I’m sure it took all of 3 seconds to realize that this isn’t the official Louis Vuitton site. Not even close. In fact, I have absolutely no interest in handbags. This domain was purchased our of sheer curiosity in order to satisfy my search for knowledge of how things work on the internet. You see, the reason I recently purchased this domain was because it was A) available and B) because I noticed that it had received an incredible amount of low quality, spammy links from around the world.
Just how many?
A First Look
See this screen shot taken from Ahrefs illustrating the ridiculous amount of backlinks pointing back to this site:
Louis Vitton Link Statistics
And we can see that someone else (definitely not me) has been busy massing links to this site via automated methods which is producing a ridiculous link velocity at the time of this writing. (I actually registered the domain AFTER most of the links have been built)
Is the handbag market really that competitive?
So I registered the domain and like a giddy little child before Christmas, I installed Webmaster tools to see all the magic. I immediately expected there to be a huge manual penalty, possibly an award for being one of the top 500 most spammed sites in the handbag market. I could only hope.
Louis Vitton Webmaster
To my surprise, there was nothing there! No action taken against this site. Nothing, nada! I must admit, I was a little disappointed because I was actually hoping to be able to measure the effects of pointing this site to various different targets to see if there were any ranking fluctuations. However, in spite of the site having over 3 million handbag links pointing to it, it hadn’t received a message from Google yet.
What’s taking so long?!
So what’s happening? Well the theory at the moment is that because the site didn’t even exist (it wasn’t even registered) when the links were built, Google didn’t assign it a penalty. This would mean that in order for Google to penalize a site, it has to exist in the first place. (In retrospect, this makes perfect sense… however, I had no idea this was the case before the Louis Vuitton experiment).
My friend have all assured me that it’s coming though.
One day, it will pop-up, out of no where and you’ll finally see a message in your webmaster tools. I’ll be honest, that’s what I have been waiting for!
What I’m even more curious about is when the “Links To Your Site” will start listing all the links.
Links To LouisVitton.ca Aren’t Displayed Yet
Honestly, I have been refreshing webmaster tools for approximately 2 weeks after confirming the webmaster tools account and nothing has popped up yet. Why is this? Does the site have to be live in order to populate the Links To Your Site? I suppose if the site doesn’t exist… then it cannot have links to it, or can it?
Now I’m convinced that eventually one day I’m going to be greeted with a message saying the site has been abused. Will that be fair? I mean, I purposely registered the domain knowing there was an excessive amount of links to it. However, what if this same scenario happened with another domain and the person registering it was completely unaware of the situation. What if he thought it was just a good domain name in the fashion industry and to his surprise, it was available?
He might spend hours and hours crafting a perfectly nice site, only to wonder why it’s not ranking or even being indexed in Google.
Which leads me to one of the first questions that I’m anxious to answer. Will it be indexed in Google? Or will Google outright refuse to index the site due to the copious amounts of handbag links pointing to the site?
This is actually going to be the first post on the site and therefore it will be interesting to see if these words ever see the Google spider. It is entirely possible that the algorithm outright banned the site and even though there is no manual action, it is still completely blacklisted. This would also be interesting as it would provide more insights on the difference between algorithmic penalties and manual ones.
Who’s Did This?
When you think about it, it’s quite interesting for people to believe that the handbag market is so competitive that you need to build 3.2 million backlinks in order to rank anything. As I previously mentioned, I did not build the links… however, someone else did. What was the idea behind it?
“Let’s build a bazillion links so we can rank for a week?” (Does that work?)
Don’t they know that this doesn’t work anymore? (At least I’m pretty sure it doesn’t).
What kind of results are they getting with other sites? I mean, it must take quite a bit of energy and resources to produce such a ridiculous amount of power. Even though we have scripts, bots and automation, you’re still looking at quite a lot of spam.
One theory is that they are doing it not for Google, but instead, for another search engine. It’s possible that they are profiting in the fashion market by getting the trickle of traffic that comes from all the search engines that do not have such strict anti-spam measures. Maybe this works on Baidu? (I suppose I’ll know if I start getting a lot of foreign traffic.)
Well I’m certainly not going to start selling fake purses here (or real ones either for that matter). Instead, I plan on posting updates on the progress of the site and the results of this little experiment. Hopefully we’ll learn more about how Google handles sites like these and that knowledge will help us understand less severe cases. If you have any theories, comments or something you would like me to check out, then feel free to post it in the comments. Stay tuned!