I just took a look at Google’s link profile and the big G is clearly running a link network. Check this out: They own all these sites—YouTube, Feedburner, Google.com, Google.co.uk, Google.co.up, Blogger.com and what do they do with them all? They link them to each other:
It gets worse. They’re also using widget spam via their recaptcha tool. Use their captcha system? Voila, you gave ’em a link. Here’s an example (one of many) I found in MajesticSEO:
And don’t even get me started about their anchor text distribution:
Clearly they want to control the market for ‘please click here to exit’. Totally spammy.
The real point
Am I trying to stick a fork in Google’s eye? No. Accusing Google of link spam is ridiculous. What I am doing is making a desperate plea for sanity, amidst the bleating of a thousand penguins.
Google’s latest update and crackdown on link spam has its problems, and they’re annoying as hell. But bottom line, most Penguin slaps are easy to predict and to find. It’s common sense. If you know you have a lot of purchased, crappy links, then yeah, you’re at risk. If you don’t, but you drop out of the rankings, look elsewhere first.
I’ve seen Google make mistakes (they pitched us out of the rankings for our entire blog for, oh, five weeks or so). But Penguin isn’t all that subtle.
The other real point
Google, if you’re going to release an update that cracks down the way Penguin has, it would help a lot if you could be more consistent, and be a lot clearer about what you’re doing. The first announcement was a little helpful. But it took the concerted efforts of a lot of SEOs to dig up what was really going on.
Why? There’s nothing to hide here. You don’t like paid links. Got it.
Couldn’t you just say, “This new update will penalize sites that purchase big, steaming piles of poopy links, or otherwise acquire links in ways that violate our Terms of Service?”
Or is it really so difficult to detect…?
I’m just ranting
It’s the Friday before a 3-day weekend. I’ve slept about 20 hours in the last 4 days. I’m trying to wean myself off Diet Coke (and failing). So I’m grouchy. Feel free to disregard all of the writing above.