Needing some help identifying this pbn before I report to Google need confirmation fr

Been trying to get my client ranked in one particular City that he is located in and cannot beat out the top 3 competitors due to them being listed in a large pbn Network. SEO company in the city has his top 3 clients ranked in the map pack. Admin please advise whether or not allowed to post links scheme here.
 

Linda Buquet

1
Staff member
Moderator
Thanks for asking 1st. There are a variety of reasons it's not a good idea to post their links here - including legal reasons. So not allowed.

BUT you could tell folks the query and give the needed details without using company names or links. Or use names like Company 1, 2, 3 etc.

Then if one of our pros takes an interest and wants to dig in further, they could PM you for more details.

So yes we can discuss in general whats happening to see if we have ideas for you. Just no identifying details. How does that sound?
 
Sounds perfect!

So here goes searching for "tree service ludington" in the city of Ludington Michigan.
Company A, B, & C consistantly show in map pack for any related terms as well. My client is Company D 4th spot map pack 99% of the time. Company D does relatively well in organics, better than B and C, and most of the times A. But competitor A has contracted a PBN marketing company to distribute their links through their elaborate city guide network of sites. They even list their entire network in the footer of all their sites. Links are dofollow on all 6-7 different sites. Same site url structures, spun content, but it does appear to be useful information to searchers.

My tizzy is the dofollow paid links. Confirmed by an email where they rejected to add our business in their directory. Now that my client, Company D, has been right at the backdoors of A, B, & C, we are now receiving marketing emails from their company trying to get yet another client.

I have experienced this same scenario with an HVAC client in WA. We used brute force nonstop work to bulldog through the competition. Constant writing, updating content, trying to safely earn backlinks, so forth. I believe my clients metrics should put him over at least one of his competitors or am I looking at hyper local results and other factors?

Sorry long winded. I really appreciate any discussions that can be offered.
 
One of the sites within the network even states that the following are paid link advertisements. All the sites in the network say that they're managed by the marketing company
 
Services like plumbing, carpet cleaning and tree service have become hyper local. If the business owner did searches in his area you might be surprised that he is in the local pack. When searching out of the city, (incognito and regular)my business shows 4th also. However many searches in the city I am 2nd or first depending on the location the search is done in the city. For me, I knew the issue with hyper local. I opened my office for my sab close to the part of town most my targeted customers live in.
 
No idea how much traction you'll get with it, but Google does have a submission form for paid link scams. No guarantees, but hey... worth a shot. You likely won't hear a response, though I've heard of people getting one. Your report is as likely to be used in algorithm development as it is to actually result in a manual action, so it might end up helping more in the medium term than the short term, but... there you go.

In general, you have far more recourse with a company cheating explicitly on local listings vs in the organic side of the algorithm. If you file a report and you notice things change, I'd be interested in hearing an update. Good luck!
 
No idea how much traction you'll get with it, but Google does have a submission form for paid link scams. No guarantees, but hey... worth a shot. You likely won't hear a response, though I've heard of people getting one. Your report is as likely to be used in algorithm development as it is to actually result in a manual action, so it might end up helping more in the medium term than the short term, but... there you go.
So I have read. But every little bit counts? Or at least I hope.

In general, you have far more recourse with a company cheating explicitly on local listings vs in the organic side of the algorithm. If you file a report and you notice things change, I'd be interested in hearing an update. Good luck!
Will do I will post back any progress to this thread. I filed my report based on the paid dofollow links and made sure to note to google where they even state "The following are paid advertisements" on 10/11/2017

It boggles me how open this supposed PBN is, and how it has not been already caught with current algos. I figure google would tag keywords such as "paid advertisements" and variants cross checked with dofollow text links within same page code.
 
Services like plumbing, carpet cleaning and tree service have become hyper local. If the business owner did searches in his area you might be surprised that he is in the local pack. When searching out of the city, (incognito and regular)my business shows 4th also. However many searches in the city I am 2nd or first depending on the location the search is done in the city. For me, I knew the issue with hyper local. I opened my office for my sab close to the part of town most my targeted customers live in.
GMB traffic confirms that we are not showing yet inside the centroid, Organics have provided some leads, but really would be nice to have presence in the map pack.
 
