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OMG! The Sky Is Falling!?!?!

Post image for OMG! The Sky Is Falling!?!?!

by PotPieGirl on March 22, 2012 · 169 comments

So – blog networks are dead now, right? That means the sky is falling, right? Well, if you know me at all, you know I do NOT subscribe to the whole “sky is falling/end of the world” mentality. Changes happen, we go with the changes – that’s how we roll, right? So let’s talk about what’s happening with this massive deindexing of paid blog network sites…and what it means to us.


First off, what are paid blog networks?

Ever heard of services like LinkVana, BuildMyRank, Authority Link Network, etc? Those are paid blog networks. You either pay a monthly fee or “pay” by adding your own sites into the network.

When you use these networks, you are able to submit content/articles with your links in them out to their sites. Those links pass value and help you rank better.

If you’ve been working online for a month or more, you’ve heard of these blog network services.

And, let’s face it and be real… if we’ve used any of these services, we know exactly WHY we use them, don’t we?

We use them to get the in-content links to help our web pages rank better.

Yes, we use them to manipulate Google rankings.

We all know what we’re doing – we know Google frowns on that (ok, totally HATES that), but we do it anyway.

So, please – no whining about how this isn’t “fair”, ok?

What Happened?

In the case of BuildMyRank, Google identified an “overwhelming majority” of their backlink network sites – and Google de-indexed those sites (here is the official BuildMyRank announcement post).

This has been happening to MANY of these backlink blog network sites and services as Google is getting very active about removing these network sites from their index – and making the links FROM those sites useless.

Google doesn’t index those sites anymore, therefor they don’t see or count your links anymore. In turn, this weakens your back link profile, and your rankings start to drop – or tank all-together (depending on how much these types of links made up your entire back link profile).
I’ve heard around the web that this is happening to not only Build My Rank, but also to services like LinkVana, Authority Link Network, and many other names we’re probably familiar with.

So, What Does This All Mean?

Well, first off – this whole situation and all the buzz it’s creating is awesome PR for Google. It’s always great for Google to get major news buzz when they do something to remove the crap from their index and to improve search results.

Ever since the JC Penneys incident, the general public is more aware than ever of how web masters manipulate Google in order to be able to rank at the top of their query space(s).

We in the internet marketing/SEO space have always known this was going on (and will continue), but I don’t think the average Google user was overly aware of this – or really cared, for that matter.

But since the NY Times brought this situation front and center for the whole world to see, Google has HAD to do something to clean things up. These “things they did” include things like Panda…and this massive de-indexing of blog networks.

Reality is, Google can’t just sit there and do NOTHING – so hats off to them for doing something to appease the general public, further promote trust in their brand and search results, and for protecting their index.

Hey, it’s their company, right? They can do whatever they want.

But here IN the internet marketing/SEO community, the overwhelming feeling is – the sky is falling.

::insert heavy sigh from me.  Like Michelle said in her blog post about this – I also hate ‘fear mongoring’:::::

Should You Remove Your Links From Blog Networks?

This is a good question that is totally up for debate (and your personal choice as how to react).

Some say leave the links/ignore messages in Google Webmaster Tools – others say remove the links.

Many wonder, “If I keep the links and don’t remove them, will MY site(s) get deindexed too?”

This is a tough question. For one, when sites that have links to you get deindexed by Google, those links don’t “count” anymore. Based on that, as I said earlier, your rankings may very well drop or tank.

This doesn’t necessarily mean YOUR site is getting hit with a penalty because you have links from these blog networks – it DOES mean you lost back link POWER so your rankings drop.

ie, it’s not necessarily a direct penalty, but the indirect result from your linking pages getting de-indexed.

Got it?

Also, as I’ve shown before in this Twitter conversation in this post, Google has been known to penalize a site for what they USED to do and/or have on their site – so you might not get a “clean slate” just because you remove those links. The history is still there…and Google forgets nothing.

You also need to decide if you believe that things can be done TO your site’s Google rankings or not.

By this, I mean – do you believe someone else can go out and buy/build a ton of links to your site and HURT your rankings?

I, personally, hold on to my warm and fuzzy belief that there is some fairness when it comes to ranking in Google.

Yes, that might be foolish of me ;)

However, I hang on to the belief that others cannot go out and build tons of crap links to my site(s) and cause harm to my ranking.

If so, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) would become SEOC (Sabotage Every Other Competitor), ya know?

Why would anyone work on their own sites, links OR content, when all we’d need to do is go out and attempt to destroy our competition?

That’s why it makes sense to me that Google doesn’t necessarily penalize your SITE for “nasty” links, but instead, devalues or de-indexes the pages/sites those links come FROM so they don’t affect your either way (neither good nor bad).

That, to me, makes perfect sense – and it’s how I keep my sanity ’round here.

However, others do not feel the same way – read this post from AffHelper.

Based on my thoughts and feelings on this, if you get a “love note” inside your Google Webmaster Tools informing you that they (Google) have detected “artificial or unnatural links” – it seems almost silly to me to go remove those links to please Google.

Why? Because, to me, it is giving Google proof that YOU not only created those links, but also have control over those links. In other words, it wasn’t done TO you.

Just my opinion. I think I’d go about working to make my back link profile better and slowly dilute the bad stuff.

You will need to form your own opinion and then decide how to handle your own unique situation.

 

So What Works NOW?

Natural question now that the news of the “death” of blog networks is running rampant around the web.

First off, not all blog networks are dead.  Not all blog networks are dead and gone forever.  In fact, I’ve gotten some emails announcing the “new” xyz blog network.

Blog networks will always be out there – and they will be used and abused as long as they work…and then it’s off to the latest and greatest new network.

The blog networks that are most heavily used and most popular tend to be the ones that get shut down the quickest.   I mean seriously, how hard is it for the good folks at Google to watch for the latest launch of any new network, sign up, and see what sites are part of the network – and that’s doing it manually, right?

So we need to be realistic here – if everyone and their brother is using it, the lower the life-expectancy of the network as a whole.

There are networks that appear to still “work”, but I’m not ready to talk about that now.  Naturally, them still being viable now doesn’t mean they will always remain viable.

I’m always testing and watching so I can be on top of “what works now” – but that probably isn’t something that I will literally spell out here publicly.

 

I watch query spaces.

Yes, that means I pick random queries (keyword phrases), take the current top 20 or so ranking urls, and pop them into my rank checking tool.

I pick phrases that I might be invested in… I pick phrases I have NO investment in.

In short, I just track them… check out their back links to see HOW they are ranking….and then just watch.

 

Why in the world would I do this?

First off, it’s fun for me (yes, I am a weirdo) – but mainly because I can SEE when algo changes totally shift a query space.

So when Google announces an algo change – I can SEE how it affects these query spaces.

I have pages that I am tracking that I *know* should be nailed with these latest changes – and they’re still going strong.

I have some urls I track that I’m waiting to see them get nailed, because by all accounts, based on what Google says, these urls should be dropped to no-mans land in the SERPs.

They’re still there.

And we’re talking some big money/big volume keyword query spaces too.  Some of them are majorly dominated with affiliate sites (which Google hates, right?  Wrong).

What Google says.. what Google does…and what actually happens are all different things.  Keep that in mind.

However, there are some urls that I track that I can see the effects of blog networks getting de-indexed hurting their rankings.

See this graph (sorry, not sharing the url or the keyword phrase)

 

Up until March 13th or so, this url was ranking pretty consistently above the fold on Page 1 for a very, very competitive keyword phrase.

On March 14th, that site tumbled in the rankings to #200 and is now sitting at about #150.

Ouch, right?

Why did this happen?  This url did a lot with blog networks… many of those blog networks sites that were linking to them got de-indexed, and now that url is losing back links at an alarming rate.

I’ve been watching where and how they get their back links – I can see what services/networks they use too (and if *I* can figure it out, I promise you, Google is way ahead of me – WAY ahead).

So now I am in the “watch and analyze” phase as all this plays out.  Who is still going strong?  What are they doing?  Who is tanking?  What did they do?

