Google have recently been coming down pretty hard on blog networks, and deindexing a vast majority of some pretty popular networks out there. In this post I will discuss what I make of all this, and what the future of blog networks is.
The main network that got hit hard recently was BuildMyRank which a lot of affiliate marketers have used. They got pretty much all of their sites deindexed from Google, and I’ve heard some estimate it to be in the 10′s of 1000′s of domains. They are not the only one that got hit hard, others such as SEO Link Moster and Authority Link Network, plus others.
Blog networks are an easy way to get backlinks to your sites, however Google doesn’t like this type of link, as they do see it as paying for links, which we all know they frown upon, even though Google themselves have done this sort of thing!!
Google sent out over 700,000 notifications over the past few weeks to webmasters, warning them of unnatural linking. The result of this warning is varied, but I can say that one of my sites had this warning, and has consequently had a minor drop in rankings, but nothing too major at all.
Why is Google doing this then?
Well the short answer is that Google wants all backlinks to sites to happen naturally. Matt Cutts the head of anti-spam at Google says that all you need to do is put up good quality content and let Google do the rest. This really doesn’t work though, as you need to do a lot more than that, especially when their is so much link buying going on. My point is that Google is trying to level the playing field all the time, by removing any source of paid links, and blog networks are a prime place to target.
If you had all your eggs in one basket and got all your links for your sites from say BuildMyRank, then you would not be having a very nice week, as one can only assume your rankings will soon, if not already, drop and your traffic and income with it.
However I don’t consider spreading your risk as simply joining more blog networks, as these may also do the same way as BuildMyRank, the way of the internet grave yard. The problem with neworks like BuildMyRank is that they own all the domains in the network, and hence a footprint, or pattern, is much easier for Google to spot. This is made worse when these networks get more and more popular.
What to do now?
In order to best explain what I think is the best solution to do if you have been heavily using blog networks, I’ve recorded a YouTube video for you below.
Essentially it comes back to quality, because if you have higher quality sites, it opens up many more opportunities to gain backlinks. If you have a good quality site, you will to a certain degree get people naturally linking to you, this blog does. Not only that, but you will also get a higher percentage of people that will be willing to accept a guest blog post from you, which they will publish on their sites, and of course there will be a link in that to your site. Social links will come more easily when you have a great site too.
These changes at Google just further reinforce to me that gone are the days of throwing up lots of low quality sites, that really solely on forced link building methods. Google Panda was the first big wave from Google to clean up their results, and this backlinking move is yet another wave. The sooner you move away from the mindset of trying to trick Google so much, and move towards giving Google what they want, then you will be in a better position.
I personally have scaled back massively on the number of sites I focus on now, because in order to do sites the way Google likes, and the way they should be done for that matter, takes more work, and therefore I find managing less is best. You have to manage Facebook fanpages, Google Plus, create quality content, etc…a lot of this was what Lisa Parmley spoke about in her recent webinar.
I see these changes at Google as a good thing, as if you stick with it and build good sites, which most people are too lazy to do, then you will win out big time folks, plenty of opportunity out there in SEO.