The Result Of Shady Backlinks Over 5 Years

Last Update: Mar 4, 2019

blog cover image

The long term results of your online business are inescapable. Whether you're doing "best practices" or trying to cheat the rules, long term you will reap what you sow. There are many examples of this, but I recently stumbled upon three great charts to demonstrate what I mean.

The first example is near and dear to my heart. This is a website in the MMO niche. The owner of the website has commented on several of my blog posts mocking me for outranking me, and telling me that Wealthy Affiliate teaches "useless" SEO tactics.

These comments were several years back when I wrote a negative review of the company he was promoting.

For about four years, this person experienced growth! Whatever secret SEO sauce they used was working for that time.

Building A House Of Sticks (VS Bricks)

Fast forward to 2019, and let's look at what happened to their website.

This is exactly what I mean by "long term results".

Maybe this person was making $200,000 per year from his website, we'll never know. But even then, what's he going to do now? Unless he wisely invested his income and paid cash for a house, he's still going to have to pay rent or mortage, health insurance, and gas for his car!

Gaming search engine algorithms may work for a bit, but in the end, they'll figure out what's going on (Google gets smarter every day!).

When you're building an affiliate business in Wealthy Affiliate, you're building one that will last 10, 20, 30 years or more...unless you sell your website at some point!

Watch Out When Buying Websites

Speaking of selling, here's another great graph to check out. This website was part of a "niche site case study" by a semi-famous online guru.

Part of the training this guru was preaching was to purchase backlinks from a PBN or build your own PBN. A PBN is a "private blog network", and it's basically a bunch of blogs you build out to in order to spoof authority in Google.

The PBN backlinks would get you results faster! Yes, they worked for a short time!

Backlinks can help you rank better, but they are tough to get naturally. That's why people fake this process by building hundreds of other blogs, then linking back to themselves.

Once the website is getting gobs of traffic and making good sales, they flip the site and sell it to a new owner.

Though this particular website wasn't actually sold, the arrow below represents right around the time a seller will typically offload the website, leaving you holding the bags on the way down!

So what was all that work for? He probably make 10's of thousands of dollars with the website, but now it's basically useless. Was it worth the time?

What Happens When You Go Legit Long Term

Lastly, I want to show you one of my favorite traffic charts of all time. This particular website got in trouble for backlinking practices, but the owner realized his mistake and kept posting high quality content for years while seeing very few results.

Relatively recently, The site recoverd fully and is now doing even better than before

There's a period of about 4 years where traffic languished, but the site is doing great now! Of course, this could have been avoided by following the WA training more closely, but we all make mistakes. I, myself, have a number of websites that got punished with algorithm changes due to my own crappy backlinking schemes back in the day.

Avoid PBNs, But That's Not All

These particular examples are all due to problems with bad backlinking practices. However, that's not the only thing that can damage your online business long term. Article spinning, content curation, selling guest post links, and many other shortcut tactics are popular for churning out quick rankings and earnings.

Long term, they don't work though. Whatever 3 months shortcut you take now could cause you problems in 3 years.

If you are building a true business asset - something that you can feed your family with every month, the Wealthy Affiliate training is where it's at. Be suspicious of anything that will "supercharge" your traffic and earnings. Keep your website visitors in mind!

PS. Don't Stress: As a newbie, you're going to make mistakes. Everything is fixable, recoverable, and do-over-able. The catastropoic charts you see here are specifically from people trying to manipulate search engine algorithms. As long as you do your best and folow WA's training, you'll be fine!

Create Your Free Wealthy Affiliate Account Today!
4-Steps to Success Class
One Profit Ready Website
Market Research & Analysis Tools
Millionaire Mentorship
Core “Business Start Up” Training

Recent Comments


Featured Comment

You know what's funny about this article. I guarantee there are going to be a lot of people that are going to say: "Shit even if its 2-3 years of good traffic and fast money, its worth doing it."

And then you have folks like us that want long term success that won't even touch tactics like this with a ten foot pole. Granted I'm less inclined to do anything like this anymore because I was slapped by Google. So it left a life changing bad taste in my mouth. lol

But if you want to be build long term wealth and freedom, there are no short cuts. Thanks for the reminder.

Yup. A couple hundred grand seems life changing now, and for most people it would be a welcome bump in income. Bye bye debt!

However, long term, if you're going to rely on this asset, you really need to be thinking a decade in the future.

