Matt Cutts made an ominous announcement on his Vlog suggesting Penguin 4 and future updates were to be pushed out along with some new forms of penalties which are going to have some of the biggest impacts for the SEO industry to date!
Cutts suggested that ‘SEO WOULD BE DEAD BY 2013’
Did it really end for SEO professionals? Google has been effectively aiming to clean all forms of manipulation out of the results. Here are some of those penalties.
In last years ‘Updates’ (penguin, panda, EMD) many, many people experienced serious amounts of collateral damage to domains that they were ‘unaware’ any SEO manipulation had occurred. Effectively Google started a WAR last year when they made it clear they were no longer just targeting spammy sites but instead are now going after legitimate businesses with good quality domains if they suspect any form of manipulation has occurred. It is no longer the case that bad links are just forgotten and ignored, they now do serious damage!
This change in the landscape effectively started a new industry where companies with low morals will actively target their competitors by hitting domains with ‘bad links’ and over optimized anchor texts which will see them tank in the results. In order to deal with the fall out from all this Google launched the DISAVOW tool late last year and now companies have an added task to ensure their domains are not being targeted in such a way.
This change in landscape resulted in another new industry, that of LINK AUDITING in which a couple of new companies have jumped on board WITHOUT fully grasping the challenges at hand and the gravity of the task. To audit a domains links and detect the toxic ones which Google say you should make every effort to remove has in resulted in many people and companies hastily choosing the wrong types of methods to find HARMFUL links.
What are suspicious links? That’s a VERY good question and a science in itself. Making the mistake to remove or disavow the wrong links will obviously only make matters worse especially if a company is already suffering in the results because of algorithmic penalties. Opinion based metrics such as ‘this link is a PR/NA’ so it must be bad, or ‘this link has low Trust Flow’ or simply filtering out all the links with the same anchor text, are all flawed ‘metrics’ and simply recipes for complete destruction!
Using the wrong ‘metrics’ to audit links can also result in far too many links being flagged up as ‘possibly suspicious’ and with high numbers of false-positives and false-negatives, rending the audit actually more harmful than worthless.
TO DISAVOW OR NOT TO DISAVOW
The Disavow tool was primarily offered to manage the effects of negative SEO and it remains the focus of the tool. Google have made it abundantly clear they want instead for people to work on getting manipulated links totally removed and continue to force people to undertake this painful process. In the instances where any harmful link owners do not reply or are unattainable it is suggested those links should be disavowed.
FUTURE PROOFING DOMAINS & NAVIGATING THE NEW TERRAIN
One technique often used in the past by ‘black hat’ SEOs is a technique many normal business will need to start adopting, this was derived from the ‘churn and burn’ school of thinking whereby you have more than one target domain, preferably 5 or more for any particular sector in case something bad happens to one of your main domains that is totally beyond your control.
TOTALLY BEYOND YOUR CONTROL?
Many people complain that their business was ruined when the results changed against their favor and they blame Google for these changes, but given these changes have been evident for at least the last year and were just made CRYSTAL clear following Cutt’s warning, it cannot be argued that it was from a lack of warning, if you have bad links pointing to your site you need to ACT and get those links evaluated by proper metrics to discover exactly which of your links will be causing ranking drops going forward.
THE RIGHT TOOLS FOR THE JOB
Over the last 6 years I have been developing numerous types link auditing tools, each one of these was made as a direct result of someone having a penalty, coming to me for help, whereby I forensically examined their link profile, found the problems then built specific tools to find similar issues based upon the problem I found, I did this originally so I could look at other domains with greater insights.
I have now made these important tools OPEN ACCESS enabling you to run your own link audit without having to go to ‘SEO gurus’ (who were often responsible for causing the issues in the first place) and I have a suite of tools, including a fully dedicated content management system to help you manage these problem links as well as an automatic takedown notice tools enabling you to get these links elegantly removed. The tools allow you to carry out a comprehensive and forensic link audit with no hassle or false positives nor false negatives in the way and it mangoes the process for you all the way through to automatically locating all contact details for bad link owners and then automatically contacting these domain owners requesting the links are removed.
We have the most powerful link auditing tools in the world and the cost to run a full audit is cheaper than you think, tools start at 19 GBP and a complete audit will set you back about 300 GBP, a tiny price to pay for the value it creates, not to mention the ease of use.
While SEO is certainly harder to manipulate through link building, it certainly is not dead.
SEO through the years has leaned toward blog driven link building, reviews, high quality content and organic strategies. An honest approach and user experience is what Google rewards, and when vice versa, penalizes. Businesses can help their SEO by creating valuable content, targeted at high volume keywords and their services, while local businesses can aim for local seo/search optimizations, listing their business on directories, and so on.
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