Google did it again: it shook the entire web.
It managed to drive some fear in to just about every website owner that uses Google as a source of free traffic.
Not only were websites getting banned right left and center, but Google was also sending out hundreds of thousands of inbox notifications to Google webmaster account holders, warning them that their sites had unnatural backlinks pointing to them.
Casestudies show that what Google really meant with the lose “unnatural backlinks” warnings is that the sites in question likely had hundreds or even thousands of “keyword anchored” backlinks and little to no “without-keyword” related backlinks… like “click here” or just simple URL anchored links. Which basically tells us that we need to mix up our backlink building strategies a bit more to – consciously – get a greater variety of backlinks.
Look at it this way: if you were to share someone else’s site on your blog or on twitter or facebook, would you make it a perfect keyword anchored backlinks? Rarely!
It is not rocket science, really. A lot of webmasters were starting to freak out however and started demanding that people stopped linking to them. Some even went as far as pressing legal charges against other sites who were linking to them. Are things getting out of hand or what?
I mean, we have something (backlinks) people could not get enough of before, all of a sudden turn in to something no one wants to be associated with. I say Google’s mission was a success.
Reality though is, backlinks from solidly grounded sites still work and are still a tremendous ranking factor.
I say “solidly grounded sites” because: Google wasn’t going after people who had a lot of backlinks pointing to their sites. In fact, that was more or less just a scare tactic used to throw people off of what they they were really up to. Maybe it was just some gurus jumping to early conclusions, I don’t know.
What we now do know though, is this: Google went after websites that had little, copied, or even garbage (gibberish filler) content on them that made no sense whatsoever, and de-indexed a whole pile of them, and devalued a TON of other ones.
Now, what was happening, is that the sites that lost so much value in Google’s eyes, were passing on very little linkjuice (ranking power) to the sites they were linking to. In other words, there were perfect sites dropping in rankings – not because Google penalized them – but because the sites (that used to make these good sites rank high) lost so much of their own ranking power, they were no longer able to keep the good site ranking high.
So we had good sites drop in rankings, not because Google penalized them, but because Google penalized the sites that were linking to them. Fascinating, isn’t it?
Again, it was not the backlinks that caused the drop in rankings, but rather the fact that too many of the backlinks came from crappy sites that no longer had enough ranking power to sustain top rankings for the good sites. I am repeating myself, but I just wanted to make sure I clarified this important detail.
So in short, whether you removed your “bad links” or not did not really matter, because one way or another you were no longer getting value adding credit for them. In fact, you would have been better of to just keep your backlinks for the sake that some good backlinks might have remained after Google’s update.
The only thing you might want to do is: contact the people that were linking to you and ask them to improve the content on their site to make sure they remain a strong rank-juice provider for your site.
I have looked at numerous case studies and even did some myself and that (as just described) is what went down with the latest Google update. Details may vary, but the point is this: good backlinks still work wonderfully!
Which leads me to my next point…
What kind of backlinks do still work today?
A lot of my blogs dropped big time in Google’s search results when they did their last update. Besides finding out what all went wrong, I was determined to not waste time and get my top rankings back. Which is pretty much exactly what I have been doing.
Here is what I did that proved to work really well:
- I went through the content on my sites that were affected and I made sure that none of it came across as keyword spammy or spammy in general. In other words, I made sure that each piece of content was of excellent quality, was unique, and added value to a reader.Google demands top quality content– now more so than ever before – and I respect that. There is enough unneeded and misleading junk online already. It is time we as a species step things up a notch by adding real value to other people’s lives – no doubt about it!Sure it sucked when my sites dropped in ranking, but such is the reality of life: we get knocked on our behind every now and again but fact is, we are only defeated if we stay down. In other words, we need to step up our game and get back on our feet.
It’s just the way things go. We can’t change the circumstances, so we might as well focus all of our energy at making these circumstances work in our favor. Hence me cleaning up my content as just mentioned :).
I also added some new content to each of my affected sites. Some of which still had a lot of trashy content on them from when they used to be auto-blogs, so I got rid of all that “auto-generated” content and added some more real, unique, and value-adding content to them. I have a feeling if I had waited with doing this much longer, I could have potentially lost entire sites (as in: Google deindexing them for being copied/crappy content).
The existing content on these sites was, after researching case-studies, my biggest concern and I believe it is the right place to start. As the saying goes “start by cleaning your own house”. You will feel good about it afterwards – definitely worth it!
- Next thing on my list, was getting more quality backlinksfrom quality websites. This was to compensate for all my existing backlinks that lost so much of their linkjuice and ranking power in the Google update.I have my own networks of free blogs that I keep using to build backlinks with, but I like to mix things up (it is a lot safer and more natural looking this way) so I tend to tap in to various other backlink building services as well.I used to use public blog networks (aka: private blog networks) a lot and they worked great. However, the few good ones that are still around are ticking time bombs in my opinion.
Google has made it clear that they are going after these mega blog networks, so I have decided to stay away from them. At least until the dust settles.
One service I started using very consistently though to build links to my money sites (as well as to my networks of free blogs) is: Social Monkee. It is owned by my good friend and SEO expert Colin Klinkert and when it comes down to what works – he knows his stuff.
I started using Social Monkee on a few of the sites that were heavily penalized and lo-and-behold, they started getting their rankings back – literally almost over night. I was truly impressed so I started using it on all of my affected sites and the results were similar for all sites I used the Social Monkee service on.
I am a fully upgraded member with Social Monkee which means I can schedule to have 4 URLs submitted to 175 of their sites (some of them have PR of 4) on a daily basis. I usually have them drip feed these backlinks over a 30 day period – which is an AWESOME feature in my opinion. Less spammy this way!
Doing the math in my head tells me that being upgraded all the way with them allows me to build approximately 21,000 backlinks each month and every month (4 submissions daily to 175 sites = 21,000 if multiplied by 30).
As you can see, this can add up very quickly, and if you stick with it for at least a month, good things begin to happen. So, be sure to check them out and if you got the money, jump on board and upgrade as much as you are comfortable with – it is worth every penny – no doubt about it. Even the basic option (25 backlinks a day) is better than nothing.
Naturally I can not guarantee that you will have the same results as me, but I will say that my results were fairly consistent over various different blogs that I implemented the above two steps on. As such, I believe (and the law of averages suggests) you will have similar results – if you too do what I did.
In conclusion: Let’s not be victims of Panda, Penguin, or any other fuzzy Google creature, but let’s be victors despite all the aggravations they put us through. They got what they wanted, now it’s time we once again get what we want. Let’s show Google and the rest of the world-wide-web that we are undefeatable and that we are here to stay – no matter what.
We are not spammers – we are marketers. Our business does not rely on luck or on short term loopholes – but on hard work and determination to do things right. We are evolving as the need for it arises – it is the only way we survive this journey!
The point I am trying to make is this: We need to educate ourself on what works today and what will work tomorrow. Once we get that figured out, we absolutely have to follow through with massive action. Let’s forget about all the shortcuts and let’s get the basics right. Unless we build that solid foundation, we will always be caught off guard – and that is unnecessary stress in my opinion.
Google presents more lasting opportunities now then it has been in years. Let’s step up our game and harness these opportunities.