Author Topic: The SEO sky is falling! (Yeah, again, really...)  (Read 43624 times)

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Online Jonathan LegerTopic starter

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The SEO sky is falling! (Yeah, again, really...)
« on: March 27, 2012, 09:02:24 PM »
Hey guys,

I just wanted to make an observation, one that I've repeated in the past but bears restating now:

=> Search Engine Optimization is still alive and well! <=

I recently had a Google employee (one of their manual reviewers) tell me that SEO is dying.  That Google had lots of smart people who have figured it all out. I pointed him here:

http://www.seomoz.org/blog/how-google-makes-liars-out-of-the-good-guys-in-seo?utm_source=bronto&utm_medium=email&utm_term=expresses+his+frustrations&utm_content=The+Moz+Top+10+-+March+2012%2C+Issue+1&utm_campaign=Moz+Top+10+-+March+%231

The link above shows SEOMoz making it plain that links still rule Google results -- even low quality, spammy links are still getting people ranking. That's been old news to me for years.

You see, Google loves to talk big about all of the metrics they put into their algorithm. And YES, they do have more quality controls in there then they used to -- especially when dealing with ultra competitive keywords.

But most of what Google puts out is smoke and mirrors. The bottom line is still this: create great content for your human visitors and get lots of links from everywhere you can -- relevant or otherwise -- to get ranked in Google.

That's been the "magic formula" almost from the beginning, and it's still the formula today. The only big exception that changed many years ago is that Google stopped valuing reciprocal links. Other than that I'm still seeing the same old sites ranked by the same old links for many queries.

My favorite one has been sitting at #1 since 2004. It's being ranked by links from static link pages put up on a bunch of other sites, all trading three-way links. The link pages are hideous and obviously designed for the sole purpose of manipulating search results. The ranking site looks like something out of the mid 1990's. No tables, ugly as sin, all of the text is in bold black with a white background.

The keywords it ranks for only get a few thousand searches per month, but it's an SEO related phrase that is highly sought after because it's very lucrative.

So to rank in Google we have:

1. A hideous site.
2. Obvious link manipulation.
3. SEO-related term (should be a red flag, dontcha think?)

And yet that site has sat at #1 for more than 7 years now. I check on it every time Google announces their "next big thing" in their algorithm that's supposed to remove SPAM, improve SERP quality and reduce the effects of artificial manipulation.

Uh-huh. Ok. Right.

Another set of keywords I follow religiously (just out of personal interest) is old time radio.

Now, I'm not going to tell you which site it is, but one of the top ranking sites for that phrase (which gets close to 20,000 searches a month) is ranking almost completely on the power of links from cheezy, low quality directories and tons of links from free blog sites.  The directories have virtually no backlinks -- just a few, enough to get them indexed. It's all obvious to the human eye, and yet the site sits comfortably near the top of the results (and actually went UP after Panda).

This same site ranks for lots of "old time radio"-related keywords, too, so you know they're laughing all the way to the bank.

Has Google recently pounded down a few blog networks? Yes, it has. They got too big and came into the radar. But has Google algorithmically prevented all such link networks from working? Absolutely not. These examples and countless others show that to be the case.

What Google has done in the past, and continues to do, is occasionally pound a few big examples of outright manipulation. It does that to put the fear in the little guys, who of course go running to the forums and their blogs pronouncing that Google has discovered how to prevent XYZ from working to get rankings.  Whatever it is: spinning, link networks, you name it.  And yet those same tactics continue to rank sites all over the queries I follow on a daily basis.

It's like squashing a few big roaches to make the little ones run for cover in the walls. It works temporarily, but your problem isn't solved!

The point is: through all of Google's algorithm changes and all of their smoke and mirrors, the same thing is true and always has been. Repeat this to yourself every day and act on it:

Great Content + Lots of Links = Google Rankings

Great Content + Lots of Links = Google Rankings

Great Content + Lots of Links = Google Rankings

Great Content + Lots of Links = Google Rankings

Great Content + Lots of Links = Google Rankings

...

So when somebody tells you that SEO is dead, you can confidently reply: "SEO is not dead. SEO will never die."

Here's to your success!

Jon
« Last Edit: April 08, 2012, 04:12:41 PM by Jonathan Leger »

Offline HoneyJo

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Re: The SEO sky is falling! (Yeah, again, really...)
« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2012, 09:13:51 PM »
=> Search Engine Optimization is still alive and well! <=

Great information in this post Jon!

I appreciate any/all update you offer as to the new 'Google' stuff!

