I have noticed that there are thousands of active website URLs which consist of random strings of letters. Usually the letters have no meaning and don’t stand for anything, and the websites themselves appear to have been thrown together using a free template, and the articles thereon are not articles in any sense of the word, rather, they are little more than a page of typing with some keywords and hyperlinks thrown in.
Seeing these URLs reminded me of Joe Btfsplk, a character from what was probably the greatest comic strip in history, Li’l Abner. Joe was always seen with a black cloud over his head, and was known as “the world’s worst jinx,” and bad things would happen to everyone around him. His last name is pronounced by sticking out your tongue and blowing, as if giving a raspberry.
Those curiously-named websites with the random letters were created using a strategy I call the “Joe Btfsplk Method of Backlink Building,” and if you follow that strategy, you will be similarly jinxed.
The strategy, which has been discredited by many but is still widely used, is to build what is known as a “Private Blog Network” (PBN) of dozens, or even hundreds of websites, which are used purely for SEO and backlink building purposes. If you have ever read any of the articles on those websites, you know what I’m talking about. The articles make my head hurt. The writing is atrocious, and are obviously not meant to be read by humans at all. The operator simply sources quick-and-dirty “articles” from overseas providers for a few dollars each, and inserts hyperlinks to other sites in the network, as well as hyperlinks to the operator’s clients who pay for each backlink placed, thereby artificially boosting the network’s Domain Authority and the Domain Authority of the network’s clients.
First of all, if a live human does stumble across such a site, they are NOT going to say to themselves, “Hey, I saw a link to your company on this Joe Btfsplk website, I think I’ll go and buy something from you!” That scenario will never happen. It is more likely that the human going to the Joe Btfsplk website will say, “Wow, those people are a bunch of illiterate idiots. I’ll never buy anything from them.”
There is nothing wrong with publishing a group of websites, or even in using those websites for backlinks, and there are plenty of legitimate media companies who do so. But there is a big difference between Joe Btfsplk websites and real websites. The former has no value whatsoever to live visitors, the artificially-juiced rankings will be temporary, and association with the poor-quality content is harmful to the brand. That’s why you never see prominent brands partaking in these strategies.
Google has put the smack-down on PBNs, often using manual review to weed out the sneaky operators who manage to get through the first wave of Google algorithm tweaks. This is all part of Google’s crusade against thin content, and that crusade is a noble one that is worthy of success. We don’t need any more Joe Btfsplk websites.