Gaming Google In The Gaming Industry
Have you ever looked at the top of the search results for your industry, seen successful, clearly off-guideline strategies working for some seemingly inferior site and thought, "WTF!! Why hasn't Google caught these guys?"
If you never have had that reaction, you probably need to pay closer attention to what your competitors are doing, because the more competitive the search, the more likely there are players successfully gaming the results.
Here in the US, with the gaming (ie. gambling) industry preparing for the legalization of online casinos in some states, the searches associated with the most valuable keywords are set to become super competitive - you would think (incorrectly) that they already are and have been for years. What's really changing is the importance of the USA geo component for the longtails. We know these searches are valuable because this is one of the fields that gets plenty of enforcement action from Google, and at the same time, plenty of black...
2012 SEO Disasters | Solutions
The 2012 Disasters
2012 was a truly disastrous year for sites penalized in Google. The length of time sites remained in penalties jumped from 1-6 months to a scary undetermined time frame. The majority of medium to large sites (10,000+ urls) that were harmed by Penguin are still penalized, and those that have seen their ranks return have not fully recovered. Many of these sites watched as repeated updates to both Penguin and Panda continued to tank their ranks even as efforts to correct the problems were underway. Smaller sites fared better, but only because the smaller number of links meant that their link profiles were easier to cleanse.
SEOs Are The Problem
From my vantage point, seos were always the primary cause of the penalties, and this was no different in 2012. More than 90% of the penalties we see are triggered by the "experts" and those experts have paid a price. Depending on the news source, between 60-75% of seo agencies were forced...
Google May Be Quietly Acknowledging Negative SEO
In the past month, we've been filing 2-6 reconsideration requests per day, so we've seen a very large number of responses to those requests. And since Penguin we've noticed a significant change in Google's messaging concerning unnatural links, which I've mentioned in previous posts. The strongly accusatory message is now a much more gentle suggestion that you may have screwed up.
But I've lately noticed something that I believe is even more significant. Previously, when you received the unnatural links warning, you were pretty much guaranteed to receive a penalty within 3 weeks - not enough time to preemptively address the problem. So basically, everyone who received the warning eventually got penalized.
But since the warning that went out on 19-21 July 2012, a strange thing happened. Very few sites were harmed, and I believe this signals a paradigm shift within Google. Something major has changed, and I believe it is connected to a problem that Google has been in...
Unnatural Links Warning
In the past several days, Google sent out a huge number of messages from Webmaster Tools. Many site owners received 3 or 4 messages within a few days. If you very recently (19 July 2012 or later) received a warning of unnatural links from Google it was very likely starts with one of these sentences:
"We've detected that some of the links pointing to your site are using techniques outside Google's Webmaster Guidelines."
"We've detected that some of the pages on your site are using techniques outside Google's Webmaster Guidelines."
These warnings are very, very similar to previous ones sent out in advance of penalizing your site, or to explain why you've been penalized. These have always been scary messages to receive.
And you're probably trying to parse that message against this one from Matt Cutts, which is trying so hard to play down the seriousness of it.
LSF Interactive & Netmark Demonstrate Google Penalty Incompetence
Because we oversee and task seo agencies on behalf of our clients, we often find ourselves in the role of 'client.' This gives us insight into the murky world of the retail seo sales efforts, where outrageous claims of expertise often fall flat when agencies are required to actually perform in the client's interest.
LSF Interactive and Netmark are 2 firms where we have witnessed incredible incompetence. The strategies sent to the client in both of these cases revealed plans that actually create greater risk, and in one case that strategy triggered further suppression. While we insist on stopping all link building until the penalty is resolved, LSFinteractive and Netmark both believe that pointing more links is a penalty solution. Netmark had a plan to throw 9,000 links at the site in one month, and actually started that campaign, collapsing the ranks further.
Lack of knowledge & experience leads to mistakes that harm businesses. The longer your ranks are gone, the...