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Build My Rank Is Dead – Long Live Links

Build My Rank has been good to me. They’ve ranked my sites for years. It was easy, it was hands-off (I used an outsourcer), it worked. Until some time last night, my time.  I woke to find this: 

Unfortunately, this morning, our scripts and manual checks have determined that the overwhelming majority of our network has been de-indexed (by Google), as of March 19, 2012. Read more here

I wasn’t having a good day yesterday – seriously questioning what I was doing online and trying to figure out a new direction. Wizzley wasn’t living up to expectations, I was stuck in a funk of self-doubt and analysis paralysis. 

When I read the post above I expected myself to freak out. Oddly I didn’t. I know this means I’ve probably lost two sites which I’ve aggressively used BMR on – the same two sites which I’d just received the dreaded “notice of detected unnatural links” message in Google Webmaster Tools. 

Or maybe not. 

The more I think about this the more I see the opportunities. I finally know what I’m going to be doing over the next few months. 

First I’m not going to be doing anything Google would like me to do – so I will NOT be: 

  • I won’t be removing “unnatural links” to my two sites. 
  • I won’t be asking Google for reinclusion so they can run comparative stats and see which sites I removed. 
  • I won’t be removing content from BMR for the same reason.  

I’m not a conspiracy theorist – but I firmly believe that Google is playing a really two-faced game these days. Google does what Google needs to do to make it, not your or me, money. Although I don’t like this guy’s taste in MMO products – he’s spot on in this post about Google’s hypocrisy. 

I'd call Google the elephant in the room - but I like placyderms

Google Still Counts Links 

The mass de-indexing of BMR PROOVES that links still matter. I mean why deindex something that makes no difference! In fact THANK YOU Google for de-indexing BMR – now I know those links weren’t working (which I was beginning to suspect). 

So all Google’s huffing and puffing about social indicators and quality content – yeah may help – but links is still where its at!  I can’t believe they actually de-indexed the network though. Crazy – they could have just quietly devalued the links – would have been far more effective! 

Build My Rank Does The Right Thing 

And thank you the people behind BMR – because you are nice people. You’re not the first network to be hit – but you are the first that I know of who is offering pro rata refunds for the current month, will pay out affiliates before shutting the doors, and, this is the biggie – are offering to return user’s posts! Hell, some networks who have been de-indexed have even kept on trading! 

If you are a BMR member this is what you should do: 

  • cancel your subscription with Paypal for BMR (BMR can’t do for you AFAIK); 
  • keep an eye on their blog for when they release the tool to download your articles (unless of course you kept a copy of all your BMR posts on your hard-drive – yeah me to!); 
  • give in a few weeks and then quietly use that content either on other networks, or on your own network. (After all, its de-indexed now – not duplicate content!) 


36 replies on “Build My Rank Is Dead – Long Live Links”

Thanks for the post lissie.

I cancelled my subscription earlier, so I’ll ask them or keep an eye out for downloading articles. Though I do have copies unorganized on my hard drive somewhere….

Please don’t be demotivated. I’ve been where you are. Here’s what I’m doing:

1. Using wizzley for quick cash. Just started this, it’s an experiment. I think it’ll work – by my estimates, an article on wizzley should make $3/month which is a lot if you write a lot.

2. Writing a lot: my target is 15 articles daily. One for wizzley, one for my own site per keyword – this makes it quicker and easier.

3. For my own sites, I’m following fraser’s no-backlinks method. Well, sort of. I give out a few very relevant links from wizzley. I also plan to use zp (read yasu’s post in the pond) to create “high quality” bl for my money sites – thank you bmr for giving me my posts back 🙂 Then I’ll blast those with lower quality links.

4. Build some easy links to my money sites – social bookmarks, maybe even kw-luv blog comments.

A few months back, after panda 3.3, I got a bad feeling. I’m glad I listened to my intuition – fingers crossed it pays off. Bigger and better is the way to go! 🙂

Btw – I think most wizzleys don’t do well enough because maybe we treat them more lightly than we treat money site articles? Right now I’m going for easy kw’s like I’m doing with my money sites, but the wizzleys I’ll be blasting with a new (secret) network I’ve found 🙂

Also – am I right in assuming that you’re making an average of $3/article/month? I saw someone else’s earnings stats and that’s around what she’s making. So I just presumed….

