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All the best
As for links, WMT link count is way off, but SERP links: count is up over the past 2 hours, which is better...
Not sure if we're comparing apples to apples here, but those are my observations right now... ; )
one observation i remember was, that my linkcount has increased in webmastertools. that was around 3 or 4 days ago. today, the figure went back to what it was in december.
probably the warm rain i received from google will soon be replaced again with arctic snowstorm. :-D
I think that's the main issue for many here.
It surprises me that after 10 years of Google, there still seems an atmosphere of total mis-direction towards the SEO community. Surely, by now, there should be an absolute authority which could provide accurate and trustworthy information to this community who are wound up into a frenzy each time there is even the smallest of updates.
I would suggest that in order to stem any over-reaction to up & coming updates that anyone pertaining to have 'insider' knowledge on Google happenings [or even an educated opinion] should be obliged to divulge their connection to Google or reason for their opinion, providing the casual worrier with an accurate idea of the validity of the information.
Having seen and studied many of Googles updates in the past, I am more concerned with the ripple effect of any knee-jerk reactions to 'insider' information found within SEO community forums (certainly not just pointing the finger at WebmasterWorld).
that anyone pertaining to have 'insider' knowledge on Google happenings [or even an educated opinion] should be obliged to divulge their connection to Google or reason for their opinion,
I'll give my "How to Master SEO and Google in 3 months" speech for the Nth (and probably last) time.
Those who've heard it before, will either ignore it (again),
take personal offense (again),
make excuses of not having enough time,
or have already applied it.
Step 1. Stop visiting any and all SEO boards for 3-4 months.
Step 2. Pick 20-40 keywords related to one's site.
Step 3. Pick 100-200 somewhat random keywords completely UNrelated to your site and industry of various keyword competition from extremely hard to extremely easy to rank, adwords bid prices, etc..
Step 4. Build some sort of "database" of the top 20-100 sites of chosen keyword terms.
Step 5. Take screenshots of SERPs everyday or so and up to every hour during major SERP "churn" or updates.
Step 6. Use any basic SEO software to keep daily track of links, keywords, anchor texts, etc of top 10-20 SERPS of all pages for keywords.
Step 7. Spend every available moment for the next 3-4 months pouring over data until 4 out of 5 dreams every night involve something having to do with SERPs.
Step 8. Like any "skill" your mind will start seeing "patterns" and making intuitive jumps about the "hows and why" of why one site suddenly jumped 10 spots or lost 5 spots...
"was it the site making changes or Gorg making changes?" etc
Step 9. Use knowledge to rank at will for ANY term.
Step 10. (Optional) Test, test, and test some more to get advantages well before anyone else knows what's going on with changes in SERPs/Algo.
TIPS ALONG THE WAY.
A.) If one chooses to read SEO boards for more info AFTER the 3-4 months ---
Get over one's emotional responses. If one is caught up in HOW the material is PRESENTED instead of IF the material is USEFUL, one is never going to master SEO.
As some here know, i PURPOSELY post in an abrasive, condescending, sarcastic manner with ACCURATE info as a contrast to the many SEO GURUS and GOOGLE EMPLOYEES who are "oh so friendly and likable" while they easily:
- giving you incomplete information,
- giving you false information,
- giving you their opinions based ONLY on their 1 - 15(if that) sites/keyword groups they study.
- taking your money so you buy their next SEO guide or membership site
- whatever other motivations people have for doing stuff (fame, power, saying they know "so and so")
How can one be in the up-and-down, emotionally draining career like SEO if one ego's and emotions get easily swayed?!
Poker, Stock trading, and SEO all chew up and spit out those who let their emotions get in the way of seeing information clearly.
B.) My favorite analogy for mastering Gorg or SERPs SEO is MMORPG (Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game)
Anyone who's ever played these games knows:
1.) Unless you started the game when it first came out, you're almost always "behind" someone else's character - ie. domain age, sites that have been SEO'ing for years
2.) There's always some 19yo on the other side of the world that plays the game 24/7 and only spends time power-leveling with 10 different characters. Heck, she may even have bots leveling her characters.
