Obscurely Defining Acceptable Levels of SPAM

14 Sep

Hey everybody Rob here, today I want to discuss anchor text over optimization penalties and what SPAM signals actually seem to be acceptable.

I don’t know for sure if I was hit by a recent Google algorithm update or their discovery of my newly created back links finally triggered a penalty. So some of this will be speculation since that’s really what we’re all left to do regarding Google.

Honestly it’s not like Google ever really gives you a straight answer. Their stock answer is write good content that people will link to naturally and provide a great user experience. Oh my goodness, thank you for making it so simple!

Over this past weekend (September 10 and 11, 2016) I noticed that one of my websites had dipped for a highly competitive keyword phrase. To be more position specific, I watched this SERP drop from page 2 – position 18 to page 8 – position 82. Ouch that hurts! Now I’m trying to figure out why.

A little background – I’m using an exact match domain name in a national niche and approximately one month ago I bought an expired domain name and redirected it to this website whose SERP fell. This is a good time to mention that I did NOT redirect the newly acquired domain name directly to the money site. Instead I opted to stack redirects in an attempt to aid topical relevance. I think this is a sound tactic and I don’t believe this is the reason my SERP fell for this specific keyword.

This is also a good time to mention that my website only appears to have been penalized for 1 keyword phrase, which tends to suggest anchor text over optimization – in my mind. I think it’s important to note that the keyword phrase that plummeted is also conveniently enough a high value Adwords keyword phrase. What a coincidence!

So what we have so far is an EMD that has fallen in the SERP for its exact match keyword phrase. I don’t believe it’s particularly over optimized but it’s not really up to me either. I’m sure you expect me to say that but I in all seriousness I would happily admit and possibly even brag about it if I thought I had over optimized.

What could of have led us to this point? Newly discovered back links could be the culprit, a tightening of the screws or adjustment in the Google algorithm could have caused it, the loss of critical back links could be the cause or some combination of these.

This is the exact reason that relying on organic Google traffic alone is a bad business model. Your entire income can vanish in a heartbeat, better known as the minute Google decides to change something. Because we all know that just because something is acceptable today doesn’t mean it will be acceptable in the future.

Acceptable SPAM level?

How is a website like this still ranking?

What form of SPAM is still acceptable? Back link SPAM still seems to be very effective. I’m not recommending it, simply making an observation. I have researched certain competing domains that have thousands of weak back links. Significantly more than other competitors and these back links include really terrible metrics as seen in the image below.
Is it also coincidence that these people that are ranking organically are also at least occasionally paying for Adwords advertising? Look at these numbers: Trust Flow 22 and Citation Flow 39. Holy shit, I would NOT even think about buying a domain like that for a PBN but its ranking. How about 31,386 external back links from 75 referring domains? If that’s not a huge SPAM signal then I don’t know what is.

So my conclusion boys and girls is simply this. All SPAM is not created equal or in this case punished equally and if you own EMDs in a national niche then you are going to be heavily scrutinized and seemingly more subject to penalties. Don’t worry though, I have a feeling it won’t be long before local EMDs get their date with the executioner.

Brands are the way forward but EMDs still have their place in your toolbox.

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