Google Panda 3.3 – Is SEO Dead?
The last couple of weeks I’ve been blogging quite heavily on social media which I’m a big believer in. Why am I such a big believer you may ask? Well the answer for me is the simple fact that social media is relatively cheap and easy to implement in order to get a large amount of traffic to your website. Not just that, it’s great for your brand awareness and reputation management. However in the last week it’s become even more apparent why social media is becoming increasingly more important as part of your marketing strategy.
You see what has happened in the last week has been massive in the search engine optimization world which is what I wanted to talk about today. Google has made some massive changes to its algorithm via Panda 3.3 and now has started penalizing websites for having spammy or unnatural back links. There always use to be a hot debate on whether you got penalized for having unnatural or spammy back links to your website. The argument being “well if you got penalized for having certain back links, then you could easily build back links to your competitor websites and get them banned.” Well this almost looks like this is the case. If you relied on SEO as your primary source of bringing traffic to your website, then you would be stuffed. That’s why you need to focus some of your efforts into social media marketing.
Most of the SEO specialists I’ve spoken to and confirmed with have also suggested that Google are now penalizing sites for bad back links. Having a look around the Internet, more and more people are getting the following message from Google in their webmaster tools account:
We’ve detected that some of your site’s pages may be using techniques that are outside Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.
Specifically, look for possibly artificial or unnatural links pointing to your site that could be intended to manipulate PageRank. Examples of unnatural linking could include buying links to pass PageRank or participating in link schemes.
We encourage you to make changes to your site so that it meets our quality guidelines. Once you’ve made these changes, please submit your site for reconsideration in Google’s search results.
If you find unnatural links to your site that you are unable to control or remove, please provide the details in your reconsideration request.
If you have any questions about how to resolve this issue, please see our Webmaster Help Forum for support.
Google Search Quality Team
Wow!! Moreover in the last week, one of the biggest paid blog networks out there has had all their blogs de-indexed by Google. They have now shut down. The network – Build My Rank. This network is one of the strictest blog networks out there when it came to submitting content with your back links in them. It had to be unique content or well spun content (not poorly spun content that was not human readable) with no grammar and spelling mistakes. Build My Rank did not want to leave any footprint for Google to catch them out. Unfortunately they did.
Now Google are after Authority Link Network as well having de-indexed thousands of blogs in that network. I believe it won’t be long before Google de-indexes all the blogs in ALN. So the big G are cracking down hard on people trying to game the system. This now begs the question is SEO dead? Will it still be viable in 6 months time? I still believe there is a place for SEO but it’s definitely now becoming harder to rank websites higher. So below I’ve listed some of my tips on getting your website to the top of Google:
- Create quality content – I’ve mentioned this many a time and it will never change. Content is king. Produce quality content that helps users and create it regularly! Keep your site content fresh with new content added continuously.
- Get natural back links – linked in to my point above, by creating quality content other websites will naturally link to your website.
- Social media – you need social proof for your website period. Once again linked in to point 1, create content that creates a buzz. Get people tweeting your content, liking it on Facebook, sharing on Google+ or pinning it on Pinterest. Google are using social signals more and more to determine the value and rankings of websites.
- Link diversity – get a variety of links from different sources such as article submissions, social bookmarking, wiki submissions, press releases, RSS feeds, forum profiles etc. The more your link profile is diverse, the better it is in Google’s eyes. Do not put all your back links in one basket. For example, imagine your only source of back links was from Build My Rank and you got hit by Google, compared with someone who also had Build My Rank back links but also had back links from a multitude of other sources. The latter will still be fine.
- Guest posts- always great to write posts for others and also get them to write posts for you. Guest blogging is great also for your brand awareness.
- Anchor text diversity – don’t create links to your website all using the same anchor text which is your keyword. This looks so unnatural. Mix it up – use different keywords and variations of keywords. Include anchor text keywords such as “click here” and “here”.
- Use a fast and reliable website hosting company – Google looks at page load times and bounce rates as metrics in ranking your website. So make sure your website is quick upon loading and you direct your website visitors as soon as they view your web page. If you use wordpress, you can use a caching plugin to improve the loading speed of your website.
If you stick to the above tips, you will be fine. Also your website visitors will also be happy because they’re getting great and useful content. This keeps the big G happy.
About The Author
We have to keep ourselves up to date for more updates. Nowadays, It is very hard to get higher rank for website. You have to change your strategy frequently... But, who cares... I am enjoying it.
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@RJ Palmer Very good point! Thanks for your comment. It has definitely weeded out the SEO spammers out there and now you have to really be on top of your game and carefully think about your SEO strategy.
Many people say that SEO is dead, but these people are the ones who do not know how to deal with the recent Google updates. Old strategies do not work anymore and few people know how to SEO properly today.
@Jean-Philippe Maltais Great comment! I totally agree. SEO isn't dead, but it is a lot harder and there are no more shortcuts. Old strategies indeed do not work.
It makes a lot of sense. I will double my social media efforts, which is actaully a good thing. thanks for the great information.
@SBSuz Thanks for your comment. Yeah putting effort in social media is a great idea, not just for SEO purposes but also to bring traffic in without having to rely entirely on Google. Great stuff!
@duggiel Interesting article, this had to happen :) I could never understand SEO as spamming internet with fake blogs full of keywords.
Doug, this is interesting.I kind of saw this coming when I was experimenting with DTA - a premium backlinks accelerator. I couldn't figure out that when I was providing my own content and backlinks naturally, my ranking was seadily climbing. Over the past few weeks of using DTA backlinks, my Alexa ranking has tanked. Is the reason the new Google panda?
I have now left DTA behind and will concentrate on what you say above - which worked for me before but I guess I got lazy.
Thanks for the reminder, Doug. Great post!
@thisisandymoore1 Thanks for your comment Andy! Yeah if all your backlinks are coming from DTA then there's a much higher chance you'll be slapped by Google. The great thing about providing your own unique content (not spun content) is you'll also rank for long tail keywords which in turn brings in more traffic. Since my blog post this is what has happened to the following blog networks (Google are coming down hard!):
Build My Rank (totally de-indexed)
SEO Nitro (totally de-indexed)
SEO Linkvine (totally de-indexed)
High PR Society (totally de-indexed)
Linkvana (totally de-indexed)
ALN (partially de-indexed)
Blog Blueprint (partially de-indexed)
SEO Linkmonster (totally de-indexed)
Crazy stuff! I also hear on the grape vine and from what I've seen Google may be gearing up Google Authorship as the new Page Rank. But we'll have to wait and see ;-)
@Douglas Lim Hi Doug, thanks for coming back so quick.
I'm so pleased I dumped DTA. Next thing is to get some good content and great backlinks now.
I'll be looking into Google Authorship as that sounds interesting.
All scary but fun stuff happening...!
Cheers now and thanks,