A new Black Hat technique beats Google Penguin and EMD updates

Last night, Alex Graves of Bronco posted about the payday loan niche and how he thinks Google's algorithm has been manipulated, even after the Penguin and EMD updates.

New Black Hat technique beats Google Penguin and EMD updates, Maintenance Hosting Security and Wordpress Development

I sent him the payday loan case study I did in June on Twitter (it was the first such case study, which sparked a series of articles about how the payday loan niche is being abused in Google). It states that this new site ranked on the keyword "payday loans" in the UK is not a hacked site as I described in my June article. According to him, it is a "normal" site that somehow managed to abuse the new Google's low quality and unnatural link detection mechanisms (post-Penguin and EMD)

I took the #1 ranking site for a spin analysis in cognitiveSEO and . my oh my ... what I discovered?

New Black Hat technique beats Google Penguin and EMD updates, Maintenance Hosting Security and Wordpress Development

All the red flags are here so that Google can see them:

Extremely over-optimized anchor text profile

  • payday loans(57%)
  • payday loan(43%)
  • payday loans online - payday sam(0.04%)

Very high link velocity

  • 633 Reference areas
  • 8256 links
  • all these links appeared in the last 4 days

Links100%

Dofollow

New Black Hat technique beats Google Penguin and EMD updates, Maintenance Hosting Security and Wordpress Development

Report from100%

of deep links

New Black Hat technique beats Google Penguin and EMD updates, Maintenance Hosting Security and Wordpress Development

94% of

non-content links

New Black Hat technique beats Google Penguin and EMD updates, Maintenance Hosting Security and Wordpress Development

87%

Links to short paragraphs in the text

New Black Hat technique beats Google Penguin and EMD updates, Maintenance Hosting Security and Wordpress Development

But the BIG surprise was this

100% of hidden links

So how did the Google Visual Crawler get screwed here?

Well, I have two assumptions:

- a high crawl time compared to the normal robot.(this can also be slowed down by hurricane Sandy? personally I don't think so)

- identifies the position of the visual link incorrectly due to a CSS tip used. The crawler may be led to believe that this is a header link because of the way the browser's rendering engine works. This may be due to DOM inheritance parameters that may be passed incorrectly as positions relative to the 0.0 axis of the screen.

In practice, this method consists of placing a CSS style with an absolute position and a vertex of -9999px and hide it on the screen. This method is not new, but combined with the other elements of the "magic formula" and Google's inability to crawl visual content as quickly as with the normal Google bot, it may have allowed this site to be ranked #1 for a few days.

New Black Hat technique beats Google Penguin and EMD updates, Maintenance Hosting Security and Wordpress Development

The same hidden css trick is used for other sites that are now ranked in the top 10 SERPS ... so it's clearly a black hat technique that works.

New Black Hat technique beats Google Penguin and EMD updates, Maintenance Hosting Security and Wordpress Development

All these elements seemed to be masked by natural-looking metric profiles such as MajesticSEO Trust Flow, Google PR, Ahrefs rating, SEOmoz Ranks ... all of which look natural.

And finally ... all links are posted on pirated sites.

You can download the data from the in-depth analysis here :

  • PDF file with all graphics and other
  • CSV file with all analyzed data

What do you think?

Have you seen this strategy used elsewhere or do you know of another "black hat" technique worth mentioning here?

Categories & Tags: SEO black hat seo technique blackhat seo


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