Disclaimer: I may have had a few beers while writing this so please forgive any grammatical errors – my opinions are my own and aren’t a reflection of the company I work for. I welcome any comments, questions, queries or arguments that debunk any of my statements, hell who doesn’t like a good debate?

The Face of SEO Has Changed / SEO Is Dead

Stop, just stop. It’s been just over two weeks now since the latest versions of Panda and Penguin have been released and the usual traffic driving blog headlines have been thrown around like confetti. The usual scaremongers are capitalising on Webmasters that are unable to decipher what the latest updates are chasing and while I admire these individuals, it’s become a bit predictable.

SEO is not dead, the rules haven’t changed, but the goalposts have been moved and those that were participating in link building activities that weren’t in alignment with Webmaster guidelines have been punished.

Now I’m not one to judge, as I’ve seen some of my sites been penalised, some due to using services off of Fiverr that were less than kosher and others through various blog networks, however it’s because I’ve been engaging in these various activities, that I’ve been able to see first-hand what it is that Google is penalising and in certain cases how to get around it.

There’s an excellent post on MicroSiteMasters (http://www.micrositemasters.com/blog/penguin-analysis-seo-isnt-dead-but-you-need-to-act-smarter-and-5-easy-ways-to-do-so/) that analyses the percentage of inbound anchor texts versus the likelihood of the site being penalised. I’d highly suggest reading it if you haven’t had a chance yet. It really drives home the point that building high-quality relevant links in niches that are similar to yours is the only way to move forward long term.

Temporary Fixes

Remove All Bad Links

 
To start with I’ve removed all of the dodgy linking activity possible from all of my sites, although this isn’t possible when Scrapebox has been used and there are various Xrumer blasts that I regret purchasing (although at the time was quite happy with the ROI that they provided).

301 Where Possible

 
It’s a well-known fact that 301-ing a domain tends to remove any existing penalties on it and I’ve seen this first-hand on two of my domains. I’m not saying that this is a permanent fix, and I fully expect the sites to descend into oblivion upon the next execution of Penguin and Panda. However in the interim sites have recovered and in some instances ranking better than before. This is in part due to the 301, the removal all bad links, and the creation of a handful of very high quality links.

Do Nothing

 
Although I’d rarely advise one to do nothing, it seems that in the wake of these latest updates, some of my sites that I have neglected and were definitely hit by Penguin have recovered their own accord. I’m not entirely sure why and I don’t endorse doing nothing as I’m sure that those have been hit (for the most part) by these updates have a reason behind it. However I can attest that in certain instances “doing nothing” really was the best course of action.

SEO’s are Currently in a State of Paralysis

There has been a terrifying trend since the inception of Penguin and it seems to have left a number of SEO’s paralysed. Those that have been participating in low-level link building such as directories and social bookmarks, or have relied on programs like SE Nuke / Scrapebox to do all the heavy lifting for them and even those that outsource their link building activities have stopped dead in their tracks.

SEO is an ever-changing landscape and those that don’t adapt will ultimately die, it’s not survival of the fittest by any means but the latest version of Penguin has really thrown a spanner in the works for a number of link builders and those that have got fat by engaging in lazy link building acquisition techniques are suffering.

My advice to those that are still waiting for the dust to settle and awaiting a magic pill to cure their link building woes is to stop searching for an easy answer to the latest updates and start investing in truly engaging content and start building relationships. It does involve a lot of time investment and is particularly resource heavy but this shit works people! I’m not what one would call an SEO evangelist and I die a little bit inside every time I hear the term “inbound marketing” but it’s time to man up and start grabbing those awesome links. (As a side note, it’s really not that difficult! A little bit of behaviour modification and you’re on your way again).

As an affiliate marketer I look to cut corners wherever possible and if I can get a site ranked for a competitive key term by spending $50 on Fiverr then you can be damn sure that I’m going to do it. However this is no longer a long-term strategy and sites that I’ve been cashing in on the past year and a half have taken a tumble.

Conclusion & Moving Forward

<rant>Stop faffing about, stop reading forums and blog posts that contradict each other and just take action. If you’re still waiting for the dust to settle you’ll get left behind. Go out and get those high quality links, stop engaging in link farms and make the internet a better place. </rant>

Follow the market leaders (http://pointblankseo.com/link-building-experts) and heed their advice, heck if you’re feeling brave try and start a conversation with them.

Experiment with new link building techniques, get rid of your old low quality backlink profile and remember to keep it clean!