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Ever Paid for Link Building? You Were Probably Pecked by the Penguin

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There's been a big stir in the SEO community since April 24, 2012 when Google turned on a new filter algorithm they call Penguin. This new filter is designed to remove a new level of spamming websites from the SERP.

Last month Google did a lot of work to improve how they detect spamming websites and link building strategies that provide artificial boosts. We have no love for anyone who pays a service for rapid link building, and now Google has also figured out how to detect these link building schemes.

We've been watching our tracking very carefully before mentioning this topic, as usually we don't want to rush into speculations without hard proof.

Jewelry related websites were seriously penalized in SERP ranking if they has 20,000 or more inbound links from pages with thin content. You may remember from previous Daily Golden Nuggets that our definition of thin content refers to any web page that has fewer than 400 words on it. Most of the time this thin content is a WordPress blog, or online forum that a link building company will use to quickly post information and links back to your website.

It might seem completely outrageous that you could have 20,000 links pointing to your website, but consider how all blog websites work. Every blog page you create on WordPress counts as a single page, and thus 1 link. But then WordPress has built in ways to search and sort blog entries by topics, titles, and tags. Each of those WordPress search result pages creates additional links.

Without trying you could generate more than 500 links to your site with just 40 WordPress blog posts.

Prior to Google Penguin Update, most of these spammy blog links would eventually fade away in the ranking, but Google seems to have changed that. According to our tracking we've discovered that all spammy links, no matter how young or old, are now hurting websites.

This is where things get worrisome, especially if you ever paid someone for link building services. Google has taken off their gloves and now says that they will count all spammy links against you. We've discovered that links that were several years old are coming back to haunt some jewelry websites. A few of our own test sites had link building schemes dating back to 2005. We're now seeing a drastic drop in ranking because of those old schemes even though they've been in place for so many years.

If you've ever paid for link building it's very possible you also have thousands of spammy links pointing to your website. You need to check your Google Webmaster Tools for the "Links to Your Site" and take action. You might have to contact those old link building firms or the website owners and request the links be removed, and yes, you might even have to pay to have them removed.

One of the more gruesome realizations here, and it was even mentioned by a Google engineer, is that you might have to delete your website and start over with a new domain name if you can't remove all those inbound spammy links.

Google won't forgive you any more for artificial link building. Their new policy doesn't even allow you to beg for reconsideration.

Sorry for this rather frightening Daily Golden Nugget, we certainly didn't enjoy reporting about this.
AT: 05/16/2012 10:23:40 PM   LINK TO THIS GOLD NUGGET
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