In these big money/big volume query spaces, it’s a dog eat dog type of environment.  No matter WHAT Google does today, they will figure out something in a few hours and do that to compete for that coveted first page or number 1 ranking.

I simply get the pleasure of being a ‘query space stalker’ – seeing what’s working/not working…and then applying that to my own not-nearly-as-competitive query spaces.

My advice is this – if you are in a query space that really matters to you – WATCH the other players.  You will learn MUCH more by watching the others than you will buying an ebook or paying for any blog network or “loophole of the day” rankings trick.

My Over-All Advice

Work on making your back link profile better.  Over time, the good should outweigh the bad…and slowly the bad will fall away.  Be careful when using any network that is wayyyy overused or is set up in a way that a) provides urls of WHERE your links are, or b) has an easy-to-follow footprint.

Also, realize that these blog networks most likely will not “work” forever.  The more public they are, the more likely they are to live a short life.

Concentrate on your message – and then be a “Stalker” in your query space(s) too.  See what helps your competitors rank and then make a conscious decision if you are willing to take that risk too.

Any time you do anything in attempt (or in hope) of manipulating your rankings in Google search results, it’s a risk.  Surely we all know that by now, right?

Above all – get informed so you make informed choices.

Michael, from 100kResults was kind enough to make the following webinar he did for his members public so we all can learn from it.

 Thank you Michael for sharing this with everyone.  Be sure to check out his 100kResults site for more info.

Ok, comments are open – fire away!

 

 

 



{ 135 comments }

Nell @ Housewife Empire March 22, 2012 at 9:09 pm

Great post! I’ve been watching the whole BMR thing play out with great interest these last few days. Quick question, though. What, in your opinion, is the best, most natural way to link-build yourself in light of this new change? Like what places are the best for diversification? Thanks..

PotPieGirl March 23, 2012 at 4:00 pm

Hiya Nell =)

There really isn’t a “best” way to naturally link build yourself. Truly natural links are when someone ELSE comes along, likes your web page, and then links to you.

However, you can do things like write good articles for good article directories and get an author bio link, comment on related blogs with good comments…things like that.

Hovirag April 9, 2012 at 8:32 pm

The truth is backlinks don’t really count. Sorry if I hurt someone’s feelings BUT
my websites are sitting number one, two or three on page one in google search without doing the so advertised backlinking!

Sure I do get backlinks from here and there but I don’t use all those backlink strategies. Also think about this facet: my website with a zero PR is the first ahead of pr3,4,7 sites with hundreds of thousands of backlinks. Does it make you think?

I hope so.
Another topic: google hates opt in pages and wants pure solid content. Hm. my opt in page site ranks on first page in google for the chosen keyword ( now no 3 but I haven’t done anything to it for a year, it was number one). Not much content and a squeeze page which google is said to hate…

Simple page optimisation will do the wonder.

Affiliate Marketing Mom March 22, 2012 at 9:10 pm

Sigh… you just confirmed a sneaking suspicion of mine. I love you for doing the research that I don’t have the time (or energy!) for. So would you say that social bookmarking is still a great way to go or is that in the same line of what is happening with the blog networks? It is a pet peeve of mine to waste time and energy doing something I will only get penalized for by Google!

PotPieGirl March 23, 2012 at 4:02 pm

I hear ya… and we never know if what’s good today will be bad down the road.

Yes, social bookmarking is a good way to share your content.

Gary March 22, 2012 at 9:13 pm

Bottom line, these networks and many other tools we use online are no different then the natural resources on the rock we live on. They are fantastic until they get used up. When it is just a few using it responsibly , it last forever and ever. But when everyone uses and many abuse the resource it is gone in an instant. There are so many examples of this. The most tragic being Market Samurai.

Bill March 22, 2012 at 9:14 pm

I know you still want to believe that negative SEO is not possible…and I *want* to believe that too. But I’m with Affhelper, and believe neg SEO is alive and well and going to get worse until Goog wakes up which will likely happen once the white hat evangelists cry about it long enough.

Regarding the links, I’m personally not removing any links I allegedly may or may not have. :)

PotPieGirl March 23, 2012 at 4:08 pm

Hey Bill =)

Yes, I still want to believe it, that’s true. I do believe it’s very possible with a newer site than an older, established site for obvious reasons. However, I’m not sure that one person (even armed with automated tools) could take down an old established site/url – at least take them down for good.

I’m still thinking/poking/testing my thoughts on all that. I’m sure my “warm fuzzy” can be changed if I SEE it.

As for removing links, I hear ya! lol!

Thanks!

Pawel Reszka March 22, 2012 at 9:16 pm

Jennifer, they didn’t just devalue links. They penalized the sites using them to, so if someone was building those links to your site it would affect it. Many people reported that their rankings dropped lower than what it used to be before they even attempted to influence it using spam tactics. Read this recent post by Ryan Clark http://www.linkbuildr.com/negative-seo-on-the-rise/

PotPieGirl March 23, 2012 at 4:18 pm

Hi Pawel =)

Thanks for stopping by! And a big thank you for linking to Ryan’s recent post. Very interesting and I’ll be following along with his case study.

As I said in my comment above, I do believe it is very possible with a new site/url that has a very weak link profile….but for an older and more-established site with a strong link profile that continues to naturally get stronger…. I’m still not sure about that.

Regardless, it’s all good food for thought…and food for testing ;)

Glad to see you here!

ruggero@sfera.net March 26, 2012 at 11:41 am

why would you trust people who build links for a living about negative SEO?

they can’t sell “positive” links anymore and this of negative SEO is a desperate marketing tactic to still try and sell some of those link (but for the opposite reason)

Dee March 22, 2012 at 9:19 pm

I have purchased your backlinking service in the past. Since we don’t know the “secret sauce” you use, I’m curious – will the backlinks we’ve purchased from you be affected by this? Or do you do other things that don’t include blog networks. I just want to know what to expect.

Barbara March 22, 2012 at 9:27 pm

I rarely comment on a post. But, this interests me. I have a site that I have been working on (local business). It went from nowhere to page one. Then, I made a huge mistake joining a blogging network. Now, it is on page 3 or 4, depending on the day. This, although my original links and SEO work had gotten it to page 1. I do feel it has been penalized. I am just gonna keep working at it. And never join a network again.

BSW March 22, 2012 at 9:34 pm

Great article.
What do you think about SEOLinkVine and their associated products? Will you be posting any services that you recommend?

Bill March 22, 2012 at 9:47 pm

SEO LinkVine is garbage, don’t bother with it. Even if it’s not deindexed, it’s a terrible network.

BSW March 23, 2012 at 1:30 am

Good to know, thanks.
Are there any networks you would recommend at this time?

PotPieGirl March 23, 2012 at 4:20 pm

I’m gonna stay quiet about all that right now.

Yvonne March 22, 2012 at 9:43 pm

good sense here…
I remember Matt Cutts saying this much once. That since anyone could go out and buy a bunch of bad links to hurt you they could not penalize you for bad links except to not count them…something like that…
thanks for bringing some sanity to SEO folks

Pawel Reszka March 22, 2012 at 9:57 pm

Actually here is one of Matt Cutts’ quotes “piling links onto a competitor’s site to reduce its search rank isn’t impossible, but it’s extremely difficult.” – Matt Cutts

Dita @ How To Earn Online March 22, 2012 at 9:50 pm

Thank you Jennifer for another awesome post. I too have used a network but very sparingly. But I think at this point I am going to just give up on that and completely give it up.

I think that some blog networks do not even control what is going out. Some of the spun material is so incredibly bad that I can see how devaluing some of the sites will really clean up the searches for the general public. I have seen sites with only one or two posts but an incredible # of links being on the 1st page for a very competitive keywords. The posts did not really offer any value. It was just an adsense site. I am, in a way glad that Google is cleaning the mess that exists online and hopefully blogs which offer value will gain the top spots.

