jsherloc - 11:43 pm on Apr 11, 2012 (gmt 0)
I've been following this issue VERY closely for the past year as it has become worse and worse. Months ago I posted on here that I couldn't believe there was not more of a unified outcry from within the Industry about just how ridiculous this "inbound links policy" is and how ultimately it will be a massive mistake with massive implications. I'm sort of a pessimistic dude though so I think folks also try to see the positives...I'm not seeing many personally.
Things are finally getting interesting:
The discussion there and Mu's response does seem to indicate there may be some type of "penalty" involved in this whole deal or whatever name we wanna call it, and if so IS based on a certain length(s) of time per usual Google practice.
Mu says that he recommends NOT to wait it out and people should submit the reconsideration request (even if they don't have an idea if their drop was due to algo or manual reasons etc) which leads me to that conclusion, BUT it makes you wonder the way he phrases things. Cryptic fear-mongering with a corporate touch at its finest. How long for some people is gonna be the question I guess...
I'm hoping that thread goes viral especially "coolguy's" post lol...
I'd say this is a pretty clear indicator that you can "penalize" the majority of newer, less established websites owned by average individuals that make up the majority of the Internet. The severity/length of time the "penalty" lasts is probably dependent on some other factors we won't know.
How anyone could read that discussion there and then conclude that you can't do that to just about any URL owned by an average Webmaster here (if the site is NOT already an "authority/established" SERP leader)...I have no clue, because this type of thing is currently happening all around us to your typical affiliate/IM websites in decently-competitive verticals.
I don't care to argue with folks that don't believe is happening, because evidence certainly suggests otherwise. I always hear: 'WELP TANK WIKIPEDIA OR HOW ABOUT THIS CNN ARTICLE...CAN'T DO IT? When people bring this up (a point that I agree with) I don't think it really brings anything productive to the table other than give Google and friends a reason to say: "Hey, see that website, you can't harm it! So therefore you probably can't harm ANY website...lol" It is a very good point that yes MANY websites out there are certainly "immune", I just don't want this thread to get derailed for pages on end because people argue about whether you can tank certain authority websites...the answer is probably not.
What really matters to all us here going forward is that negative SEO is seemingly a very real concern for the majority of websites on the Internet. IMO this won't really change much unless there is major publicity and studies being done, many of which are in the process, etc...
The thing is, competitors don't even have to "tank" your site several places/pages to do damage, now that we know incoming links can directly harm you in certain ways, it is very easy for competitors to REALLY "junk up" your website's backlink portfolio. WMT is only going to show you SOME stuff, imagine the backilink scanning power and vast knowledge of inbound links that Google now has, all being organized into type, class, etc...
So your competition can directly hurt your assets (many of my own websites I consider assets, dunno about others). What if they send links that don't trigger any filters today, but when you go to sell some of your assets in a year the buyers get weary looking at the type of inbound links your assets have accumulated over the years? etc...
Hell, certain types of links could basically be a "ticking time bomb" for some people's assets. Meaning if Google doesn't have an issue with them now, they might 6 months from now. This is certainly a problem to consider when you have ZERO control over the type/velocity of incoming links. Just the tip of the iceberg of things to consider in this type of "eco-system" that apparently is existing...
I often hear people reply: "negative seo is just impractical so it must not really be an issue for most people, because for every one website you tank, another will just take its place, how will you know which websites will shift positions and take up certain places for your ultimate benefit in the SERPs? etc..." Umm, dunno about folks here, but in most of the niches we operate in, there is usually a group of 3-5 "major" players competing for similar organic traffic...so for most folks, if some of those major players are not yet properly aged and established enough to handle bad incoming links with overoptimized anchors from spammy properties, it WOULD be practical to get rid of these websites for an extended period of time, would it not? Ethics and morals aside here, because we all know it isn't about what the good guys won't do, it is all about what the "bad" guys ARE doing.
Let's say people do get hit with some sort of penalty, depending on severity drops their rankings for 60-90 days. 60-90 days is still a lot of money involved for folks. Just makes me wonder if eventually we'll see some high-profile litigation stuff related to this.
I don't know how long other folks have been in this industry, but Google doesn't really often make many major moves unless they get major negative feedback and press coming from different connected avenues, kind of like any other giant company. So I get a little bit frustrated when some folks basically start slinging insults at people telling them that Google will take care of everything and the problem is obviously them as a webmaster or their website must have QUALITY issues and clearly Google doesn't want to index their "crap" blablah. For many folks in many cases, yes this IS the case. But certainly not the majority of websites we have been looking at with this issue lately.
Simply put, telling the entire eco-system of online businesses and IMers (on all different financial and knowledge wavelengths) that shouting from the rooftops about this porblem is going to do them no good is counter-productive in my experiences dealing with giant corporations. It can only help in the long run, right?
I mean Google knows there is a problem for folks, they read all these boards, case studies, reports, complaints from publishers that made them six figures year after year, so are they going to address this specific negative SEO issue you guys think? I doubt it lol...but it certainly can't hurt to keep reminding the general public and the industry that there is potentially a major MAJOR problem at hand...
Another related post from Aaron Wall:
The typical forum posts on many IM boards nowadays:
That is just one minor variation of popular "negative SEO" efforts being implemented behind the scenes. There are hundreds more posts like that all over the IM community. Not sure why links seems messed, Google: "[METHOD] Illuminati Link Domination Strategy" to see the type of nonsense I am talking about. And THAT is nothing in regards to the type of thing we are looking at on our end here guys...seriously.
IMO Google does not have enough data for reliability purposes other than data related to links (historical perspective, type, class, velocity, etc) to base the majority of their crap off of right now IMO, obviously they're heading for much more social/Author rank, but they are certainly a ways off and will need to do link evaluations for the foreseeable future. Taking this route seems pretty risky from a PR standpoint... It should be an interesting year ahead is all I can say...GETCHAAAA POPCORRRRRRN
"Donnnn't worrrrry, about a thinnnng. Cuz Every little thinggg, is gonna be alriiiiight...."