:

      What kind of link building you have done?

    7. itsmartie says:

      wow 3 weeks is quite a while before getting caught. would have thought it would have been a week max

    8. Tom says:

      How old was the domain/site before you started throwing lots of links at it? I can see form the graph that it was getting *some* traffic already.

      I’m just wondering whether it would be viable straight away on newly bought domains that you’re happy to burn, or if you would need to bed them in first.

    9. Everfluxx says:

      Nice test. It would be even nicer if you could disclose details on the technique used to build the spammy links and on the test environment:
      - Did all the links use the same anchor text?
      - Were the links hosted on several external sites, or just one?
      - Were the site(s) hosting those links on different class C IPs than the target domain, or on the same class?
      - Was there any correlation, implicit or explicit, between the site(s) hosting the spam links and the target domain, or between the spammer and the owner of the target website?
      - Any other information that Google that might have used to determine that the target website owner was, in fact, responsibile for the spam links? (If not, this test would confirm that you can, in fact, harm a competitor website).

    10. Anthony says:

      Google says links cannot hurt you, otherwise anyone could just do it to a competitor.

      Go and ask them here to find out more:

    11. Everfluxx says:

      Yeah Anthony, I know what Google says.

    12. Dan says:

      Can you share some actual traffic #s? That bump does not look too huge to me if it went from low, low volume.

    13. itsmartie says:

      @anthony what once company says and what actually happens can be completly different some times

    14. @Gareth Agreed. This test gave some really good insight into keyword volumes and long tail keywords, definitely a good tactic for KW research.

      @Tom the domain was about 2-3 months old before I launched this test, although it had 0 links beforehand, so it was fresh from a link building perspective.

      @Everfluxx Good questions – the links were built by several different people (who i’d not previously used for any other tests) all using different low quality link building methods (directories, profiles, comments etc.) and linking with a mixture of phrase and exact match anchor text. The links were from a variety of C class IP’s and external domains. As far as I can tell, there would be no clear way for Google to know that the links were definitely built by me (and not a competitor), unless they snooped in my Gmail :-)

    15. @Dan It went from ~15 organic visits / day (mostly very long tail) to ~150 organic visits / day (almost entirely from a single keyword).

    16. Everfluxx says:

      As far as I can tell, there would be no clear way for Google to know that the links were definitely built by me (and not a competitor), unless they snooped in my Gmail :-)

      Very interesting. Thanks for sharing.

    17. Everfluxx says:

      @Marcus Taylor: Your blog’s CSS is missing a style for the blockquote tag (the first part of my comment above is a quote).

      After reading your latest comment, my opinion is that the penalty was triggered by the fact that the spammy links accounted for 100% of the external inbound links of the target website (which had none beforehand). If you repeated this test on an established website with non-zero link popularity, I believe you would not get the same results. Hurting a competitor may be possible, but it’s certainly not that easy.

    18. I guess the question that begs to be asked here is… has anyone ever tried this on a site with (at a minimum) age or some link popularity? Could a site that lacks the visibility of, say, JCPenney, do this type of link building in a financially valuable time of year, get the benefits, and then survive a less severe penalty because they already had link equity built in. I understand I’m asking the same ? Everfluxx pondered, but it’s interesting to me.

    19. LordManley says:

      It may be in the article, I cannot read it properly on the train, but what is the scale of the traffic? Are we talking ten thousand extra visits or ten?

    20. Ross Hudgens says:

      “The site ended up ranking #1 on Google.com for this keyword for about three weeks, which as you can see had a significant impact on increasing the site’s traffic. Just as I was beginning to lack faith in Google’s ability to detect the most unnatural of link patterns, the site suddenly dropped out of search results for everything including brand searches, and what’s more it’s never bounced back.”

      This is likely a failure of Google’s QDF algorithm. They want fresh, viral news to appear in the SERPs as it comes, but it’s also perhaps very possible that they can’t efficiently determine what to trust and what not to trust at certain points because of the push/pull effect trying to display “fresh” news creates in their search results.

    21. Neal dougan says:

      when obtaining these links, was automated methods used to submit comments to blogs and forums? Just wondered if the quality of the comments would have an effect of google’s perception of your website rather than just the sheer volume and velocity of the links gained.