PotPieGirl March 23, 2012 at 4:21 pm

If the site was part of a network, and there was AdSense on the site – it was a BAD network.

Sue:In disbelief March 22, 2012 at 10:03 pm

WOW! WOW! WOW!

I think you have a bare face cheek PotPie girl – Jennifer!

Why?

Without warning Michael Ullman and Adam Franklin that you were going to bias-ily post or get their input prior to posting, you debunked Micheal and Adam’s 100k product publicly on your blog here:
http://www.potpiegirl.com/2011/08/100k-blueprint-warning-read-this/ [20 Aug 2011]

and then

in this post: http://www.potpiegirl.com/2012/03/the-sky-is-falling/ [22 Mar 2012]

QUOTE
Michael, from 100kResults was kind enough to make the following webinar he did for his members public so we all can learn from it.
UNQUOTE

you’re RECOMMENDING (for commission, I add) the very 100K product you cursed off!!!

Oh please!

Now you tell me, do I believe you on 20 Aug 2011 (even with your false apology (my opinion) to Michael and Adam) or do I believe you instead on 22 Mar 2012 and trust you’re not going change your mind about them and 100k product at a future date? (or any other product you recommend for that matter?)

How come you didn’t realise that 100k was made by ‘kind enough Michael’ in the early part of your 20 Aug 2011 posting?

BTW: Michael and Adam were ‘kind enough’ prior to 20 Aug 2011 and will always be ‘kind enough’ in my eyes WITH or WITHOUT YOUR ENDORSING

Sue

PotPieGirl March 23, 2012 at 4:26 pm

Hi Sue…

If you read my post about one of his products, it was NOT the training or him that I had issue with. It was a simple little footprint that one of the themes had that I felt it was important to warn others about.

Michael addressed the issue and corrected it. I happen to think Michael Ullman is a very good teacher and knows his stuff. I never said his training was bad… I never said I would not recommend his products either. What I DID say is in that post that you referred to and in the follow-up comments.

Thanks for stopping by.

Adam March 24, 2012 at 8:52 am

QUOTE : “you’re RECOMMENDING (for commission, I add) the very 100K product you cursed off!!!”

WRONG !!!!!!

It was the theme to the A100k product that was talked about previously. The link in this post is to a new and totally different product (100k Results), which has only been out for 2 weeks. So it’s not the product that was ‘cursed off’.

Kim March 22, 2012 at 10:13 pm

I almost signed up for BMR a few months ago but I didn’t. I’m glad now that I didn’t.

Tom March 22, 2012 at 10:35 pm

I heard of someone doing a bit of ‘link espionage’ on a few sites that were ranking where they shouldn’t be, should we say. Guess what, 80% of the sites given a load of ‘dodgy’ backlinks went down in the serps.

Coincidence? Maybe, but I’m more inclined to believe that it’s not so difficult to pull sites down as Matt Cutts says it is. If Google is penalizing sites rather than just de-indexing their links then it is going to get very easy to bring down a commercial site that is your way. Or for someone else to bring your site down if you are in their way.

Perhaps all sites now ought to be built in Facebook or us video instead. That way google could become irrelevant to affiliate sites as they would have no control over them. The more google tries to be Facebook and sociable, the less their users will use them for search. Then we will all be optimizing for Bing, Yahoo and ‘flavor of the month’.

Good luck to all marketers.

Tom

PotPieGirl March 23, 2012 at 4:29 pm

Interesting, Tom – thanks for sharing.

I’ll be researching more about all that, but above all, I’m looking for examples of someone DOING it. We all hear some crazy stuff round the internet, but I’m someone who doesn’t go by what others say, I go by what I see.

Thanks!!

Ian Worrall March 22, 2012 at 10:40 pm

One way to do it is to simply run your business as though Google didn’t exist. That way you won’t have to worry about the algo changes all the time. As long as you’re doing white hat as opposed to grey or black hat stuff you’ll likely be fine.

PotPieGirl March 23, 2012 at 4:32 pm

Hey Ian =)

I agree – running things as if Google doesn’t exist could make things easier on your sanity – but when you need that organic exposure, it’s hard to ignore Google at this time.

eddie March 22, 2012 at 11:06 pm

Jennifer,
To be honest I am a little confused about this. I use a service that build backlinks to my backlinks to get them indexed faster and increase the number of backlinks that get indexed.
Is this similar to what you are talking about here?
Or are these blog networks where you put content on with a backlink direct to your webpage?
What is your opinion on the backlink indexing services?
Thanks for making it a little more clearer.
Eddie

PotPieGirl March 23, 2012 at 4:34 pm

Hey Eddie –

Yes, we’re talking about networks where you put your content with links to your web page.

As for backlink indexing? It can help make sure Google knows where your links are as opposed to waiting for them to find them naturally (if they do at all). It can also help keep your linking pages IN the Google index too.

josh bachynski March 22, 2012 at 11:23 pm

Only 22% of ALN’s network and 3% of SEnuke’s network was de-indexed. Building links in this environment is just as scalable and easy, you just have to know what you are doing.

PotPieGirl March 23, 2012 at 4:37 pm

Hey Josh – Yes, I agree..blog networks aren’t going away. However, at this point and time, the ‘big players’ are having issues. Yes, you do need to know what you’re doing and part of that ‘knowing’ is the realization that those networks don’t last forever. With too much use, and over use, the footprints becomes stronger and more obvious…and the network goes down unless they have tons of fresh domains to keep popping in to replace the ones lost.

Thanks!

yquest March 22, 2012 at 11:32 pm

Jennifer,
Would you happen to know how the big fortune 500 companies do their link building or the seo companies they hire? I mean are they really using tools like blog networks, blog profile commenting, writing articles, etc.? I know they do PPC, but what are their tools or processes for natural rankings?

PotPieGirl March 23, 2012 at 4:38 pm

Hiya =)

Best way to know what they’re doing is to go SEE. In other words, reverse engineer them and take a look at what they’re doing (or having done TO them…lol)

Tim March 27, 2012 at 1:50 pm

They buy links….I know because they try to buy them off me on a regular basis!

charis March 22, 2012 at 11:36 pm

I noticed a drop in some of my indexed backlinks and was wondering why, this explains it. Some of the regular diverse backlinks did not get popped though. Thanks for the info and i am convinced that diversity is the name of the game, i think social bookmarking will carry the day.

PotPieGirl March 23, 2012 at 4:39 pm

Hiya Charis =)

While I agree that social signals are important, diversity is key. No ONE thing or technique is good.

Jeff the Business Owner March 22, 2012 at 11:47 pm

Hi Jen,

Incidentally, I was weighing what backlinking strategy I want to focus in. This article is heaven-sent should I say.

A lesson I should have known and really take to my heart.
In the end, gaming a system is never profitable long term. Natural link building is still the best way.

And it sounds to me, that guest posting is the most solid backlink strategy…slow and steady yet casted on stone. :)

PotPieGirl March 23, 2012 at 4:41 pm

Hey Jeff =)

As my quote on my Twitter profile page says:

“It’s not how fast you get there, It’s how long you stay”

Problem is – people want to get there fast. Very few are willing to take the slow and steady route.

Thanks!

I want my boyfriend back - Mariyah Tyler March 23, 2012 at 12:09 am

No offense, but you sound like a Google apologist. I do agree with some of what you’ve said, but you add a condescending and pompous tone with the whole “the sky is falling” sarcasm, as well as a few other elements. I will say that it seems like a few bad apples always spoil a bunch. I hate it when Internet marketers utilize blackhat techniques because it gets so widespread and popular that it forces search engines to make changes that can harm the rest of us. But I get tired of hearing sanctimonious Internet marketers say that good sites from marketers who work hard to make great content won’t be affected by these changes, and with this arrogant “we shall rise” attitude. I’m not talking about you personally, Potpie girl, just in general from people in the Internet Marketing communities. I don’t know. I just find these assumptions and proclamations a bit grandiose.

