I’ve been getting a fair few e-mails this week with regards to the new Google algorithm change and some of you guys are even getting the Google unnatural links e-mail and are panicking as to what to do.
So did you get an email similar to the one below?
Dear site owner or webmaster of http://example.com/,
We’ve detected that some of your site’s pages may be using techniques that are outside Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.
Specifically, look for possibly artificial or unnatural links pointing to your site that could be intended to manipulate PageRank. Examples of unnatural linking could include buying links to pass PageRank or participating in link schemes.
We encourage you to make changes to your site so that it meets our quality guidelines. Once you’ve made these changes, please submit your site for reconsideration in Google’s search results.
If you find unnatural links to your site that you are unable to control or remove, please provide the details in your reconsideration request.
If you have any questions about how to resolve this issue, please see our Webmaster Help Forum for support.
Google Search Quality Team
I personally have not received this e-mail in my Google Webmaster tools section, however this does not mean I won’t get it in the future although I am certain all of my link building efforts have been legitimate.
So why is Google issuing these e-mails and what does it mean?
From what I’ve read on many forums is that Google are clamping down on people who are trying to influence page rank and their search results using methods which we call in the industry as black hat. Now black hat is a very strong term as it is described as a way of doing things online that are frowned upon. Where as white hat is a way of doing things ethically and correct.
The thing that concerns me is that your competition could do this to your sites and can do you harm so I am very conearned at this and hoping google is going to find a clever way of stopping your competition from doing things that could damage your websites.
So what does Google appear to think is black hat?
Well from all the people I’ve spoken to and from posts that I’ve read on the many forums that I’m member of it would appear that Google is penalising sites that have at some point in their history paid for links. Whether this is buying into a blog network like ‘Build My Rank’ or from other blog networks that are designed to help increase page rank and your search engine results positioning.
So what do you do?
I would start looking at your link history and see if you participated in any link schemes like ‘Build My Rank’ and start removing those links. This will initially affect your search engine position but it will be a small price to pay because if Google decides to ditch your site as it is a tough game to get back into the results once Google has penalised you.
We are still trying to work out what google thinks are bad links and or in their words ‘Unnatural links’ but from what we can see is that good links are links that you manually created on pages with good unique content very much like Youtube, Twitter, Facebook and I would even say that article directories are still a good place to backlink even since the google panda update.
However, if your links appear on sites with bad content and by what I mean by bad content is content that has been spun to death and the content has lots of external links on that page pointing to lots of other sites and from what we can see this is what Google call bad ‘unnatural links’.
However we can only take educated guesses and just analyse all of the statistics that we have available to us and then just watching and keeping an eye on everything that we do.
So my advice to you is to make sure that your site is rammed to the rafters with good quality content and that the links that you do build are legitimate and of course good quality and if you want to sleep at night I would recommend that you follow the guidelines that google has set out for you.
We will be watching very closely all of our affiliate sites to see if we have been hit with this update and hopefully will be up to see if it happens and what has caused it and how we can get over it. Fingers crossed, though all of our sites are full of good content and all of our back links are legitimate and of good quality.
If you are interested go and take a look at this PDF that Google has released to explain what they’re looking for in a website. If you read this it pretty much tells you that Google is all about user experience and that sites should be built for the user and not search engines and this is the reason why Google is changing a lot as it is trying to give sites that are offering the best information better rankings rather than the sites have had the most money spent on them as regards to search optimising. So in theory nothing has changed just that google is trying to serve its users better.
In the coming months we should start to see a change in the Google search results, whether this is a good thing or a bad thing I’m still unsure. However, I’m sure we’ll find out soon enough but just make sure that you are watching all of your analytics and stats and if you start to see site dropping then you really need to start taking action and looking at the reasons why it is dropping and try and work out how you can stop it.
I will do my best to keep you all updated and I will post any finding that I come across and I will help you find ways to get through this change and also tell you if my sites get hit 🙂
If you have any questions or comments then please post below.