    22. Arnie says:

      Have to agree with Ross. Google often gives the benefit of the doubt to new content because it may actually be good, useful stuff. But eventually they do seem to come back and “clean it up”.

    23. Mark Simon says:

      Approximately how much did you spend on the services you employed for others to do the comments, submissions, etc? I am interested in how much the test cost to run basically.

    24. Steve Hall says:

      Thanks for testing and quantifying the effect that this kind of link building had on your website.
      A couple of points interest me further -
      1. How long will your site be penalised. As has been stated above I would think there is a good chance it will come back to the top of the SERPs in the next few months.
      2. Could you speed up the process by building some quality links to the site now to dilute the effect of the spam links.
      Have you done anything else with the site since?

    25. CharliePinglass says:

      I’ve seen similar case studies. I’d be interested to see what happens if you keep building links to the site at a steady pace, matching the rate you were building before, and mix up the anchors a slight bit more (but still using the low quality spam techniques). My guess is after another month or two it’d bounce back.

    26. I know the title says it all “10k links in 24 hours” but what if you do the 10k links continuously what would happen to the site? Will it still be dropped or still stay ranked?

    27. Alaister Low says:

      Interesting case study here. It again proves that black hat is very short term and can result in serious penalties. Thanks very much for sharing

    28. Steven says:

      Cool test. This is Google’s problem. People have been doing this for ages in the Viagra market.

      @Anthony: If it was only that black and white live would be great. Of course this is possible and it’s being done in very competitive (shady) markets.

    29. Just an update guys, the site has literally just bounced back to ranking #10 for the main keyword.

    30. Really, how many of the 10k links is seen in yahoo? or any program. Did the traffic shoot back to the same amount as the image above?

    31. Yahoo Site Explorer is seeing 2,286 of the links, OSE reports 3,657, and Majestic 3,164. I am not sure about traffic yet as it has only bounced back within the last few hours – I will let you know in the next few days..

    32. Ian Purton says:

      I can’t understand why Google would pass on any value from these type of links.

      I imagine they are a mixture of orphoned profile pages and blog comments spam. That wouldn’t be too hard to detect algorithmically.

    33. Nick says:

      Really interesting find, but I wouldn’t mind seeing some proof. Please don’t take offence. I’m not saying you didn’t do it, but you gotta admit you have a chart up there with no values and 10,000 links in a day :) got any proof?

    34. @Marcus: Thanks for the info on the links. Will wait for the traffic if it picks up.

      @Ian: Well they still are backlinks pointing to the site. I agree with the blog comments, forum and social profiles, and i’ll add bookmarking to that mix.

    35. dchuk says:

      I use this strategy on my affiliate sites. The trick is to pair those links with quality ones to get the rankings high and then keep your site there. It works very well, and Google doesn’t seem to be able to adapt to the method at all.

    36. This opens new oportunities for spammers whose job is just undermining websites. How should one protect him/herself from such a raid?

    37. Sounds crazy. how did you build 10k links in 24hrs? Was wondering what will happen if you build another doggy links again ? Do you think you have been put into Google’s bad list of websites?

    38. What Happens When You Build 10,000 Dodgy Links to a New Domain in 24 Hours? | SEOptimise | SearchVana says:

      [...] What Happens When You Build 10,000 Dodgy Links to a New Domain in 24 Hours? | SEOptimise. [...]

    39. Jeff says:

      This is really interesting. I work with a couple of clients that are trying to take the high road in a vertical that is full of shady operators. Their competitors are hip to this game – the domains we compete with for high volume keywords literally cycle in and out every couple of weeks. They are throwaway domains with thousands of spammy links quickly pointed to them… it works for a while, but doesn’t last forever… but it’s consistent enough to be a business model for some people. Crazy!

      Some of the points brought up in the comments are interesting. While I’d be too afraid to try something like this with an established site, I wonder if it would have the same effect. My guess is that a new domain that has this happen looks spammy, but an established domain with existing link popularity probably wouldn’t be impacted.

    40. Hannes says:

      Thank´s for sharing your insights.

      @Marcus “Just an update guys, the site has literally just bounced back to ranking #10 for the main keyword.”

      Just wanted to please you to share the effect after the penalty ;) -> Around 3 months are very common by this type of “link growth”.

    41. Sunny says:

      Still waiting for an explaination how you built 10.000 Links in 24 hours… Can’t imagine that without the help of 100 little Chinese link builders ;-)

    42. @dchuk: How many dodgy links do you point to those sites and how many quality links to it as well? Any ratio to those?