I am subscribed to you through my e-mail. Someone recommended you, and I like what I’ve been seeing. I’m just saying that because I don’t want you to take what I said too personally.

All the best!

Mariyah

PotPieGirl March 23, 2012 at 4:45 pm

Just trying to be a realist, that’s all.

If you read all around the SEO community and internet marketing blogs, you’ll see that the whole “the sky is falling” attitude is BIG about this issues. I wasn’t being condescending…

Tim March 27, 2012 at 1:52 pm

Whitehat SEO will never work on a new site for any KWP worth having.

Johnnie March 23, 2012 at 12:20 am

So much of this in the news lately! Will try to find more natural link methods from now on! Thanks jennifer!

Kathy@Self Development and Growth March 23, 2012 at 12:42 am

Jennifer, as usual you go the extra mile to help folks like us take a deep breath and look at change in a rational manner. In the long run the old advice to create good, valuable, unique content will never go out of style! :)

PotPieGirl March 23, 2012 at 4:46 pm

Thanks, Kathy!

Yes, your message does matter (as I talked about here) – but the reality is, we still have to know how to get found.

Geoff March 23, 2012 at 12:58 am

Great read on everything.

My only thought is that this is SO FAR OFF THE RADAR of everyone that is only a casual internet user that there is no PR in this for Google. Tiniest of tiny percentage of people are aware of any of this.

Luckily, we all are. And, that’s what makes us special!

I’ve got to play with my son now, but thanks for the link to the 100k results guy. I’ll check it out a little later.

Alan March 23, 2012 at 1:01 am

@PPG

Hey Jennifer,

What tools are you using to watch those query spaces that you mentioned?
What is your primary source for checking the backlink profile for the URL’s in those spaces?
I Really, Really miss yahoo site explorer!

Thanks for the great post!

Alan

PotPieGirl March 23, 2012 at 4:47 pm

Hi Alan – I’m still testing some new tools. I’ll share when I’m sold on them :)

Brett Jarvi March 23, 2012 at 1:07 am

Hi Jennifer,
I remember when you launched OWM. I bought it and used it to the best of my ability “at the time.”
What you teach or taught in that course is extremely relevant to this day.

What I found to be true then, more so now is video marketing. I still make money from my first video and I shake my big fat head every time a sale comes in.
A proper video”campaign” beats the hell out of building a site, SEO, backlinking the bejesus out of it, whoops, too much, not enough, whoops, you’re not the boss of me now.

I am so sick of THE FEAR OF GOOGLE SEO that I puke. And I stop. And I am one internet marketing son of a

PotPieGirl March 23, 2012 at 4:49 pm

Hey Brett – nice to see you!

As long as Google monopolizes the search traffic on the web, the fear of Google stuff will be gagging us all in a big way.

Geoff March 23, 2012 at 1:31 am

You know what else is funny…

All these people posting comments on your post with their name being “myaffiliatesite”!

People…to look natural, why don’t you use your name, or another name, or something. But an anchor text link as a comment….DOES NOT LOOK NATURAL.

Just sayin’

Brett Jarvi March 23, 2012 at 1:40 am

Build your site before you jump Geoff the edge

Geoff March 23, 2012 at 1:56 am

Can’t argue with that.

Don’t assume it’s my only domain. And…I’m starting on a natural link profile for this particular domain…while adding relevance to the mighty PPG’s blog…

PotPieGirl March 23, 2012 at 4:50 pm

I have to agree… it does make me giggle seeing some of the “names” in comments – but hey, whatever….

steve March 23, 2012 at 1:50 am

Hi Jen,

Well this comes as no big surprise. The idea that a backlink is a vote for a site is Google’s basic premise. Voting for yourself is cheating even in Chicago where the politicians used to say vote early and vote often.

It makes the whole system a farce so Google had to do something about it and this is probably only the tip of the ice burg. Google is not stupid they know every loophole that is being exploited but until now haven’t been able to take action.
So if you are gaming the system expect the sky to keep falling. Personally I haven’t used these systems, not to say I haven’t been tempted.

While I do feel sorry for those who spent their hard earned money trying to rank their sites, I am actually glad Google is doing this because it gives those of us who play fair a fighting chance.

As some of these sites drop hopefully some better ones that earned their rank will rise to the top. And you are right Google hates these sites and actually calls them para-sites.

Steve

PotPieGirl March 23, 2012 at 4:59 pm

Hey Steve -

The system will always be gamed – always has been, always will be. Just a fact of life around here.

The bottom line is (in regards to your unique query space), you have to see what’s being done to get the top competitors at the top – and then decide if you’re willing to do that too. Also, be aware of the risks of doing it…or the risk of not doing it.

Ask any politician – fighting fair rarely works out best…lol!

Thanks for sharing!

Janus March 23, 2012 at 1:51 am

Great post Jennifer! I totally agree that the best way to protect your site from any further Google algorithm changes is to improve your backlink profile.

I now focus on getting natural links by creating really relevant, useful and comprehensive content that people want to share and therefore do the linking for you. I also submit guest posts to other blogs in my niche.

I have also used blog networks in the past but like you said they are not as effective as they once were.

Thanks for sharing this great article! Have a great day! :D

PotPieGirl March 23, 2012 at 5:01 pm

Hiya Janus – thanks!

Hmmm.. I never said they weren’t effective anymore. If they weren’t effective, do we really think it would be such a big deal for Google to deindex them? Just sayin’…

I like your plan. Creating great content that others choose to link to and share is a great way to go about all this.

You have a great day, too!

Linda @ rehab cetners blog March 23, 2012 at 2:32 am

I think the main key is to focus on creating great content. Then do focus on getting some links but make them high quality. This is a much slower process than just figuring out some get links quick scheme. I suppose plenty of people do well with those schemes because they continue in one form or another.

I just focus on good quality ver the long term and then a few SEO tweaks. Like Google cares a bunch about incoming links so work on that some. Google cares a bunch about domain name so think about that when setting up a new site. Google cares a bunch about new content so be biased toward that (this along with the big favoring of links makes blogs much more SEO friendly to me – getting quality links to blogs is so much easier than getting quality links to sites with great content that are not blogs).

So I can pay a bit of attention to SEO changes but really don’t have to pay much and do fine over the long term. Now I just need to focus a bit more on how to make money from a bunch of great sites that get nice traffic.

Barry March 23, 2012 at 4:29 am

I use the google alerts to keep me informed as to what pages are getting indexed for a variety of keywords, and I am frequently AMAZED at how poor quality some of the pages are.

fwiw, I think google has not done ENOUGH to clear the crud out of its index. I use an initial backlinking strategy in the OWM model to get indexed, then build longer term high quality backlinks from there.

I also have to agree with some of your readers out there – negative backlinking / seo sabotage is probably still happening and effective. I see it in some of my google analytics… simply bizarre offensive keywords that my sites rank for, presumably because someone has link-spammed an offensive keyword phrase at my site.

PotPieGirl March 23, 2012 at 5:06 pm

Hi Barry =)

Yep, there is still is tons of crud out there…and there always will be.

As for the negative SEO stuff … oh, yes, you can totally make any url rank for any crazy phrase you choose. In fact, that’s a good way to check the power of your back links (no, sorry, I won’t explain that further).

But I’m still not convinced one can remove an authority, top-ranking url from the SERPs (or drop them in the SERPs) with negative SEO.

Thanks!

Arthur March 23, 2012 at 5:31 am

What software do you use to generate the ranking position history?

Charley March 23, 2012 at 5:40 am

Hi PPG, here’s what I think:

About blasting a competitor’s site with links…
I’d say it’s all about the age of the site. A new site will definitely not survive that ‘cos the odds of the site owner building the links themselves are high – up to 90%. I don’t see any reason why anyone would want to pile links into a new site in their query space. The current rank in google also matters a lot. You can’t take off the #1 site in your query space ‘cos google knows that since the site is already ranked high, the owners won’t have any reason to build links aggressively. That’s why when we get penalised for excessive link building, some sites appear back while some sites continue sinking.

