Maybe it’s time to stop obsessing over meaningless links
Google has been cracking down on lesser quality content littering its search results a great deal over the past year – probably more than any other time in the search engine’s history. Obviously, to those who follow the search industry, the Panda update has been leading the charge in this area.
One way that content, including some lesser-quality content, has been able to manipulate Google’s algorithm is through paid links, and linking “schemes”. Google has long had policies against these things, and has not hesitated to penalize sites it busted. See JC Penney and Overstock.com incidents from last year, for a couple of examples (not necessarily the best examples of low quality, but of getting busted). Google even penalized its own Chrome landing page, after paid links set up by a marketing firm were discovered.
Penalties like these can greatly hurt sites. There was talk that Chrome’s share of the browser market was impacted by that penalty, and that’s Google’s own property. Overstock blamed Google for its ugly financials when it reported its earnings earlier this month.
If such penalties can have such an impact on brands like these, think what they could do to lesser-known brands.
Google is now cracking down on blog networks, which have added sites to their networks in exchange for fees. BuildMyRank, in particular has received a lot of attention.
The site posted a message about it recently:
On a daily basis, we monitor our domain network to check metrics like page rank, indexed pages, etc. As with any link-building network, some de-indexing activity is expected and ours has been within a permissible range for the past two years. Unfortunately, this morning, our scripts and manual checks have determined that the overwhelming majority of our network has been de-indexed (by Google), as of March 19, 2012. In our wildest dreams, there’s no way we could have imagined this happening.
It had always been BMR’s philosophy that if we did things a bit different from other networks, we would not only have a better quality service to offer our users, but a longer life in this fickle industry. Sadly, it appears this was not the case.
In case you’re not familiar with how BMR actually works, it essentially sells link juice. In the “how it works” section, it explains that the backlinks it helps you build “help add extra link juice and added indexing speed”.
Word throughout the SEO community is that other blog networks have been getting de-indexed as well. Meanwhile, webmasters with links from these networks, have been getting messages from Google’s Webmaster Tools. SEOmoz shares a message from Google Webmaster Tools that some webmasters have received:
Dear site owner or webmaster of http://example.com/,
We’ve detected that some of your site’s pages may be using techniques that are outside Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.
Specifically, look for possibly artificial or unnatural links pointing to your site that could be intended to manipulate PageRank. Examples of unnatural linking could include buying links to pass PageRank or participating in link schemes.
We encourage you to make changes to your site so that it meets our quality guidelines. Once you’ve made these changes, please submit your site for reconsideration in Google’s search results.
If you find unnatural links to your site that you are unable to control or remove, please provide the details in your reconsideration request.
If you have any questions about how to resolve this issue, please see our Webmaster Help Forum for support.
About the Author:
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.