      @Dragan Nikolic: You don’t have to be afraid with those kinds of attacks just as long as you build your empire through quality links you don’t have to worry.

    43. @Almer Viloria: hey, thanks for taking the time to reply :) . I thought so, myself. But you can’t deny there is some potential threat if you’re a young company, just starting up with a prosperous idea. Can you imagine what sometimes competition is prepared to do? I think it’s being done, as we write about it.

    44. @Dragan Nikolic: Yes I know, its blatant in the online world that competitors would do anything and everything to get to that #1 spot. You just have to pray that in the niche you’re in there is no psycho wandering around. ;)

    45. The title of this post should be – what happens when you build 10,000 dodgy links to YOUR new domain in 24 hours?

      Original post title may suggest some shady ideas.

    46. Mercy Livi says:

      Marcus, Has just the single main keyword has bounced back or the long tail keywords too that you have referred in the earlier comments?

    47. Marcus Taylor says:

      @Mercy Both the main keyword and longer tail terms have bounced back.

      For those wondering how I built the large quantity of dodgy links, I actually out sourced it to several people who each built several thousand each of various kinds of low value links in their own way. I am uncertain as to what tools or services they used, but I am guessing something like Scrapebox, SEOnuke, or some other kind of automated submitter type software.

      lots of interesting comments.. i’m also playing around with doing this to exact match domains to see if it has the same impact if the main keyword is technically also the ‘brand name’.

    48. dchuk says:


      I don’t follow any hard ratios in terms of how many good links/bad links. I tend to do consistent daily junk links, like profiles and comments, to keep the velocity solid. I then build mini-nets around my pages I want to rank and then hit those fairly hard with links to give them some link juice and authority. While doing these things, I’ll manually comment on high quality/high PR blogs and the combination of those comments and the high power mini-nets keeps my sites ranking high without too much bouncing.

      My biggest trick is working on multiple sites at once to keep my sanity in check :)

    49. Derek Seymour says:

      Wow new to this blog but really loving this post. Hope you have more open and direct SEO experiments like this I can check out on the blog.

      So your site bounced back within less than a month?!

      It would also be interesting to see what would happen on an aged domain but if you blasted backlinks to it each day to be constant. My theory is google sees a website being blasted with links as a “trend” and will temporarily give that page a boost in rankings for as long as it is trending. Once the links stop coming in heavy for that page… the trend dies down and so do the page rankings. Your site should move up as the “dodgy” links age on the sites too!!

    50. [...] What Happens When You Build 10,000 Dodgy Links to a New Domain in 24 Hours? (via SEOptimize) [...]

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    52. Chotrul SEO says:

      I’d certainly agree with Everfluxx’s comment about these links being 100% of the profile of the site. My own experience at looking at the link profiles of many sites, especially those of competitors is that they can certainly bear more ‘bad’ links if they are only a proportion of the whole. And beyond that, seems like big brands can generally bear more than little (non) brands.

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    54. hapticz says:

      and there-in is the kernel of criminal intent that thrives only to deliver money to the site and nothing of any real value to the customer. an effort merely exercised to penetrate through the basic trust value that was once considered ‘good business practice’, stretching the loopyholes and eventually ‘break the box’for a singular personal/corporate gain. devoid of benefit to people at large or any lasting, long term stability.

      pretty much like a street con, get in, do it and get away as quickly as possible with the loot.

      and i was worried about the banks taking over, it’s these little bangers who are screwing the entire game.

    55. Privacy Software Guy says:

      always wondered what something like this would do, some say keep building the links and you will pop out of the sand box with stronger serps so will be interesting to see if in fact you do pop back out of it and how long it takes.

      thanks for the study and have pulled many good ideas from all the other posts as well.

    56. kaedus says:


      The reason the big brands can bear more ‘bad’ links is because, as dchuk mentioned, you have to mix up the amount of high quality and low quality links that you have. These big brands are getting natural, legitimate links built for them, so they can afford to throw in more low quality stuff. If you are a small brand, you have to build both the high quality and low quality stuff yourself.

      Also, using this tactic to hurt a competitor is not a good idea. They might disappear for a little while, but they are going to bounce back, and once they come out of the sandbox, they are going to be stronger than before, without a doubt.

