The Google Dance

Well, well, well. It seems my last post How to Get Legitimate Backlinks, had come at just the right time. It is obvious to any marketer that right now Google’s index is dancing around like a cat on a hot tin roof!

There has been a lot of discussion and speculation as to why suddenly many thousands of sites are disappearing from the SERPs altogether, while others that previously ranked well for their keywords have dropped considerably.

So what is happening?

Well, I can speculate just as well as the rest of ’em, but I’m going to base my own theories on a fairly strong foundation of observation, knowledge, listening to what other experienced marketers say and weighing the odds.

Back in my last post, I made it clear that my own methods of obtaining links to my sites were slow, ponderous, hard work but natural. The way one would expect to see a site grow over time, slowly and surely. I also know that there are many marketers who don’t have time for all that, or want to see results quickly, so use other, more automated methods of obtaining links to their sites.

Well, its pretty obvious to me that getting links to your site fast using social bookmarking software and automatied comment producing software is unnatural and seen by Google as trying to game the system by artificially pushing your sites up in their index. This is exactly what Google does not like to see, because these are similar to tactics used by spammers to rank quickly in order to make some fast cash.

The way you have to look at it is that Google wants quality, information strong sites at the top of its index, so that when someone types in a serach for, say “how to make money online” they actually get sites that tell them how to make money online and not sites that hit them with a page full of ads and nothing to read. Same goes for every keyword search that is made of their index. If you’re looking for information on what are the the most honest ways of promoting a website, then you should be presented with sites that tell you exactly that. This is why Google are the number one search engine. Their results are pretty much as relevant as is possible and why when you type in the same search in Yahoo or MSN etc, you get widely different results.

Well, recently a lot of information on how to game the system has been published in various blogs with only the best of intentions of course, for instance how to go up against the big boys and stand a chance of competing. Unfortunately, that information is exactly the sort of thing that Google does not want made so public, as it has enough trouble on its hands as it is with spammers.

So when this or that great new piece of software or method of getting links to artificially climb the SERPs gets made public, what do you think Google are going to do about it?

Exactly what they’re doing right now!

And that is tinkering with their index yet again in order to counter the new influx of marketers using artificial tactics and techniques for gaming it. They have the ability to simply not count links that are created by artificial means. So what do you think are going to be ignored first? The easiest ones to spot, ie rapidly obtained social bookmarking tags, blog comments and links contained in duplicate content sources.

I repeat, this is only conjecture on my part, but I reckon I’m not too far off the mark from what I can observe for myself and from what people are saying.

Duplicate content has always been a no-no if you want your site to rank well in the SERPs. Every marketer knows this, yet so many fail to see that by writing one article with a link back to their site in its resource box that is then sprayed all over the net to hundreds of article submission sites using article submission software is going to be a target for ignoring by Google. Not penalising, as that would cause more problems than it would solve, but merely by ingnoring links contained in duplicate articles, Google can easily weed out a big proportion of the sites that have gotten links faster than they would have done naturally.

Similarly with social bookmarking links that have been obtained unnaturally rapidly. No penalty needed, simply ignore the links and the receiving site suddenly gets ranked as it should.

Another type of site that is obviously not welcome in Google’s index is the thin affiliate, or commercial sites that contain lots of ads but very little or no informative, relevant content. These include BANS sites, or eBay store type sites that contain mainly links to eBay auction items but very little true content. Recently GoDaddy had a domain sale of .info sites for 99c each , which many marketers jumped on to use as BANS or thin affiliate sites. Well, many of those sites either failed to get indexed, or if they did, were soon de-indexed again. The problem that was not forseen is that the .info qualifier is meant to identify “information” sites, as .com indicates “commercial” so using .info domains for commerce is viewed by google as wrong.

Google has for many years been at war with MFA (made for adsense) sites. These are sites that contain little useful content and mainly lots of adsense (or similar) PPC ads with the intent to attract visitors from the SERPs who will find the site of no value and click an ad to navigate elsewhere. This has the potential to make the site owners a lot of money if they can get their MFA sites onto the first page of Google’s index, which is why spammers and other get rich quick marketers constantly do battle with Google to get this type of site indexed and highly ranked. By Google ignoring automated software generated links, this is a powerful way for Google to beat the spammers.

So if your own sites are bouncing all over the place in the SERPs at the moment and you are wondering why this is happening, I hope to have shed some light on things. It may not be exactly as I’ve pointed out, but I’ll bet that I’m pretty close to the mark. If your sites are legit, contain plenty of good, original and relevant content and you got your links the slow and steady way, then yuou should have nothing to worry about.

For my part, that is exactly how I’ve been building my own sites – slowly and naturally over a long time. For me then, I hope that Google is stamping out the automation in getting links by simply ignoring them. It makes the playing field more level for me and those like me that do things the honest way!

Terry Didcott
The Honest Way

17 thoughts on “The Google Dance”

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  2. Hi,

    1)What do you consider a “natural” link and how do you personally get them? Please answer this as this is the most important question of all I would suspect.

    2)Article marketing and Article Marketer is highly recommended by Court and I know for a fact he does it because I have seen hundreds of his articles. Is he wrong? Have things suddenly changed? Are all the duplicate content links to CNN and MSN and such also ignored? There must be absolutely TONS of duplicate content of theirs out there.

