• Joe Hall

    What I don’t get is, shouldn’t Panda have taken care of this kind of thing?

  • Adam Melson

    You’d think so right? After a few rounds of Panda, they definitely knocked a bunch of spam out. I know of a handful of brand name sites that shove tons of content at the bottom of their homepage. That probably wouldn’t have been caught by Panda. The content sites with non-relevant links should have though.

    Thanks for reading & the comment!

  • Brian Greenberg

    I have noticed sites disappearing from the serps in February… and the past few days more and more sites are being affected. It definitely appears Google is lowering the threshold, and playing around with the serps. It also appears to be on a keyword basis, rather than strictly a site penalty.

  • Nicky

    I`ve heard of stories about WP-themes. This you can get a penalty if you give a free WP-theme with a backlink in the footer.

    But that doesn`t make any sense at all. But why would that cause a penalty. On the other hand, if you have to often the same keyword (a WP theme does that) you will get penalized. How does this work? If the WP-theme backlinks won`t give you a penalty, then everyone could make backlinks with the anchor text “SEO” in it. A bit weird how this works.

    But great article!

  • Yasir

    All your points are quite valid but it is something that we will need to ‘wait and see’.

    The negative SEO is also a point of concern for me as you rightly pointed out that anybody can buy a $5K spam links and point to your site so it will be interesting to see how Google handles that.

    For onpage optimization I guess if any improvement that can be made is to fine tune the TF – IDF and HITS mechanism of information retrieval that can look for obvious signs of ‘over optimization’ on any webpage. With regards to over-optimization of anchor text pointing to your site may be related to number of ‘follow/do-follow’ links as generally paid links are mostly do-follow links and a greater number of same anchored text with do-follow can indicate some over-optimized activity.

  • Adam Melson

    Nicky – the WP Themes is an example (perhaps a poor one from me) where the creator might link to pages using the theme & those pages are also linking back. That’s the only small issue I could think of where Google might lump them into a broad over optimization penalty. All in all, I think those examples are few & far between.

    The main takeaway from that speculation was that Google could be reducing the amount of reciprocal links they think are natural & dropping a penalty when a site reaches above a certain threshold. Thanks for reading & the comment!

  • Stu Goymer

    In theory EVERYTHING anyone does to get links is black-hat-spam to G*

    Where does it stop, where are the lines drawn? What is ethical link building now? For years we have been told to get as many links as possible with your KW from the highest PR sites possible.
    But this is manipulating PR and worthy of penalty isn’t it? Do SEO’s now invest in getting links that say ‘click here’ instead of the relevant KW?

    Why would any high PR site link to another without ‘something’ in return? They won’t.
    The whole ‘quality content’ angle is a load of bull as without links from trusted sites you won’t rank.

    More importantly, G* needs to address the many, many sites that rank top that blatantly go against all guidelines introduced years ago – no content, scrap content, loads of ads, no user experience, spammy links & a shed load of them = No.1 spot.

    Everyone tries to emulate these sites as they are No.1 so if it works for them it will work for us right? When G* starts to delist these sites and gets rid of Adsense then it might all work out for the genuine, decent sites out there. But let’s face it G* doesn’t care about us, it’s one rule for them and one for everyone else. – not my post btw.

    I’m waiting for G* to start attacking link building services next. If that isn’t paid links then what is! Who is going to be the first SEO company to create links for free to maintain ‘white-hat’ status :O)

  • thefuture

    Will all of the godaddy quick sites with all that link juice get slapped just because the site owner doesn’t know the difference/doesnt care?

    Im assuming mr cutts is only talking about on site and not off site optimization ie a few thousand xrumer blasts.

    What if i blast all of my competition with 100k spam back links? will that now knock them out of the serps? if so im buying a crap load of black hat links right now and focus them on my comps.

    this is really going to screw over small ecommerce sites with very little content.

    the way i see it is google needs more ad revenue. the way to do that is to force ecommerce sites to pay for more advertising by pushing up “informational” blogs higher in the serps.

    real winners? i think its facebook and bing.

  • Pawel Reszka

    @thefuture Yep, it sure looks like it. Sending those links at your competitors will get them penalized. Sad but true.

  • Howard Gottlieb

    This is one of the few tunes that you can find no logic whatsoever to the results that G now shows.

    Usually there is some logic you can apply.

  • Thomas

    Ah very nice write up…..The only over optimization stuff I have been reading about lately is vary your anchor text links.

    Good to finally get some insight at the actual page level.

    And if I cant stuff content below the footer, where then can I stuff it? Ha

  • Mike

    Good read, thanks for sharing.

    It is just a fine line between trying to get your message out there via social bookmarking etc and spamming.

    Small Businesses with limited budgets and little traffic seem to get lost in the shuffle. I think some of this is wanted because it forces them to do more PPC advertising in order to be found.

  • Darlingtons

    This is a very interesting post – found a warning in webmaster tools this morning, panicked but then it seems to only effect a few pages on the site. Not great but interesting that it seems to be limited (hopefully) to a few pages where there were an unnatural number of links. Anyone else got the same experience ?