    57. For all those who want to try : The people who build these links are using software such as Scrapebox (to post comments on blogs) and Xrumer (to post profile links). SENuke is also good but it is too slow to produce so many links. If you want such a project done really cheap, go to fiverr.com and look for xrumer services. You will see people providing hundreds of thousands of links for $5. A lot of SEO people use these methods. However, to work, I think you should also use higher quality backlinks such as .GOV and .EDU backlinks. When I tried building quick backlinks my site got immediately sandboxed for a couple of weeks. So it might be difficult to time, if you need it for a seasonal purpose.

    58. lars says:

      three weeks? definitely enough for some seasonal affiliate activities and after you get kicked, do you have enough time to build her up more naturally … to blast another bunch of crap on them, the nex season …

    59. I would be extremely tempted to try this around Christmas and sell something very niche and seasonal. In three weeks ranked number 1 there is money to be made! Great post thanks

    60. wpaffs says:

      Just wondering – how competitive was the keyword you were ranking for?

    61. @wpaffs – it’s a reasonably competitive head of tail term, referring ~100 – 150 visits from that term alone and the sites ranking in the top ten are pretty powerful pages. Any specific metrics you’d like?

    62. Apasna says:

      Hey Marcus, Nice post there.
      I am now having similiar situation with one of my sites. After my site was deindexed from gooogle I have simple bought new domain name and made redirect from my old one to it. And now this new domain is ranking as the older one. :P

    63. Thanks for the heads up.
      I will absolutely never even try those kind of techniques.
      :) Justin.

    64. wpaffs says:

      Thanks Marcus. Roughly how many search results did this keyword have? Also, how many different keywords did you use with varied anchor text?

    65. simleon says:

      Thanks a lot for this post! Can I ask If you noticed the quality raters IP in the log files or the analytics data?

    66. jem says:

      seems like a pointless experiement – anyone doing serious seo would already know the result before hand. Like hammering a nail through your hand to see if it hurts. I could think of countless other things to test instead of this.

      what was the industry that the site/keyword was in? If it is not very competitive then of course the links would not have been noticed, I’m sure Google would rather focus on the high volume search terms instead.

    67. Ash Buckles says:

      Just think: with a few competitive links and a news release and you’d probably still command the top position.

    68. Tim Morston says:

      I wonder how much the anchor text had to do with it, and how competitive the search term itself was – I imagine if the term had been a brand name (almost totally sure it was not) then you would probably not have recovered in the way you described.

    69. Alan says:

      Great post, I have been through this exact thing before.

      My Story:
      It was the fall of 2008…I just launched a new site in July, and by August-September, I was out soliciting links.

      The Link Building:
      I was actually very white-hat, and contacted a person within my niche who was kind enough to give me a link. He put my on his blogroll, and before I knew it, I had thousands of links to the site. I continued my link solicitation on some other sites, and received even more links. I was kind enough to link back to some of these people through a ‘links’ page. Everything was calm for a bit, then I noticed my traffic start to grow pretty rapidly. I experienced this for about a month, then my traffic dropped significantly. I was still slightly ahead than before my major traffic growth, but basically devastated. A few months later, I experimented with removing my reciprocal links. Amazingly, my traffic started to come back, although not to the levels where it went initially.

      What was the cause?
      I am still slightly puzzled as to what happened: Was it the blogroll and rapid acquisition of links from a single .blogspot domain that did it? Was it the fact that I had a somewhat reciprocal arrangement with some of these people? Was the removal of the reciprocal links related to the traffic coming back?

      The Aftermath:
      Since that time, I have not solicited any more links for that site, although I have continued to build it and add content. More people have organically linked to me, however.

      3 Months Later:
      I started notice signs of the traffic coming back. I had recently removed my links page (Don’t know if this was related)

      4 Months Later:
      Traffic slowed down for a bit again, but was still ahead of where I was after I lost my major growth.

      5-8 Months Later:
      Slow, but gradual growth in search engine traffic, peaking at around 2/3 of the traffic I had received before.

      9-10 Months:
      Slow, minor reversal in growth; then BAM. Hit with a huge traffic spike from StumbleUpon.

      10-11 Months:
      Growth again. I finally reach a point where my traffic was the same or slightly greater than my initial traffic growth.

