The Annihilation of Public “Private” Blog Networks

The Annihilation of Public I’m sure you guys have heard the big commotion with what’s been going on lately in the SEO world.  This was the absolute annihilation of public, and supposedly, private blog networks.  Big Brother managed to absolutely wipe them out with such fierce tenacity that the SERPs went nuts for about a week as the deindexing continued to roll out.

If you watch the forums at all, you’ll have seen people posting pictures of their backlink profiles and the massive link loss they suffered when some of these blog networks got slapped.  What about me?  Yeah, I lost some rankings, but nothing quite as bad as some people, because I came into the network game at the last minute.  Which I am super thankful for.

Deindexing Public Blog Networks Meant What for Providers?

What did this ultimately mean for SEOs and IMers out there who were deeply invested in these networks, who will go nameless in this post?  Well, some of the providers who bought up hundreds of high PR domains lost every single one of them.  I imagine paying $20 + registration fees for 1000 domains only to lose every single one of them.  That’s quite the investment and work efforts down the drain, having to set up blogs on each one.  Now, they probably made quite a bit back in their rankings and selling the service, but still.  Lesson learned on the churn and burn, but maybe some profit on the rank and bank and tank.

See, these people will tell you their network is private.  How is it private if anyone and their momma and Google themselves can sign up for it, sling out posts with a unique token phrase in it, find every blog that indexes that phrase, and keep a log?  That’s not private.  It’s not safe.  It’s just bad SEO.

Deindexing Public Blog Networks Meant What for Users?

What about those who spent money and paid these providers to sling posts out there with their links in them?  They probably saw easy rankings for a while, but they completely crapped out and essentially pissed every bit of money they invested down the toilet.  Did they profit from the rankings?  I’d venture to say yes.  But what they also did was lose very valuable properties that could have continued earning for a long time if they’d gone about it in a more legit fashion.

Google’s Unnatural Link Notice

Because, see… Google started sending messages in their Webmaster Tools dashboard.  As a matter of fact, the data says they sent out some crazy amount I can’t remember off the top of my head.  I think was something like 200,000 notices in February itself, which was more than they had sent out in in the previous four years or so I think it was.  People wanted to play it off to say “oh, they just changed the thresholds that triggered the automated message.  They just want to be more involved.”  But what did it really boil down to?

My own idea is that it related to any site that lost a certain percentage of it’s link profile during the time of the mass deindexing.  This means that around 200,000 sites got this message.  That means that 200,000 sites were using public blog networks.  I saw the data on some of these networks as well, that had up to 70,000 blogs in it.  That’s a ton of blogs taking advantage of the contextual linking part of the algorithm.  But like the directory submissions, and the forum profiles, and the social bookmarks, all good things must come to an end.

So what happens to the sites that get this notice?  In anywhere from one day to six weeks, you will drop in the SERPs.  You will drop to where you would be if you never had the public blog network links.  But can you come back?  It is yet to be seen.  It seems there is a dark cloud over these sites now, with some strange penalty hanging over their heads.  How long it will last is yet to be seen, if they aren’t permanent altogether.

What Has This Done to the Paradigm in SEO?

Well… a lot of people are trying to take advantage of two things:  White Hat Link Building and Negative SEO.

White hat link building is good.  This essentially means that you contribute to the internet and the internet contributes back to you with a link.  This can mean guest blogging and offering unique and quality content.  It means less automation and more involvement.  This is good.  The only problem is that this new change has made way for what has been called Negative SEO.  Along with this deindexing of the public blog networks, Google also attempted to change how they deal with anchor text.  They were very vague about it, but what it ultimately did was allow competitors to do two things.  They can fire off millions of low quality links with the same anchor text to screw up your anchor text ratios, and then they can also yank those links and give you massive link loss.  And then you go crashing out of the SERPs.

The general standpoint is that Google and our friend Mr. Cutts has always said “links can’t hurt, they can only help or do nothing.”  “Competitors can do nothing to hurt your ranks.”  But as if nobody would notice, late last year or early this year they slipped in a new word in that phrase.  If you find it in on their site, it now says “Competitors can do almost nothing to hurt your ranks.”  Sly move there, chuckle heads.  You have messed up and hopefully will recant and roll back this new algorithm change, or else cause The Great Shitstorm of Our Time.

I have already seen on forums people attacking other’s rankings and even seen people selling Negative SEO services for ridiculous sums of money.  And they are getting sales.  This is not cool.  SEO is not warfare.  There is, in fact, a honor among true webmasters and a code of conduct.  This crabs in a bucket business only hurts everyone.

Lesson Learned?

Don’t use crappy link building techniques.  Don’t try to cheat the SERPs, the search engines, or the advertisers.  We all win if we all contribute.  Think about how many sites were hosted on the same server in those stupid networks.  Think about how crappily they were set up, and the huge footprint blasting the same stupid spun article with the same stupid links on the out to the same 70,000 blogs over and over and over looks to the algorithm.  “Please!  I’m begging you!  Please deindex us all!”  It’s not good sense.  Move towards contributing with quality content to gain quality links!  This is stability and steady income.

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3 Responses to “The Annihilation of Public “Private” Blog Networks”

  1. Joan #

    The problem of blog networks hit hard to me! My first income site, with more than 4 years go to page 4 of google (Before was on #1). I started to use Blog networks early this year, but it hits me like I have my whole life using it.

    Now I’m starting creating new products to sell, in this way I don’t need to take care of SEO.

    Right now, Im stopped the SEO of my sites, and will start slow in a few weeks,

    Thanks for your post.

    April 24, 2012 at 1:59 am
  2. Jerry #

    You said, “Move towards contributing with quality content to gain quality links! This is stability and steady income.” What does that mean? Seriously, what does that mean?

    Link building is link building. White hat link building, gray hat link building, and black hat link building, can all be misconstrued by Google. It all depends on their rules which are very vague at best. What if someone does too much white hat link building like posting to relevant blogs and forums per day, say 1000 per day. Is that still white hat? Would you get slapped for doing that? What is the speed limit?

    A site that does little to no link building will not attract any visitors. We all know that. Just writing blog posts on a site isn’t enough. You’ve go to reach out and connect with other sites. You will never make any money if you don’t do some SEO work.

    I read lots of internet marketing blogs and they all seem to have this authoritative take on what is going on then they say like you said, “Move towards contributing with quality content to gain quality links! This is stability and steady income.”

    Your post doesn’t provide the reader in my opinion any real concrete advice. You’ve simply written it like you have figured out everything. You don’t know any more than anybody else.

    Anyone starting a brand new blog today and hoping to rank high in the searches is taking a risk. Whether they do SEO stuff or not they are taking a risk. The key is to avoid the desire for high rankings and find as many relevant blogs and forums you can find and contribute to them for traffic on a daily basis or start paying for traffic or create some Youtube videos. That is all anyone can do without relying on the search engines.

    April 29, 2012 at 12:27 pm
  3. Joan, I’m with you. It’s a waiting game at this point.

    Jerry, It’s not that I’ve figured out what works. I’ve only figured out again what doesn’t work. It has become clear that the emphasis is on obtaining relevant links and the best way to do this would be to produce quality content in the hopes that others find it useful and share it around. I agree though, SEO is a giant risk, relying on a fickle algorithm that’s being tweaked daily. It can’t be the sole or main concern for any online business.

    May 13, 2012 at 1:57 pm