How to stay in the SEO game or the big SEO party is over
I know people have been trying to bury SEO for a long time, but what actually happens every time major changes to algorithms are made is SEO has to change, and it does change because it has no choice. Following the Penguin update, Panda 3.5 and deindexing of numerous blog networks SEO is changing again, and this time on a scale we’ve rarely seen before.
First, when many sites lost rankings around late March it wasn’t a penalty – blog networks got deindexed and as a result the sites that used to benefit from incoming links originating in these networks lost positions in SERPS. As simple as that, Google clumped down on link-selling blog networks in a bid to rid the internet of paid links, which according to the web spam team lead by Matt Cutts distorts the ranking reality. More on that later, but there were quite a few cases where results on the first page of Google were similar to 1998 Alta Vista style random lists of weak sites.
Shortly after that, Panda 3.5 punished many sites thought to be affected by duplicate content issues and the dark cherry on the Google-served cake came on the 24th of April with the release of the Penguin tweak to the search algorithm. And we all had no choice but to swallow that cake, from SEOers to site owners to users. I wrote about whether this could be called fair or not in this post, so I will focus on other things here, such as how to continue in order to stay in the SEO game.
For link building, the exact match phrases will have to be considerably reduced, and of course this means results will take longer to produce. Unnatural link profiles where main keyword density was above 50% got hit by the recent updates, and anchor text distribution will have to be carefully managed. Less links from more reputable sources and up to a maximum of 35% exact match for big money keywords seem to be the current recipe for link building, although this can and most probably will change in the near future.
What that means is that the big SEO party where almost everyone could show up without being invited is all but over, and SEO will be based around brand promotion, online PR and generating rather than acquiring links. Good SEO will still be priceless, but twice as hard.