|Do Blog Networks work anymore? Google and the new way|
When I moved my site to a new domain to escape a crazed Penguin my designer said to speak with an SEO guy to start building my presence straight away.
So whilst I went down the Google+, Twitter, Facebook and G+ places route, the SEO company went down the private blog network route.
The line from the SEO company was that there is no such thing as organic link building, not really. As such they use a private network of blogs which they control to point links to my site.
Now history has taught me one thing. Question everything people say, don't be an idiot and ask around. Just because someone is an SEO doesn't mean they are right or good at it.
Now two months on and I don't rank anywhere in Googles search results for the two keywords I targeted.
All my other pages I rank for, page 1 of google for many. Admittedly a lot of my ranked pages are blog posts of mine. But the main industry I'm in (eg 'golden widgets') I rank nowhere in Googles entire 800 SERP's for 'golden widget' People in ALabama come up before me (and I'm in the UK).
Same for the other keyword too.
This is beginning to make me think, 'Google's smarter than it lets on so pull the links'.
But I'd like your insight on this. Beofre I burn the SEO company.
Blog networks are against Google's TOS and you're going to get burned again. Your SEO company has no idea what it's doing. Attracting organic links is possible it just requires hard work and someone with a creative mind....SEO companies don't have the talent to do this.
I think you are asking the wrong question here. Here's an abstract example:
What if your website (say one revolving around the entertainment market) received links from:
Would you worry? Because you have just received links from a "blog network," as all these websites belong to the same entity - Turner Broadcasting System.
What I'm getting at here is this: absolutely every link building strategy can work if done correctly. But even the best one, done incorrectly, will hurt you.
"Blog networks" will work just fine if:
1. you are the owner of the network
2. your sites are the only ones being linked to from the network (ie. you are not "selling links" or linking to hundreds of websites owned by other people purely for influencing their rankings).
Google's gotten a lot better about detecting blog networks (to the point where they're bragging about it) whether they're your own or belong to other people.
Have they detected them all? Not by a long shot. Will they detect them all? Probably not, but like I said, they're getting better at it.
So it's a question of risk vs reward. Can you afford to take the risk? You're the only one who knows that. Personally, I wouldn't put my bread and butter sites, or a client's site into a blog network. Some of my less critical stuff, I don't mind experimenting now and then.
Here's the thing for me. What's the point in gaming the system for a few months only to get penalised and pay for a further few months?
The company runs the network so can easily pull the links but by the time that happens the damage will be done...hmm
(Thanks for the advice btw everyone).
There's a certain point, however, where a blog network becomes indistinguishable from a set of completely unrelated websites (if done correctly, which does require a lot of effort I should add). Blog networks can definitely be ran in a way where the risk is lower than the risk of having a completely white-hat, legit, truly fantastic and valuable website tank in Google for absolutely no apparent reasons.
My brother has been running a blog network (the word "blog" is misleading here, as some of those websites are blogs, other look like a typical business website, while other are "portfolio" or "business card" type websites, etc. - very diverse) for 10 years and if anything, it's working better now than it used to a few years ago. I should add that he's using the network only to rank his own websites, no one else's. The network consists of around 80 websites.
@wockawocka if the blog network belongs to some company, I strongly suggest getting as far away from it as possible. Large blog networks with lots of "clients" like these will always be much more easy to identify.