March 2nd, 2012 Add Your Comments Bookmark and Share

A long long time ago, in a galaxy far away, everybody who was trying to make money on the internet was told that when it came to getting top rankings you had to have keyword relevant links pointing at your content. So like good people we all followed the word of God, sorry I mean Google. Then one day God, sorry I mean Google, decided that they’d changed their mind. This day occured in February 2012, all of a sudden the online world became skewed and the same old sites owned by God, sorry I mean Google, found themselves dominating the search results even more than what they had been. So what could we do to live in this new world and stand any chance of a piece of the pie?

Leaving the drama to one side it’s actually yet another massive pain in the ass by the big G. They’ve now suddenly decided to change the metrics for what they consider to be over optimisation, yes this catches people blatantly gaming the system, but more importantly it also catches legitimate businesses who have been following the guidelines as well. There is only 1 set of guidelines. Relevant page titles, relevant descriptions, all of a sudden we’re told to make them a little less relevant. Where in the past we have asked for a link exchange with certain text we are now expected to ask for text that describes our business a little less. It is a bit mad. Here are the 2 things I’ve noticed more than anything else since the February 2012 Google changes came into effect.

1. Do Not Over Optimise – Flesh out your titles and descriptions. If your title only comprises of the search phrase you want to rank for then you must bulk it out with extra words. This is going to be a big job for people running online stores. The same goes for your content, anything with more than 3% keyword density “appears” to be too much. And as for only bolding your target phrase, that is a massive no no! Spread the bold love!

However these on-the-page factors are nothing when compared to what goes on off-the-page. I know the score, you sign up for every linking service under the sun and point every single link you can at your target page using 1 or 2 variations on the keywords you want to rank for? First page within a month, get in there! You have to stop doing that now. This is what Google are actively rooting out. Now more than ever you need a balanced linking plan. Keep the links to your home page to a third or less of your total links i.e. make sure you have plenty of links going to deep inner pages on your website. DO NOT have every link containing your target phrase, use your head here. What are some natural linking phrases “follow this link”, “click here”, “try this” etc etc If you’re using Linxboss use the 4 slots per URL and always keep 1 or 2 rotating with different general linking phrases. I know BMR has been hit extra hard with this, probably because of the nature of their 1 link per article text. Who is going to pay for an article to be posted that contains the word “click here” linked? But this is what we need, natural looking link profiles. The main target for all this seems to be article marketing so it’s now time to get clever with your links and preferably to find some alternative links that can contain natural looking link text.

2. Do Not Listen To Adsense – Hey did you know you could be earning X amount more if you added more Adsense units? No I didn’t, thank you very much, I’ll get right onto that straight away. Where are the best places to add Adsense blocks, above the fold? Sweet. Do not do this. I followed the advice of Adsense and put an extra block above the fold (going from 1 to 2), within 3 days I found my whole website had incurred a +50 ranking penalty (dropping me an extra 50 places down the rankings). Had anything else changed? No. Did it correct itself over time? No. What did I do? I left it a couple of weeks and then reversed out the changes. Within a couple of days my rankings and traffic was back and I was earning money with Adsense again. The lesson here is a simple one, the Adsense team and the website quality teams at Google do not in any way shape or form communicate with each other. Googles new algorithm does not like too much advertising above the fold so ignore any e-mails from the Adsense team suggesting you cram in more Adsense blocks.

Do not be fooled, making money from the internet is getting harder, like any economy the biggest are getting bigger and squeezing out everybody else. There have always been 2 sets of rules for the have’s and the have nots but they are now seperating even further. We’ve gone through the “everybody and their monkey can do this” gold rush stage, now it’s time get clever or realise you just don’t have the skills required. Life can be tough like that. Good luck and may the force be with you.