We’ve noted on several occasions in the past, the “Black Hat” type of practices that appear to be employed at Crossroad Junction at both the blog site and the Facebook page.
Here’s more direct evidence of the types of methods that appear to being used.
First, for those of you unfamiliar with the term, this is an article that explains what “Black Hat” is. Note in particular in the list, “Link Manipulation – Buying links, advertorials, and link schemes.”
What this means is that people who don’t have a great deal of “presence” on the internet, will seek to create the appearance so that they can rank higher in Google and other search engine rankings. It’s a common method employed by spammers, marketers and people who simply are trying to direct traffic to their site for what ever reason.
This is a link to a report on Open Site Explorer that shows the back-links that are pointing to the Crossroad Junction Website. Note that this is a real time report and so some of the information I’ll cite from that report may change as time passes, but it is accurate as of the time of the writing of this article.
There are 201 domains with links to the Crossroad Junction blog with a total of 2.231 back-links within those 201 domains. That means an average of about 10 or more links per domain. Some of the links are “legitimate” and are primarily from posts made by Jim Wright that then link back to his blog in general or to a particular article. There’s nothing wrong with that in terms of the method employed. Those are natural organic links. However, there are a great deal of links from sites that appear to have nothing to do with Jim Wright or Crossroad Junction and they are simply planted into sites many of which are commonly known as “link-farms”. A link farm is a blog site often created by someone who sells linking services to other people and then puts comments on the blog site or creates pings with a link back to the site desired by the purchaser.
You can look for yourself at the report and check some of the links and judge as to whether this is going on with Crossroad Junction or not. Here’s a few taken directly from that report that you can click on to see what I’m talking about. For some of them you may be able to search the page and find the “ping” or back-link planted there. In most cases it appears that these back-links are more than a year old and they may have scrolled off the current page, but the fact that they are showing up in the Open Site Explorer back-link inventory is primary evidence that the link was there and it’s still active whether it’s displaying on the current page or not. This is not unusual due to the high volume of pings and back-links that are put on these type of Link Farms. Many of these too are from sites that have been suspended or no longer exist which is typical of these types of schemes as the providers may not renew their site and often times carriers when they recognize that it is a link-farm will close down the account.
Muslim Sex Web (Link not provided, but I’m not kidding. It’s one of the links showing in the Open Site Report!)
These are just 4 given as examples. You can look for yourself again in the Open Site Explorer site. There are over 2,000 of them, and it’s not hard to scroll through the list and judge for yourself how many are legitimate, organic links and how many are from sites that are in foreign languages, unrelated topics to anything Crossroad Junction does or just plain strange.
Now, in fairness, (and I’m not about just throwing stuff out to see if it sticks or only telling part of the story, which is a common theme with Jim Wright on his Crossroad Junction, Nathan’s Voice and Fulcrum Ministries blogs and social media accounts) it’s not unusual for there be some occasional strange back-links to an account. Some spammers and bloggers will try to use other sites with links to up their own ratings, but Crossroad Junction is not a particularly strong website and so this would be unlikely. Add to that, that about 90% of the back-links in the Open Site Explorer report are of this nature and that pretty much eliminates any chance that this is a random or happenstance situation. It certainly appears to me that this is part of a concerted effort to up the Crossroad Junction blog in Search Engine reports to move it up in rankings based on keywords.
When you add to this that the traffic and linking to Crossroad Junction has dramatically decreased over the past year as people have become aware of Jim Wright’s history of conflict stretching back to the 1980’s when he and his Maryland Chapter of the Moral Majority were kicked out of the national organization, his excommunication from a local church and the organic church community at large, his ongoing conflicts and exaggerated claims and charges against people and organizations with whom he’s had demonstrable previous grudges against, it’s not hard to see why someone who is all about trying to harm people would move to these types of methods to try to maintain a presence on the web that otherwise couldn’t be possible.
This is what has been happening on Crossroad Junction over the past year and more and more people have become aware of Jim Wright’s past patterns and methods. This is a screen shot above of the referring pages trends to the Crossroad Junction blog taken from Ahrefs. Ahrefs uses a different method of tracking back links and so the count there is lower because they’ve identified most of the link-farm links and backed them out already.
So, why are these types of methods being employed on the blog site combined with about 95% of the likes and shares from the Crossroad Junction Facebook page coming from foreign countries with unconnected people with no organic connection to Jim Wright? I’ll leave that up to the reader to determine. The methods used however, in my opinion raise serious questions as to the integrity and reliability of the messages being sent that have to stoop to these types of unethical practices.