• Tue. Jun 14th, 2022

Google’s John Mueller to investigate deceptive link building practices

ByVirginia D. Bannon

Feb 20, 2020

Google webmaster trends analyst John Mueller plans to investigate a particular link building practice and seeks help from SEOs.

Aleyda Solis launched a Twitter thread to draw attention to a deceptive form of link building that has emerged.

The tactic involves an individual claiming to own an image used in an article and demanding credit in the form of a backlink.

Solis explains how this happened to her and that the image in question could not have belonged to the person from whom she received an email.

“Today, checking the email from @remotersnet, I see that we received a message from someone saying that we had used their image in an article and therefore needed to link to ‘credit’ the image…

… The thing is: I’m sure we buy the images we use on the site. I am the person who buys them with @ 123rf – which I can highly recommend, by the way -. I checked on the 123rf site and saw when I bought it, and who is the author of the image: certainly not the person of the post …

… Then I see that the “proof” of the person requesting the link to credit the image is: “Here is a link to our article with this photo:”. I checked the URL and saw that there was only one random post where they “inserted” the image ️ Not real proof of ownership 🙄🙈…

… So, these are people who link to their website by “trying” to deceive, saying that they are the owners of images that others are using (they clearly are not). Fortunately, I know where our images are coming from and thanks to my web / SEO experience, I can see through the attempted deception… ”


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Several people commented on the thread saying the same had happened to them as well.

Eventually, the thread caught the attention of John Mueller, who says he’d like to see more examples of this bonding tactic.

Mueller adds that he’s “curious to see how we’re handling this on our (Google) end.”


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It is not known what action, if any, will be taken as a result of the investigation. If you’ve encountered this tactic yourself, you can help by sending Mueller examples.

Source: Twitter