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New Google changes could be MONEY for affiliates...

Anchor text foes - If G is penalizing for anchor text I see a whole new breed of CRAP SEO coming...the "burner" site ... so it takes Google 2-8 weeks in many cases to catch up with and penalize a site for anchor text - so are people going to go out buy like 50 expired domains, put up content on them, build them out and aggressively link like mad, knowing that it can rank well for 4-6 weeks on average, but as soon as that one gets burned, the next one gets launched, over and over again. FYI I am seeing this happen in 2 industries right now, where most sites never rank for more than 7-8 weeks. Its been happening for almost a year now. +Ethan Lyon hipped me to it. So peolpe who have legit sites and build anchor text might be at more risk than people who are willing to burn a site that thy hope lasts for 2 months...long term this could be GREAT for affiliates - take the risk the brands can't - burn the site, who cares. BUt you'll find that the brands are scared to build anchor text due to penalties, leaving users with a crappy experience.

Google really needs to stop rewarding anchor text (I know that is NOT easy) but you can't penalize people for what the CORE of your algo is based on. Well you can, but man that is tough.
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simon penson's profile photoJoe Hall's profile photoCraig Kilgore's profile photoMarcos Lujan's profile photo
21 comments
AJ Kohn
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This is exactly what AuthorRank could prevent. Sites with a whole bunch of aggressive anchor text rich links (but without any real authority) wouldn't be able to rank as high.
 
A strategy that is really big right now is 301 redirecting burned sites to new sites. So if you build 10,000 links to site A, then it gets burned, 301 redirect site A to site B. Build 10,000 links to site B, so now it has 20,000 links. When site B gets burned, 301 redirect site A and B to site C, so now you start with 20,000 links. Then build 10,000 links to site C so you have 30,000 links. Rinse and repeat and you have a strategy to rank consistently in the top spots in some of the most competitive spaces. Insane that it works, but it painfully does.
 
I honestly haven't noticed a big hit in anchors yet. I know sites that have been ranking for years using exact match anchors. Of course there was that fluke last week, but everything reversed it self quickly.

I wouldn't be surprised if anchors play a large roll in the over optimization penalty.
 
very interesting Wil, hopefully we don't get to this point (although you say you are seeing it in a couple of industries). Will be interesting (to say the least) what happens over the next few weeks as the changes seem to be happening somewhat aggressively right now.
 
I've been running a live anchor text test as part of a preso for SMX London I'm doing and unequivocally it gets you killed pretty quick.

+AJ Kohn is absolutely right in terms of the value AuthorRank could bring to the party there but there will be workarounds. I'm a massive fan of AR but the more I examine it the more holes appear too...like everything I guess.

+Ethan Lyon I have seen this too used by an affiliate business in the ecommerce space and +Wil Reynolds is absolutely right this new penalty does not achieve what it was created for. Instead it seems that it will slowly erode the quality of SERPs - forcing even blacker hat sites and those without the budget/business to spend on digital marketing to the top.
 
+AJ Kohn How do you see authorship affecting e-commerce sites like Amazon, REI or Zappos?
 
Anthony that is an interesting question. If authorship follows with the person that is an issue if that person leaves. Does that authorship / authority flow through to the person when they move on? Can you see that someday people start talking about author rank in the way people used to sell pagerank?
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+Anthony D. Nelson, the biggest issue that ecommerce sites would have with AuthorRank is likely the impact it would have on their affiliates.

So a MFA (Made for Amazon) site that was engineered for a handful of terms via some interesting backlinks etc. may no longer rank as well if a) it didn't have authorship attached and b) if the links propping it up didn't have strong AuthorRank.

The question is what comes in to fill the void?

Maybe the number of affiliates shrinks as a result, but they're sending the same amount of traffic? Or maybe those that drop off are filled by passion based sites without affiliate links or any commerce intent? It's tough to tell.

My sense is that ecommerce folks would be relatively unaffected by the application of AuthorRank but that the deck chairs of how traffic flowed to them might move. Does that make sense?
 
Here is something else I've been thinking about a lot lately. If I write a guest post on someone like +Wil Reynolds SEER Blog with my authorship on it, is that link going to pass less link equity to my site compared to a post written by Wil on his blog?

Wil is way more influential than myself. And my post is basically just me linking to me.

In short, could authorship diminish guest posting as a link building tactic? I'm specifically talking rankings here. I understand the value of brand exposure and qualified referral traffic.

-I've been thinking about doing a blog post on these Authorship questions (ecomm, guest posting,etc). Would get a few SEOs to voice their opinion on the same questions. If anyone would be interested in contributing, holler at me.
 
+Wil Reynolds +Anthony D. Nelson that is the BIG question re ownership of authority - will it hand the power back to the journalists again? Most probably. I used to have to deal with it as a print editor and this could see us full circle, although I think there will be precedents set by legal wrangles that find that content (and therefore its combined worth) produced under employment is owned by said company. Interesting times!

+Anthony D. Nelson I did actually write (clearly a not very good) guest post on the youmoz blog that touches on this and your latest comment about value of guest posts here - http://www.seomoz.org/ugc/the-future-of-effective-content-marketing-long-term-personas
AJ Kohn
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The balance of author versus publisher is definitely changing +Wil Reynolds.

