As much as I hate doing a post on what a shiton of people will probably abuse to once again sell products (when Panda came out “hundreds” of “panda proof” guides came out) I do think it’s important to reiterate a few points for those wondering my opinion on the recent blog network de-indexing and what not.
First off, this should not come as a surprise to you, anyone thinking this was “all fine with Google” is crazy. Especially networks like BMR/BB which are privately owned blogs (a single owner) and they basically allow you to post links to your site on those blogs in exchange for a monthly fee. This is NO DIFFERENT than paid links which Google has been fighting for 5+ years.
Honestly, I’m surprised those networks lasted so long.. When I started in 2010 private networks were a lot less common (well at least “public ones” that you can pay to be on) and I had heard stories of these networks getting de-indexed. For some reason this became very rare during the end of 2010 to the beginning of 2012…
Personally, I do not seem to have lost rankings on my main sites but I also did not use networks like BMR for at least 6+ months now. I heard BB might have gotten affected but I also haven’t used BB in a while… I mostly only use Ezarticle link/Article Ranks currently as far as private networks are concerned. Those are probably harder to mass de-index since the footprint is harder to detect (the blogs are NOT all owned by a single person). I also still do article distribution using AMR which, while it might lose value over time, is somewhat more legit as far as link building methods go. AMR just speeds up the process of something I often did manually in the past. I still do it… But I only manually submit articles to major websites like ezine articles nowadays.
Obviously social bookmarking is/will become an even more important ranking factor. While BMD still works well for me that’s another software that might one day not work as well.
I’m not 100% convinced a Google +1/facebook like helps much with SEO. It can be gamed quite easily anyway if they ever become an important ranking factor. Twitter links from “naturally” heavily followed people might be important but than again, I’m sure that could be gamed too… to an extent. Sure Google could make a link from “Obama” give a 100% ranking boost but that seems like something that would have to be manually done… People already have bots making tons of accounts following people and getting followers. How can Google be 100% sure that person with 50,000 followers is not just being followed by 50,000 bots?
Why bother with getting +1/likes?
Having a good website that naturally gets both of those social signals definitely can help with traffic though. One of my main sites has pages with 100-300 likes and about 2-4% of my monthly traffic (30,000-50,000) is from facebook referrals. Also, Google +1 puts your friend’s images near websites they +1′d when you search for something so that definitely helps with CTR. It attracts your attention so you will most likely go to that site even if it is #3 instead of #1 in Google rankings.
Other interesting signals from Google
I recently got “Google Webmaster Tools notice of detected unnatural links to X.com” to 2 of my websites in the same day. This message appears in webmaster tools. I’m not sure if it changed anything because my rankings on those sites have not been affected… Both of those websites are very old and definitely both had links from BMR and the many other networks I tested over the years that eventually got de-indexed this month. So, maybe it’s a warning from Google and since I haven’t used those networks in a long time I already had lost the ranking power since links from BMR tend to fade away quickly from the main page of the website.
Either way, I definitely think I need to focus my attention on a few select sites and ignore or sell the other ones. I had a few sites making $25-100/month lose rankings for the 1-2 keyword they were on the first page for over the past weeks and while I think I could get them back it’s clear to me Google is making getting rankings a bit harder to get/maintain for websites you don’t really constantly maintain (both in terms of linking and offering good/new content to your viewers that keep them coming back). Two of those sites even got a different webmaster tools signal… “Google Webmaster Tools: Quality Issues on X.com” and instantly lost 50+ rankings. Basically the messages asks that I make sure my site does not have copied content/scrapped content. Not too sure what to answer to this but I guess my other sites are safe so far. Google seems to have “reviewed” all my sites in my webmaster tools account together because all the messages appeared on the same day. While it’s cool that webmaster tools can tell me in advance some of the issues Google might have with my website, it’s also clear that by having them all linked together in my webmaster tools/analytic account they all got reviewed together… If I do new sites again I probably will either do a new account or not even bother using both of those tools.
I have about 4 of them still making $50-100/month without any lost of rankings when I checked yesterday so I might just sell those soon, I don’t have the time/interest to maintain them or make them rank for new keywords.
Anyway, enjoy watching all the new WSO’s showing you how to rank websites with “Blog network/Google proof” methods that will be shockingly familiar to anyone that is already building a diverse linking strategy to a site that is “normal” (that people can enjoy visiting).
Hopefully you guys did not get too affected by these changes