There has been a lot of speculation and a lot of theories being tossed around after the big Google Penguin move. So I thought I might as well throw my two cents into the ring.
Off-page marketing is one of the most important components of search engine optimization (SEO). It is common knowledge among marketers that a large part of ranking a page on Google is building quality backlinks to your website. That system has obviously been gamed by many who aim to manipulate the big G and their algorithm.
In an effort to protect the integrity of their search results, Google is working continuously to label and penalize those “evil” manipulators. I believe they track down that web junk by analyzing common clues found by their in-house researchers tasked with spying on spammers.
I can just see them all in a big conference room, spinning cross-legged in ergonomic office chairs trying to catch Google stress balls from across the room. In a very unorganized fashion they all shout out tidbits they’ve discovered on their hunt of offending sites.
The supervisor clad in flip-flops and shorts and a tie-dye tank writes each one on a whiteboard at the head of the room.
Patterns and Footprints
Of those suffering the most, it appears many have been building inbound links using the same or very similar keywords over and over in the anchor text. That practice is far from looking natural, and leaves an obvious footprint.
But with any part of link building, be it through blog commenting, article marketing or blog networks, it is very hard not to leave some sort of pattern or footprint.
If you work a system to promote your web page through SEO, it seems to be more important now to avoid detectable patterns and footprints. One rule on off-page SEO is to change it up and work on being natural. That is not a new rule, but it’s very hard to follow when using automation or spamming tools.
Another area that Google focuses on is in who you link to. Just as with off-page SEO, I believe that once certain patterns were discovered among web spammers, they started to discover blog networks that were linking out to those spammers’ websites.
So be careful who you link out to. Keep all of your outgoing links pointed at websites with high levels of integrity.
Although the old fashioned reciprocal link partner pages don’t seem to hurt. The footprint of blogs built on WordPress with a mishmash of categories, linking out to web spammers’ sites is how I believe Google detected which network of blogs to de-index and which links carried zero value.
It seems authority sites are being found more often in the search results for difficult keywords than even highly optimized niche or thin content sites now. These seem to be popular web 2.0 sites and blogging platforms. That would fall into line of Google favoring the authority of the domain.
It might benefit us once again to focus on building out our off-site blogs/promoters with quality content. Even uploading videos to YouTube and embedding them into those pages.
Although the temptation would be to just build out those external sites as being your main property, I would still use them as a tool to guide traffic into your site and ultimately get those prospects signed up on your list.
As webmasters, it seems we are forced into certain strategies because of search engine policies and circumstances beyond our control. But, it’s more important than ever to concentrate more on visitor experience and the long term of building our customer database, than short term gaming and manipulation that can be wiped away with every algorithm change.
Once your business is full of trusting followers, it will take a lot more than kids in a conference room or an arctic bird in a tuxedo to take you out.