People will try to sell their AuthorRank, but because it's tied so closely to identity the risk to your reputation may curb the practice, or it will if Google demonstrates that doing so will sink your AuthorRank.

More interesting to me is the dynamic of getting the best writers for your site. So, +Mathew Ingram, to me, would be in high demand. He's an excellent writer and if he were to move on from GigaOm that new publisher would benefit from his expertise and AuthorRank.

What many publishers talk about with me is the idea of what happens when that author leaves. What happens if it's on bad terms? That author, if they wanted to cut off their nose to spite their face, could break the authorship connection with the old publisher.

I'm still trying to figure out if Google will have a memory of prior authorship here, which would be even more interesting because the author could then sever the connection (reduce the CTR based on the image) and still retain that connection in Google's author memory.

Conversely, if that publisher then wanted to change the by line and authorship of that piece (pretty shitty but ... hey) would Google catch that bit of chicanery and not accept the new authorship credentials.

I actually believe there is a type of author entity database with attributes of author/domain/URL. So collisions in this database would likely throw up some sort of flag.
 
+Anthony D. Nelson Maybe this is where Google's concept of 'site classifiers' comes in. AuthorRank isn't going to work the same across varying industries, publishers, etc. Authors are another signal, not a replacement for links (there are many kinds of links). Google built a classifier and not only does it help empower Panda, it also influences how the web is crawled, indexed and ranked.
 
I can't see author Rank totally rolled out for a while imo, too many traditional sites will not implement it, you cant have sites like Mashable which will gain huge AR, ranking for every thing.

That been said the expired domains/ rebuild strategy has been on going for many years, I mean if you see a site expire which is ex govt for example and generic it can go for $1,000's, funny enough you see it turned into a credit card affiliate 3 months on, ranks for some big terms for a few weeks and it gets spanked out of the index, sure enough affiliates do this over and over and over...In my eyes its time wise to just build something great for the long term....
 
I am seeing this exact technique being used in the online casino world right now. I don't touch that stuff, but it's surprising to see how well it works for (like you say) a few months.
 
Well, I've just had one of my sites targeted for Negative SEO and it worked. Here's how it works:

My site was #1 for a money term on a medium tail keyword. Let's say "blue widgets for websites"

The #2 site is a very big player with a HUGE SEO buget.

The pages that rank look something like this:

mysite.com/widgets/blue-widgets

bigplayer.com/widgets/blue-widgets


My site is all about widgets while bigplayer.com is about a broarder category and has thousands of keywords and hundreds of thousands of pages. They rank #1 for things like "websites". We are smaller but more niche so have a lot more relevance about "blue widgets".

My site drops from #1 to #3 overnight for the keyword "blue widgets for websites" But this was the only keyword to go down out about 50 minitored. Nothing changed with the links nothing changed with the pages.

So I look at the backlinks and see A LOT of really low quality anchor text spam links going directly to mysite.com/widgets/blue-widgets...

This is the only page targeted by these exact anchor spammy keyword anchor text links. Spam anchor text was exactly "blue widgets for websites"


So someone is paying to hit a page for which I'm number one to take me down and guess who's number one now?


bigplayer.com/widgets/blue-widgets


These guys are known for spending lots of money on paid links so what is cheaper? Buying / building links to overtake competitors or getting really spammy links to competitor subpages (which are unprotected) to take them out?


These low quality spammy links are much much cheaper. And you can't protect all your subpages from this stuff.


It's now more effective for the big players to invest in super cheap ultra crappy links to their competitors wherever they might be 2nd or 3rd on medium tail terms where there's no way their competitor's subpages will have strong backlink profiles to prevent damage from happening.

By allowing spammy links to hurt pages Google has unleashed a monster.

Plus you can automate this kind of stuff so it scales. Really ugly stuff and a sad day for SEO
 
Thanks for sharing this +Marcos Lujan undoubtedly this is going on now. How many links did it take to 'take you down'? And do you have a plan to fix?

The chances are most will be from the same 'webmaster' so it should be easier to remove them than you fear...?
 
That is very interesting +Marcos Lujan. Thanks for sharing. Have other people noticed negative SEO for something like penalized/crappy domains 301'd ? What is your take on that Will ?

IMO Google would essentially discount those links/domains rather then passing on the benefit/penalty to the new target because this in no way is controlled by a website owner.

It's very interesting to see 1st hand information on Negative SEO. Are there any others who have encountered a similar situation ?
 
+Daniel Crocker yeah that is kind of what I was referencing a really nasty industry as well. I guess that's where hand editing comes into play?
 
+simon penson, +Nakul Goyal I am picking up about 20 of these links but since such low quality who knows what the real figure is, I'd imagine at least 5x as many. All backlink tools I've tried don't give the full figures - even GWT. This is plenty to overpower the few high quality links we have to that subpage.

Not sure how to counter it besides getting some more high quality links (really good directories or prominent internal contextual links) to boost the good links. Only problem is this might make the whole thing look even less natural and hurt us more. This particular keyword is one people seldom link naturally to (usually from forums when they discuss our products).

The spam links are comming from all over the place, it's not like you can tell it's the same theme, network or hosting location. The've done it smart. :(
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