Geez, I look really scattered with three comments all once! Yes, I am a scatterbrain :/

LOL thanks for the multiple comments!

Gawd I’d be bloody retired with a VA running this blog if I made $3/article – no where flipping close! My Wizzley figures are here – and its fair to say that unless something spectcaularly good happens – March is not going to be anywhere near February – hence, in part, my grumpy post yesterday!

I really like Wizzley, I really like the software, and the management is awesome. But at the moment its not making me enough money to justify a whole lot more effort. I think this whole BMR thing has made me think that its time to get serious about building an authority site.

I don’t agree with Fraser, and to be the fall-out from BMR makes it even more clear – links count, still do, always have. Fraser has heaps and heaps of links – whether or not he built them is irrelevant. But the fact that he has fans and friends who work at organisations who have domains ending edu, gov and work in mainstream journalism, means he doesn’t have to pay for his links. That’s all – its still all about links. Content is useful – but not solo.

Hmm, thanks Lissie. I just have to say that it’s a joy living in the same time zone, I get to see your reply immediately 🙂

Your wizzley comment has me a bit worried. How much do you make on average per article?

I started a new “womens interest” blog a few days ago, I think G likes it since I’m getting a few visitors without backlinks, so I’ll be expanding it. Maybe I should focus on this instead of wizzley+ this… Plus, it’s really easy and fun for me to write.

I do agree that backlinks help. But what I’ve taken away from Fraser’s method is ROI/focus. I’m tired of putting effort into links that don’t work. Hence going forward I’ll be using high quality sh*t (zp – thanks to yasu’s tutorial) pyramided with low quality stuff that still works according to trafficplanet posts by the mod ARVolund (SB comment blasts, maybe)

I guess I won’t be using anything else … it’s all about ROI.

Or maybe I should write a bit on a weight loss site I did – I was getting 500 uniques daily from 30 articles, no backlinks (I doubled that thanks to backlinking, though I guess that effort’s been wasted now)… It’s got some natural backlinks. *sigh* I guess I know where I should go for money – though I’m getting tired of telling people how to lose weight “just eat less and exercise more, guys!”

Forgot to mention – the “new” site and the WL one are built on aged, high PR domains, “duh”. (The duh is from what I’ve learnt at the Pond, not to sound arrogant :))

Are you can do the math – from that link – but the reality is that I made 90% from one just one article …

Actually I should think that niches like weight loss is wide open right now – a lot of stuff is just about to fall off page 1 – you know what I’m saying?

I do take the point about focus – which is quite possibly most of my problem. I think I will just focus on one site for a while

They de-indexed the network to send a message. How many webmasters affected by this do you think will go back to this some practice? Some will, but many won’t. If they would’ve just quietly de-valued links then people would still believe this was a viable option for building up their rankings. Now its known by many that this may not be a viable option anymore.

Google’s goal is to make money and improve the web, which helps them make money… Having a bunch of crap websites and content doesn’t help them with either of those goals. I’m glad they did this because I think people using these services are scum. Its a scum tactic, that smears crap content across the face of the internet. Good riddance.

Ah well – so long as we end up as rich scum – does it matter much? Sorry I just fall around laughing with this nonsense about crap content on the Internet. First define crap content? Who made you God – so that you can define what is good and what is not? Second – if you don’t like Google’s search results – use a different search engine – its not compulsory to use Google you know.

I really suggest you read the link I provided under Google hyprocasy – but then that content is a different view from yours – so I guess that makes it “crap content” ?

Lissie, I never, ever, ever join any link building networks. I use web directories and bookmarks only, with emphasis on web directories. It takes longer to get up there, but it’s stable.

There IS a way to build a safe link building network, but it requires many players, not just a few. Someday, I might even figure out how to make it happen.

I find this to be an interesting discussion, because people seem to forget a few things about big business.