About blog networks…
Who says using blog networks is a good long term strategy? Why would you want your links to come from old expired domains that could get de-indexed at any time or get deleted by the owners. The only blog network you should be using is the one you built yourself. It’s better to build links from websites that will be around for several more years – websites that are getting traffic (use Alexa and Semrush) and websites that have original content or videos.

.:::::Charley

David Sandy March 23, 2012 at 5:45 am

I’m still in shock I didn’t get the message since I was BMR heavy but not crazy heavy. I do have sort of algorythmic looking penalty filter thing about 45 days old. It started wearing off about 5 days ago.
I’m wondering if the “unnatural links” message has a strong too much high pr link element to it. I had alot of pr-0 type filler and article directory links.

I’m not sure about the negative SEO thing because of that . Links on high pr sites seem the ones targeted. Apparently BLE (backlink energizer stuff) isn’t being overly affected.

What’s funny is the new “over seo” penalty which will target “excess reciprocal links” which is a favorite “white hat” tactic.

Most of my sites are local too which I think having affiliate stuff can make google way more careful.

PotPieGirl March 23, 2012 at 5:08 pm

Hey David =)

Glad to hear your penalty is wearing off.

I’m also keeping an eye on the whole upcoming “over-optimization” stuff that’s coming ’round. Should be interesting (as usual, when it comes to Google…lol!)

cham March 23, 2012 at 7:13 am

I’m really learning a lot from your posts Jennifer. Thanks for showing us what you got. As for me, I never tried buying backlinks really. I do all things by myself for now. It’s really time consuming but it’s also the safest way I think.

Dess March 23, 2012 at 8:14 am

I started making money when I shifted from other traffic sources to SEO. Google is the source of my income. However It has been a hurting experience when dealing with the big G. I had a site ranking and making me some money, after a while it goes down. I built another then it also after some success, goes down too. Then another … down too.
Now how I wish I had the money to advertise! Paid ad is much more pain free – at least I think. Once you get winning campaigns voilla it is easier to go with that even though you are spending money because you are making money anyways.
Sory potpiegirl but this is my plan now. I drive traffic from other ranking pages just like this one by commenting or similar tasks.

Scott March 23, 2012 at 8:30 am

Nice post. The writing for this has been on the wall for some time already. Let’s face it, blog networks are used to artificially inflate link popularity for sites that otherwise wouldn’t get links. Or to express in less politically correct fashion, to push spam and crap up in SEs. I’m surprised Google allowed this party to go on for so long.

I’ve used these things before also, but in my experience they haven’t worked. But that’s just my experience. Now I try to approach link building and marketing my site as if Google didn’t exist. That means I try to get traffic from other sources and what comes from Google is just a nice bonus. Difficult, but I think it’ll pay off in the end as my site is not vulnerable to whims of Google :)

Wendy Owen March 23, 2012 at 9:03 am

Hi Jennifer,

While I really agrre with most of your article and the fact that the sky isn’t falling, why did you have to feature a video done by someone who seems convinced that it is?

I’m sure Michael really knows his his stuff, but 600+ word articles? The average web browser would not be able to wade through all that. Anyway who would have time to maintain one site, let alone several? After all we still have to eat and sleep!

Not getting at you, but I disagreed with a lot of stuff in the video. On the other hand the article from “affhelper” was right on the money!

Wendy

PotPieGirl March 23, 2012 at 5:13 pm

Hi Wendy =)

I shared the video because I think it’s important to share multiple points of view instead of just mine. My over-all goal is to help people get more informed and make better choices for their work/sites/techniques – not to do what *I* say. :)

I’m glad you watched the video and that you disagree. Your opinion about what’s best for you is what matters to me.

Thanks!!

Moosa Hemani March 23, 2012 at 9:38 am

Ok, that sounds like news to me as I always believe on links that you can build naturally and you should not have the direct control of it other than you can send the email to the webmaster to change the anchor or link (I am more in love of white hat).

Well as far as your approach of not removing a link is pretty much what I have and while back I actually wrote a post on SEJ that says What if you competitors build spam links to my website (http://www.searchenginejournal.com/what-if-my-competitor-buys-spam-links-to-my-website/28786/) I think it’s actually great to leave the links as it is and stat building some authority links to dilute the overall link profile…

Great Information and Detailed post anyways…

PotPieGirl March 23, 2012 at 5:23 pm

Hey, that’s a great article – and the comments following are good info/insight also.

Thanks for sharing!

Stephen Byrne March 23, 2012 at 10:35 am

Well Jennifer, after tons and tons of emails from companies like these, I am delighted I left my credit card in pocket. I have many site, that I backlink myself. You may laugh at this as I know it is time consuming, but the way I backlink my various sites is by using Google email alerts for certain keywords for that specific niche and read and leave comments.
I build up natural links, while keeping up to-date with that niche and enjoying some reads and I have noticed by doing this some of my pages rank really well. Yes it takes time (I dedicated a half hour to it) but it works for me.

PotPieGirl March 23, 2012 at 5:25 pm

Hey Stephen =)

That’s sounds like a great plan. Helps you AND helps the owners of the blogs you comment on because you actually read their post and add to the conversation via your comments. Glad it’s working for you!

stretch marks March 23, 2012 at 10:37 am

I have heard it too, and one of link network that I know was de-indexed is seolinkmonster.
I think it will help a small owner site that don’t have money to buy a link

thanks

Susan Murray March 23, 2012 at 11:44 am

Dear everyone,
I would like to know if someone can give me advice on how to go about a website/blog business ?
I have never owned either and am in the process of starting a website business with wordpress blog.
As I have got no advertising strategies yet I would like to know how I start on the right foot.
I have heard all the remarks about Google and up to now have no backlinks of any kind although this will be a content full website with affiliate links which is called “Turnkey” site, how do I keep my site clean and still get seen in the search engines as good ? I am totally confused …where to start??
I do write articles and childrens short stories, maybe I can do something here with my writing and use other advertising ideas but this would be on a blog !!!
Hope someone can give me real good advice here …

Regards,
Susan.

Candice March 23, 2012 at 3:29 pm

Hi Susan,
I would start right here at potpiegirl.com. Read all her stuff and what she recommends (most is free). Soak in as much as you can. I started to make some money:-) when I followed her suggestions.
Hope that helps:-)

Candice

Susan Murray March 24, 2012 at 9:30 am

Thanks Candice,
I shall try what you say and try and keep it all clean but I think this will be quite hard to do !!!
I have never really owned a website and have a lot to learn especially on the promotion side as strategies have changed so much over the years.
I owned a blog a few years ago but abandoned it when Google were no help !!!
I shall look out for ways and help to get me started !!!!
I do article writing so maybe I can submit my articles somewhere where it wont affect me so much.

rob March 23, 2012 at 11:44 am

I’ve just gotten into the whole SEO thing, but I have to make this clear, as it’s starting to annoy me, and simply doesn’t make any sense. There IS NO such thing as a BACKLINK PENALTY by google. If this was the case, then getting rid of competitors would be easy.., how you ask? simple, just link their URl to spam networks, xrumer blasts, basically every blackhat linkbuilding method…that will get them penalised right? wrong! google isn’t stupid, it will simply ignore any unnatural linking patterns. Hope that makes sense. google will only PENALISE bad ONPAGE seo, like keyword stuffing, cloaking and dodgy javascript. They IGNORE bad OFFPAGE seo.