      13 Months:
      Traffic peaked, backed off for 3 months.

      17 Months:
      Another StumbleUpon traffic spike. Significant growth from month before, but traffic backed off for the next 5 months. During this time, I stupidly (but unknown to me) made a change to my WordPress blog that nullified my title tags. Traffic decline was relatively minor. I never noticed anything that gave me a reason to worry.

      22 Months:
      Realized I made a mistake. Fixed the problem, title tags came back. Explosive growth happened very shortly after.

      Now (28 Months): Traffic continues to grow. I now get about 600% more traffic than I got through my initial traffic spurt. I am not currently building any links, just adding content. I have added a significant amount of new content over the past few months, and things seem to be going well.

      Whew! What a story…Maybe I should do a blog about this…

    70. Jason says:

      I’d be really interested to know what would happen if you continued building links to this site. Maybe not quite at the rate you did in this example but for example maybe a 1000 per month. I’ve personally never experienced this but have talked with other people who have done basically what you did, got the google slap, continued building links and then a couple weeks, possibly months came back twice as strong as before. Might be a good follow up experiment.

    71. Aaron says:

      Just watched SEOmoz’s video on this! It’s a good experiment in principle, however you should have known the site would have been penalised!

      Anyway, great post,

    72. I agree with many comments here, this website will bounce back later. I doubt that drop would have happened if you spread the same 10k links over a period of time.

      BTW, This experiment was the topic of SEOmoz’s Whiteboard Friday two days ago.

    73. [...] slip or completely disapparate as a result. He uses the example from the SEOptimise blog of What Happens When You Build 10,00 Dodgy Links to a New Domain in 24 hours. Hint: if you do own the aforementioned domain, you may want to reconsider your users’ needs [...]

    74. [...] slip or completely disapparate as a result. He uses the example from the SEOptimise blog of What Happens When You Build 10,00 Dodgy Links to a New Domain in 24 hours. Hint: if you do own the aforementioned domain, you may want to reconsider your users' needs – for [...]

    75. Jenni says:

      I’m extremely surprised that ranking #1 on Google for a competitive keyword only brought you 150ish hits a day. I would expect it to be in the thousands if not tens of thousands.

    76. Preventing Link-Based Penalties – Whiteboard Friday | seotworank says:

      [...] slip or completely disapparate as a result. He uses the example from the SEOptimise blog of What Happens When You Build 10,00 Dodgy Links to a New Domain in 24 hours. Hint: if you do own the aforementioned domain, you may want to reconsider your users’ needs [...]

    77. Tim Biden says:


      1) The top result typically gets about 34% of the cilcks on any specific search.
      2) Marcus never said how long the tail was. There are tons of extremely competitive long-tail keywords that get a relatively low number of searches per day or month. If the term was searched 13,500 times per month, then he was right on target. But without knowing the term or search traffic for that term and how well his Title and description text were helping him, we can never know exactly what traffic was possible.

    78. Marcus, you got 10000 links from 10000 domains or from 100 domains? Will be interesting experiment what will be happened if you make all of this for old and trusted domain.

    79. Jeremy Nelson says:

      Do you think that the site got “penalized” or did the links you built just get devalued. I see that the traffic seems to have leveled off to pre-linkspam numbers.

      Important distinguishing notion, as what’s the harm of doing this if your traffic falls back to what it was and the links are just devalued?

    80. Marcus Taylor says:

      @Jeremy I think the site was penalised as it got entirely dropped out of the index.. although you could be right – the pre / post visits were mostly direct traffic.

    81. Anon says:

      interesting article.

      I have a website that receives 30k visits a day and established at 4 years old with a PR5.

      I have been offered 2,000 low quality links. Though they are at least targeted blog post links.

      I’m wondering what kind of impact they might have. Id guess I wouldn’t be penalised due to domain age, existing good link building patterns etc. But at the same time m not sure I’ll see any benefits.

      Any thoughts?

    82. Marcus Taylor says:

      Probably wouldn’t recommend it, Anon.

      Although you’re right – it’s unlikely to get you penalised with that history I don’t think it would add much value either (although that’s just my personal opinion).