To-date, unless it is put in simple wording as you did in this post, I am still not SEO
knowledgeable enough to understand it.

Please continue to keep us updated with any new info

Thanks,

HoneyJo

'I haven't lost my mind, it's backed up on my hard-drive somewhere!'
American Freelance Writer

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Offline thejman

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Re: The SEO sky is falling! (Yeah, again, really...)
« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2012, 09:27:30 PM »
Interesting post Jon.

However, how do you explain the "unnatural links detected" warnings that have been popping up all over lots of webmaster accounts, and subsequent decrease in rankings for these sites?


JL Forums

Re: The SEO sky is falling! (Yeah, again, really...)
« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2012, 09:27:30 PM »

Offline mtntgr

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Re: The SEO sky is falling! (Yeah, again, really...)
« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2012, 09:27:59 PM »
So if I understand what you're saying...
It should now be safe to take off my aluminum foil hat?  :o

Offline Ultradry

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Re: The SEO sky is falling! (Yeah, again, really...)
« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2012, 09:28:21 PM »
Never a truer word was spoken Jon. The google machine loves to mis-inform.

I have sites ranging from ultra white hat to very black hat and after this latest purge one of my horrible black hat sites hit #1 in G for a nice financial related keyword. This site is nothing more than markov'd content with adsense on it .... yep, ADSENSE! The content is pure gibberish. Totally disjointed sentences but obviously unique  :P

So you can even get away with awful content too. Google is essentially flailing around in the dark  :o

The site has been on page one for 3 years!
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Offline Ultradry

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Re: The SEO sky is falling! (Yeah, again, really...)
« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2012, 09:29:59 PM »
how do you explain the "unnatural links detected" warnings

They're scaremongering ... trying to get you to crumble and tell them where your links are coming from. Don't give in.
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Online Jonathan LegerTopic starter

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Re: The SEO sky is falling! (Yeah, again, really...)
« Reply #6 on: March 27, 2012, 09:31:38 PM »
Interesting post Jon.

However, how do you explain the "unnatural links detected" warnings that have been popping up all over lots of webmaster accounts, and subsequent decrease in rankings for these sites?


Here's a quote from the 1WayLinks forum here, just posted a day or two ago:

Quote
Now this is funny ....

20th March I get the webmaster tools notice about un-natural links, remove them blah blah message. Decided to ignor Google on this site and just carry on with life ....

Today I have the follolwing message for the same site in webmaster tools:

"Search results clicks for http://***********.com have increased significantly. Yay!
Details
Message ID: 593f1ceb2d67. Please include this ID in any messages you post in our Help forum".

So what message is Google attempting  to tell me? Don't build un-natural links becase they work and increase your search results, which may increases your traffic, which will increases your profit, but we don't like it ...

What is one to do with G's mixed messages?


That's my answer.

Online Jonathan LegerTopic starter

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Re: The SEO sky is falling! (Yeah, again, really...)
« Reply #7 on: March 27, 2012, 09:49:12 PM »
I have sites ranging from ultra white hat to very black hat and after this latest purge one of my horrible black hat sites hit #1 in G for a nice financial related keyword. This site is nothing more than markov'd content with adsense on it .... yep, ADSENSE! The content is pure gibberish. Totally disjointed sentences but obviously unique 

I wonder how many of those "thousands of people" Google got to look at sites and rate them for quality, trustworthiness, etc. were looking at markov'd content and saying "Looks good to me!" Guess that got into their Panda algo somehow... ::)

Offline Forvitinn

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Re: The SEO sky is falling! (Yeah, again, really...)
« Reply #8 on: March 27, 2012, 09:55:10 PM »
Jonathan,

Whatever you say, I don't think I will ever use blog networks for money sites. Almost all of my sites took hit, the one that was ranking on the first page for "the best spinner" took a hit too, now...

About the messages, I got them for 6 of my sites and they all got hit, some fell by hundreds - #3 to #300, while some lost a few positions - #1 - #21 or #1 to #3,

It is of course possible to game the system, latest update targeted blog networks but didn't touch spam links built using ScrapeBox,

Now I am not going to tell "build high quality websites that people would link to it" since it just sounds funny and it is almost impossible, but we have to be cautious when building backlinks,

Those messages are not Joke, G got serious.