Have you noticed when a company wants to make a statement they will pick someone that has influence in society and they make an example out of them.

Remember the JCpenny and Overstock situation, well this is no different. BMR was singled out to send a message and that is about as far as it goes.

Backlinks are here to stay and it doesn’t matter if they are low quality, high quality or whatever you want to call them.

The simple fact is that the search engines and algorithms are based on links, keywords and content, and you better believe that all the big G is doing is just pushing their weight around showing people who is *Boss*

But ironically at the same time they are also showing that all these tactics that are being used by the IM community “Works” plain and simple, because like someone has mentioned if it didn’t work big G would just ignore it.

Instead they keep making it painfully aware that they can slap whomever they want. To me it is just testament to the fact that lots of money is going to be made by means of the internet.

Big G is trying to impress the big brands and companies with all these updates and changes but at the same time they are using the same tactics that they claim to disapprove of. (Just take some time and read the SEO Book (Blog) and you will get what I mean.)

Now is not the time to go running scared, just like other sectors in the economy. When everyone is on board that is when its time to get out, but when everyone leaves and runs away then that is when its time to go in and takeover.

By the way I have never used BMR or similar alternatives such as “Rank Jumpers, Postrunner or Link Authority” (just search for BMR Alternatives and these will come up) I just know how the economy works.

There were more millionaires made during the recession and depression than any other time in history and as far as I see it Internet Marketing isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Good point about the “making example of ” behavour – and yes I agree with you totally. Nothing has changed much in the 5 years that I’ve been doing this – and nothing at all has changed in terms of how to rank pages.

I’m going to disagree here in regards to BMR being “influential” enough to warrant google to take a closer look. Google didn’t have a board meeting to discuss BMR’s impact on search. Most likely, something happened that triggered a warning flag and then there was a manual review which led to looking at the link profile which gave away the network.

Link networks come and they go. That’s the nature of them. I can’t count how many link networks I have been involved with over the past 10 year or so years. I don’t do link networks anymore. The risk is too great for anyone who wants to build a lasting business online and they are typically just consumer products for marketers. I definitely wouldn’t use them for clients.

Personally, I wonder if someone took all that time building low quality links from a link network and the money that they spent monthly on them and invested it instead into a better, more sound strategy, invested in their actual market and invested in the verticals within their market, where would they be?

Most people are going to take a penalty, and rather than change their direction, are going to find the easiest and most cost effective way to do the same thing that caused them to lose rank rather than take a step back and see other solutions to this problem. It’s the nature of the biz. Easy. Cheap. No work. Just mindlessly typing away garble just intelligible enough to pass as content but not enough for anyone to even consider linking to it.

The problem with link building (and I have said this many times) is that there isn’t a viable ROI…links don’t have measurable value. No one can come out here and say that “this link” or “that link” was the result of ranking. And there is a causation factor at play here as well. We assume a lot when it comes to building links. We assume that when we lose rank, it is the result of our link building efforts. We assume the same when we do rank. When we rise a spot or two, we attribute this to our back linking efforts. But it isn’t measurable. There are two many variables at play that we don’t know. It is kind of like assuming that because we see umbrellas when it rains, that umbrellas are the cause of it raining (Seth Godin metaphor here).

What is more interesting is where this is all leading. Considering the fact that google has access to not only desktops (from browser data) to android phones AND considering that their browser is in and of itself a search bot itself AND considering the fact that they are building interest graphs based on individual user behavior and forcing personalization on everyone AND considering the fact that they are about to penalize websites for OVER optimizing AND considering the fact that they are currently diminishing the role of importance for traditional web links…….

All this stuff adds up to major changes in the future.

And then you factor in the fact that Google isn’t disclosing as many referrers anymore (which will only grow larger as more people with android phones and devices surf the web) which reduces the amount of things we can measure, keyword wise.

All these changes have come in a flurry, within the last year and a half. More to come. They are going to shake a lot more bananas out of their tree before this is all said and done.

Is this your opinion or can you back it up with proven tests you have done?

The reason I ask is because it seems that the many people who disregard the power of links have not actually tested it out but instead they are going on “Theory”.

