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Link Building Targeted by Google Penguin 04-24-2012
What's Getting Whacked this Time?
martinibuster

WebmasterWorld Administrator martinibuster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4445143 posted 10:05 am on Apr 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

Another round of Google tweaks, including some to catch link manipulators. Are these tweaks focused on the obvious low hanging fruit? Or will this snare borderline tactics?/

Google post here
[insidesearch.blogspot.com...]

The coming update includes spam fighting tweaks. One example [4.bp.blogspot.com]is of a spun page with irrelevant links within it. That might help combat Negative SEO.

The total tweaks (of which links are part of a larger whole) affect a small percentage of total queries:

For context, the initial Panda change affected about 12% of queries to a significant degree; this algorithm affects about 3.1% of queries in English to a degree that a regular user might notice.


This is going to affect link manipulators who have been targeting in more heavily spammed languages:

...the impact is higher in more heavily-spammed languages. For example, 5% of Polish queries change to a degree that a regular user might notice.

 

maddawg

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4445143 posted 3:12 pm on Apr 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

These tweaks are hitting tactics that webmasters have been using for years to rank high in Google. Most of the sites being hit were using anchor text links from low quality sites to rank for their keywords. These tactics were not borderline, as their intent was 100% for ranking, but Google had trouble detecting it until now.

Well-branded sites who did not engage in these tactics are benefiting quite a bit.

martinibuster

WebmasterWorld Administrator martinibuster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4445143 posted 4:07 pm on Apr 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

The anchor text thing is something that I believe was tweaked a month ago, more or less. I suspect this is something else.

maddawg

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4445143 posted 8:37 pm on Apr 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

A lot more sites are getting hit that were building links for SEO purposes primarily, as opposed to traffic and branding.

I was more trying to describe the sites that have fallen versus dubbing anchor text as the reason. Not sure what the reason was exactly, but companies optimizing and showing little restraint with how they used anchor text, the sites they got links on, etc. all got hit.

In my niche it honestly looks like Google had a team of a 100 people look at every website's backlink profile and make a determination about whether they were gaming the system.

Whitey

WebmasterWorld Senior Member whitey us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4445143 posted 1:54 am on Apr 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

The anchor text thing is something that I believe was tweaked a month ago, more or less. I suspect this is something else.

There was a large scale drop around 3 weeks ago for those with paid links on detectable networks. I don't think this had anything to do with "exact match" or "over optimization" caused by the same type of link spam.

But i acknowledge seeing some downward movement earlier on core terms created through excessive exact match anchor text link tactics, which has now accelerated - so yes, it could have been part of the overall algo change that came recently.

This algo tweak seems to have permutations of excessive "exact match" tactics all over it. The answer is probably diversification and removal of all offending links. Link brokers will be misleading folks if they continue to peddle this garbage service.

The problem is that it appears to lock sites with links created many years ago, which will make large scale campaigns difficult to reverse on some dates. If sites have not engaged in this garbage linking for many different good reasons e.g. domain / site acquistion and have focused on clean freely given links for many years, then it would seem unfair to hold them to account after so many years for preceding failures. It would be better depricate the old links and permit new and diversified links in.

There are reports on some threads that new links have not been sufficiently rewarded, but more and better inputs should clarify this.

jk3210

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4445143 posted 3:54 am on Apr 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

My sites have all done fine from the original Panda right through this latest update, but there's one thing I'm confused about. I thought Google was already discounting all the low-level, spun, sponsored theme, crappy content links. So, what did THIS update do? Did it...

1.) Just now start discounting all the low-level, crap links...

or

2) Low-level, crap links were already discounted, and NOW Google is actually penalizing them?

troperk



 
Msg#: 4445143 posted 1:45 pm on Apr 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

My question as well...

Does it seem that Google is simply "discounting" such links they are deeming low quality or with intent to manipulate rankings?

Or... actually "Penalizing" a site participating?

jk3210

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4445143 posted 4:09 pm on Apr 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

From looking at the sites that post in Google Groups about getting nailed in this update, it appears to me that most of them had their spammy links for quite some time --even for years-- which would indicate that Google has now begun penalizing those links, where they had previously simply discounted them.

