Oh the horror, we can all remember the days when the first “zoo” updates started showing up from Google. It seemed like every other “SEO Guru” was proclaiming the end of SEO. Sites were falling down the serps, and most of the gray and blackhat SEO forums were full of people crying out that Google had lost their mind.
So is this what we can expect from the next update?
Well it really depends on which side of the fence you’re sitting on. When all of those sites dropped down other sites went up to take their place. There are almost just as many losers as there are winners when these updates occur. The losers are generally more vocal which is why it feels like everyone has been hit by the update.
So how can you make sure you are on the right side of the fence?
Simple, you just need to understand what direction Google is going in, so that way you can be prepared for what updates they are going to release. While Google is not always completely forward with what they plan to do, you can definitely learn a lot from what they say and allude to.
Today we are going to go over the things that we expect Google to hit in the next update. Penguin 3.0 is designed to make sure that only sites that have “natural” backlink profiles will rank in website.
Before the original penguin it was possible to blast blog comment links to your website and rank it. That is no longer possible. In this article we are going to analyze what blackhat marketers are using right now to rank and how Google will probably fight back against it in their latest update.
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Private Blog Networks –
This is a big one; blackhat SEO guys have been abusing Google with Private Blog Networks for a long time. In fact, it’s been going on for a long enough time that most SEO practitioners were claiming that the only way Google could fight against these networks is by manually deindexing them.
This is actually what was happening before; Google would call out a few networks and then deindex the whole network. This was a cost that most blackhaters were willing to risk and many of them have been successfully making money for a while using these networks.
Well unfortunately for people who own these networks Google has already started to fight back. No one knows for sure how, but Google has come up with a way to target these blog networks and to deindex them. A few theories involve thin content, whois information, or even where you get your hosting.
It’s still probably too early to decide what it is that is tipping Google off, but we can only expect them to take down more networks as the penguin 3.0 update gets rolled out.
Web 2.0 Links –
Web 2.0’s have been used as sort of a mini private blog network for a long time. They were already slightly devalued once which is why a lot of people quit using programs such as SEnuke.
Blackhat SEO’s found out that if they built up their web 2.0 properties like real websites they would gain authority after a while and allow them to build powerful links. There is powerful software that helps them do this such as FCS Networker; this type of software is entirely based around this idea of building authority to these blogs to pass it on to their websites.
Google has probably been following this for a while; my guess is that quite a few of these web 2.0 sites are going to get hit hard by Google in the next update. Right now is not the time to start building more web 2.0 links, instead it’s the time to start looking elsewhere for links if this is where you have been getting them from.
I do not know which sites will be hit, but I would advise that you wait to see what Google does with the update before you build more web 2.0 links.
No Content Links –
These are links that aren’t built with any context around them. These include links such as blog comment links and footer links on websites. Despite popular belief blog commenting for links does work, especially if the site has dofollow links in their comment section.
So far in every penguin update Google has hit these types of links, the idea being that quality links come from high quality pages. I believe that Google will once again hit these link types, I would advise staying away from any of these types of links for the next little while. Wait for the update to roll out and then evaluate what it did to the search engine results.
301 Redirects –
This one is almost as common as Private Blog Networks. 301 Redirects have been used to dodge penalties for quite a while now. Here’s a little secret, most 301 redirects don’t transfer penalties, and if they do they are definitely delayed. A lot of burn and churn SEO guys would blast their site to the top of Google only to get penalized. They would then 301 redirect the site to another one and watch as it ranked up highly in Google.
This little trick will not work for long, it has been talked about for a while and Google has alluded to the fact that they are going to take care of it. It may be tempting to use right now, but our advice is to stay far away, it is only a matter of time before Google comes down hard on 301 redirects.
Anchor Text Ratio –
Anchor text ratio is a big thing, back in the day it didn’t matter too much and most links that were built were exact match anchor texts. Now days Google seems to analyze the percentage of exact match anchor texts that you have to your site so that they can decide if you really do deserve to rank or not.
Moz has pointed out a few times that exact match anchor texts still seem to make large differences in the search engine results. A lot of blackhat SEO guys have been using this to their advantage and our guess is that Google will once again dilute this. We would recommend focusing on natural links and branded links until penguin 3.0 is done rolling out. This will avoid any penalties and look more natural to Google.
Penguin 3.0 is going to be a big deal, panda 4.1 was a big deal but most SEO practitioners usually stress about their links. Knowing what to expect is half the battle, and now you have a reasonable idea of what Google is going to target in this next update. Preparation is key, especially since we are a few weeks out. Just use the strategies that we advise here to build links and you shouldn’t have any problem at all. Anything else that you think Penguin 3.0 will target? Let us know below.