Pawel Reszka March 23, 2012 at 12:17 pm

You might want to rethink what you said because with recent changes IT IS in fact easy to penalize your competitors. The strategy you described is probably sufficient enough to trigger the “unnatural links” message to be sent out to the webmaster. Just go to a forum like TrafficPlanet.com (where Matt Cutts likes to hang out) and read some of the Negative SEO threads. Google doesn’t ignore bad offpage SEO, who told you that?

rob March 23, 2012 at 12:51 pm

common sense told me that :p ..the dramatic ranking falls come from bad links being ignored (taken out of the equation)…as a business, google doesn’t want to be ‘gamed’…that’s the whole point of google algorithm updates…that occur daily…it’s not rocket science. If google is easy to manipulate then it’s dead as a search engine, and can follow meta engines to the grave. Google employees ie Matt Cutts, will not disclose how google algorithms work, so won’t comment on penalties…so it’s all guesswork from you lot. There’s a thread here : http://groups.google.com/a/googleproductforums.com/forum/#!category-topic/webmasters/crawling-indexing–ranking/FXZ5vjm78xo

only Barry06 seems to know what he’s talking about… which is my point….penalties for somethying you can’t control..? nonsense…im sure google has smarter people working for them, and if I can see it, then they’ve already fixed it.

Pawel Reszka March 23, 2012 at 5:53 pm

Dude, you have no idead what you are talking about obviously. If Google only devalued those links it wouldn’t be a big deal and people wouldn’t complain about it much. Google also gave penalties to filter your site out until you do something about it. But here is the thing…you can’t because you have no control over those links if someone did it for you.

If you what you said was true then Google wouldn’t use this sentence in the unnatural link notice.

“If you find unnatural links to your site that you are unable to control or remove, please provide the details in your reconsideration request.”

LOL! Can you not see what is wrong with that? So if Google deindexed those links already there is no way for me to find it.

Anybody could have just as easily point those links to your site there Rob.

rob March 24, 2012 at 1:13 pm

oh pawel, we can’t seem to communicate…jeez..ok

1.we agree google puts some sort of value on links pointing to your website. we also agree that contextual links are the highest value.
2.we also agree you do not have control over links pointing TO your website. (as your last sentence shows, anyone can point to any website).
3. your rankings are calculated continuously…i dont know how frequently, but i’d guess maybe every 72 hours or so, to account for DNS propagation.

What happened was simple, website X has 3000 contextual links from a blog network.
Google saw those links and gave them high value, because they are contextual links.
Website X got a high ranking because of this high value in google’s equations..

Then the blog network or whatever got manually uncovered by big G. they de-index the network for violating various terms and conditions. This means all these good contextual links are now worthless.

Google calculates rankings continuously, (see point 3). So website X now has worthless backlinks, this value goes into google’s magic formula (see point 1), and the result is rankings tank. This is what you THINK is a penalty for having crap links pointing to you. It isn’t, it’s simply a recalculation that gives bad links a bad value.

The whole de-indexing of blogging networks is only bad news for people who were trying to take shortcuts to get contextual backlinks. So they are not being penalised, they are simply being ranked where they belong…position 400 or whatever…they should use a better backlink strategy in future.

It really isn’t that hard to grasp. :P
as for this notice –
“If you find unnatural links to your site that you are unable to control or remove, please provide the details in your reconsideration request.”

Let’s assume some competitor wants to hurt your rankings by buying bad links pointing to your website…could be a problem? only google knows, so unless you work for google, or can prove it’s happened to you, no comment.

I would challenge anyone who did not rely on blog network links, who has received this message plus a negative impact on rankings to come forward… google cannot expect you to know where all your backlinks come from…its the fucking internet..!

And if a bad guy decided to buy ten thousand links to point to my website, remember to use anchor SEO..lol.. the point is, it will not matter if your link building was done properly.

If this has happened, then it’s easy to set up shop with title – I WILL DESTROY YOUR COMPETITION – i will use xrumer and blast 50,000 spam links with your competitor’s url to hurt their google rankings.

You think google would allow this? or send them a message saying unnatural links and PENALISE them?

not gonna happen. Use your grey matter mate.

Pawel Reszka March 24, 2012 at 6:31 pm

Keep believing that. I have a lot of natural links and ranked better 6 months ago than now, so yeah there is a penalty of some kind due to some spam links pointed to it. Anyway, I won’t argue with you but you can research that yourself. It is indeed possible to hurt someone else’s rankings and Matt Cutts said it himself.

Quoting again ““piling links onto a competitor’s site to reduce its search rank isn’t impossible, but it’s extremely difficult.” and that was said a long time ago, not I think the “extremely difficult” part just turned into “extremely easy”.

Daniel Duckworth March 23, 2012 at 1:05 pm

Hi, I think you’ve given some sound advice. I wrote short guide for small businesses on how to recover if they were affected which goes into a bit more detail about ethical SEO.

http://www.designquotes.com.au/resources/business/internet-marketing-business-resources/5-tips-to-recover-from-googles-sting-operation-blog-network-de-indexing

Rick Byrd March 23, 2012 at 1:41 pm

Hey Jennifer!

Thanks for the great information. I just finished the video by Michael and I found it to be very eye opening. This information is obviously one man’s opinion so I will continue to check the information for it’s legitimacy. I am still learning about the does and dont’s about backlinking and getting traffic to my affiliate sites.

Take care!

- Rick

Carlen March 23, 2012 at 2:28 pm

Jennifer… thanks for being a sane voice in a sometimes insane world. You’re the best!

Aaron March 23, 2012 at 2:53 pm

The main thing which has been said over and over basically is don’t put all your eggs in one basket. :) I am guilty of heavily leaning on a blog network that I’m still a member of because the rankings helped me out a ton. Thankfully the network barely got hit and is no longer accepting new members and only accepts high quality content to hopefully be able to hang around through all this. But, even if it goes down I still have always built links through article directories, rss submissions, social bookmarking and profile links. It takes longer, but the results show eventually.

Pat Vojtaskovic March 23, 2012 at 3:11 pm

Jennifer,
I think you are on the money about this topic. I also do think google is fully aware on negative SEO tactics and has already installed a protection feature. It’s that dreaded sandbox so many people fear that is in reality what keeps black hatters from destroying us like they used to. I know a lot of people will disagree with me and that’s O.K. I been doing this a really long time my opinion is not based on what i read in forums. It’s based on what happens out there in the trenches. You better listen to Pot Pie girl on this one, she is right!

Shawn March 23, 2012 at 4:50 pm

Thanks again for keeping it real Jennifer. I have been following your blog for a few years now, and as always you bring creditable and insightful information to the table. I personally only dabble in internet marketing on a part time basis, and honestly have only made money following your advise on creating Squidoo lenses, as well as Josh Spaulding’s article marketing. I just started a new site a few months ago and am considering my back link strategy. So thanks for save me some time and money with this info..

Ruby March 23, 2012 at 4:50 pm

Thanks for this awesome post! This information is great!

Financial Samurai March 23, 2012 at 5:27 pm

Truly fascinating stuff! I had NO IDEA there were such huge networks out there where people paid good money to join to have their links syndicated in mass to build up their back links. Call me naive I guess.

My I ask you this simple, but important question then? What if you’ve built a network that has no entry fee to get in, no mandatory payments to stay in, and does not syndicate any of a member’s content b/c the network doesn’t own multiple sites to syndicate across? The Network is simply a group of like-minded bloggers who are friends and want to help each other out.

Thanks,

Sam

Adam March 24, 2012 at 9:16 am

“friends and want to help each other out”

Errrmmmm do you not think that’s search engine manipulation then (The thing that Google hates !!!) ?

If there’s a footprint that Google spots you WILL have wasted your time / get a penalty (depending on your beliefs), regardless of whether you’ve paid a fee or not.

Financial Samurai March 29, 2012 at 6:47 am

No, I think it’s just friends helping each other out online. The Yakezie Network has some of the finest personal finance and lifestyle content on the web. Feel free to have a read of my articles, articles on Yakezie.com or any of the Members.

Carlton Johnson March 23, 2012 at 9:25 pm

Hi Jennifer

Great post. I always felt as though a few of the blog networks left a fairly obvious footprint. However, I do still think there are one or two that are less obvious. But as you said, at the end of the day, any of this type of stuff is manipulating the results to some degree, but most things are. I read an interesting post by Chris Rempel, which lead me to the post you linked to from affhelper, and I must say that I found there arguments about rouge competitors now being able to get you penalized in Google, quite compelling.

