For several weeks now, webmasters had to deal with Google’s sometimes ‘spot-on’, and sometimes ‘off-and-harsh’ manual action penalty on sites.
At one point, you can’t blame Google. Spammy, low-value sites have been enjoying their ride in search listings – and it is really time to put an end to them (or at least penalize them). However, since Google’s manual spam action (and algorithm) aren’t perfect, legitimate sites with valuable links were also caught by the manual penalty net.
So just to prevent future occurrences of such, here are a few things we can learn out of the recent Google manual action experience:
Lesson #1: There is value in keeping links organic
Paid links scheme is going to the extinct department sooner than later – in fact, it is completely out of the question. This pushes webmasters to focus on generating quality, useful content that gets linked to, shared to – organically. If you have created or a part of a clean, legitimate community because of the quality of your posts, it becomes easier to grow organic rather than spammy inbound links.
It also puts a premium on self-owned content. That means investing in content production within your own property. Gone are the days when one has to submit several copies of his article to hundreds of article/pr directories of questionable domain value. That leads us to Lesson #2…
Related Read: 6 Search Marketing Basics for the Small Business
Lesson #2: Content authorship should not be ignored
I have dealt with bad links coming from scraper sites disguising themselves as an article resource. My client has been an authority in the subject and his write-ups would usually get scraped-off by these bad, bad “article” sites. Because of this, we cannot emphasize the importance of GooglePlus Authorship, and to monitor where your content has been published – so you can take action. More on this on Lesson #3…
Lesson #3: More frequent, regular monitoring of back links is a must
I know SEOs always monitor their site’s back links – but this practice should be more frequent now. This also means that if you are an owner of multiple websites, link reviews for each one is highly important as Google can detect your network of sites. So before Google acts upon you, it’s better to be on the side of caution. Check your latest links. Evaluate. See how they link to you. Find out if you can contact the webmaster to put down that harmful link, or ask for a “nofollow”, or if you should include this in your disavow file. This also saves you time as compared to doing it in one go after a penalty. I know big sites with thousands of inbound links would take a huge amount of time in order to solve this.
Lesson #4: Screen guest post contributions
Guest-posting is frowned upon by Google – but we all know the value of having content contributions from reputable sources. If you’re a heavy content producer and guest posting is a staple in your content marketing strategy – invest time and resources in carefully screening every topic and link that goes into a contribution. That’s the only way you can be cleared off from the spam meter. Make sure write-ups are not only aligned with your niche, but be skeptical to know if the guest post adds any real value at all.
Lesson #5: Review your link building strategy with your SEO team
By this time, you would probably consider getting to know a bit more about your SEO person and his/her link building techniques. You may not be aware of this, but there’s always the risk of a penalty happening as a consequence of your own doing. If you haven’t done this before, now is the perfect time to evaluate your team’s SEO practices to see if you are allowing yourself to be at risk of “unnatural links” pointing or coming from your site. Where do you get your links and traffic? That’s a good starting point to look into.
Romela de Leon-Ortega is an experienced Search Strategist for small-scale businesses. She is a busy work-at-home professional, and a full-time mom. Contact her below for a FREE website consultation.
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