This past week saw some pretty big announcements from Google, and, as you might guess, its causing quite a stir in the SEO community.
The melee started on March 20th when Matt Cutts, Google’s head of Search Quality, made the bombshell announcement at South By Southwest that Google will be “aggressively targeting” blog networks whose purpose is to create backlinks.
This means if any of you out there have bought links from “private” blog networks like Linkvana and Build My Rank, then you’re about to see your links go bye-bye.
In fact, Build My Rank got hit SO HARD, they had to shut down their business…http://www.buildmyrank.com/news/its-been-a-great-run
The take away here is this: if you are spending money to buy links from well-known, well-marketed link building services that provide links from “private blog networks”, you need to play close attention what is happening with that network.
As if this first announcement wasn’t exciting enough, the very next dayÂ Google introduced a new penalty to its ranking system that targets sites “Overly Optimized” for SEO.
“What about the people optimizing really hard and doing a lot of SEO? We donâ€™t normally pre-announce changes but there is something we are working in the last few months and hope to release it in the next months or few weeks. We are trying to level the playing field a bit. All those people doing, for lack of a better word, over optimization or overly SEO â€“ those making great content and great site. We are trying to make GoogleBot smarter, make our relevance better, and we are also looking for those who abuse it, like too many keywords on a page, or exchange way too many links or go well beyond what you normally expect. We have several engineers on my team working on this right now.”Â – Matt Cutts
I’m willing to bet that these two announcements are causing concern among my readers and Niche Site Mastery members. Therefore I wanted to share with you the opinions of a few other smart marketers (that have no vested interest in my training products).
To hear what Shane Melaugh, co-founder of SECockpit has to say regarding the first announcement, check out his latest Sunday Update Video.
Regarding the second announcement, I’d like to offer up the following quote by Matt Kadish ofÂ www.
Right now, this appears to be focused on how Google is looking at backlinks and off-page SEO.
We already know that Google has changed some of the factors of how it evaluates backlinks.
We also know Google has devalued article directories AND blog networks.
So it’s clear that their first line of attack on “Over Optimization” will be on the off-page SEO front.
My guess is we’re going to be seeing a lot of changes coming down the pipeline with how Google evaluates links coming into your website.
The BIG one will be Anchor Text.
This is the big tell-tale sign that links could be “artificial.” So right now, I’m recommending staying away from using keywords in your backlinks.
Instead, use terms like “Click here,” “Check this out,” your website’s name, etc. This will make the backlinking much more natural.
Social Signals will be playing a large roll in backlinking, so you want to focus on getting backlinks from social media, more than anything.Â We’re talking Facebook, Twitter, and of course, Google+ here. I’m willing to bet Google will not be attacking these sites anytime soon.
Also important to note is that on-page optimization should no longer be “perfect.” You can see this just from Matt Cutt’s comment.
For now, I’m gonna say don’t worry about keyword density, H1 tags, H2 tags, or bolding your keywords in your content.
I’d say, if you use a plugin like SEO Pressor to help with your on-page optimization, that having a score between 60% and 80% is where you’d want to be. However, still pay close attention to your Title Tags and your Meta Description Tags! Those are still important.
As a niche site owner and owner of a membership site that teaches people how to build niche sites, Google’s decision to destroy BMR’s business has the potential to have an impact on mine if I don’t do anything to adjust my strategy.
Notice that I italicized that last part of the previous sentence.
With Every Change Comes Opportunity
The reality of this business is that we are technology entrepreneurs (as much as we are marketers), and as such, the only constant on which we can count is change. If having to deal with change scares you, then you are in the wrong business.
Some people are crying the sky is falling, yet others are (more accurately) saying that this has happened before and that it will continue to happen again in the future.
Think back to when Panada was first released. Many were saying that the end of free traffic from Google was near. They were wrong.
Now people are saying the same things all over again, and, like before, they will be wrong again.
Does that mean that you don’t have to change anything in your SEO strategy? No, of course it doesn’t. You will have to adapt your strategy to play within Google’s rules…but that shouldn’t come as a surprise to you!
What this changeÂ does meanÂ is that you will likely have less competition in the future than you do now because many lazy people who were just looking for easy-money will now exit this business. Â They will go looking for another get-rich-quick scheme so that they don’t have to do any real work.
For those of you who stay the course, you can rest assured that new link building opportunities will present themselves very soon. In fact, if you look around, there are already plenty of new methods available.
The Effect on My Sites
In terms of my own niche sites, Saturday Mar 24th was a new record high for earnings, and as of this email, 24 of the 30 sites that I ranked with UAW/MAN/SimplyPLR & SocialAdr remain on the first page of Google…and have done so for the last week. The week prior saw many of them dip temporarily, and when they came back from that, I saw more sites hit page one than ever before.
Based upon the data at hand, it would seem that the link building strategy that I have been using for the last few months is still working. With that said, I still intend to adapt my strategy to protect my business going forward.
My Updated Link Building Strategy
The link building that I’ve been doing with UAW/MAN is still working so I don’t see a reason to stop using it just yet. If my sites start to drop in the ranking, I’ll adjust as needed.
With that said, I, nor anyone else, has a crystal ball to predict the future, and just because its working this week doesn’t mean it will be working next week – and its for that reason that I’m going to be proactive and update my link building strategy to include methods that I (believe) will be Google-proof for some time yet.
My updated link building strategy can be summed up as follows: more social signals, (Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Youtube) a return to hand-built link wheels with non-spun content, private blog networks (owned by me) and a super-ninja way to build large volumes of 100% organic link building.
I will be revealing more details on this strategy in part 2 of this post, so be sure to stay tuned!