Is Climb Online a Google Penguin Penalty Risk due to Negative SEO?

29 Mar

So I was just having a quick look who’s speaking at Brighton SEO this year  and noticed that Mark Wright of Climb Online is speaking in a Fireside Chat style slot.

So I started thinking since I wrote my original skeptical blog regarding Climb Online winning The Apprentice last year I wonder how things are progressing for the company and are they succeeding with a healthy financial and PR backer on board?

I started off looking at the basics really to see if they are practicing what they preach.

Brand name ranking for Climb Online

Climb Online #1 for Brand Term

So having seen this I was thinking that they are clearly making progress and looking at their new website at they have the popular parallax scrolling site we see across a number of digital sites these days and it’s reasonably well optimised from an on-page perspective and it’s also mobile optimised which is a key requirement going forward for good organic presence in the Google mobile SERPs.

So after seeing this progress I decided to look at the link profile and noticed that the site is either:

  1. Doing some old school link building to try and get some organic presence quickly
  2. Doesn’t know how to do link building properly
  3. Has outsourced their link building operations to some dodgy operation


4. Perhaps the site has been targeted by a number of SEO haters who have implemented some negative SEO in the form of poor quality links and pointed them towards the domain.

This led to some people already noticing this issue with tweets such as the ones below.

When looking at the link profile initially it looks like a number of links have been acquired over a short period of time which is a quick way of raising red flags to Google that your link building strategy is not in accordance with Google’s guidelines.

Climb Online Sharp Link Acquisition

There are a number of terms that have been over optimised for within the link anchor text as well:

Climb Online Link Anchor Text Profile

However on closer investigation it appears that these links built are perhaps the result of a negative SEO campaign……

Links using over optimised link texts come from a number of suspect domains and some tell tale spam like .TLDs



The closest evidence of negative SEO is surely from the below link footprint:


Surely a new site and new brand such as Climb Online would not use link anchor text such as black hat and cheap seo in it’s links and these all come from low quality made for SEO web directories that are classic Google Penguin link food that anyone could submit too.

If it is negative SEO this is really disappointing to see. Whilst a number of people may have doubts of Climb Online’s credentials (including myself) it’s a bit far to get bitter and spiteful about it and start throwing poor quality links at website in an attempt to get it penalised.

It would be interesting to hear from Mark Wright at Brighton SEO on whether this is negative SEO and to help handle their brand reputation from a PR perspective it would be worth clarifying their position.

Unfortunately in the world of SEO you do get some SEO crusaders types who’ve never kissed a girl sitting in their bedroom eating their cheese on toast (that their mummy has made them), deciding they will get their own self gratification by doing such low life things.

If it is negative SEO then hopefully Climb Online are taking a proactive approach, otherwise they may need a new domain before they know it.


7 thoughts on “Is Climb Online a Google Penguin Penalty Risk due to Negative SEO?

  1. Personally, I have no doubt that this is negative SEO from people who feel threatened by the exposure Climb Online are having. If we just look at the massive brand exposure they are receiving and all the interviews Mark is doing, which is generating loads of top quality links, Mark or the team at Climb Online does not need to resort to spammy link building tactics.

  2. It’s clearly negative SEO. Referring pages & domains skyrocketing at the same time, spammy, yet somewhat relevant anchor text, double digit keyword percentages, Chinese text for homepage, low quality directories….classic! All the while, not overdoing it. Whoever did this, knew what they were doing.

  3. I think there is the highy possibility of some negative going on, but having had looked at the profile the first month it was looking very much like a spammy link buy. There were NO good links and they were targeting kws in the anchor text they would want. If you just won the UK Apprentice there would be opportunity for proper link building galore, but it did not exist.

    Since he is a huge advocate of outsourcing (as he said on the show) and he has 4 people managing 100 clients we have no reason to believe that is not true, I think it is likely a combination. Which is too bad, because he was going to fail on his own.

    Then again calling an industry unethical, not knowing SEO and claiming to be the UK leading Agency and now London’s and egging people on by telling them to do their worst etc. It is quite possible he brought this very much and completely on himself.

    Of course if he knows SEO he has already taken the proper steps to eliminate the accidental removal due to a Penguin algo update.

    NOTE his site improvements likely came after her read the critiques because when it launched the SEO was missing even basic items like good descriptions and title tags.

    NOTE the chinese links may be him as well because that is the only other site on his server. I cannot read chinese, so cannot be sure 😉

  4. BTW anyone else find it interesting the spike started as soon as his site went live. Majestic would not have picked up links that fast as Google would not have found them yet if his site just went live. Looks like someone was buying links for the day he went live, then people added to them. Though I could be wrong, just how it looks from the graph.

  5. Having reviewed his site since the beginning. It is a mix. The first links detected were before his site even went live, so those are not likely a negative attack. Since then with his boasting, arrogance and downright unsavory behavior he garnered ire and that ire likely turned into negative attacks.

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