In the past few months, you may have noticed a recent surge in notifications coming to you from Google Webmaster Tools.  For the uninitiated, here is a quick video outlining what Webmaster Tools are and what they can do for your website:


If you don’t already have Webmaster Tools installed on your site, contact us today to find out how and why you should.

These new notifications may come as a shock to webmasters and businesses owners, particularly to those who employ Internet marketing specialists to maintain their Internet presence and grow their business online. SearchEngineWatch.com provides a great re-cap of what the notices contain and how they should be treated. Essentially, Google has warned webmasters worldwide that their site may or may not be involved in frowned-upon marketing practices. They go on to say that continued use of these practices may result in penalties which may or may not hurt your hard-earned rankings.

In this space, I want to highlight what I feel is most important to take from these warnings, how we in the industry respond to Google’s notice, and how you can ensure that you will not be penalized moving forward.

Why should I care?

Google wants nothing more than to protect what continues to drive a majority of its revenue: paid search advertising. In the same space as its ads, you will find the organic results that are derived from Google’s algorithm. These results are compiled based on a complex system of data points and ranking indicators pulled from the makeup of said website and its association with other trusted websites. When this algorithm and ranking system is manipulated, a majority of Google’s most valuable asset (search results) are compromised. When half of your results (products) are devalued, profits tend to suffer. With trusted, quality results being Google’s modus operandi, these notifications are simply a vocal demonstration of their intent to clean up the search results.

Many have argued that Google has passed over and ignored links from spammy blog networks before and this renewed action is no different. What’s important to glean from these warnings, though, is that with Google’s focus on quality and personalized search results, they will no longer tolerate those who blatantly use “black-hat” methods for SEO/link building. With the recent shutdown of spammy blog networks, Google has publicly and decisively made moves to clean up the SERPs (search engine results pages).

Why should the Internet marketing world care?

Any change to how Google perceives a website’s value is of utmost important to an SEO/SEM. What we are seeing is a concentrated follow-up to the Panda update. Where Google left off targeting content aggregators who were piggybacking others’ efforts to rank effectively, they have picked back up by penalizing those using similar methods for link building. Across the industry, agencies and individuals who rely on automated blogging networks to create valuable backlinks are suddenly left out in the cold.  Those who have practiced “white-hat” methods by creating unique content and backlinks should continue to see the positive results they are used to.

How do I ensure that this notice isn’t my website’s ranking pink slip?

If you already employ an SEO/SEM agency or individual, check with them if they have received this notice for your website. Many of our clients had a Webmaster Tools account created by us on their behalf so we should be receiving administrative notifications, too. If you have received this notice, double check that their link building methodology involves the creation of custom, unique content or the promotion of your proprietary content in order to build backlinks. The types of backlinks that will be de-indexed derive from automated services that generate spammy and inaccurate content. If your online marketing is handled internally, find out where they are scoring their backlinks from to make sure they don’t resource this task to a targeted blog network.

With this most recent notice from Google, it has become more apparent that those who would game the system and take short cuts to rankings victory will ultimately fall short in the end. By employing a methodology that requires time, focused effort, and the unique content Google craves, you have nothing to worry about and should continue to see success.

Want to learn more? Check out our other blog post about the importance of playing by the rules.

 

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