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Can the power of blogs remove ranking restraints?

Can the power of blogs remove ranking restraints?

I’m looking for people who would be prepared to participate in a ranking experiment, with the specific aim of determining whether blog power can unshackle domains that have sat with ranking restraints over a prolonged period of time.

The minus 31 penalty is the phenomenum whereby a site doesn’t rank for its site name, url and cannot rank for any keywords before page 4 or position 31 in the Google SERPs. Sites affected by this cannot rank for their target keywords however obscure. Unless it has no competition whatsoever, sites affected by this just cannot rank, not even for a complete unique title string.

There are various accounts from people afected by it. Some have recounted that they were told by Google that they had no penalty and to gain more ‘quality’ links. Others are of the view that its a manually applied filter, whereas some believe that its purely algorithmic. I myself have a site affected by this too, so know the frustration associated with this thing.I’d like to test to see if blog power really can shift a site out from such a malaise.

The more participants the better, but it would be cool to have say 50 bloggers prepared to put a site wide link in their blog rolls or footers.

Of course, participants will be expected to stay quiet about it too, else those pesky sharky search engineers who surf these waters will see what we are up to and the game will be up. So if you want to play, ideally you will have a blog or a series of blogs across different IP’s and ranges. You’d be expected not to blog about it, even after the event, at least not specifically.

Proposed methodology

Its very simple really. Links in numbers from different domains with different authorties, with different keyword anchor text.

Each participant will get a 2 or 3 kw string to place in their blog roll, or footer or sidebar, linking to a particular page on a particular domain. The domain to be used will be clean in the sense of it won’t be porn or pills or anything decidely iffy.

I’d aim to start this once I get 50 responses and run it over a 12 week period, gradually introducing links week by week. Some people will need to run the links for the duration, others for shorter periods.

Hopefully, participants will come from a range of platforms and blogs. This will mean that links will be varied and not too samey with the added bonus of coming from multiple unique IP addresses.

I have a domain in mind we can use, but am up for suggestions from others if they have a similarly affected domain.

What do you get out of it?

Well, at the start of the test, I’ll get the current ranking figures for the targetted keywords and phrases for the page to be targetted. During the weeks of the test, I’ll be doing weekly monitoring and recording the results.

All participants will get access to a private post which will detail specifics relative to bot activity, ranking metrics and other interesting stuff built up over the weeks as the test progresses.

If you are in the business of getting websites ranked for your clients, this could offer very useful and valuable insights.

If you are interested, then send me an email with ‘blogpower’ in the subject line to You would be expected to declare that you don’t work for any search engines and wouldn’t disclose participation to any other party either. If you can do this then, well, great – I look forward to hearing from you.


Rob Watts
Kickstart your business today - Get an SEO Consultation or just talk to Rob about your online aspirations. With over 20 years experience in building traffic he's pretty much encountered most markets and scenarios

3 thoughts on “Can the power of blogs remove ranking restraints?


    If you did this would you worry about linking to “untrustworthy” websites who may be participating in buying links etc and therefore become part of a network which MAY be experiencing such penalties as the -32 (if indeed there is such a thing?)

  2. robwatts Post author

    Hello Hobo SEO

    For the record, it is my belief that the -31 penalty is very real indeed. Manually or algorithmically applied..therin lies the question.

    In terms of your other question regarding linking to bad neighbourhoods…If I didn’t know me? Perhaps, yes I might, but if I participated then I’d at least check back and see what they were up to in any case. I’d also take a little time to look at the domain and page too before I engaged in such a project.

    Fact is though, all we can do in this life is choose to either trust or not trust what a person says. I wouldn’t expect anybody to link to anything I wouldn’t be prepared to link to myself. People can take me or leave me on that statement.

    In terms of the whole linking to untrustworthy stuff… as you know, sites rise and fall, things change ownership online as they do in the offline world too.

    In this regard, one would like to think that a SE would at least try to protect itself from accusations of being blatantly outrageous or unfair. IMO and Im sure the opinions of a lot of others, to penalise a site or lump it in as being part of some untrustworthy network and as a consequence remove its ranking power, purely on the basis of a legacy link or two would be verging on the unreasonable, so by and large I think its a bit of fluff and nonsense. Can you imagine, in say a year or two, people who have commented here who I have linked to have suddenley either sold out to a spammer or just gone to the dark side and decided to engage in errant behaviour like install trojans on their pages or something similarly nefarious – only for my domain to be penalised as a result…

    Sites change hands at a rate of knots, it would be both unfair to penalise and practically impossible to police legacy onsite links making any rigid management of either scenario practically impossible.

    IMHO of course 😀


    Some sound thinking which I agree with. Just a few nerves because this is a recent change at our site, to remove nofollow etc and try and participate a bit more on other sites and make a few pals.

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