There is no centroid anymore. Results literally change on a block-to-block and device-to-device basis now. Drive across the city and do a new search every quarter of a mile, you'll see what I mean. Even if you're using BrightLocal or something to do a search just for a certain city, you aren't actually seeing 'general' results, you're still just seeing results for a particular street corner that's been chosen.

It's easy to point to Google's failures and assume it would be a trivial fix, but I promise... it's not. 'paid advertisements' is way too general of a phrase, it'll appear all over the place, and many PBNs don't explicitly state that's what they're doing either. The 'final' solution isn't going to be until Google's AI department figures out how to actually 'understand' English, and form a true, semantic understanding of what the page is communicating, and 'learns' to recognize unnatural link graphs in how sites connect to each other. That field's called NLP, and you can bet they're working on it right now. I've been getting back into programming again lately for some SEO projects I have in mind, and let me tell you... Google's doing some incredible things right now. I truly believe we'll see a massive reduction in 'fake' backlinks helping with organic ranking within the next 3~5 years. The writing's on the wall, it's just a matter of time. Google officially switched to being an 'AI first' company last May, and between TensorFlow, their new TPU processing technology, and their commitment to open source and supporting R&D in the community, they're definitely putting their money where their mouth is. I'm excited to see what's coming.
 
Sorry I'm late to the party oceanmedianow, but I see from your post in May that you were still trying to take on this PBN?

I looked at a couple of the sites in the network. I don't think the "paid advertising" links are a problem. Sponsoring local organizations is a valid way to get relevant links.

Also, the 2 sites I looked at have directory listings, where the client is listed. While the top listing is properly identified as "sponsored", they also have a "regular" listing with a link to their site. I'm guessing that all the other sites in this network are similar, so they end up with enough "natural" links in addition to the paid advertising.

Finally, the sites I looked at have a good amount of useful content, from what I can tell. Very localized info. I don't know how up to date it is, and the websites seem to be running super slow when I checked, so I'm guessing this is a fairly old setup. But those sites still seem to have decent juice.

A good test of this network would be to see if their directory listings ONLY included their paid clients, in which case it would definitely be shady. I didn't look into it that far.

I'm not saying Google would or would not approve of what they're doing, but they have created, what appears to my quick look, a bunch of sites that have relevant, local content that could benefit visitors to those particular places. Other than the fact that all the "guides" are linked to one another, they don't look especially spammy.

Just my 2 cents worth.
 
Sorry I'm late to the party oceanmedianow, but I see from your post in May that you were still trying to take on this PBN?

I looked at a couple of the sites in the network. I don't think the "paid advertising" links are a problem. Sponsoring local organizations is a valid way to get relevant links.

Also, the 2 sites I looked at have directory listings, where the client is listed. While the top listing is properly identified as "sponsored", they also have a "regular" listing with a link to their site. I'm guessing that all the other sites in this network are similar, so they end up with enough "natural" links in addition to the paid advertising.

Finally, the sites I looked at have a good amount of useful content, from what I can tell. Very localized info. I don't know how up to date it is, and the websites seem to be running super slow when I checked, so I'm guessing this is a fairly old setup. But those sites still seem to have decent juice.

A good test of this network would be to see if their directory listings ONLY included their paid clients, in which case it would definitely be shady. I didn't look into it that far.

I'm not saying Google would or would not approve of what they're doing, but they have created, what appears to my quick look, a bunch of sites that have relevant, local content that could benefit visitors to those particular places. Other than the fact that all the "guides" are linked to one another, they don't look especially spammy.

Just my 2 cents worth.
the listings are only for their clients I tried to get a submission and it was denied unless I paid
 
I think James posted the link to report it to Google, have you done that?

My understanding is that you'll need to be very specific about what rule they have violated. State the rule(s) and show clear evidence, photos/screenshots, etc. If you do a little research there are probably folks out there that could give more specifics on how to effectively report them.

Just curious, how much was this pbn charging?
 

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