Those of you who have been following me, know that I’ve been talking quite a bit about creating an authority presence and how the good old days of old time SEO are numbered. Well, apparently my predictions have come true in a big way just this past week.
It turns out that Google has really turned up the dials on their algorithm that detect if your linking patterns are trying to game the system. This is having a huge impact on a lot of webmasters and some of them have even been getting their websites de-indexed because of using the types of linking techniques that Google frowns on (you know the ones I mean – forum profiles, blog comment spam, private blog networks, spammy stuff that software does etc..).
While I do miss being able to throw up a bunch of micro niche sites and get them ranked simply by submitting articles to a blog network, I do think this is a change for the positive and I think it can actually help a lot of you out especially those of you who are committed to putting up really good content. I also think this can be a boon for article writers who write thought-provoking and interesting articles because this type of content is going to be in big demand and you’re going to be able to charge a lot more for your services in the future.
The future is all about filling your website with excellent content that people want to link to – Google is on top of this now and trying to game the system by creating your own back links is a dying method for getting your site ranked.
Google Steps Up “Unnatural Link Detection”
According to Matt Cutts, the head of Web spam over at Google, Google is releasing an algorithm that specifically targets sites that are overdoing their SEO .
What does that mean?
Nobody really knows for sure what that means because google keeps the specifics of their algorithms as a closely guarded secret, but I think it’s a pretty safe bet to assume that if all of your links are coming from places that Google knows you can manipulate such as link farms, private blog networks, Web 2.0 sites, blog comments and profile links then your site could be in the crosshairs.
In fact, they may already be implementing this change because reports around the web are that more and more web masters are waking up to this disturbing message in their Google Webmaster tools dashboard:
Notice of Detected Unnatural Links.
What this means is that Google didn’t like something about your linking profile and your site has gotten some sort of penalty. While it’s nice of them to tell you this, it’s pretty much impossible for you to remove these links that they find offending (I’m not even sure if they tell you which links they are because I haven’t gotten one of these notices … yet) so you are pretty much stuck with the penalty.
The thing is that a lot of the web masters getting this penalty, don’t really over do it with the spammy linking – sure, most of them that I have seen to admit to using a private blog network or buying cheap back links but they also have “good quality” links too. Hopefully Google will fine tune this algorithm as time goes on and not penalize web masters for a few transgressions if they are also making an honest effort to put out good content and get editorial links.
No one really knows what the message actually means either – it could really mean a lot of things – It could be link velocity (the rate at which you get links and whether that remains steady or not), anchor text (high percentage of the same keyword in anchor text), maybe lots of links from link farm type sites etc…
Private Blog Networks Getting Deindexed
Matt Cutts also says Google is aggressively targeting private blog networks.
And this is proven to by the de-indexing of some of the private blog networks including Build My Rank.
One of the supersecret blog networks that I was using homepage links to boost one of my sites was “discovered” by Google earlier this year and all their sites were reindexed too.
To make matters even more painful, some of the people whose sites were using these networks had their money sites de-indexed as well.
So at the very least, all the work and money you’ve put into getting these back links to your site will be wiped out when the private blog network gets de-indexed but if you are really unlucky YOUR blog might become the de-indexed as well.
But Wait! You Can Get Slapped Even If You Play By The Rules
Okay, so now you’re probably thinking if you write great content and only get links from reputable authority sites then your site should be safe, right?
Sadly, this may not be the case because it seems that your competitor may be able to point spamming links at your site and then report you for these linked practices, thus getting your site penalized.
In fact, Matt Cutts is asking people to report spamming links right here:
Could your competitors be reporting you?
There also seems to be a bunch of other unfair ways that you can get penalized even if you’re playing by the rules and doing totally white hat stuff. Chris Rempel wrote a great blog post about this.
In that post he talks about how new blogs have a hard time ranking the content because their domain doesn’t have any authority yet. It’s kind of like a chicken and egg thing, you can write the best content out there but if you don’t have any authority you are not going to rank and no one will see your content so you can’t get the natural links that Google wants. He also talks a lot about how white hat link building is very difficult for new site and expounds on how your competitors can hurt your website.
What You Need To Do To Protect Yourself
There are some things you can do that insulate yourself. Of course one of these is to write excellent content don’t try to fill up your blog with a bunch of crappy articles because more is not better. It’s better to have one really outstanding article then 10 crappy ones. You want people to come to your blog and love your content so much that they link to it, tell their friends to read it and share it on social media sites – this is what Google is looking for.
But, like I said earlier, even if you do write great content you still may not get any traction in the search engines and your competitors still may be able to hurt you so probably one of the best things you can do to insulate yourself against this is to not depend on Google for traffic. The truth is that there’s a ton of ways to get traffic and some of them will be even better targeted then what you would get from the search engines.
One of the best ways to get traffic is to try to get your articles syndicated on some of the high-traffic blogs in your niche. This requires two things, writing a killer article and communicating with other blog masters. Both of those can be hard work, but the good news is that lazy web masters won’t want to do the work so this is where you can really stand out!
The other thing you can do is what a lot of people call “ passive syndication” and that is to submit your article to article directories like e-zine articles because this is a place where other webmasters go to find articles to publish on their sites. So by submitting your article there a webmaster of a highly trafficked site may stumble across it and syndicated on their site, thus gaining you traffic from the visitors. This won’t get you the quick results that finding high traffic blogs on your own will though, and it could end up that you get no results from this at all.
Having a good social media presence is also another way to get traffic but, of course this takes a lot of work to build up. You can’t build loyal followers with spammy tweets and Facebook posts – you have to put the work into post quality first and wait for your followers to build up.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is that joining private blog networks and using spammy blog techniques is dying and you shouldn’t be using these techniques at all anymore.
It seems the days are finally coming where excellent content will be rewarded so you can feel free to build out a valuable blog that actually helps people and keep your fingers crossed that this good and valuable content is going to eventually be rewarded with high search engine rankings.
But don’t depend too much on those rankings, build yourself a following of people by submitting your article to be syndicated on high-traffic sites and building up a social network on social media sites.
Of course, you want to be building a list from these efforts because this list will consist of people who want to hear what you have to say and who you will be able to communicate with any time you want. That way you can get repeat traffic, let people get to know you and hopefully build the trust that takes to make money online.