We had Panda, we had Penguin, we have seen penalties dished out for years but the recent penalties are starting to feel personal and detrimental to the results, so is Google just attacking SEO’s with brands and businesses as collateral damage?
More penalties are being dished out this week for ‘unnatural links’ and the biggest losers are the biggest brands, we have seen the car leasing verticals, finance, clothing etc all get his with big brands plummeting to the bottom of the SERPs, even below page 10 for their own brand name.
Mo SEO’s Mo Problems
For every good SEO, there are usually 4 or 5 bad SEO’s, those SEO’s that either don’t have the technical ability or the marketing nouse to give a well rounded campaign, some are well intentioned but lacking knowledge and adaptability, some are just in it for quick money. This has led to SEO’s getting a bad reputation, a bit like your traditional car salesman.
Penguins and Panda’s did manage to separate the weak from the strong SEO’s as many SEO companies hung up their mouse and walked away, as it was too hard these days. The rest of us predicted, adapted and evolved. But we still have that bad reputation.
It was probable naive of me to think that Google supported good SEO’s, those of us who know Google webmaster guidelines inside and out and notice every change in their products, terms and of course their search engine. Penguin and Panda improved the search results, these recent penalties have cleared whole verticals of useful websites, you have to search to page 3 or 4 to actually get anything close to what you are looking for and this includes people looking specifically for certain brands. It feels as though Google is sending a message, rather than improving the search engine.
Rishi on his post on refugeeks.com states;
A private source tells me that a Google Reps are adding to the chaos:
A Google rep told a client I pitched to that “SEO agencies will be dead and buried in the next few years.”
So Matt Cutts announced Guest posting was a black hat technique and we all agreed that bulk guest posting adds no value to a campaign. However good guest posting is great for PR, you get brand awareness, referring traffic and a nice link is a bonus for SEO.
We obviously didn’t take this seriously enough and Google has decided to teach people a lesson and the best way to do this is make it obvious. So First they penalised MyBlogGuest, the site where people could swap blogs. By penalising the community site that helps people connect for guest blogs this is targeting the SEO’s. In fairness their was little quality control on many of these blogs, however attacking at the source is an obvious message.
We then saw more and more of the sites that used MyBlogGuest getting penalised, I also started to notice more and more drops and my own clients get hit. Delving into their links blogspot links were being targeted (I haven’t enough data to confirm) however they were being pulled up specifically by Google. This to me seems quick and easy and ‘loud’. We told them not to guest blog lets slap all links from blogger with a penalty. Easy if you have blog in the URL or have guest blogs as a category.
Is this the end for SEO’s
The best of us are on it, however I am interested to see how it affects link building. Link building got harder but better quality after Penguin, but these recent updates are messing up the search engines. NewsFlash Google, if someone searches for a brand they want the brand, by penalising a brand to the extent they don’t come up for their name, you are degrading the user experience of your search engine.
The SEO’s I speak to regularly do not spam, many are a hybrid SEO/PR and they are producing good work, including guest blogs, but if you are going to start looking for quick wins in your algorithm this will impact the user experience. There seems to be no limitations to links old links are being penalised, anchor text seems to be a higher factor and the whitest of white links are still not safe.
NewsFlash Google, if someone searches for a brand they want the brand, by penalising a brand to the extent they don’t come up for their name, you are degrading the user experience of your search engine.
Of course from my point of view there is a lot more to SEO than just building links and outreach but it is an important factor. What has affected my workload is the number of links penalties cropping up, I have never had to do as many disavow files and contact so many web masters about link removals.