If I understand the situation you describe, this is what Panda is supposed to address - especially the positive side of Panda that gives a boost to good quality so that mere SEO can't top it.
However, once that time bomb fuse has been lit there is a problem, as you noticed. The guy should not have hired a shady SEO, and he should stay on top of what others are doing in his name,
|The guy should not have hired a shady SEO, and he should stay on top of what others are doing in his name. |
I think what kidder is trying to say is that he had no choice to do this to keep his business afloat. If Google was rewarding the highest quality content & didn't have such a huge bias towards anchor text then it wouldn't have been as much of an issue.
Panda can do all it likes to fix this problem, but until they turn down the dial on anchor text it'll keep catching honest webmasters in the net.
|he had no choice to do this to keep his business afloat |
I don't buy that idea, I guess.
|I don't buy that idea, I guess. |
Fair enough, just trying to come at the question from an impartial view.
He really had 2 options:
Wait around for Google to figure things out, in which period you lose revenue & have to lay off staff.
Come up with a plan to get back on top, since clearly Google aren't doing a very good job of separating the milk from the cream.
And option two is not the same as building shady backlinks - there is a wide variety of legitimate action that can boost a website. In fact, I'm quite troubled by the apparent equation that SEO=Spam.
Solid SEO needs to be a 3-way win:
It's good for the search user
It's good for the website itself
It's good for the search engines
If you miss on even one of those three areas, then you just plain miss.
There are a couple of things here to be considered.
1. This situation or variations of it are "common" I'm sure.
2. This is about how Google handles this common situation without big reductions in search quality. Is it even possible with the Genie being out of the bottle for so long?
Right now, Google's quality consideration seems to be about getting the first page to hold results their users like - especially for high volume searches. They seem willing to sacrifice some good quality results as long as the first page "works" for their users.
It's far from an ideal approach, but they seem to be willing to let long tail searches provide traffic to websites whose signals do not line up all that well.
I don't see Google backing away from penalties for manipulations, no matter how good the content. The only exception seems to be that penalties may be much shorter for sites that are "too big to fail."
I believe Google would suggest that they will consider penalizing any competitors, or new competitors, until someone gets it right and builds quality links that count.
Of late quite a few webmasters have reported drops, and I would imagine that Google will continue to push more and more towards eliminating particular types of easy-to-spot link schemes from the serps
If I was in charge of search at Google and supplying the best possible set of organic results was my job I would be pretty upset if a few stray blog comments was all it took to mess up my canvas...
I completely identify with Kidder's point. When you've operated successfully in a niche for years and you see new and existing competition rising as a result of big spending on SEO, and you realise the job is now so huge and complex that can't possibly do it yourself, you have to look at hiring help.
But as soon as you hire an SEO you're potentially creating a time bomb for yourself.
Tedster, as always, wisely says solid SEO will protect you from the time bomb. All the SEO's I ever hired told me their techniques were solid, ethical, nothing that would get us into trouble with Google. They all told me the site was fine but we needed more quality links. They all focused mainly on 'attracting' more quality links and doing it in a 'natural' way.
But how do you know they really did and it's not about to blow up in your face. The rules are about to change and anyone involved in any form of link building could be in for a big shock. Can anyone really confidently say their techniques are 100% bulletproof.
Let's face it, link building is not a natural exercise. How many of us would be engaged in obtaining links if it didn't help. It's all about manipulating the results, no matter how solid your techniques. We find that if we do X, Y happens, so we do X and at least as much as our competition does and more if we can afford it.
I think Kidder's point is what will happen if Google decides to punish even solid techniques of obtaining links on the basis that it's all an attempt to manipulate rankings.
Then it's a case of how the punishment is administered, presumably with the biggest spenders suffering most.
Or - just a thought here - you could protect yourself in the first place and have other channels operating or gearing up so that you are not so reliable on just ONE - organic search traffic.
The scenarios described have pretty solid counterparts in B&M businesses as well. It's an inherent risk to doing business.
|They all focused mainly on 'attracting' more quality links and doing it in a 'natural' way. But how do you know they really did and it's not about to blow up in your face. |
Because that kind of link building is a relatively slow process.
Because it's mostly about building relationships between you and those who link to you... you would not be "hands off."
Because that kind of link building starts with marketing your content... and probably upgrading it until it fairly glows with attractiveness.
It might even involve changing your template so that the target page doesn't come across as overly commercial!
But isn't it a slow process that requires relationship building, marketing of your content and so on because Google has made it that way after years of clamping down on link builders.
Hence the need for most online businesses to hire someone who knows how to get the kind of links Google currently likes and spend more and more time/money as Google makes it an increasingly complex and time consuming task each year (or as your competition gets better links also).
To me it seems that if you're building links purely for SEO purposes and you wouldn't have bothered in a world where links make no difference to rankings, Google might eventually find a way to kill off that activity.
Links should just be a way to publicise our sites and drive traffic. As a business I struggle to justify link building purely for SEO purposes when they could be made worthless overnight. That is a time bomb, regardless of how the links were built.