The blog network debacle and SEO misinformation

closeThis post was first published 2 years 1 month 17 days ago. It might make references to techniques or tactics which no longer work or which I no longer endorse so please proceed with caution.

A few people have been asking me about this so I though I’d throw my opinions into the ring for what they’re worth (i.e not much)

I’m sure by now you know about all the ho-rah around build my rank et al getting de-indexed so I won’t bore you by regurgitating the details. All I would add to whats already been reported is that although for most people this kicked off last week in actual fact Google started failry aggressively removing sites from smaller networks a few weeks ago and they’re still doing it now so it’s not over.

Anyway the thing which people seem to be freaking out about are these webmaster tools messages:

Google Webmaster Tools notice of unnatural links detected

What’s freaking me out is some of the SEO advice I’m hearing about dealing with them.

Most of the mainstream SEO blogs I’ve bean reading have basically recommended removing all your dodgy links and submitting a reconsideration request. Now that’s essentially what those messages tell you to do so its up to you, but bear in mind these are unchartered waters so anyone claiming to have an answer is bullshiting you.

Here’s what I know-

  • These WMT messages are not a penalty.
  • Nor do they necessarily mean you’re going to get a penalty (although you might).
  • Slipping down 3 pages in the SERPS is not a penalty.
  • In my experience removing links is the single best way to ensure you get a penalty if you haven’t already.

The only time it makes sense to me submitting a reconsideration request is when you’ve been hit with an irreconcilable penalty. All I’ve seen happening at the moment is a natural re-adjustment to the SERPs caused by millions of links being removed at once. Now that could change. Next week you might get hit with a real penalty and then you can think about doing a ┬áreconsideration request but until that happens sit tight, take the hit on your rankings and see where you are once the dust settles.

And stop reading any SEO blogs which are making out like they have the answers because they don’t. I reckon it’ll be at least 3 more weeks before we’ll have enough SERPs data for anyone to start making remotely informed assumptions about how best to deal with it. While de-indexing is pretty common on a smaller scale I don’t think anyone’s got first hand experience of such a fast and large cull of networks. I hate to say it but you’ll probably get a more informed answer about how to deal with these messages from a blackhat forum than an SEO blog at the moment – at least those guys have got some real data to go on and not just phoney best practice.

And in the meantime? While you’re waiting why not go out and build some real links or, shock horror, create some proper content:-)

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