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  • Something’s Brewing in the “Buy Viagra” Results

    Ok. So I suspect I’m not the only blackhat SEO that monitors the search results for “buy viagra”. For the past few months, these results have been dominated by a variety of forum and web2.0 profiles that were link spammed into the rankings. However, for the past 10 days or so, Viagra.com has somehow managed to stay ranked top 10 for Buy Viagra! Top 5 even! (in the US anyways). I would like everyone to consider a “National Buy Viagra Day” in memory of this momentous occasion.

    Alright, so now let’s get to the juicy stuff. Why is this? What were people doing before, and how could Google block it?

    What Were They Doing
    First off, it looked like for this period of time, a few individuals were dominating the rankings an abnormal percentage of the time using this technique(no I don’t know them). I’m only disclosing this technique because either they stopped doing it, or it stopped working.
    But essentially it was a 3 part process.

    1. First, a script was used to sign up at forums and web2.0 sites(from VBulletin to Veoh.com), where the sig was large text that included a link to the real store. We’re talking 250-2,000 active profiles here.
    2. Next, the links were all verified as being visible when the page was loaded. Preferably as high up as possible so the user would see them.
    3. Last, the forum profiles were rotated through the link spammer. Over time, new profiles are introduced, and ones that die off are removed.

    The end result was a series of profiles coming up in the rankings at different times(due to different introduction times, different inbound links, and different domain trust). Whenever one got killed off, the new ones weren’t far behind. The issue with this was the domain trust could get killed off, so no parasite was good twice.

    NOTE: Apparently the results are different internationally. But checking from the US, I’m seeing at most 10 profiles in the top 100. That’s WAY down.

    So How Could Google Have Killed This Technique? Note: This is speculation. Logical ways to do it that seem likely, and fall in line with my observations.

    1. They Didn’t – There’s always the possibility this was truly one guy doing it, and he just stopped. In which case Google had little to do with it.
    2. Increased Emphasis on Outbound Link “Neighborhood” – The weakness of this technique is that it requires you to link to your “store” for customers to click on it. Buying a new domain for each parasite to link to is not financially sound. So all these profiles have to link to the same (or one of few) domains that have the store on them, creating a nice and simple footprint/bad neighborhood for Google to blacklist off of.
    3. Cutting off PR Flow of Link Spam Targets – So obviously these profiles need a lot of link juice to rank. So chances are, the forums/blogs/guesbooks were re-used frequently. This could be used as a footprint. But chances are on that scale, it’d be a really rough go to establish a linking pattern. Not to mention a lot of the link spam targets I found them using have been literally spammed for 4+ years non stop, without a piece of legitimate content and this issue never arose before.
    4. Increased Emphasis on Internal Links and Footprints- So based on the fact that hacked .edu’s are still ranking, it’s obviously not a cut and dry case of them wanting to see internal links to a page often garnering 1500+ links in a short period of time. However, Google has been working on their social API, which means they’re most likely looking into forum/web2.0 profile footprints. I don’t think it’d be a stretch to say vbulletin/phpbb/a few miscellaneous services had their profile templates footprinted, and either directly discredited(likely) or had them get flagged for a lot of inbound links(who the hell has thousands of external links leading to a forum profile)
    5. Specific Situation – It is also possible that the technique isn’t dead, but rather that they’re paying specific attention to this blackhat. I would imagine ruffling enough feathers could do that.
    6. Google Engineer Sitting at the Computer Refreshing the “Buy Viagra” Search Results – Hey, come on. It’s a possibility.

    Alright folks. So let’s hear it. I’ve said what I think the cause might be. What do yall think?

    -XMCP

    19 Responses to “Something’s Brewing in the “Buy Viagra” Results”

    1. Google Search Sucks says:

      I am going to go with number 6

    2. meln says:

      just checked the serps now, #2 for buy viagra is a forum profile. #3 is a bebo profile. viagra.com is ranking on page 2.. :)

    3. admin says:

      Where are you checking from? I’m using the US results.

    4. Cure Dream says:

      If I wanted a blue bill, I’d have gotten it for free from Tim Russert.

    5. underworld says:

      I’d say matt cutts was looking for a new product to review on his blog

    6. Gab Goldenberg says:

      @underworld – he is busy looking at porn all day, “for his job” … (per SMX Advanced). Lol jk Matt, joshin ya…

      I’m seeing a lot of cracking again, but no clue how as I don’t see search forms or other forms on some of these sites besides Google search..

    7. Black Hat Digest says:

      I stopped promoting viagra of course. Geesh you could have just asked instead of making this long post about it.

      (really – sold my viagra sites last week)

    8. TheBlackhatCoach says:

      Google uses the PR of a site’s homepage in order to delegate “trust” to that site’s subpages. This was learned early last year by a few of us when Reddit (and others) abruptly stopped working as parasites.

      So, if a parasite stops working, it’s because Google has flicked the “trust” switch to off for that parasite. All else remains the same for that site, but it’s subpages no longer derives that extra “trust” boost in the SERPs.

      Otherwise, it is mostly just coincidence that some parasites come and go all at the same time.

      Maybe just summer break. LOL

      Bompa

    9. Goran says:

      I looked at first 2 pages on google.hr (Croatia).

      No sign of viagra.com ;)

    10. ClubNikiV says:

      I think the “coach” may be right or maybe it’s #4. Or #6. I couldn’t say but I think it’s an interesting post and a learning process to speculate all the ways it might have happened. That helps one come up with even more nefarious ideas.

    11. Jack Rack says:

      I remember there was a Digg page that was ranking in the top 10 for a long time. People kept adding their links as comments; it was funny because it also seemed to happen on the heels of a Digg announcement that they had basically wiped out all spam.

    12. Ryan Underdown says:

      I’d wager #6 as well. I figure if Google’s number one concern right now is blackhat tactics then it would make sense to target the spammiest keywords. Good to hear I’m not the only one that checks buy viagra daily :P

    13. Marketing says:

      This news are not something new for the surfers. Every one, who is a little bit more familiar with Google Search knows that the spam on the first positions is something common.

    14. 5ubliminal says:

      CTR on Forum Profile ranking for pills is horrible. It’s not even worth the trouble of ranking it.
      The visitors hardly click links in profile (unless JS redirects work) but they don’t click the result in Google.

      PS: Take my word for it ;)

    15. jason says:

      Do you also track the results of Cialis?

    16. Tacio Almaraz says:

      6 sounds great. Hi Matt!

    17. John says:

      Nothing easier than getting at least with a secondary link (i.e. via an ad) on Google’s first page almost immediately.

    18. xeyu says:

      6 is great

    19. Are you desperate enough to try black hat? « Seoauthority’s Weblog says:

      [...] if successful can get you ranked top 10. However Google engineers will eventually catch on and your Viagra sales will be short lived. On top of that once you get caught you will be blacklisted so be prepared [...]

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