Published on by: James H. Hobson
We've written a lot about on-page Google SEO tips and want to now share some information on off-page Google SEO tips. Our goal with this article is to identify common practices that may now be a problem, and discuss methods to work with 2012 algorithm changes.
Google Algorithm 2012 Bombshells
Panda/Farmer was launched on February 23, 2011 and was followed up with multiple updates in 2011 and 2012. Initially this update affected 12% of search results and initially focused on content farms, poor quality content sites, and a few other items.
Penguin was launched on April 24, 2012 and was designed to combat "over optimization" of websites. In our opinion, Penguin was a very good algorithm change because it punched the cheaters and reaffirmed the faith of good SEO companies that good will prevail in the end. The Penguin update could have been called the Doc Holliday update for all of the bad elements it arrested.
Outdated and Harmful Methods
SEO Link Building
If you have worked with SEO for very long at all it is a near certainty that link building was part of your strategy. What may have been okay a year ago, and that worked well then, may now have you in hot water with Google.
Google recognized that link building was out of control and people were buying links, using link wheels, spinning articles and using link networks like BuidMyRank. For quite awhile these methods were having stellar results for the black-hat crowd and the play-by-the-rules guys were starting to think maybe they should join in too. The all of a sudden on March 19, 2012, Google ambushed known blog/link networks. Sites that had benefited from such services were now under scrutiny and on their way to ranking losses. The good guys were now going to get a win.
How do you recover from link caused ranking losses? Well, it can be done but it won't be easy. In fact, Matt Cutts stated that some site owners may just want to start over - ouch!
First, you need to compile a list of backlinks to your site. Review the list and identify the really sketchy ones like from porn sites, sites with content unrelated to your site, low quality blogs which obviously exist for only backlinking, and any site that sells links or is a link network site. Next, start a spreadsheet with all of the suspect sites which will serve as your communications record. Make direct contact with the site owners to formally request that they remove any and all links to your website. Record the date sent, to whom the message was sent, and keep notes on actions taken, results, etc. Finally, for wherever you have been unsuccessful you can now use the Google Link Disavow Tool to let Google know of the links you are disowning. You may need to send your spreadsheet that documents your efforts to show that you have made an honest attempt to amend the problems.
Bad backlinks are probably the number one SEO killer in 2012.
Other Negative Off-Page Ranking Factors
Carefully check your online footprint to identify any of these common problems:
- Duplicate content or scraped images
- Unnatural backlink anchor text
- Traffic buying schemes
- Backlink domain low diversity
- No baclinks from authority sites
- Backlink anchor text low diversity
- Low quality or foreign web hosting
- Domain not registered for multiple years
- Unnatural backlink acquisition velocity
The Best Ever Google SEO Tip
The best Google SEO tip that we could ever offer is to focus on the website visitor/user. If you find yourself over thinking how any particular item can be manipulated "for the search engines" then you probably should refrain from the tempatation.
Google is looking at you total online footprint for trends, patterns and blatant signs that you approach to Google SEO is more about spammy techniques than it is about quality content and adherence to Google Webmaster Guidelines.