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Google Kills, Other Blog Link Networks to Follow

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February tweaks to the Google Panda algorithm are shutting down blog link networks (such as in March.

For the uninitiated, a blog link network is a network of blogs that will link to your site for a fee, in order to boost your ranking in Google and other search engines. Sometimes all the blogs are controlled by the company selling the service, while other networks compensate independent bloggers for links. A popular blog link network promises “You need more links for your blog right? Higher positions in the Search Engines? More traffic to your site? Well, you have come to the right place! Using our powerful network of quality blogs, we build various links to your sites.” For the very, very uninitiated, if I’m going to try a new restaurant, my money is on the one that lots of people eat at, not one that few people eat at. Popular restaurants are popular because lots of people like eating there, therefore I’m more likely to also like eating there. Similarly, part of Google’s original concept was that sites with more incoming links were likely more useful/popular than sites with less. Someone doing a search is going to want to see the more useful/popular sites. Blog link networks like skewed the results by creating incoming links that weren’t due to usefulness or popularity, but bought and paid for. In this way, people could buy higher Google rankings.


On March 21, announced they were shutting down operations, after noticing the majority of their network was de-indexed by Google on March 19. They are processing refunds for customers. 8 days before, it was reported that had over 5,000 domains de-indexed. Matt Cutts, who heads the webspam team at Google, tweeted upon reading this: “Good to see…that it’s on peoples’ radar that they [blog link networks] are on our radar. :)”

Blog Link Networks on Notice

Google tweeted about an update to Panda on March 24: “Panda refresh rolling out now. Only ~1.6% of queries noticeably affected. Background on Panda:” If you think about it, given the hundreds millions of queries run daily, 1.6% of that number comprise a staggering number of sites. A year ago (March 2011) the New York Times reported Google handled over a billion search queries a year. If we use those numbers (which have inevitably risen), we’re looking at 16 million queries per day being affected. This is a very, very good thing. Now this doesn’t mean that 160 million sites have been de-indexed. Rather, it means that the search rankings for 16 million searches a day have changed as a result of the sites that were de-indexed. Remember that de-indexing of a site means that any linkjuice it had previously passed disappears, affecting the ranking of sites that it links to. Add that to any penalties applied by Google to the sites receiving backlinks, and what you get are search results that better reflect what people are looking for when they search.

Let’s take my industry for example. I’m a digital marketing consultant. Over the course of my website being live, I’ve been linked to by others, I’ve gotten some media coverage, and I’ve written some guest blog articles for sites like Social Media Examiner and Social Media Today that have linked back to me. I’ve worked hard to build my brand reputation, and I’ve seen some fruits of those labors. I rank for a number of keywords. Now imagine that someone is searching for a digital marketing consultant and they use one of those keywords I happen to rank for. Do you think they’d prefer to find me, or someone who never demonstrated any  expertise, never got a recommendation or was covered by the press, yet used money to buy enough links to rank higher than me? Who would that brand manager or corporate communications director rather see on page 1?

The people that will miss the most are its former customers. I know I won’t.


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