While not much has been said publicly about your backlinks and the Google Panda/Farmer update, I thought we could get something going. We’ve been helping and discussing problems with many sites via Google Webmaster Central, and we started seeing a pattern. While the majority of issues with the Panda update have been due to thin/scrapped/junk content, we have seen a lot of sites that got hit have paid links among other types. While we cannot disclose the sites we’ve looked at and dealt with, you can see dozens of examples on Google’s Webmaster Central. There are literally dozens every day coming forth with issues!
Photo Courtesy: Brad Beamana
Panda Food For Thought:
We all know by know that content is king, and now if it’s not you’re getting put in the dungeon. So what about all the sites getting effected that have unique quality content that’s quite abundant on their website? Well this was something we were seeing quite a bit, which you can imagine has left a lot of businesses stumped and in the dark. Matt Cutts has talked a lot about what they’ve changed, but not once have I ever heard links get brought up.
It is absolutely true when I say paid links and anchor text abuse is still a plague, and dominating any big SERP in Google. It is actually rare for a site to rank top 3 for a tough keyword without tons of paid links. Don’t believe me? Then prove me wrong! This is why our team, and others have been speculating that the next big algorithm change will be focused on this very topic.
Now onto the issue of whether or not links were a factor within the Panda update. From what we’re seeing we have a deep down burning feeling that they most definitely took part. Like with paid/spam links, you don’t always see every or even many sites get hit, but sometimes you get stung. From the 4 dozen sites we’ve spoken with on GWC, the ones that had excellent content, social media participation and great designs were still hurt.
What was a common factor in just about all of them? Paid links and very obvious link schemes! A lot of the businesses were very large ecommerce websites that had been around and ranking well 10 years or more. This is a life changing punishment for a lot of people and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst of enemies.
What stuns us the most is how they didn’t expect to ever feel the sting with a majority of these types of links? Even looking at their competitor’s who either stayed ranked or moved up still had paid/spammy links. The difference? They also had a really good mix of other types of links, anchor text diversity and a healthy follow/nofollow ratio.
If you have no idea where to start, then consider getting a link audit from us to identify the problems. If you have looked at your links and have finally realized you got an issue, then it’s time to start cleaning it up! This isn’t a fun process and it will take time in both the clean up process, and the Google healing time…and that’s if you ever recover.
Removing the offending links from low quality sites is the first step, secondly stop worrying about anchor text links. Go into the future with a sound on page setup that’s for the user, and not the search engines. There are hundreds of quality ways to attract links, so start getting smart about your link building tactics.
If you’re having issues and you think it’s link related, post up in the comments. I’ll leave this as an open forum for discussion if you so choose, and we’ll do our best to answer your questions. For those needing private help, we’re just a phone call away so do get in touch for a free consultation.