Many people within the SEO community have been working hard to understand the latest changes made by Google with their recent Panda updates. Many companies that have relied on links have been hit the hardest, and seem to have suffered the greatest losses in placement and traffic.
To summarize as quickly as possible, Google has targeted blog networks that people have been relying on to increase rankings, and most of these blog networks have been de-indexed by Google. Companies that have relied on posting hundreds and thousands of links are now seeing their sites drop off of the Google radar. Those with rankings in the top 1 or 2 spots, are now showing up on the 14th page of Google. Is this the end of SEO as most people have known it? Not Likely!
The one major issue that I see with this latest update is that this can cause a lot more harm than good. Companies could take this as an opportunity to sabotage their competitors rather than investing their time in white-hat SEO techniques. I will give you an example of what I mean by this, but first, an explanation on how these blog networks worked.
Blog networks were simply a place for companies to post short articles or posts, including a link back to their home page or other page within their site, Google would see this link as a “vote of confidence” and reward the linked-to website with higher rankings. In the past, if you owned a heating and air company in Phoenix, and wanted to rank higher for the phrase “AC repair Phoenix”, you would simply create a bunch of posts or articles with this anchor tag in the text. The pages that were linking back to the website generally had a high page rank, or were considered to have authority with Google. The problem with many of these posts is they provided very little value to the readers, were often times “spun content” (content used over and over again with variations in the text), and the internet was getting flooded with all of this information. The internet was being pummeled with information that was not very useful to anyone while this content was being used for one goal, to provide more links to a website.
So as Google normally does, they make changes to their algorithms every few months, and they targeted these “link farms”. Now here is where we see the evil side of people coming out and creating more havoc within the online community.
Rather than spending time writing high quality content on your site, and providing something of value to readers online, this update is going to make it easy for your competitors to target you online with as much garbage as possible. Rather than working on your own site, this opens the flood gates to companies targeting your competitors, and creating more garbage tied back to your domain. The quality of the content means nothing if you do this, so you can use cheap automated software to created thousands of spun articles, and instead of linking back to your own site with a hyper link like this for affordable SEO, you could simply target your competitors with low quality, garbage, and use their name in the anchor text. It creates a wild west type of opportunity for the SEO community.
I have spent the last few weeks researching and reading a lot about this online, and watched all of the videos I could find, including Matt Cutts explanation. I still cannot determine how Google plans on policing this activity. I had one conversation with an SEO that explained how another company targeted the top 10 competitors online, and have been hammering the competitors with spun, low quality, blog network traffic. The result…….7 of the top 10 have dropped off of the front page of Google for the keyword phrases targeted.
At this time, we are explaining to all of our clients at Hit Me SEO that this is a correction that Google has applied, and we have seen this many times before. This is not the time to react. Rather, it is the time to concentrate on what Google is looking for….Quality content, relevant information, and timely data. Now is not the time to search for new link farms. Avoid them at all cost. Work with an SEO that can help your on-page content shine, and you will watch your rankings increase over time.