    3)Again, please elaborate on what is “the honest way” as I am very interested in that. I thought article marketing was “honest” but it seems like you are implying it is not.

    Thanks Terry

  3. Hi again,
    I just went back and read your “legitimate backlinks” post that you linked to. My feeling is that some, many, or all of those methods might not be considered legitimate by some people. For instance the link exchange is considered bad by many. Also how is Digg or Bloggingzoom that much different than BD except for quantity?

    Anyway, I think it is clear that if you round up 100 people you might get 100 different opinions about what exactly is and is not legitimate. Only Google knows (and maybe they don’t know either!)

  4. Terry, have your sites jumped around at all? I actually haven’t checked mine for position in search engines – but adsense hasn’t really changed , well it has gone down slightly from last month (say 10%) so it seems I must be doing thing OK . Well I hope I am!

    Great article , wish I could write as well (or even have the time to write like that ) 🙂

  5. DayJobNuker,

    1, you answered yourself when you read my other post. Truly legit backlinks are those that are recieved from other websites that link to you becsause they think your site or article or whatever is a good source to link to.

    All other links are ones you go get yourself and when you think about it are not truly natural because you’ve generated them. That said, if you want to promote a site, you have to get links and the only way is to get them yourself. So you have to make those links look like they were acquired naturally as possible.

    This is not just my opinion, either. Plenty of “old” marketers have been saying the same thing for years.

  6. PS: I only just saw your comments as I had to dig them out of the askimet bin!

    2, Court was right then, but things are changing now. Maybe the change is coming in gradually – and remember I did say this is my own opinion baseed on what I can see with my own two eyes and applying the Google logic to – but the change will come because Google are still trying to tweak their index to push sites to the top that have “natural” links over those that appear to have aqcuired links unnaturally.

    That way they get truly informative and authorative sites in the right place in their index, ie at the top and Internet Marketers who are generalting leads like they’re going out of fashion are starting to drop as large sections of their inlinks cease to be counted.

    Article merketing is just one of the ways that Google can spot this if an article is duplicated across many different sites with the same link back to one site. I doesn’t take much working out.

    If you want to use articles to get backlinks, they’re gonna have to be original because Google is on the warpath against duplication in its index as far as static articles go.

    They take a different tack on news stories, because the kind of sites that run duplicated news stories are the likes of CNN, major newspaper websites, TV wensites etc.

    Google are not actually going to start penalising anyone by the way, they’re just going to count less links. The big news sites have got so many links from natural sources that they will not notice any change.

    Hope that clears that up.

  7. PPS:

    3, I wasn’t implying article marketing was not honest. It was a play on words to get the “honest” theme of this site in the article.

  8. PPPS:

    At the end of the day, if 100 people have 100 different opnions, that’s what they have blogs for – to air them!

    The reader chooses either to see the logic in the arguments and accept them, or discount them. That’s what freedom of choice is.

    Maybe you’ll come back to this in 6 months time and it will be totally wrong and Google will still be indexing spam sites that use all the methods of getting links that I said were being stamped out.

    By I have a feeling you’re more likely to come back in 6 months and see this and then think, “Shit, he was right!”

  9. Hi Coaster,

    Some of my main sites have been jumping around and others like this one have stayed put. There isn’t much of a pattern to follow although my older sites with good keyword authority seem to be the ones that are staying where they are, while younger sites with new links are bouncing around more.

    As I don’t use any artificial methods of getting links, I can only watch the new sites and it figures that Google are probably checking out their links for validity and they bounce around as links get discounted then recounted until Google are satisfied they are natural.

    This is my theory, anyway. Maybe Google still don’t have that kind of power, but I wouldn’t be too sure about anything that those guys can or cannot do!

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  12. The holy truth. I don’t understand these ratings more at all. As for me, it’s the good thing today to go in the deep meditation and turn back only just in the Illuminate state without thinking about it more.

  13. Sometimes I wish I could just ignore it all as well! Unfortunately while I’d probably be a lot happier, I’d also go broke…

  14. I have to agree with you 100%. I’ve followed Court and Vic for a while and learned a lot from them, but moved out on my own and put stuff into practice and learned a lot more.
    In the long term, legit links are the ones you don’t have to worry about. The artificial links work, but there is always a chance you’ll wake up with a drop in rankings due to an algo tweak.
    Its not that Court and Vics methods are “wrong” or don’t work, but they’ve been picked up by 1,000’s of people who are all launching 100’s of sites with the intent to manipulate their rankings and dominate search terms. Many of these 1,000’s are noobs who aren’t hiding anything.
    This is just the SEO game. We find stuff that works, make money off it, push it, then masses catch on, and Google slaps it around a little. Then we’re on to finding a better way to promote links. First it was meta stuffing, then link exchanges, then 3 way links, then directories, etc.

  15. Hey Justin,

    I think a lot of us are opening our eyes and seeing whats really happening now. And I’m totally convinced there are Google employees that regularly read Vic, Court and Griz to see what they come up with next!

    Maybe we should start a rumour that John Chow and other A-listers are now giving away real SEO secrets to beat the system… LMAO!!!

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