Changes last month in the world of Organic Search

There weren’t any Penguin updates this last month either, but Google Panda 3.9 happened on July 24, 2012. We didn’t see any impact to client rankings. But Google Panda updates should be a constant reminder: Have you added to your site lately? Have you added something of real value to your visitors, something that will interest them, and something they will “Like” (or plus one!)

Penguin v1.2 update is expected to happen any day now. With Google Penguin, websites are more vulnerable to competitors practicing “Negative SEO” than ever before. Since Google Penguin Update actually penalizes websites for links that may have not been created by them, or for them, it is a change for the SEO industry. Some SEO companies are offering “link pruning” services, but it is quite time consuming. Webmasters on these bad websites are bordering on extortion: Asking for compensation to remove links.

Bing, for it’s part, has created a tool to disavow bad links. Google claims to be working on a similar feature in Google Webmaster Tools, but no news yet on when it will be ready. Some expect the tool’s release to coincide wih the next Penguin update.

Google sent out 20,000 “unnatural link” warnings last month, but then created some confusion by telling webmasters to ignore them. Google’s Matt Cutts explains: “Fundamentally, it means we’re distrusting some links to your site. We often take this action when we see a site that is mostly good but might be might have some spammy or artificial links pointing to it.” The link building techniques he identified are:
1. “widgetbait”
This is where sites distribute a badge or other graphic with a link back to their website. Some web stats sites send these out, and Google has noticed.

2. “paid links”
Google wants to be the only site selling links, I think. Or maybe they just want to make sure that advertising related links do not help rankings.

3. “blog spam”
Blog entries and comments that are spammy detract from the web.

4. “guestbook spam”
Guestbook / forum postings that have nothing to do with the conversation are certainly annoying, and Google does not want to encourage them with it’s algorithm.

5. “excessive article directory submissions”
We do not submit to article sites. Many SEO firms have been submitted “spun” articles that resemble gibberish. Google does not see this as a good thing for the web, and also is seeking diversity of link types.

6. “excessive link exchanges”
Google knows webmasters are likely to exchange links where it makes sense, but do not want to see this on a mass scale.

7. “other types of linkspam”
There are always going to be new types of linkspam. Every time there is a new type of website!

Google is also rewarding sites using their Google+ social network. If you haven’t created a profile and/or switched over your Google Local/Maps profile, this is a good time to get it rolling. Need help? Let us know: We’ll steer you to the right partner or help you ourselves.

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