Ok, you may or may not of seen Matt Cutt's video he posted on May 13th but once again, he is telling us about how "deep" this next Penguin update will be.
When I listen to Matt, he seems like such a nice trust-worthy type of guy, but I just can't help from thinking, that is exactly what Google wants us to think! LOL
And, Cutt's has already once before warned us of a "jarring and jolting" Penguin update that was to take place last year. (http://www.seroundtable.com/google-penguin-warning-15577.html) The update happened on Oct 5th, 2012 and well, it was a smooth ride.
So, when he made THAT statement "last year," could he have really been referring to what Google is internally calling "Penguin 2.0" that he just announced to be rolling out in next couple of weeks?
Could be. But, my gut tells me, it may be more of the same and hit the sites that are doing the same ole linking patterns that got the first round of sites penalized last year. You know the ones, the ones that used exact match anchor text over and over again, or just as obvious, partial matches of about 10 keywords.
For example, I just arbitrarily Google'd "weight loss" and look at this site... 123-weightloss.com ranks on the FIRST page of Google for these major monster weight loss keywords that they are hitting incredibly hard with links! Below is a screenshot from LinkDensity (that by the way is a great tool for competitive research!) that shows the percentage of incoming links to 123-weightloss.com with the anchor text being used. They have heavily targeted about a dozen keywords and are ranking for ALL but one, not to mention the variations and derivative keywords that fall inline with this type of linking campaign.
I scratch my head thinking, well this is an obvious SEO'd site! lol But, look, TODAY at this very moment, it is working and working VERY WELL!
But again, my guts says once Penguin runs again no matter what update they call it, (http://searchengineland.com/google-matt-cutts-penguin-update-158980) we are going to see these types of sites fall like we saw them fall a year ago with the Panda 3.3 on Feb 27 and Penguin 1 on April 24.
I mean, come on, whomever owns this site is not even doing any buffering, barely any type of decent (as in well made) sites linking to them, but they do have sites with a ton of PageRank and MajesticSEO Trust Flow. (Here is a lint to a short video I did further examining the site on a side note: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K6bj_jN2A-0)
I have had many people tell me, "oh Dori, don't be so pessimistic about exact/partial match keywords! Sites are ranking all the time doing it." And I would always say back, yeah and I bet they didn't started ranking until AFTER the last Penguin update! And proof here with this site as well. The last Penguin update was Oct 5th and guess what, MajesticSEO shows all the inbound linking taking place right after!
So... ahem.. and again, I bet this site disappears after the next Penguin Update. But does that mean that the next Penguin will do more damage then it already has? I just can't imagine! It may however turn Penguin into more of a recurring event so we "can't" do the quick churn and burn model that this site is doing by hitting it quick and hard and having a hay day for about 8 months! But, it sure is worth giving it a go AFTER the next update! lol
I also just want to comment that this site has AGE (first resisted in 2002!). It was probably purchased in the Auctions before it dropped and boom, all that "Who is" age stays along with it as well as archive.orgs. It was a Herbalife consultant that use to own this and I highly doubt it was her who did this incredible "go for it" SEO job! lol
But back to Matt Cutt's video. Let's look at what he has to say, he starts out the video with what SEOs should be doing and that is..
And then he goes into Penguin and says..
"We are relatively close to deploying the next generation of Penguin and internally what we call Penguin 2.0 (Dori: what, I thought we were up to Penguine 4.0) and again Penguin is a webspam change that is dedicated to finding Blackhat webspam (Dori: now remember, anything YOU do to try and modify your rankings is against Google's terms and conditions and is now considered BlackHat!) and try to target it and address that. So this one is a little more comprehensive then Penguin 1.0 and we expect to go deeper and have a little bit more of an impact then the original version of Penguin." (Dori: rut row, I can't imagine it going "deeper?")
He also talked about NEW Link Analysis..