      Stick with the good stuff :)

    83. Tony says:

      This same thing happened to one of my sites only I used a linkbuilding subscription service to get around 400 lower quality anchor text links in two weeks. Site was less than a month old. Keywords ranked high for about 2 weeks then got pushed between positions 400 – 1000. Between yours and Gareth James’ experiences, it seems safe to say that my site will bounce back eventually. Does anyone know of any way to accelerate the lifting of the penalty in this scenario?

      I already filed a reconsideration request and got a response saying it was not a manual action taken by their spam team, but an algorithmic penalty. A video by Matt Cutts explains that algorithmic penalties are lifted if you change your site: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ES01L4xjSXE. Is this case, would the penalty always get lifted if you take away your links?

    84. Search Engine Penalties from Mass Link Building | SEOmistry says:

      [...] did a recent experiment where they basically built 10,000 dodgy links and tracked the effect on traffic. Basically the [...]

    85. [...] What Happens When You Build 10,000 Dodgy Links to a New Domain in 24 Hours? [...]

    86. If you are serious about a site, I would not recommend anything like this described here.

      Would if the rankings became very important?

      Knowing that any day the party would end…and undoing it would be near impossible.

      Doing this as an experiment is the only reason.

    87. anita khanna says:

      really nice tutorial i am a bit scared to try this though

    88. [...] slip or completely disapparate as a result. He uses the example from the SEOptimise blog of What Happens When You Build 10,00 Dodgy Links to a New Domain in 24 hours. Hint: if you do own the aforementioned domain, you may want to reconsider your users’ needs [...]

    89. [...] paying for links, keep a steady and reasonable pace because incredible spikes draw attention. Google warns webmasters against buying links, so if you choose to anyway, your mileage may [...]

    90. Dan says:

      It works, I’ve heard many of these stories before and no doubt if you just keep building it is going to come back even higher. The way to do it is build links slowly at first and if you want maximum affect that isn’t going to hurt your actual website, build a web2.0 blog thats well established, blast that with the low quality links. But make sure there are high quality links too.

    91. Ollie says:

      I have always wondered how on the ball the big G was, and considering their multi-trillion search request per day processing I think 3 weeks isn’t too bad. In my humble opinion I think its great that Google is hard to spam, it used to annoy me 5 years ago but imagine how useless it would be as a search engine if it was EASILY manipulatable?

    92. Jessica says:

      Has anyone tried this link system but keep it consistant. A spike in links mgiht cause the flag, but what if you went form 2k spammy weeks one week, 4k the next, 6k,8k, then 10k a week. Then if you stay at 10k a week will it be penalized in the long run?

    93. David Ingram says:

      Sorry for digging up an old post Marcus, but I would be interested to know on how the site is ranking 10 months on?

      Great experiment, I hope more people take it as a reason to avoid high-volume link spam rather than a ‘easy way to rank for 3 weeks’.

    94. wonder says:

      Hi folks,

      the same happend to me, but not deliberately caused as shown in your experiment!
      This works not only for new websites. I know for sure that three websites got penaltys because of too many backlinks (> 5000) – mainly Social-Bookmark-Links. My google analytic accounts looks exactly the way as shown in the figure above.

      I would be very glad when you tell us if the penalty ist still active?


    95. [...] Test auf seoptimize hat genau das gezeigt. Hier wurden 10.000 schlechte Links aufgebaut und 3 Wochen später hat Google [...]

    96. webuildlink says:

      Thanks For the Test.
      From your Research we can have a Conclusion:
      Its better to get link naturally rather than having a Huge number of link in a short time

    97. 5 Steps to More SEO Clients | Ross Tavendale says:

      [...] will still be in the back of their minds. Therefore, show them some link building data. Show them a website getting 10, 000 links in a month. Show them dominating the SERPs for a month after that. Then show them the business tanking. Show [...]

    98. Since your site was penalised, would you name any specifics? At least seeing the visitor numbers would be really interesting – was it in the thousands? Really a great experiment though – I love seeing proper SEO research rather than just a bunch of normalised statements “you ought to do this”. Thanks!

    99. Newgrove says:

      Wow, really like the thought you put in the analysis, thats just right (well, have to).

      The only problem is that you do not know if Google completely change their routines, but on the other hand, large companies tend to be slow to change …

      Thanks for a creative test :)

    100. chris says:

      What if you kept building more backlinks?

    101. chris says:

      For me it always goes up and down…no matter if i build links or not, and number of google webmaster tools recognized links also goes up and down…

    102. john says:

      I think if you keep builing backlinks and not stop it should be ok.