I imagine a lot of "marketers" didn't get much sleep last night.

outland88

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4445143 posted 8:50 pm on Apr 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

it appears to me that most of them had their spammy links for quite some time --even for years--


Good eye, I'm definitely seeing that. Whether its a penalty I'm not quite sure of. Could be a combination of a Panda update revaluating a site, a loss of link boost, filters, and unnatural linking patterns. Plus some of this could have happened in the past few days or three weeks ago.

With the availability of PhDs Google has probably developed a very sophisticated analogy as to what link spamming is and can analyze thousands of sites if not millions in a day. In fact it might be as easy as a comparison across genres and within genres. Its the stuff PhDs love to break down to a scientific level. They would take into account false positives but collateral damage would always exist. I wonder though if a lot of low quality small spam sites with few links and exact match domains might rank well because of this.

Great topic that Ive been wondering about.

Whitey

WebmasterWorld Senior Member whitey us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4445143 posted 11:50 pm on Apr 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

I wonder though if a lot of low quality small spam sites with few links and exact match domains might rank well because of this.

When you remove one layer, another one surfaces.

Sites that i see ranking very well on trophy terms in highly competitive verticals have very moderate and diversified link profiles.

One site - one of the largest in it's class, didn't even do any link building up to 18 months ago for 3-4 years. It was too busy clearing up pages from the previous mess it had created. It ditched it's tainted URL's and then started small fry linking and a diversified approach. Seems to be working.

Sgt_Kickaxe

WebmasterWorld Senior Member sgt_kickaxe us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time



 
Msg#: 4445143 posted 5:23 am on Apr 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

Google says 'don't do this' but their own rankings say 'this is what we want'. Did you check the rank of the 3rd site for the anchor text of the link? #4 in Google as I write this. Some example...

Seb7

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4445143 posted 5:49 am on Apr 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

Most of the sites being hit were using anchor text links from low quality sites

One of my site's by its very nature attracts lots of backlinks from low quality sites, but doesnt seem to have been hit. Still in top place for its main keywords. Though there was around 4% drop in traffic between the 15 March to 2 April.

Wow, Ive just noticed one of my others sites, which has very few but solid authoritative links has taken a massive hit this week.

Planet13

WebmasterWorld Senior Member planet13 us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4445143 posted 6:56 pm on Apr 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

The top site in my niche has over 430 "paid" directory links (they appear in SEO Directories whose sole purpose - as stated on the directory - is to boost page rank).

They are still ranking number one, with two pages listed (so, effectively, results one and two).

I sent in all those links to google last night.

Will see if that makes a difference or not.

Sgt_Kickaxe

WebmasterWorld Senior Member sgt_kickaxe us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time



 
Msg#: 4445143 posted 9:16 am on Apr 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

Keep sending in paid link reports, especially if you find them attached to big brand sites that tend to get away with more due to brand authority.

Planet13

WebmasterWorld Senior Member planet13 us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4445143 posted 1:44 pm on May 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

...especially if you find them attached to big brand sites that tend to get away with more due to brand authority.


Why... Sgt_KickAxe... if I didn't know you better, I MIGHT think you had your own self interests at heart ;)

But seriously, I will be doing that.

Maybe google doesn't care about those links.

And if they DON'T care about those links, then at least I will have a spreadsheet full of directories and other easy-to-get links that I can point at some low cost slash and burn domains, IF I decide to spam the SERPs with some low-budget sites sometime down the road.

CainIV

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4445143 posted 6:06 am on May 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

In my opinion:

1. Percentage of low quality links versus authority links based on a leverage of brand. The more brand, the less impact of the low quality link filter.

2. Rate of build. I see sites with low amounts of quality links and lots of low quality links surviving this one. (probably not for long)

3. Intent to rank. Parallel to "non-editorial"

4. Exact match. We've seen this coming for years. Yup, now its here

5. Internal links count. The update seems to transcend any type of link

6. Root source of link. This is a big one IMHO

Does the link convey a business at the destination end?

Does the link come from an authority objective domain?

Does the link look like a byproduct of brand-building or SEO

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