SEMrush Research Reveals that Money Anchors Can Bleed a Site’s Link Juice Dry

SEMrush, the leading online visibility management and content marketing SaaS platform trusted by more than 25 per cent of Fortune 500 companies, uncovers the key findings of its long-term research on toxic inbound links that Google penalises.

Over the course of two years, SEMrush has conducted meticulous research and analysed 830+ websites’ backlink profiles. The penalty database consisted of cases from SEMrush users and industry forums users, whose websites were hit with Google penalties. The goal of the study was to uncover the exact factors that trigger penalties and their frequency and to provide tips for marketers on how to avoid and get rid of the Google penalties.

Key findings:

  • Money anchors and sponsored and paid links in articles and blog posts account for causing over 50 per cent of penalty cases. Words like “Sponsored by”, “Information was provided by”, “Advertorial content”, “Advertorial post on behalf" etc. can become a reason for a penalty.
  • Guest posting and press releases come in as the second most frequent cause for a Google penalty - they account for 45 per cent of the penalty cases.
  • Google Unnatural Inbound penalties are real.
  • Google is still actively monitoring compliance with its guidelines for webmasters and is still actively attracting its webspam to manually cases check.
  • Old manipulative link-building techniques (like PBNs and link networks, spam in forums and blogs, and links from web directories) also continue to be the causes of a manual ban.
  • Google does not distinguish between recent and old toxic links.
  • Google treats all websites equally. It makes no difference to Google where the links to your site come from - be it spammy, dubious websites or trusted, reputed media.

SEMrush's Chief Strategy Officer Eugene Levin commented, “Being the leading online visibility and content marketing software, we can never overstress the importance of SEO. It’s the very foundation of your online visibility. So, at the time when successful online presence is the sole surviving strategy for most businesses, it’s great to revisit the founding principles of your online visibility. And, of course, a healthy backlink profile can be the make it or break it factor. Thus, I encourage everyone who’s aiming at having a successful online presence to consider the findings from our research and use this working from home time to fix and improve some SEO issues they never had the time to work on before.”

To read the full research and uncover more details about the findings,  visit []

About SEMrush

SEMrush is a leading SaaS company providing a platform of end-to-end digital marketing and SEM solutions in more than 150 countries. SEMrush’s platform and innovative digital marketing tools are trusted by leading brands, including Vodafone,, eBay, HP, and BNP Paribas, as well as 25% of Fortune 500 companies. The company was founded in 2008 and is headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts.

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