"We are also looking at some ways to go upstream to deny the value to link spammers, (Dori: this makes me think they may possibly devalue PageRank? or?) for people who spam links in various ways, we've got some nice ideas and trying to make sure that THAT becomes less effective, and so we expect that will roll out in the next few months as well. (Dori: and since they seemingly still go after blog networks and link sellers manually, this tells me 1) those activities still work to rank sites, and 2) they may have something in the hopper that will combat this algorithmically, which "I" would RATHER deal with actually! lol)
And if fact we are working on a completely different system that does more sophisticated link analysis, we are still in the early days of that but are pretty excited, we have some data that were are ready to start munching and see whether that bears fruit or not." (Dori: so something that may or not bear fruit but telling us about it for a good scare factor.)
Then some GOOD NEWS on Panda..
"We have also been looking at Panda and seeing if we can find some additional signals and we think we have some to help refine things for sites that are kinda in the boarder zone, in the grey area a little bit, so if we can soften the effect a little bit for those sites that have some additional signals of quality that will help some sites that might of previously be affected to some degree by Panda." (Dori: I am SO happy to hear they are going back and fine tuning this so perhaps some of us that were unfairly hit may come back!)
Another topic that was actually in the middle of the video was the idea of Google going after "Advertorials." I thought this was interesting because I had been long planning a blog post title "Guess Who is Selling Links and Getting Away With It?"
A couple months ago I had found some pretty big news media selling text link ads and giving them full DO FOLLOW links from NICE PageRank pages. You can see for yourself, (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/national/usstatesterritoriesandpossessions/texas/index.html) and even though I could of and probably should still write an entire post on how the "Big Guys" get away with not only selling links, but clearly BUYING links with NO penalty what-so-ever, but I will just post this one example for now.
If you download any of the major media's ad specs you are going to see different types of display ads along with "hyperlink text" in the notes, meaning, they get a "link" with "anchor text" in it!
Look at this, here is a beautiful New York Times page that is a PageRank 7 that has what they are calling "Texas Navigator" resources, and one can argue for example that since "Whole Foods," and "Neiman Marcus" both have their national head quarters in Texas that these links are appropriate even though they just go directly to non-Texas landing pages. However, the New York times is not stupid and they know how to place links, either purchased through their advertorial department or other concessions, the placement of such are no doubt under the radar paid links. I mean, why even have a "Texas Navigator" with links that go off-site? Duh! They are PAID!
What makes it even more notable is that it isn't like they don't know how to use the "No Follow" tag as they us it on 95% of links that go directly back inside the site, but interestingly leave it out on links going outside of their site, thus, sculpting the PageRank to flow to you know who, their undisclosed advertisers! (Like I said, they aren't stupid! lol)
Below, Cutt's says they are going to be "a little bit stronger on enforcement on advertorials that violate our quality guidelines." If they really mean it, then they would and will go after the obvious big guys, but my guess is that is it more scare tactics for the little folk.
"We have also been looking at Advertorials that is native advertising that violate quality guidelines, so again, if someone pays for coverage or an ad, those ads should NOT flow PR, we have seen a few sites in the US and around the world that take money that do link to websites and do pass PageRank. So we will be looking at some efforts to be a little bit stronger on enforcement on advertorials that violate our quality guidelines. (Dori: I just gave you one example! We sill be watching. :-)
Now there is nothing wrong with advertorials or native advertising but they should not flow PageRank and there should be clear and conspicuous disclosures so users realize that something is paid and is not organic or editorial."
So bottom line with the Cutt's Video is that linking is still working or they wouldn't be going after it, AND, for those of you that don't think paid links work or it is just the scummy BlackHatter's doing it, you may want to think again.
I DO think we are going to see another annihilation round with the next Penguin Update, but after last years folly the guys that are doing the quick churn and burn know exactly what they are doing and are laughing at us that they got away with it for 8 months!;-)
Onward and Upward!
Dori Friend :-)