Identifying Widget, Template and Embed Spam

I do quite a lot of link analysis, and I might be a bit late to the party with this one.

My own approach to link analysis is stripping various link data sources down to the lowest common denominator and building up from there. In most cases, since I’m using Webmaster Tools data, so this means I’m starting from the links alone. This is a mistake.

If you’re agency side, or replacing the previous in-house manager you probably won’t have a crystal clear picture of tactics used in the past. The problem (or future problem) in spotting potentially harmful implementations of tactics is that linkbuilders have become more conservative in their approach to anchor text, especially in large scale (widgets, embeds and templates) applications. I have to remind myself to look closely at those innocent looking {brand|} links, as well as the really obviously SEO’d stuff. It’s worth taking 10 minutes to look at this. The good thing about Template, Embed and Widget links is that they use the same surrounding text (as do articles and comments that have forgotten to spin). Ahrefs data gives us the surrounding the pre-anchor and post-anchor text. We can use this to quickly get a grasp on a few of the less immediately obvious parts of a link profile. read more

On Not Blogging For Ages

Thankfully my blog doesn’t display post dates, or get much traffic. This happens to most blogs as I understand it, the owner gets bored, or isn’t really invested in a topic, and gives up. I’m not going to say “I’ve been really busy”, partly because I don’t think that’s particuarly true, and partly because I know people who are far more busy who blog far more often. At work it’s been a very busy three months, but not so busy at home.

Things I can remember happening in SEO since I last posted: read more’s Spammy Link Profile

According to, is linked to with 93 varieties of anchor text containing¬† “Louis”.¬† This is the “Louis” of “Louis Vuitton”. They’ve also got links with anchor text for:

  • Beats by Dr. Dre
  • Cialis
  • Burberry
  • viagra
  • Mulberry
  • Chanel
  • and more […]

I put this list together based on spam this blog gets. If I’ve been spammed with it, Ahrefs probably have anchor text for it. From blog comments. So are these the people spamming our blogs? Don’t Ahrefs know that their on page optimisation is terrible for these keywords? read more

Backlink Analysis (Just Got Harder)

I thought this up this morning. Please don’t do this. The Disavow links tool is very interesting; some are planning to use it to game ranking–>penalty–>recovery cycles. I’ve had another idea.

It’s Like (Not Provided), Only Again

Once you have disavowed, your backlink data has effectively been (not provided)’d; it’s a lot less useful than it used to be. Linkscape and Majestic crawlers will not be able to differentiate between vanilla links and disavowed ones. You might have had similar thoughts regarding other agencies; how are we going to know which links the people before us have disavowed? Can you imagine what a mess these profiles are going to look like 3 agencies later? Another interesting side effect of the tool is that less crap will be cleaned off the internet (and stay in the link profiles). read more

2 Tips to Make Your Life Marginally Better

Are you tired of your life not being marginally better? Feeling down because these 2 tips have been out of your reach for so long? Annoyed by this string of sentences that serve no useful function? Read tips have better life.


Text-Link is a Firefox extension that should be part of all browser functionality. With this extension you can double click on a non-hyperlinked website mention in text. I get actively angry when I use someone elses browser and they don’t have this installed (because I am an unreasonable person). Install it and test it out on these links: read more