I still haven’t made up my mind yet and probably won’t because I am not going to waste time giving it to much thought, if there is nothing I can do about it anyway, all I would say is that it emphasizes something that I have really started to preach of late, which is you have to take Google out the picture as much as possible, to many people rely on them. They are loyal to nobody and anyone can get hit (sometimes for no clear reason).

Jon March 24, 2012 at 6:05 am

Excellent overview of the issues. Personally I’ve always ignored and steered clear of artificial link building schemes. They’re a dime a dozen but most charge exorbitant fees for their services. Currently one of my niche sites in a highly competitive market features on page #1 for three competitive terms in that niche without any paid ‘link building schemes’ being used. Simply adding 5-10 fresh articles every week seems to do the trick and so long as the site keeps bringing in good monthly revenue I see no reason to change my strategy.

Dorian March 24, 2012 at 6:08 am

I have received in the past the infamous message from Google, but not this time around.
First time the penalty was a slight increase in traffic and soon after that a drop in the rankings, but not in the traffic.
Hmmm…
Since I only do this as a hobby, the sky stayed up for me, although the drop in rank didn’t feel well.
People are mentioning here alternatives to Google for traffic. Yes you can get traffic from Facebook, but how much you need to spend to get targeted traffic from Fb? Yahoo and Hotmail? Don’t you think they’ll get smart about link gaming too?
Advertisement? Yes, but it’s more expensive.

Cameron March 24, 2012 at 10:21 pm

I am so glad that you covered this information because I was wondering what this will mean for internet marketers and those who have niche websites. Also I was interested in how the SEO consulting businesses where going to handle this too, although I am sure all their methods are diversified when it comes to backlinks. Thanks again Potpiegirl.

Gary Viray @ Search Opt Media March 25, 2012 at 1:57 pm

Anything of low quality will not last.

iDCx March 25, 2012 at 2:44 pm

Great read potpiegal!

Well my 2 pence would be – i thnink these kind of websites had their day back in 2008… when that law came in in USA that they had to have the sitewide thing that was all “we sell contextual links” what was it called now… either way pay per copy n paste and blogvana or wft – was like 3 years ago anyway…

I like gary’s comment right near the top – they are fine till everyone and their mother gets a post in there – blog posting by definition in SEO should be about adding value – seperate your SEO intentions for “must be on a new domain” – must be on a class c ip – must be from an indexed page – and all that – for ” must be a relevant site to what i am linking to” – and if it says we sell advertising – walk away link builders – just walk away.

But yes – alas, google catches up – we all advance a little – new blog networks spring up – people and companies start to make them better, more relevant – they prob get more expensive – i mean heck – you tight SEO fools – you are wanting a blog post for a $1 a time – my goodness- you herd the phrase – you get what you pay for?

get your wallets out – get looking for relevant sites and stop sitting on your ass in your comfy office thinking you are don whan at manipulating google and then expent to find the answers to your vain quest in a blog post about de indexed blog networks…

It appears to me that buffer sites are becoming the new graze in seo – so perhaps now money hungry automated blog posting networks are dead in the water – some will begin to make sites that ADD VALUE!

but alas, yes – some webmasters signed their blogs up to make money from these scheme, some build blogs for the schemes, either way – there was a scheme involved and where its possible to smell a scheme algorithmically through mappable network occurances like sitewide disclaimers… then yes expenct google to rear that ugly head one day.

I like the past about the webmastertools bit here potpie! thats groovey! i love that some people will be replying – hahahahahaha

Great read and well laid out! thanks for sharing!

iDCx

Jack March 26, 2012 at 1:03 am

A lot of good advice here. I find it sad that, as much progress as Google has made toward decreasing the prominence of low-quality content on its results pages, they have done little about the people who create untold numbers of websites on 99 cent domains just for the purpose of linking to their “money” websites. Those are the people who force webmasters with smaller budgets to consider blog networks.

Gary Shouldis March 26, 2012 at 12:03 pm

Any SEO who claims the sky is falling wasn’t doing SEO the right way to begin with and I feel bad for all of their clients who paid good money for such a waste of time. You don’t see the quality SEO companies scrambling….because they never got into this nonsense to begin with

Steve March 26, 2012 at 12:15 pm

I agree that Google devalues links rather than banning sites that have links pointing to them from blog networks. We have had some of our rankings drop from this, but we have also had others rise as we have been double checking all our on page seo.

I’ve also got evidence that it is not just the top blog networks that have been hit but also the private ones that are run by seo companies.

Robby March 26, 2012 at 12:31 pm

This is very interesting – particularly in conjunction with Matt Cutts recent comments regarding penalizing SEOs overdoing on page optimization. I am excited because I believe Google is really starting to apply actions to helping people who are “optimizing” in a real way – the way Google probably envisions it.

Wendy Owen April 7, 2012 at 8:50 am

Oh Perleeeeeaze!

Dustin March 26, 2012 at 2:32 pm

Thanks for the post PotPieGirl. I’ve always wondered how some of these networks didn’t get caught much sooner, so for those of us in the industry, it’s not really surprising, but it is always a wake-up call that the things we use won’t be around forever.

Like you said, there are still networks out there and there will always be websites looking to pay for quick SEO results. That said, I think that the networks that succeed in the near future will be those that are extremely focused on one or two niches (unlike most networks, where it’s a cluster of generic sites), and the sites themselves have to be designed and laid out like actual blogs. From there, I think it’s a matter of keeping a low number of clients (for the network owners), and diversifying outbound links so that there is no defined linking pattern, though this is easier said than done. This also means less money for those who build networks, so they might start charging more money for less links, essentially.

In any case, I agree 100% that you should diversify your backlink portfolio so that the network links aren’t the only ones there, or at least so they don’t stand out so much. I think it’s going to be impossible for Google to de-index every network, especially those that look legit, but it’s still a risk for website owners. Great post!

chris faron March 26, 2012 at 10:04 pm

Good Link building is like investing, if it is too easy and everyone is doing the same thing, it’s time to move on

Stephen Dow March 26, 2012 at 11:59 pm

I’m new to your site. I read through this post, the video, and the comments. Then I noticed that the PageRank for this page is zero? I realize it’s no longer as big a factor in Google’s ranking algorithm. However, a “zero” is unusual for me to see. I was wondering if you might have something to say on this?

Gary March 28, 2012 at 3:23 pm

Really? It is a blog post that is 6 days old.

Stephen Dow March 28, 2012 at 6:27 pm

See my comment below. I was not clearly thinking at the time….

Pat Vojtaskovic March 27, 2012 at 12:16 am

Steven, I can answer that one. The PR that is displayed publicly is only updated once every 3 months or so. The last update was in February and this post wasn’t published until March. That’s why.

Stephen Dow March 27, 2012 at 5:00 pm

Good point. I’m thinking “website” (since I’m building a new one now). However, your response made me think about something. If we’re moving towards a socially-triggered web, then blogs and social sites (with all their “fresh”) content should always have a high PageRank – but that’s not the case. Heck, most share and like buttons really don’t provide much info as they could for analytics (except for a well hidden API by FB, and +1 shares you can see (if you’re part of it). Thus, I would argue that Google talks a mean fight regarding links, but offers no clear alternatives for SEO, the semantic web and the social web? If they want to lead in a Social then they need to come up with a SocialPageRank (or just provide nothing at all). Right now they are evaluating the freshest web properties the most poorly IMO – and I see no movement forward. I’m sick of being threatened and paying for their ads! Thanks.

Karen March 27, 2012 at 8:24 am

I wonder if Google will do the same to Blogging Underground.

