The video above is Bruce Clay talking about the latest Penguin updates and the future of search. If you somehow managed to survive panda as a search only affiliate website, then there is a great chance that you got hit by the latest google update dubbed as the penguin.
Organic / Inorganic Links
From the standpoint of links, they are getting more aggressive on what they’re (Google) referring to now as organic and inorganic links. The concept of organic link is that it is something that is earned appropriate to the subject matter of your page…whereas an inorganic link is something that has a low overlap or incidence of complimentary, supplementary or synergistic content. -Bruce Clay
It’s all in the network. Topic relevancy. In other words, if your website is about automobiles and you are getting links from scrapbooking websites, then, although they may pass link juice, they may be penalized as an inorganic link.
What’s interesting is that this may go two ways. If you have a scrapbooking website and you have link that goes out to a auto mechanics website, then your page may get a penalty as well. This could explain why so called social websites with brands took a hit as well (by giving link juice to non-topical websites in comments).
What Bruce seems to believe (according to the video) is that in order to clean up the web, Google has to understand topical relationships between the links.
Negative SEO…Here We Go
I know what many of you are thinking. In the past, the common belief was that links pointing in couldn’t hurt you. But now, if the above is true, then what will stop a competitor from slamming your website with poor links?
The answer has to with making the link profile cohesive with your link network. Rand Fishkin spoke of this in one of his whiteboard Friday videos (and I’m sorry…I can’t find it). The basic premise has to do with the commonality of social graphs within your market.
If there are 5 top websites within your market, not only will they at times link to each other, bolstering their authority, but those within the social graph of the market itself would be more likely to link to them as well, passing authority rank to them and perhaps preserving them from the effects of inorganic links.
In other words, unseating a website like SEOMoz would take a lot more than a negative SEO campaign because their network within their link profile shows that they deserve to be within the top results.
What this Should Mean to You
The writing is clearly on the wall if you are a search only affiliate marketer.
- Kill one and done sales driven solely by search- This is the so called passive income garbage so many people want to believe in. The reality is that your potential sales are only as good as Google thinks you are relevant. And most people (I say most because there are the exceptions) simply don’t have the patience to do it the right way. Replace the online passive income philosophy with strategies on retaining customers for re-sell potential.
- Stop Diversifying Websites. Start diversifying ad mediums.
- Stop Shopping for link networks- Link networks are nothing more than a commodity for marketers marketing to marketers. You are much better off getting links from websites within your market. Trust me when I tell you this…even aged domains with links from link networks are not safe.
- Choose links in accordance to traffic and visibility rather than “link juice” – What this ultimately means is you are going to have to network with people within your market and find ways to get them to notice you.
- Latch on to the concept of community- I would say “social” but that doesn’t define a community very well. In the old days, you would find forums and become an active member on the forums, ingratiating yourself to others by helping them. They would, in turn, provide you with a sounding board to demonstrate your expertise and drive traffic to your website. Old school? Perhaps. But, given the iffiness of search these days, a small business would do well enough to find other channels for market discovery.
- Stop Thinking of Search as the Holy Grail to creating an online business- Search never has been a long term solution to building an online business. This will likely become increasingly the case as first page organic listings become 3-4 websites to a page.
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