Serpswatch Google Penguin, Panda, and Link Building
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Contents Rap Genius: Lessons on link building
No Page rank update in 2013
Google Penguin 2.1 targets link sellers..
Rap Genius: Lessons on link building December 29, 2013 What can we learn from Rap genius? Don't try to game google? Is that it? Almost everyone who is familiar with SEO knows that backlinks play an important role in SERPS ranking. Rapgenius founder's hubris ultimately got the company in trouble. The founder was caught asking a blogger backlinks in return for promotional tweets for his article. The blogger was smart, he published the mails exchanged with the rap genius founder on his blog. This got Google interested in RapGenius' link building strategy. We all know what happened to rapgenius finally: the sites' traffic tanked and it simply disappeared from google results. What rap genius was doing was obviously a black hat technique. What got me interested: is there something in it for people who want to produce great content/product and people to write about them. Of course you wouldn't want to engage in practices which google doesn't like. In simple terms if you are influencing a website or blog to link to you through some sought of direct or indirect incentive then you are violating webmaster guide lines. Let's see an interesting twist now. Let's see what the whistle blower got out of this. Rapgenius expose was covered by all major sites on the web. Interestingly the whistle blowers' blog (http://jmarbach.com/rapgenius-growth-hack-exposed) was also mentioned equal number of times. Here's is what I found using ahrefs tool .
Look at the massive link velocity. The site (http://jmarbach.com) got close to 100 links from top notch websites within short span of 15 days. Now that's the power of awesome ( viral ) content . Can you achieve this kind of growth by buying links? If you can then you must be filthy rich or influential to generate this kind of impact.
No Page rank update in 2013 October 07, 2013 Google is hyper active these days. There is a major update every other day. Now, Matt Cutts, the head of google spam team, has tweeted that there will be no page rank update this year (2013). Page rank is indicator of Google's trust in a site. Google came up with this metric for the benefits of its users. However, Page rank became a badge of achievement for webmaster, which they would proudly display on their websites. Since trust (page rank) flows from one site to another site, a back link from high page rank site matters a lot. And PR plays an important role in SERPS - yes it still matters a lot- the high pr sites are tempted to sell links. A link from high PR sites (PR-8) nowadays costs anywhere in between $200 and $300 a month. Google hates this because it allows low quality sites to show higher in the search results. May be because of this reason google decided not to update the page rank. Now the question is: what are it's implications? 1 ) Link Buyers will now be confused. How to decide which sites Google trusts? Even if you know that google trusts a particular site. How would you figure out how much trust Google has in that site? There is a huge amount of difference between PR 5 and PR6 domain. 2) Link sellers won't be able differentiate themselves from low quality link sellers for similar reasons. Does this mean that metrics DA (domain authority) and PA ( Page authority) introduced by Moz will now become even more relevant? There is a high correlation between high DA and high PR. In fact Moz.com has introduced its own page rank know as MozRank. [table] Name, Moz DA, Google Page Rank techcrunch.com, 96, 8 twitter.com, 100, 10 hipmunk.com, 69, 6
triptease.com, 45, 4 [/table] As you can see from the table above high DA implies high PR. However, I could find some odd cases as well. [table] Name, Moz DA, Google Page Rank structuresite.info , 51, 1 [/table] If not moz then who else can quantify Google's trust? In the absence of credible third party source Google might achieve it's objective of confusing link buyers and seller. Why not simply kill the PR tool? the decision to not to update PR is related to on going battle against link sellers?
Google Penguin 2.1 targets link sellers.. October 06, 2013 Google Penguin 2.1 is primarily targeted at link sellers. Google takes link buying very seriously. Site which engage in link buying and selling practices were hit hard during this penguin update. We found that many high PR sites were the target of this update. Here is what we found after the Penguin Update. [table] Domain Name,Old Pr,New PR,PR Drop famfamfam.com,8,4,-4 aibworld.net,6,3,-3 extremeprogramming.org,7,3,-4 sociosite.net,7,3,-4 getk2.com,8,4,-4 linuxnews.co,7,3,-4 [/table] By looking at their website one could easily make out that these sites were engaged link selling business. Now as webmaster should you be worried if you had links coming from one of these sites? What I have seen in the past is that links from penguin sites are no longer valued by Google. However, if majority of your link profile is comprised of penguin 2.1 hit sites then you are going to experience a traffic drop. The drop in traffic is going to be proportional to value your site derived from these backlinks. In simple terms if 90% of your siteâ€™s traffic was because of these links then you are going to see 90% traffic drop. If you had bought link from one of these sites are you going to experience a penalty? Again I feel the answer is no. However, the traffic drop may seem like penalty. But actually there is no real penalty. Google has said several times that external links canâ€™t harm your site. Were you a target of this udpate? Did you experience any traffic drop today? Food for thought: How does Google figure out if site is engaged in link selling? There is still some chance that these could be editorial links.