What Steve doesn't know about Search isn't worth knowing. He also has a great ability to impart his knowledge on to others in a friendly but highly professional training environment.
It seems that some SEO companies still believe that they can out-smart Google's algorithm by buying up a network of expired domains to create a link network. This is then used to provide backlinks to supposedly help promote their client's websites.
These damaging link networks tend to contain thin scraped content and can sometimes have hundreds of pages full of outbound links to all manner of different sites, all with optimised anchor text. Their sole purpose is as "link farms". The spam sites within the link network are frequently interlinked and often have few backlinks - the remnants of their past life before they became "spam domains".
In reality, such link networks are 'detectable spam' to today's advanced search engine algorithms especially given that they are frequently cross-linked, occupy the same 'C' Class IP address, have the same domain registrant or are managed by the same Google Analytics account. A detectable linking pattern can also created by their outbound links.
These kinds of backlinks can trigger a Google penalty and are to be avoided at all costs. Google and other search engines now apply much more scrutiny to backlink sources and sites receiving significant numbers of links from Black Hat domains and spam link networks can suffer a significant drop in organic ranking and experience problems with Google penalties and SERP filters.
Being #1 in Google for "Google Penalty" means we see all kinds of nasty link networks, mostly after they have inflicted damage to Google organic ranking. Here is a classic example of a thin content spam site which is part of a known link network comprising many domains all of which are built with the same template and have similar content (the domain illustrated below is bedroomwindows.info):
Download a full list of these spam domains (PDF 107KB).
We offer consultancy support for Google penalties to clients worldwide via Skype or telephone for a very reasonable hourly fee to provide advice on solving backlink problems. Contact us for more information about our SEO services.