    103. LumenArc says:

      Lucky you. But I have noticed that on my friends computer, the positions of search results differ from mines thus leads me to believe Google are customising our search results. Has anyone else noticed this?

    104. [...] are you are most proud of this year? The post I’m most proud of this year has to be ‘What Happens When You Build 10,000 Dodgy Links to a Domain in 24 Hours‘, which received a rather overwhelming 293 tweets, and was featured on The Guardian, The [...]

    105. [...] It explains in detail the results, and there are also some interesting comments in the replies: What Happens When You Build 10,000 Dodgy Links to a New Domain in 24 Hours? | SEOptimise Randy Ray Poker SEO Blog @pokerseo on Twitter Reply With Quote   [...]

    106. James says:

      Hi it’s almost been a year now since the test was conducted, can you provide an update?

    107. [...] What Happens When You Build 10,000 Dodgy Links to a New Domain in 24 Hours? – This is a really cool experiment (two awesome experiments in a row?!) on spammy link building to brand new sites. It’s quite interesting what Marcus Taylor found. [...]

    108. John says:

      Very interesting.
      I think that it could help if you use more diversity of backlinks ( some high pr, some edu, and some social bookmarks)
      Thanks for good case linkbuilding study.

    109. Jim says:

      Update please! Very curious to know how the site is going now. I just had a similar thing happen to one of my sites a few weeks ago.

    110. [...] this case study from from SEOptimize. They wanted to test whether or not generating a high number of low quality links at once would [...]

    111. Search Engine Penalties from Mass Link Building | TempScripts.Com - Share to be shared says:

      [...] did a recent experiment where they basically built 10,000 dodgy links and tracked the effect on traffic. Basically the [...]

    112. [...] link building case study ← The 7-Step Checklist For Producing Awesome Content For Your Website Android v. Blackberry: Why I’m Sticking With Blackberry (For Now) → No comments yet. [...]

    113. 5 SEO Mistakes That Even Experts Miss says:

      [...] if you think building a lot of links is better for you, just look at this case study by Marcus Taylor, in which he built 10,000 links within 24 hours. He shot up to a number 1 ranking in Google, but [...]

    114. Jenn says:

      I’m really curious as to the status of the site now (almost 2 years later)! Is it dead? Do you still maintain it?

      Give us an update!

    115. Hello,

      Fantastic. Perfectly said by Marcus.


    116. Hye there Marcus Taylor ..

      Thanks for the great exposure … Really impressing experiments.. So now ,i know what to do and don’t after the post penguin update … TQVM again …. .

    117. Jerrywhyte says:

      sure blackhat seo is dead and had gone down the drain as the potential in it had long been abused and drained, the era of setting “sniper” wp sites and begin to rank high for money keywords and phrases have gone.

    118. Hye there Marcus Taylor ..

      Wanna Share My own Story..
      i’m doing linkbuilding to my site , i to obsessed to have link that i make a signature with 3 different anchor word link with the same page. Then, suddenly one day i can’t find my web online..

      Just for 3 days i keep trying. but i can’t find my domain, i change my signature anda all that maybe spam to google. check all my webmaster seem no msg of problem. Lucky for me one of my comment got excepted on a blog or forum that have authority site so today, i can find my site ..

      My point here is do linkbuilding with natural n ‘human like’ than even what update comes .. we should be ok … :) .. Just my 2 cent..

      How lucky i am

    119. JasonP says:

      Very interesting. I hope there are more of these tests. I guess I will try to push the limits with one of my unused domains..

    120. [...] of my favorite examples of quantity burning you down was this test done about what happens when you build 10,000 dodgy links to a site. The site ranked well for a [...]

    121. [...] most popular articles I’ve written about SEO was about an experiment I ran a few years ago on ‘What Happens When You Build 10,000 Dodgy Links to a Domain in 24 Hours’. It worked because it had never been done [...]

    122. Njave says:

      Hello! What I’d love to see here is all of those links being placed in a disavow file and sent to Google for reconsideration. This way we would have a clear case of the tool actually working flawlessly. Any consideration done on that? Thanks!

    123. [...] if you think building a lot of links is better for you, just look at this case study by Marcus Taylor, in which he built 10,000 links within 24 hours. He shot up to a number 1 ranking in Google, but [...]

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