in SEO Resources by Jeffrey_Smith

Is Google shaking down paid links now more than ever? It seems that more and more sites are slipping from page 1 to page 3 or 4 in the SERPs (search engine result pages). What is one possible cause? The obvious conclusion… over-optimization!

Googlebot-penalizing-paid-links

Link Interrogation: GoogleBot Shaking Down Paid Links

What Does Over-Optimization Mean?

It means that you pushed too far with one of the four metrics below. Each tells a story (like a piece of a puzzle) and collectively they sculpt the granular degree of trust, authority and positioning your web pages can acquire.

The metrics are:

  • Link Profile
  • Backlink Diversity
  • Anchor Text Diversity
  • Link Velocity

If you currently enjoy top rankings, its because you approached the SEO metrics above properly. Any funny-stuff could trip an algorithmic filter and invoke a digital pimp smack from Google. In addition to  your page taking some time-off from the top 10 results, the offending site is vetoed for using this abused SEO technique. In other words (the offending sites get their rank pulled) or ability to rank other sites for any anchor text whatsoever.

Link Profile:

Just think of this as your online record – from the time your website went live (from the first crawl) to this very day, your link profile leaves a trail. Just think of it like a ticker-tape of reputation, citation and accomplishment – or in some causes a blemish (if the sites linking to you get devalued and / or penalized).

Back Link Diversity:

Are your links coming from one source or IP block of sites (all owned from the same registrar) or network or are you links from a plethora of places online? Remember 1995 when satellite sites in the hundreds were sacrificed using link wheels to prop up a money domain?

Well, just in case you don’t “Google does” – and it has an answer for any blatant attempt to manipulate its algorithm – “demotion“.

Not that you can control all the links your website receives, its just if they are all coming from a small cluster of sites (with the same IP range, anchor text and happen rapidly), changes are, the algorithm will smell something fishy.

Anchor Text Diversity:

Are you getting the same anchor text links to the same page in ridiculously disproportionate volumes? Then chances are that keyword took a hiatus to page 2 or 3 (but your OTHER rankings are just fine).

What does it mean? That you pushed it too far son, and now search engines have labeled your page and/or website as a spammer (and have put your page on watch). Sure, you can unravel a penalty (diversify anchor text, use the domain name in stead of anchors or elect another page until the bad juju wears off), but consider it a penalization of sorts saying (diversity is the key).

Link Velocity:

What is link velocity? It is the rater in which you gain or lose links. If your website get 100,000 links in one month to one page out of the blue – you will either be considered an online rock star or pinned up for further interrogation from search engine algorithms.

Remember the Google caffeine update or Google Mayday Update that clipped long-tail traffic a few months back? Well in case you didn’t those under the hood infrastructure changes with caffeine and Google Mayday ranking changes allow them to zero in on citation close to “real-time” to assess the validity of links, if they are appearing in “natural clusters” or if they are leaving a trail of automation or “a natural spike or link progression“.

Google Caffeine is the litmus test for links, Google Mayday makes sure that each page that ranks is worthy enough to stand on its own – in other words many of the borderline tactics SEO’s used prior to their inception quickly became defunct.

This is where diversity again comes in to play, whereby if a page is receiving the same links with the same anchors in a disproportionate volume – changes are its on purpose. However that purpose may differ from the terms of service for Google (which goes back to demotion) as the result.

The takeaway, if you enjoy top rankings in Google, Yahoo and Bing – stick with quality content, link diversity, anchor text diversity and moderation (patience) with link building when scaling the SERPs for multiple keywords. Failure to comply through impatience can often result in penalization, lost time and lost profits, and nobody likes to start from zero. 

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About Jeffrey_Smith

In 2006, Jeffrey Smith founded SEO Design Solutions (An SEO Provider who now develops SEO Software for WordPress).

Jeffrey has actively been involved in internet marketing since 1995 and brings a wealth of collective experiences and marketing strategies to increase rankings, revenue and reach.

8 thoughts on “Is Google Shaking Down Paid Links?
  1. Guy says:

    Thanks for the post Jeffrey interesting thoughts, however I am still very cautious of any suggestion that offpage activities can be of any detriment to a website…What is to stop me hiring a group of xrumer experts to nuke a competitors website? I could easily outsource a huge team of people to link spam any website I didn’t like

  2. Hey Guy:

    Negative SEO happens every day. Some go so far as to buy links for competitors (without their knowledge) and then report them to Google – talk about shady.

    The gist was to avoid over-optimization from excessively building unnatural links “but Google essentially does a fair job at weeding out which sites pass value and which do not”. If it can rank on its own for something, then links count.

    Spammy directories on the other hand (can barely pass PR to their own internal pages) and 200 outbound links on a page that is dwindling in the index is barely enough to be considered a penalty if one received a link from it (more like a null set).

    Thanks for commenting…

  3. Guy says:

    Thanks for the response Jeffrey, I definitely think that there is nothing is ever straightforward with Google…If I competitor did buy links for my website and then report me to Google, I assume there would be a possibility that I could be penalised…Perhaps for my own and even clients piece of mind I like to believe that Google goes to a lot of effort to minimise any harm a competitor can to do you…100% agree with you on spammy directories, I’m amazed people are still using these the only benefit I can see if the possibility of adding more IP diversity to your link profile..As for passing any real link juice I can’t see it…

  4. wally says:

    Thanks for this post about the links. I think site was slapped recently. I bought some links which turned out to be poorly ranked but definitely learned from it. Thanks for your insights.

  5. I dont think that too much is happening with paid search. Occasionally ive seen links that dont have any effect but the same could be said of many things.

    So a search for ‘seo company’ and check the backlinks of the first site there – their back links such and is filled with 1000s of comment spam and article spam… its disgraceful.

  6. It is pretty sad, I must agree.

    Hard to tell which SEO factors are pushing through, links, trust or on page SEO.

Comments are closed.