Joanna April 10, 2012 at 12:02 pm

It has already happened. BU has about 30 remaining sites all PR 0 with hardly any age to them (about 6-7 months). It is a sinking ship if I ever saw one…

Chris March 27, 2012 at 10:12 am

it was a matter of time for this to happen. fooling google is a temporary results action.

in the end they have advantage. they have the greatest software engineering minds , all the money and recourses in the world to catch you manipulating. the result is online death…

Scriptster March 27, 2012 at 7:28 pm

Well, let’s think positive: for the next couple weeks we can all submit reconsideration reports for any site (at least those with “unnatural links” notice) and in the “my sins” paragraph say:

” I am sorry, dear Google, I have been deceived by the management of a company called BMR (you must have hear of it) and took part in their link network. I’m just coming clean about it now, all the links are gone. Problem solved. Pretty please, dear Google, restore my rank!” .

Now that the BMR network is dead, how will they know this was not the case ? Unless it was … :)

michel March 28, 2012 at 3:24 pm

Nice article .thanks bro. Your article is awesome and very use full. I really like your website because it always contain use full information.

Timosh March 28, 2012 at 7:07 pm

1. There was this thread on google on paid blog links (If you type: “blackhat tips that work in google” it comes up #1). Anyway, there was a long discussions there and you can see a lot of those blog deindexed by now. What happended to the sites? I track their performance. Some are gone, others simply rank a bit lower. So the effect of the links which get deindexed does vary from site to site. I think there are some percentage thresholds Google uses. If you get say 80% deindexed links then you may get pandalized. At the same time you may hit that threshold but other signals are strong for you so you will just get “adjusted” according to the lost links. And to whether deleting those deindexed backlinks will help your site regain rankings – I am not sure. I look at it case by case. If I can delete them all at once quickly then I will go for it if not ten just move on.

Thomas March 28, 2012 at 11:17 pm

Saw this one coming. Anything that has to do with paying for a link is bad news. Bummer is one of my sites got penalized for having a sidebar link on another one of my other sites. Must have looked like a paid link. Anywho the jig is up so its important to kill off those crummy links if you have any!

seo chat board March 29, 2012 at 7:15 pm

I can understand them getting rid of the spammy autoblogged rehashed garbage, but lets not forget their are lots of good blogs out their that sell links.

it seems google thinks it can control the entire web now, and penalize anyone not selling links through THEIR networks!

yes thats right folks, google wants to talk about paid links, or bought and sold links – well, your looking right at the biggest link broker in the history of man – GOOGLE

how is putting adsense ads on your site any different than selling links? Oh its different because your using googles service and their advertisers?

but google loves your website when you wrap it in their ads and give it content don’t they?
not that hard to get pg1 when your site is wrapped in google ads.

there is NO difference between YOU selling links or ads DIRECTLY YOURSELF(NO THIRD PARTY), and what google does with google adsense.

so when can we see DEINDEXING OF ADSENSE ADVERTISERS AND POPULAR WEBSITES WRAPPED IN ADSENSE ADS – BECAUSE THEY ARE SELLING LINKS – LINKS TO WEBSITES THEY DO NOT EVEN KNOW….

WAITING PATIENTLY………………..

seo chat board March 29, 2012 at 7:39 pm

every website out there that has third party ads being published on them either by google adsense or any others is guilty of selling links – also means advertisers using those services are guilty of buying links – technically speaking. If google tries to insist it is only on paid direct links that gain link juice off of the page, ok so what now – if it were the same links being served through your ADSENSE ADS there would be no issue?

its so stupid honestly because nothing would happen without some paid links – remember advertising costs money?

it’s none of googles business who bought, paid, or sold anything. What happens behind closed doors is none of their business.

do you think that these mainstream companies are putting out these links and advertisements every second of our life without any incentives behind them? GTFO! REALITY CHECK

PLEASE DEINDEX THEM GOOGLE – they are all guilty of selling/buying links for many years in to the tunes of billions of dollars which all ended up right in your hands google – PLEASE DO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT GOOGLE! LOL

Steve April 1, 2012 at 2:13 am

The video by Michael is one of the best explanations I have heard on this current backlink/ De-index issue. I am a small independent web marketeer, and one blessing i might have had was lack of extra money to spend on a pay by the month situation.

I have always wanted to believe that honest hard work and quality content would win out in the end. It is have for a small marketer to not stray to the dark side. When you look at competition in you niche and see other higher ranking site with 300,000 backlinks, you have to think they where bought or farmed out. Its a simple matter of time and effort.

I hope this whole new Panda 3.3 and beyond, will help even the playing field. It’s easy to offer honest quality, it’s expensive to purchase quality.

I agree with your aspects and your way of looking for where your at compared to your competitors (query space’s). I learn something new everyday.

Great article, thank you,
Steve

seo chat board April 1, 2012 at 5:48 pm

such a load of chode google, how many mainstream websites sell links to companies daily for their little “press releases” that are dofollow links passing PG rank?

every article you see on some mainstream news, or blog promoting the next hyped crap – think there was no money deals there going on?

see this is what happens when you let google control the internet, and they do what they want with their algorythm.

they make it impossible for the people at the bottom, while preserving all their corporate interests already at the top.

Background Check Reviews April 2, 2012 at 8:37 pm

Seo chat board has some really good points. We all know the large corporate websites have full time SEO departments writing content and creating links all day long. If google would have never made this part of their algo then we would not be worrying about links and now one would have created private blog networks.

It’s all a game and Google makes the rules for all of us.

Discount Rifle Scopes April 2, 2012 at 11:12 pm

Personally i believe the so called gurus of affiliate marketing have a lot to answer for. Most of these networks are promoted to newbie affiliates and the ‘grey hat’ tactics are taught in many courses that are found all over the internet. This just goes to show that slow and steady wins the race and there really are very few substitutes for hard work.

Fay April 3, 2012 at 1:27 pm

Google has too much power. If people power can stop the US government making a stupid law then people power can damn well take down Google. I think the mistake is because we feel we have to and because when we start we are told how to please Google that we all pander to Google. Well there are a lot of very smart people out there there must be some people who can depeg Google. Google is successful because it though outside the box, time for us to do the same. Challenge for you PPG!? I wish I was smart enough to do it as the people who do will make a financial killing. I agree with the other comments Google want paid only links. I say freedom of the net. It may be small but I shall be removing Google from as much as possible including using their emails. David and Goliath, small marketers and Google!

Sue | Adwords Agency April 3, 2012 at 7:15 pm

What criteria define these bad blog networks. All blogs sell links, that is one of their revenue models (reviews, banners, articles etc). Thanks Sue

Philip April 4, 2012 at 5:19 pm

how does everyone feel about submitedge? They in the same boat?

uri April 5, 2012 at 6:06 pm

We did a test to see if we can get penalized.. You can read the post here:
http://www.saasaffiliates.com/testing-negative-seo-has-google-opened-the-floodgates-to-competitors-hurting-your-web-ranking/

So far, we were able to trigger the google webmaster warning email…. but our ranking thus far are still good…

Stephanie R. Coleman April 6, 2012 at 12:58 pm

Hi Pot Pie Girl,

Your articles helped me to figure out if I want to allow certain back links on my website or not. I think not. When I say this I mean the back links that I have to approve. I am still fairly new to having a business on the internet and I am still learning so, “when in doubt I think I will leave it out”
at least until I learn more about back links.

Thanks again for the article.

Fay April 7, 2012 at 8:31 am

So it all boils down to money. Those that can afford Greedy Google get on and the rest doesn’t. If it were truly about only getting top rated quality sites people would not pay for their site to be at the top, who says those that pay are the best, in my experience they are not always. Google might have it’s way, I have had enough of this nonsense. Google has a monopoly and that is wrong. It’s our own fault for giving them that power. Several times now I have built up only for everything to change and lose all my work or for male ware to trash my sites as I don’t have the income to pay for protection. Google is causing corruption and bad practices. Google is a 4 letter word.

mark April 7, 2012 at 10:24 pm

Thanks for the article, We have just started our website and we have noticed we have some blog backlinks which we know we didnt do (some from some adult sites). I hate the thought that before my site even really gets going its getting attacked but I guess the reality is that could be the case…..

rick April 10, 2012 at 3:23 am

So Is Empower Network a paid blog network?

blog April 15, 2012 at 9:58 pm

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