THIS NEEDS TO BE YOU.
The only way you're going to "beat or catch up" to this person is by playing the game when she's eating dinner, out with friends, etc
ie. those sites that are #1, have authority, big budgets and actively try to keep their positions
3.) Like every MMORPG, there's a learning curve. But if you PLAY enough (ie 24/7 for a few month) you eventually learn "how the heck that guy is killing all the monsters with one blow, when it takes my character 10"
and learn all the secret, intentional "power ups" and unintentional glitches/cheats.
4.) Once you master the game, and can finally talk $hit to the 16 year old in Asia who used to pwn you, there usually comes the EXPANSION MODULE (ie. algo update).
If you've mastered the basic game, the expansion module may be confusing AT FIRST, be it's the same basic programming and rules as the original game.
Therefore, the learning curve is shortened by multiples compared to those just starting the game or those who only play on the weekends and in their free time.
5.) Now until your willing to put in the 8 steps don't be annoyed when the "Level 145 Demi-Goddess Arch Magus of Divine Fire" doesn't want to share all the secrets to BEATING HER CHARACTER at the game.
THATS NOT THEIR JOB.
It's YOUR JOB to play 24/7 LIKE THEY DID,
get to around Level 100+ and then you'll find those higher level characters looking to help you/share their hard fought knowledge with you.
Suddenly they want to know where you got your "+20 Machine Gun of Nuclear Fire Power" in exchange for giving you the sequence to beat "Big Bad Boss of Level 120".
Now, I could have made the same analogies about any aspect of business success, but I use MMORPG for a certain reason.
As some MMORPGs are MORE complicated, challenging, have more variables than figuring out Gorg's Algos.
And at the end of the day, it's all about the 0s and 1s when it comes to organic SERPs. Humans may program the game, but once's it's in the code, the GAME(SERPS):
** doesn't give false, misleading, or incomplete advice,
** have no ulterior motives or subconscious programming,
** are always TRUTH, if even only for the moment they are showing.
My hat goes off to you my friend! You know what you are talking about. Been in SEO for 7 years now, 7 days a week, literally obsessed with it. Reading your approach on ranking is refreshing and very accurate ....
There's always some 19yo on the other side of the world that plays the game 24/7 and only spends time power-leveling with 10 different characters. Heck, she may even have bots leveling her characters.
THIS NEEDS TO BE YOU.
Step 3. Pick 100-200 somewhat random keywords completely UNrelated to your site and industry...
I agree with whitenight that it takes a lot of ever changing research to come up with answers to what is going on with these updates, but watching random sites that are unrelated to your own will give you some crazy results. You have no idea of what kind of seo techniques these sites are using so you are still left in the dark. Some of these random sites could be doing nothing during the test period, some doing very spammy stuff while others a little moderate white hat link building.
My point is, if these 100's of random UNrelated sites are not your own then you really have no idea of what they may or may not have done when they go up or down in the serps. This sort of thing may leave you with more questions than answers.
My game of choice is chess and I find it more productive to play against the site(s) that are above me in the serps than to waste months of time watching some random sites bounce around the serps. After all, to win the game you have to beat those sites that are competing against you for YOUR keywords and not try to confuse the game by trying to figure out some crazy complex algo.
Spend time studying your opponent(s) and what they are doing, they are the ones you are playing against, not the Gorg.
That just seems like a ton of work to me and makes things more complicated than they need to be. If your objective is to get ahead of other sites in the serps then it is much less work to watch them, not 100's of unrelated stuff.
If you want to try and keep up with the Gorgs algo then for sure that sort of research is needed, but, since the algo is ever changing you may never get the answer you are seeking. I try to keep things more simple.
I never do well playing chess against computers, but people I beat all the time... know what I mean?