The marketers who are in the trenches and do this day in and day out with trackable proven results will tell you that backlinks work, no matter if they are quality or not.

What is more interesting is where this is all leading. Considering the fact that google has access to not only desktops (from browser data) to android phones AND considering that their browser is in and of itself a search bot itself AND considering the fact that they are building interest graphs based on individual user behavior and forcing personalization on everyone AND considering the fact that they are about to penalize websites for OVER optimizing AND considering the fact that they are currently diminishing the role of importance for traditional web links…….

^^^^^^Not opinion, nor theory……^^^^^^^^^

In regards to links, link building, etc., I am not saying that links don’t matter. What I’m saying is that it is an inefficient use of time. And people make a lot of assumptions because of predispositions and beliefs in regards to link building and SEO.

And I do have 2 “tests” that I accidentally did to back it up….

1. My “vanity” site- For 3 years, I treated this website like a toilet, didn’t link up or do anything to it. 3 years later and I was ranking on page 3 for a very competitive term despite the fact that if you did a link analysis, you would discover that it was very poor compared to my “competition” surrounding me.

Now I’m not bragging about page 3 (70+ million results with millions with the keyword in the anchor text). But the point I am making is, if the world operated only according to link popularity, I shouldn’t be in the picture at all. And if I had wanted to make a go at it, ranking it would have been pretty easy from page 3. I have since pulled the plug on the website.

2. A website I abandoned ayear ago- Another website with 100 pages of content, abandoned with maybe 2 inlinks (for deep indexing purposes). I abandoned this website b/c I got busy doing client work and never bothered to return to it until a year later.

Few links but the website was averaging 3,000 visits from head terms and long tails that I had optimized for it. Surrounded by big brands. In many cases, top 10 rankings.

Once again, if the mantra was that ranking had everything to do with link building and nothing else, I shouldn’t be in the picture….at all.

I hear marketers say that they weren’t ranking until they started building links. But the reality is, chances are very good that they weren’t optimizing their websites, from top to bottom before either. So, they learn how to optimize their website and start hurling links at it and attribute their rankings solely to their ability to build links and not all the other stuff.

And most haven’t done tests the other way around. Most haven’t sat on a website to see where they fall without links. Most haven’t monitored the iterations of their keywords with few links. Most don’t have the patience.

You talk about the trenches and trust me, I am right there with you. I do this stuff for a living. I didn’t fall off the turnip truck yesterday. And I am telling you that spending 5 hours a day building link farms, link tiers etc. is a complete waste of time from an efficiency standpoint. And it can hurt you in the long run. With the “over-optimization” penalty coming, it is going to be safe to assume that a lot of fall out will occur if Google goes through with it.

And that’s not “theory”.

Link networks like Linkvana, postrunner, bmr, etc. are consumer based products geared toward amateur link builders who want to cut corners. You can’t find nothing but “good” reviews about them because they are pimped by affiliates. Look a little deeper into webmaster forums and you will find SEO’s trying to dig clients out of holes who have used them….and when I say “them”, I mean link networks in general, not focusing on one in particular.

I have not seen an effective link network last longer than 2 years….and many who join them suffer collateral damage by being associated with them. And the kicker is that for every one marketer who claims that a certain link network is getting them ranked, you will find another who says it’s not working for them. This, in and of itself, highlights the fact that there are obviously other variables associated with them.

Liz is right though. Don’t pull those links now. If you pull them, you are “admitting” to Google that they were yours. In all likelihood, they won’t get crawled again anyway.

Leo, I appreciate you sharing your experience and I respect your opinion on the subject. You have made some valid points in regards to the (self-serving link networks) that have obviously gotten out of control thus far.

Your exactly right and don’t get me wrong I do believe web masters, marketers and freelance writers should strive for quality in their work but getting rid of spam in the serps is something that will take more than these (cuddly Panda updates) and random temper tantrums Big G is putting out there.

It will be interesting to see how all this plays out, especially with so many SEO consulting businesses necks on the line to produce results for their paying clients.

As you mentioned some websites can do well with very little or any backlinks and I would say in those cases it depends on the “niche” and if there is enough information to support those searching for answers on the web.

