diberry - 3:15 pm on Aug 19, 2012 (gmt 0)
Thanks, Tedster and Bill Slawsky. This is great info.
Lately Google seems to be making an assumption that any SEOed site is spam. This is a false asuumption.
I also agree with the idea that this is a witchhunt - or convincing people a witchhunt is a good thing, which is a big part of a successful witch hunt. This is the final confirmation in my mind that regardless of how brilliant Google is, someone in charge is more focused on conquering enemies than on just creating a good search experience. And that means my goals and Google's are no longer running parallel - I want to create a good user experience and build an audience, and Google just wants to win some ego-driven game.
For a couple of years, I've been focusing on other traffic streams, operating on the assumption sooner or later my Google traffic would go away. Google is only 30+% of the traffic on any of my sites. Now, when Penguin hit one site, I learned the hard way that Google fuels some of my social media traffic - i.e., some people find in Google the pages they share socially. So I know now if Google banned my sites, I'd lose about half my traffic. Still, that's something I can build from. I'm working aggressively on getting visitors from all sorts of other sources, and then pleasing those visitors so they spread the word.
Essentially, I'm going back to how we did things before Google came along, when we had to chase links not for PR but because there was no other way people were going to find our sites. This age of social media makes it a comparative breeze compared to 1999. :)