When Larry Page and Sergey Brin started Google the biggest part of what they built had to do with link building. They generating rankings based on who linked to who, and how often others linked to a site. Most of us in the internet world had come to grasp this and accept it as the key principle in obtaining high rankings.
If you are like thousands of other webmasters in the world you have seen a recent drop in Google rankings. If you are signed up for their webmaster tools then you probably received a message stating that some of the links that point to you appear to be unnatural and once you have taken care of the problem to do a reconsideration request.
So the newest update to their algorithm is to now look at the links that point to you and then penalize you if they don’t like the links they see. This seems like a very slippery slope for them to be climbing since judging links is such a subjective thing.
I have always preached that Google would never penalize you for someone else linking out to your website because it is not something you can control. Well those days seem to be over. Initially penalizing people for their link profile will probably shut down most if not all of the link network sites which Google seem to be specifically targeting. But can this be a long term feature for Google?
The problem with this new change to their algorithm is that what is going to stop my competitors from going out and placing my link on bad sites? I have often heard the argument that people aren’t going to do that. People don’t have time to do stuff like that and they aren’t that cold blooded.
The reality is that if there is money to be made, which there is a lot of money to be made, people will do whatever they know works to get their rankings up. Unfortunately we live in a world of unethical business people who justify anything they do with the idea that it must be right if it makes them money.
Some industries are worse than others (ie diet, gambling, etc) but money or the prospect of money can make good men bad and bad men much worse. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out over the coming months. I have already seen a big change in Google’s search results including sites that have no business showing in the rankings.
For example, if I search Google for the phrase “add url” the #9 result is addurl.com. Seems good enough except when you click on the result it simply is a redirect going right to Bing.com and doing the same search for the term “add url”. Now tell me how that is a user friendly search result.
A little further down in the search results you will find the website add-url.com. This site is not even a functioning website. It has 1 page and it is a template message from the hosting company telling them to upload an index.html file.
Hmm. Maybe showing results from people that are actually taking the time to optimize their sites isn’t a bad thing after all. I mean if someone is taking the time to get links for a site doesn’t that show that they care about building their business and making it something good?
I have a feeling that Google is going to have to do a major tweak to this part of the algorithm if they want to keep users happy. If their results are just going to redirect me to a search on Bing I will start skipping the middle man and go right to Bing to do my searches.