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Google Bowling – Fact or Fiction?

November 12th, 2011

Google Bowling is a concept that has been around for several years now. It is well understood that the search engines rank websites partly on the number of links pointing to that site, as they see it as a sign of popularity. However they are also concerned about site owners who create inbound links purely for the purpose of inflating rankings without the site necessarily being backed up with relevant content.

Google Bowling occurs when a competitor deliberately creates thousands of spam links pointing to your site in order to get that site slapped down the rankings.

Now, according to Google “There’s almost nothing a competitor can do to harm your ranking or have your site removed from our index

There is the worrying use of the word ‘almost’ in that paragraph!

So, my question to you is whether or not you have evidence that Google Bowling actually exists, whether factual or anecdotal, and if so what can be done about it?



Web Traffic SEO

2 responses to “Google Bowling – Fact or Fiction?”

  1. Hi Mark,

    We have had first hand experience on this. Before I go any further I just want to say a Digital Marketing Consultancy ourselves WE TEST EVERYTHING BLACK AND WHITE HAT.

    Spammy Links

    Many people will say that you can harm your ranking if you buy a load of spammy links and point them at your website.

    We have always maintained the belief that there is nothing you can do off site that will harm your rankings.

    The simple reason is, if you can harm yourself by buying spammy links then that’s exactly what everyone one would do to all their competitors. Obviously Google is not going to let that happen.

    We can testify from experiments we have done ourselves that buying horrible spammy links does not hurt your rankings (yet!).

    Link Velocity

    There was another belief that if you acquired links too quickly and not in a natural pattern then this too would get you banned.

    Again, you should think of the logic in this. What happens if you have the most amazing content that goes viral? Do you think google is going to penalise you for providing something that everyone loves and is passing on? No.

    We know this because we have tested it on ourselves.

    Inverse Link Velocity

    We can however testify that if you are acquiring links at a steadily growing pace and then suddenly stop this would look odd… and you can get penalised. We know because we tested this.

    We built low quality links in to a website and got it ranked in the top 5 for a highly competitive keyphrase. It took 2 months. We suddenly stopped all link building activity completely. Within 2 weeks the site we were targetting got dropped out of Google top 64.

    We got the website slapped good and proper.

    We did 2 things to get the website back again.

    1. started link building again.
    2. paid a load of real people to socially bookmark it.

    The site came back with all of its listings but about 10 places lower than it was at its height.

    It must be noted that the website was only slapped for the key phrases that we stopped the link building on.

    Hope this helps,


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