I have heard both sides of the story where marketers will swear by a certain backlinking strategy as the foundation of their success online, while others have managed to do really well without these methods.

As the saying goes “time will tell” in the mean time it is safe to say that becoming more diversified in ones efforts can’t hurt.

Lis, definitely an interesting discussion here, and it’s nice to hear from Leo again after a while 🙂

I have looked back and done some thinking … I believe you are right about the power of backlinks, but as I decided a while back (and agreeing with Leo here) “medium”-good links just don’t cut it anymore. Link networks will eventually get deindexed.

I decided yesterday that I’ll be targeting low-competition, high-volume kw’s going forward – something I should’ve been doing ever since, but I took my eye off the ball when all that “micro niche” stuff came around. My high-volume kw’s were the ones that paid, now that I look back.

Also – I do agree that links are important, it’s just a matter of where the ROI is for you… folks like Terry who build their own tier 1 networks have the right idea, I think 🙂

You mentioned weight-loss earlier is that one of the keywords you are going to concentrate on? just curious because I noticed a few celebrities on TV promoting all these weight loss programs.

Hey Sunny I probably won’t go ahead with expanding my weight loss website, for a number of reasons. However, I do feel this niche is ripe for the picking. As Lis mentioned, especially now. Hmm – maybe I’ll re-enter it after next month 😉

Btw – I followed through to your website, how’s the celebrity niche treating you? I used to have a gossip site, which I quit because of the time-suck, but it’s certainly very interesting!

I can understand what you mean by the whole fitness industry it is pretty insane and gets worse every year, but it is one area that we know will always be with us, especially because people are obsessed with “how they look.”

As far as the celebrity thing goes, it is easy traffic and I always have plenty of content to write about. LOL

So what has happened to the sites that got the dreaded GWT messages ? Sitewide penalty or just some pages?

For the site I got the WMT message, I have lost a fair amount of traffic this week, but not enough to make me think the penalty was sitewide. We’ll see though if a further penalty gets applied.

I still haven’t decided what to do about the BMR links. Like Lis I’m inclined to just leave them, but I keep worrying at it like a hangnail. Should I, shouldn’t I? Ugh. I hate this.

I find it a tad annoying that, in the act of slapping down blog networks, Google seems to be doing nothing about the people who essentially create blog networks for their own personal use based on cheap domains. This seems to be what the spammers with big budgets do, and it’s really tough for smaller Internet marketers to compete with that strategy.

You are spot on about Google and being very two faced. If you submit your site for re-inclusion than you should probably just start a new site (it won’t ever come back). I dabbed with BMR and some other private networks and it just doesn’t seem to be a efficient way to build links. Google has declared war on them and your ROI is limited with them.

Just an update and some frustration venting.

I got the unnatural linking message on March 18th. After that my traffic increased. Then on the 25th it got slashed in half. I had a lot of BMR links so I expected that to happen. I don’t think my site will be deindexed but I think the links were devalued.

My frustration: This site is in the acne niche which is pretty competitive. I’m frustrated because all of the sites now above me have even spammier links. Either they have a ton of spun article directory links, comment links, or they are part of blog networks that have not been deindexed yet!!! Super frustrating that some blog networks are still alive and well and others have been slapped.

I want to do exactly what Leo mentions we shouldn’t: move those articles to a new network.

Back to the drawing board for me. I think I’ll just need to make a few tweaks and I’ll be heading closer to the right direction.

I think the SERPS are a total mess at the moment -I’d give it a few weeks for the dust to settle

I am trying to decide whether or not I should delete my BMR posts, I don’t want to risk sandboxing my site just to stick it to google and its hypocrisy. I also don’t want to lose those links if I don’t have to. Do you think I should delete or not? What is the consensus?

I’m not deleting the posts – that’s the consensus of the forums I hang around on. Why do Google’s spade work for them?

I’m not deleting the posts – that’s the consensus of the forums I hang around on. Why do Google’s spade work for them?

Yes I agree with you that links still matter as Google try best to remove artificial links!

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