Google: search engine; advertising giant. Searching for a way to tap into the hidden strengths that all their search results have. Then an overdose of webspam fighting radiation alters their organizational chemistry. And now when Google grow angry or outraged, a startling shift in the SERPs occurs. The Google Creature is driven by deceptive SEO and pursued by any whistle blowing investigative reporter. [Google:] “SEOs, don’t make me angry. You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.” The Google Creature is wanted for penalties that it delivers. The Google SERPs were believed to be dead, and Google let the world think they were, until the Webspam Team can find a way to rid them of the spam that dwells within them.
For those of you who aren’t getting the reference, read The Incredible Hulk opening narration.
The Google Creature Evolves
We were warned that Google would be kicking spam fighting up a notch in 2011. However, no one really guessed that they would be taking it from soft plush toy level to monstrous beast eating big brands for breakfast, lunch and dinner! Not to mention in such a short period of time. Which would you rather have on the case plush toy or monster?
Not a Plushy SEO World Anymore
In recent years, SEOs have basically gotten away with murdah.
As Google was committed to growing it’s product lines and bottom line, they were relatively soft on spam in the SERPs. This was an opportunity for SEOs (large and small, in-house and agency) to take a little bit a leeway with some of the Google Guidelines. It also allowed entire businesses to grow out of exceedingly low quality content farming because they can make a buck off of traffic from Google.
But, clearly, this is not the case anymore. Google has lined up big brand after big brand over the past couple weeks and slapped them with penalties or the threats of penalties. The ones I am talking about are JcPenney, Forbes and Overstock. Also, Google has launched algorithmic updates that take a stand against content farms by elevating ability to better detect source attribution.
Update: Information on the first algorithm change in January and now another in February that combined impacts close to 14% of all the searches conducted on Google and specifically aimed at improving SERPs based on content quality of sites.
Against the plushy spam fighting, SEOs were able to take some more chances with link building and other tactics that are in the black and grey areas because they were working and there were no immediate repercussions.
Under reinvigorated Webspam monster, these brash tactics are going to get you in trouble. The SEOs that think they have found a “loophole” for their client or organization to manipulate the results are going to quickly learn that it is not the direction for long term success (for the client or your career).
Taming the Beast
Stick to SEO techniques that fall within the guidelines. There is no loophole that will ever go completely undetected by Google, your bad SEO foot prints will be found and you will pay big time in the SERPs. By playing by the rules that Google has set up you will completely avoid having to tangle with the Webspam Team’s monster.
These are my hats and wearing them I have only had success.