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Re: The SEO sky is falling! (Yeah, again, really...)
« Reply #8 on: March 27, 2012, 09:55:10 PM »

Offline Susan

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Re: The SEO sky is falling! (Yeah, again, really...)
« Reply #9 on: March 27, 2012, 09:58:25 PM »
Every time I hear something Google has done, I break into a panic! I check my rankings, watch my affiliate sales figures and cross my fingers, hoping 'the committee of Google' aren't going to shoot me. 

When I heard about the blog network issue, I seriously panicked. I knew it was classed as 'grey hat' but I am a 'goodie-goodie' :P

The last couple of days, I was actually hoping to hear your take on it all, as I was beginning to feel the exact things you mentioned.

I thought, Google don't really know what or who is doing what! They want us, the little people, to dob on the big people!

Jon...thank you. I can now take my hard hat off :)

Online Jonathan LegerTopic starter

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Re: The SEO sky is falling! (Yeah, again, really...)
« Reply #10 on: March 27, 2012, 10:00:23 PM »
Were you using the networks that got deindex? If so, then it's only natural that the sites with those links would lose their rankings.

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Offline highpec

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Re: The SEO sky is falling! (Yeah, again, really...)
« Reply #11 on: March 27, 2012, 10:04:39 PM »
Lulz... that's funny, and so true.

So many businesses died with the ALN and BMR de-indexing.. but for a long time I've been using 1WL as my main source of "blog network" links, and none of my sites (except 1 client, the ONLY one I used ALN one) dropped in rank. In fact, G gave one of my #1 sites sitelinks and the traffic appears to be skyrocketing.

1WL is definitely a whole different beast than most networks. While having access to pre-made content prevent me from using the network more, I do respect the fact that when I check a backlink, all the posts read well.

If the G moderators actually read the posts, they would have a hard time de-indexing 1WL blogs based on content.

I have sites ranging from ultra white hat to very black hat and after this latest purge one of my horrible black hat sites hit #1 in G for a nice financial related keyword. This site is nothing more than markov'd content with adsense on it .... yep, ADSENSE! The content is pure gibberish. Totally disjointed sentences but obviously unique 

I wonder how many of those "thousands of people" Google got to look at sites and rate them for quality, trustworthiness, etc. were looking at markov'd content and saying "Looks good to me!" Guess that got into their Panda algo somehow... ::)

Offline therber2

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Re: The SEO sky is falling! (Yeah, again, really...)
« Reply #12 on: March 27, 2012, 10:09:35 PM »
Scare tactic is my vote...

...and it seems that the scare has been more effective than tweak. All it seems to have really done is demotivate the guys who have been chasing rainbows and never ever succeeding anyways (mostly 'blackhatters').

I think that the odds are pretty good that if you've been successful with something for the last 10 years then you'll probably not be affected. The reason: Google's algorithm has always been pretty good. Natural web behavior (good quality content and social interaction) is king. None of the major site owners (under 100k rank in the US on Alexa lets say) do anything blackhat or even grey.



My heart is written in php and it doesn't have any "if" statements.

Offline dondolenec

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Re: The SEO sky is falling! (Yeah, again, really...)
« Reply #13 on: March 27, 2012, 10:24:40 PM »
Thanks for the great post Jonathan.
the only thing i would add is

QUALITY CONTENT +LINKS

I have a number of sites#1 in heavy competitive.
I didnt go down and some sites not at number one moved up
not one site went down.
I didn;t have any in the networks...I just didnt have a good feel for them.
in time competitors or google will find them out.

We cant worry about what google does...Panda last year went after ezinearticles..
but they have come back, maybe not as strong.
Just spread a wide net...dont do just article marketing.
I love Google News Press release and videos...Do you think that will give you authority in google's eyes??

social signals...also gaining importance...But just spread a wide net so if google hits something you may not drop
who knows what they will go after next month.

Jonathan...one question..what have you found to spin articles percentage wise to go under googles radar?
70-90%??? I am not a expert in the best spinner. what is the fastest way to spin to that percentage...what buttons to push?
Thanks
Don
Maui,HI

Offline hally0301

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Re: The SEO sky is falling! (Yeah, again, really...)
« Reply #14 on: March 27, 2012, 10:25:05 PM »
Nice post Jon

Have to agree with you that alot of the Google stuff is just smoke and mirrors and scare tactics to try and get you to give yourself up if you are doing the 'wrong' thing or alternately to keep you on the straight and narrow.

The latest going around seems to be a proposed over optimisation penalty that Matts Cutts has spoken about. So if you optimise your site too well you are going to rank not as well as someone who doesn't optimise their site so well.

Well lets see on that one hey.

Gotta agree that great content and lotsa links will usually get you there.