Hope you have a productive week Eddy!

Agreed Nathaniel. But delayed gratification and long term thinking is usually a foreign concept to most people. And in some situations people may not have the luxury to wait.

Aw, but c'mon, Eddy - back THEN, those kind of links were 'normal' and worked SO well... and THEN they became "shady".

After 12+ years around here, I've seen some crazy stuff (and I've tried it all - well, ALMOST all - gotta try it to know what's beating you).

These days, strong internal linking and earning backlinks is the safest way to go.... BUT, Google will probably clamp down on that eventually, too lol!

I remember writing a post on my blog back in 2012 or so titled something like "Please Do NOT Link To Me!"

That wasn't too long after I totally upset the SEO world (and really upset Matt Cutts - for those who remember who he is) - by revealing a secret document for Google Raters.

Ahhhh, those were the days! =)

Bottom line, if you do ANYTHING with intent to improve your ranking in Google, it will probably become an issue down the road.

You just need to learn to 'bob and weave' and avoid the slap =)

Great post, @nathaniell !


You make a good point. Because back then all of us were doing it and it did work. But even then I don't think it was sanctioned by Google. But they didn't seem to really enforce it until April 25, 2012. Yes it's imprinted in my memory because that's when I pretty much lost everything. Lol

I think the point Nathaniel is making is it's not worth bobing and weaving if eventually Google connects an upper cut or a "slap". Giving Google what they want is pretty straightforward. And they tend to reward it. Will they change the rules on us again? They have and will continue to do so. But WA tends to teach tactics that have stood the test of time and are in line with what Google wants.

The bigger issue as I see it is how Google is pushing organic listings down below the fold because of ads. Or their stealing of our content for featured snippets (aka Position 0) and taking clicks away from us. A lot of their changes to their SERPS is touted for user experience but seems to be at the cost or publishers sometimes. Google is becoming more play to pay in certain niches and industries and that's annoying. But that's Google. they giveth and taketh.

Legit is always the way to go. Sad but true with folks who use shady backlinks and other strategies like this - they know their sites will be destroyed one day, so they are constantly building more. I can't stand them for sure. But they do just keep popping up.

The cycle of boom and bust would drive me crazy! I'd rather focus on one asset long term.

Me too! Then instead of using new sites to replace, you can use new sites to grow.

Sounds like you had the last laugh lol.

When you say content curation, do you mean sharing blog posts on social bookmark sites like Reddit, Digg, Mix, and Flipboard etc?

Asking for a friend :P

No, that's totally fine. I mean there are plugins which scrape content from other websites, then post it to your own website. Even if you have attribution links, it's a waste of time and could damage your authority.

Sharing on social media is totally fine (and encouraged) for building your brand!

Ah, I get ya.

Yeah, I can see how using snippets is a no-go area.

Very interesting, I'll have to check all my links. Thanks

If you aren't building backlinks with PBNs, you're fine.

Interesting story!
We learn so much from you and appreciate your sharing this information.
We shall continue to do things the WA way, as per your suggestion to achieve long term results.
C & P

Hope to see you around in 10 years C & P!

We hope so too, brother! We are in our 60's and holding...still going strong!:D

Great post, thanks for sharing. Reminds me of way back when we stupidly followed the training of a guru who I believe is doing time now ironically!! We bought up about 60 exact match domains for niche sites before Google decided that EMD's were taboo!!

Yes, steady bonafide backlinks is the way to go

I have been down that EMD route as well unfortunately. EMDs still do surprisingly well in SERPs, but they are not a guarantee of success!

Thanks Nathaniell!
Your wisdom and experience are always great to learn from.


Thanks for reading Kyleann! Have a great week.

Thanks for the insight very interesting. I will keep all of to a this in mind. Blessings have a great day.

You too Billie. Thanks for reading!

Really great info and examples. Thanks for sharing

Thanks for reading Mikael! The longer I'm around, the cooler it is to see how everything changes (or stays the same) year after year.

Although, I am turning into one of those "back in my day" type of people LOL

lol - is there is learning in it there is nothing wrong with being one of those kind of people:-)

oh.. so danger on sky black them people take care

When you pay for PBN links, danger is on the horizon!

See more comments

Create Your Free Wealthy Affiliate Account Today!
4-Steps to Success Class
One Profit Ready Website
Market Research & Analysis Tools
Millionaire Mentorship
Core “Business Start Up” Training