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Yesterday, the SEO forums were buzzing with the news that some major link building networks had been effectively shut down by having sites de-indexed by Google.

These type of sites, that publish short posts across a network of blogs, had been seen as an easy and time-effective way of getting a large number of anchor-text rich links pointing back at a target site.

Despite trying to up their game in terms of relevance and content however, most of these sites suffered from having a large number of clients saturating the network.  

This meant each site hosting these entries would be featuring a lot of different topic posts that did not correspond to an overall theme or subject of the site.

It can hardly be said that Google’s drive for quality has been kept secret. In addition to February’s announcement that there would be an alteration in the method of link assessment, Matt Cutts has recently announced they will be “getting tough” on sites that have obviously been over-engineered for SEO.

Although it has been over a year since the implementation of the Panda filter, many sites had still been able to achieve high positions in SERPs thanks to low-grade, quick link building methodologies.

However, these techniques now appear to have been hit by the recent updates from the Google Web Spam team.

There have been a few sore comments, especially from those whose business model has revolved around providing these services, and smaller companies who don’t have the time and effort to compete with larger rivals (who incidentally have more to spend on paid search if their organic listings drop).

It does however, reinforce the mantra from Panda that sites should be concentrating on high quality, useful and innovative content, which will attract links naturally. Those that haven’t planned a content strategy or have decent seo copywriting in place ought to make this a priority.

The recent changes seem algorithmic in nature: not all the sites on networks have been hit, but those making an official announcement of closure have all cited that a larger proportion than normal have been identified and de-indexed.  

Certainly, the more powerful ones in the network (which provide the bulk of the “juice” for back links) have gone. As with other updates, there may also be a few high profile “false positives,” so it’s interesting times for SEO.

Adam Stafford

Published 22 March, 2012 by Adam Stafford

Adam Stafford is MD at Fresh Egg and a contributor to Econsultancy.

1 more post from this author

Comments (8)

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Nick Stamoulis

"Those that haven’t planned a content strategy or have decent seo copywriting in place ought to make this a priority."

Every update in the last few months has been heading in this direction. Great content is a MUST for all websites. It really does make all the difference to your SEO.

over 4 years ago


Brands Exposed

This is a great day for proper SEO firms who build links ethically, there are still some sites appearing high who do have bad link profiles but it does seem that Google are systematically removing sites with poor backlink profiles.

over 4 years ago


Mark Pack

People having to shut up their business because of outside events is normally something to regret. But in this case it's good news overall if Google is pushing out of the system some of the low grade, high volume practices that rely on content with little substance.

over 4 years ago

Eric Layland

Eric Layland, President at Canna Ventures

We totally agree with Nick and Brands Exposed. For months Google has been clear that original creative content is what's valued. If you're a in-house or agency taking short cuts to quality content...you're about to get served.

Any legitimate business has a story to tell. Use your story as the base for creating content. Make it relevant to your customers and ecosystem of partners and collaborators. It will pay off.

over 4 years ago


Mary Bowling

It's hard to feel sorry for them. You need to roll up your sleeves and do the hard work if you expect to have a sustainable presence on the 'net.
Google almost always gives us multiple warnings before taking action like this. Does easy money make people deaf?

over 4 years ago

Andy Headington

Andy Headington, CEO at Adido LimitedSmall Business

Whilst i agree that Google is working really hard to chop out all of rubbishy blogs from the listing and links that are still counting towards back link totals there is still a very long way to go.

Looking at some of the sites which STILL continue to rank at the top of very competitive keyphrases which are only there though horrifically bad/black hat linking, I still don't believe the Google PR until I actually see it working in a wider context.

I really do hope though that this is the year that they actually do get to the bottom of the spotting & penalising spam content sites as it will stop the practise from working (and clients asking for it) once and for all.

over 4 years ago


Daniel Foley

It's good to see that Google is finally putting the main focus of Panda into play. I've seen many large corporate companies chucking thousands and thousands of pounds into buying links from any source they can, maybe now this will give more mainstream websites a chance to perform well in the SERPS by staying white hat and creating good quality content.

I can now finally point out to clients that links aren't everything and have evidence to back it up!

over 4 years ago


web design agency Newcastle

peaks must look to the medium-long assembly and not just be short-termist. Leaders must serve, acknowledge grass-roots concerns, sphere proceeding and drive and be ethical in teaching sharing and collaboration.

over 4 years ago

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