We all saw this one coming: Web Design Library, the website that was using Twitter to renew paid links last week, appears to have earned a Google penalty.
While I was researching last week’s article, I saw the site ranking at No. 8 for the term web design. Today, I’m seeing it at No. 48 for that same query.
But the more obvious indicator of a penalty is that the site no longer ranks for its own name, Web Design Library.
If you missed the original story, someone using the name “Vince” and tweeting from the @vitaliykoloswdl account was reaching out via Twitter to renew paid link agreements with a number of companies. One of the biggest was T-Mobile, as shown in this conversation that began in February:
But if you look through that account’s tweets, it appears that “Vince” isn’t just reaching out to renew some two-year-old paid links, he’s also tweeting at dozens of companies asking to contact their “link building guy” or “marketing guy” — often mentioning “link building” and “cooperation” between his site and theirs. (Whatever he’s doing, and no matter where you stand on the ethics of buying/selling links, Twitter isn’t the place for it.)
At the moment, I’m not seeing that T-Mobile has been penalized. It still shows up in Google’s search results for its own name, as well as for prime queries like “cell phones” and “samsung galaxy s4.” And SearchMetrics’ SEO Visibility tool isn’t showing any significant drop in T-Mobile’s visibility.
Why not? It could be that Google hasn’t penalized T-Mobile (and the other link buyers) yet, it could be that there’s not enough evidence that the link actually was bought, or it could be something entirely different. We don’t know. It’s worth mentioning again that, when Google webspam chief Matt Cutts saw the Twitter exchange last week, he directed an “I’m watching you” tweet at “Vince” and not at T-Mobile or any of the other accounts that “Vince” was tweeting at.
— Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) March 20, 2014
We’ve reached out to Google for comment, but they don’t typically make comments or answer questions about specific cases. If we learn more, we’ll update this article.