A couple weeks on now since the Google Penguin update and we are still noticing some odd results in the SERPs.

Yesterday Nick Andrews discovered that link spam is still working in Google, in this example for the keyword “Payday Loans”.

Payday Loans

Two websites with no mention of “Payday Loans” on their website are ranking on page 1 of Google results for this phrase, seemingly just for building hundreds of links with that exact anchor text.  The links likely built by hacking.

A Majestic SEO report of these two sites shows the backlinks they have, or in the case of the latter, from the links we scanned through, had.  Links to the Sigma site have since been removed from the websites we checked, and replaced with http://www.defensereview.com.  This site does not currently appear in the top 100 results however.

These links are all hidden in the HTML; making them non-detectable to a regular human user and even the website owners.  Google do pick up these links, as shown by these two sites appearing on the first page of results for the keyword “payday loans”.

Alongside these links is a second link to the International Association of Wildland Fire using the anchor text “car insurance”.  However, this website does not ranking in the first 100 results for that phrase.

The intention of the Google Penguin update was to fight spam and clear their results of this junk.  Matt Cutts was quoted as to saying “it’s been a success from our standpoint” in an interview with Danny Sullivan recently.  The examples shown above go against that.

Whilst Google remains pretty confident that this update has caught out website owners who were spamming, as was the intention, this is one of a few examples where they have been caught out.  On a big money keyword such as “payday loans” of all things…

Now to see how many days these two websites survive on page one.  And how many days have they been on there already?