Monthly Archives: February 2017

Google Punishes PBNs Again

Google’s Hate/Hate Affair with PBNs

We all know the score. Something works in SEO. It becomes popular – and the search engines go after it. Not because it’s spam, not because the content on the pages is poor or the links lead no-where. But because they don’t want anyone to “game” their system no matter how hard they try or how much value their is in the content they produce and the websites they look to rank.
Of course some people do spam. Weirdly, despite years of fear mongering by the acolytes of Google, spamming still works on a lot of business and commercial sectors. It gets traffic, it gets ranking positions for commercial keywords, and it generates a lot of revenue. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t produce “X” or “Y” type of link anymore and expect to fail.; The truth is a lot more nuanced than that.

PBNs Attacked… Again

Google has possibly made a few changes to their search engine algorithms. According to reports from reliable sources, these changes have been enforced last week. The changes would govern things like the algorithms used for targeting link spam as well as all other variations of spam. Google is yet to deny or confirm the algorithm change; however, depending on a bunch of tracked signals, netizens are confident that an algorithm update has hit the online world and the ones to be affected most by this change are people practicing link building aggressively.

Reports are suggesting that the said update took place around or on February 1, 2017. Many are saying that the update will change the procedure Google Penguin used for detecting and discounting different spammy links. Some, on the other hand, are suggesting that the update will provide Google with a brand new algorithm. However, Google has not uttered a single word on this. But, a large number of people from the black hat community for SEO appear to have been affected by the recent update; many of them have even started complaining that strategies implemented by them are not showing any results or results as impressive as before.

However, as we all know a PBN is not about the links. It’s about the content!

“Really Google REALLY!”
There are users, who are saying that private blog networks or PBNs they own are no more functional. According to some of them, the search engine is failing to pick up new links, while others are saying that the new update is hitting their websites with penalties. The majority of the search result tracking tools used by the search engine biggie started demonstrating immense turbulence since the beginning of February. The tools that are showcasing the turbulence most prominently are RankRanger, Algoroo, and MozCast; there are also many that are not lying far behind.
All these events have taken place while several other white hat search engine optimization communities have not noticed or complained about their ranking changes on Google. Some experts are saying that this recent update is only changing the way how the search engine giant is discrediting spammy links. They are doing this probably by amending the algorithm of Penguin. Soon, we may discover some more information on this.

The Noise of the Few

The thing is part of this ruckus is the law of “the noise of the few”. We all know there are literally thousands upon thousands of PBN’s out there ranging from ones that took years to build spread across hundreds of bespoke domains bought or started over time on different hosting with no owner footprint, using different CMS systems. Not all WordPress – (for goodness sake – making a 50 site PBN with the same CMS on each? FOOTPRINT!!!)
When the update hits we hear about those sites that have been affected from their angry and upset owners. They tend to tell EVERYONE what has happened and often go on to be the biggest critics of the method of SEO they were using before they got hammered. In short YOU HEAR ABOUT THEM BECAUSE THEY SHOUT ABOUT IT (see what I did there).
  • But with all this noise, these webmasters cross posting to every IM forum and blog they can find about their anger and experience. Just how many PBNs, in percentage terms, did Google actually discover and take down?
  • Is the real win for the search engines the FEAR caused by a few harmed webmasters who rage across the internet starting fires  and scaring others into either abandoning the ideas they had of starting a PBN, or in some cases actually closing their network down over time out of fear of being caught?
When this report is going online, Google has just announced that they are launching an algorithm update particularly for Google Japan. The said update will only govern Japanese content. However, this announcement has nothing to do with the suspected algorithm update of Google.
You must be wondering why it’s important for every PBN owner to be aware of a Google algorithm update.
It’s important because that’s the only way you can keeping the network working. If your website has started experiencing a sharp decrease in keyword rankings or traffic, you should first try to find out whether the change has taken place because of a factor specific to your website. Once you are confident that the reason behind the downfall is not related to your website, you should take steps for determining whether a bigger change affecting several websites has taken place. A Google algorithm update is one such change.

Keep Up With the News

If you see that it’s just the website you own that has experienced a drop, and there has been no global SERP volatility, you should do things like investigating your back link profile (i.e. Penguin), reviewing the content quality of your blogs (website quality or Panda score), and so on.
If a website has undergone a severe drop on the search engine result pages and significant volatility has hit it, the situation is most likely indicating a major algorithm change. The best way of managing this situation is by adding informative and engaging content to the blogs. As a blog owner, you can become a member of a reputable SEO community. Discussions on such forums would assist you in staying up to date with the latest happening in the world of SEO and steps that can be taken for betterment of your website.
Remember, on a large number of occasions volatility has direct links with specific updates. For instance, the recent mobile popup/interstitials penalty has left a big mark on the world of mobile searching. Similarly, if this suspected update turns out to be true, PBN owners will have to take steps for making their blogs more effective.