Recently I put together an article about press release sites taking a huge hit in search rankings, presumably due to the “payday loan” algorithm which is supposed to target highly spammed keywords and sites using spammy techniques.
I spoke to an employee of a press release distribution company (who both will remain nameless) and they told me that the initial punishment occurred over the keyword “garcinia cambogia”, a keyword that gets more than 800,000 searches per month according to Semrush.
As I continued to write I decided to do a search for that keyword and see who the new results were. To my surprise I found a short YouTube video ranking near the bottom of page 1. After doing some research on the video I examined its backlink profile and came to the conclusion that the site was ranking purely on the strength of pure spam.
This discovery got me thinking that perhaps YouTube, a Google owned property might be “protected” from such actions. After all the more traffic their videos receive, the more revenue they can generate through ads.
I decided to check out some other keywords to see if my theory held true in another niche. After some consideration I decided to focus on a local seo keyword, such as “city name seo”. I wanted a term that would have value and a term that would have some good search volume.
The keyword I settled on has roughly 500 searches per month for its city name “seo” and could potentially generate a few hundred more visits by ranking for other variations of this same keyword.
Lo and behold I was able to find a YouTube video ranking in the 6th position for this keyword.
Well, if it is ranking in the top 10 and Google is attacking spammy backlinks, then this must be a squeaky clean white hat video correct?
The video has 65 views yet it has 1700 backlinks from almost 300 domains. How does that happen? How can only 65 people viewed the video yet 1700 links been created for said video? Perhaps the links are quality, so let’s take a peek!
After checking the backlink profile on Majectic SEO most of the links are coming via blog comments. Wait a minute, blog comments can be white hat right?
Of course they can but when the anchor text is either exact match or some variation of the main keyword then it screams spam. Don’t take my word for it, take a look yourself!
Notice that this page has been spammed to death and has some unsavory keywords on the same page as the “seo” keyword. I have marked out most information since I just want to point out the facts but do not want to “out” the video in question.
I think it is pretty clear that the site is simply using YouTube as a “host” to spam and rank.
In light of how Google has handled some news sites and the press release distribution sites I find it rather interesting that they are punishing these domains in the name of “search quality” yet their very own property can be used to rank for some of these keywords using the shadiest of tactics with no ill effects?
What are your thoughts?