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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.