I had a feeling this day would come, and Google lowered the Panda boom on Friday, March 23. Late in the day, Google tweeted:
To Google, this means it was a minor change. To those of you working with blog networks, it may have been HUGE!
One network I’m thinking of specifically is SEO Link Vine, which as you know I have touted here in the past. It produced some pretty spectacular results before Panda was operational, and I used it myself for a former client a couple of years back and got really a page ranked at #3 for a great keyword after only a week.
For anyone who’s not familiar, SEO Link Vine is a site based on a network of blogs. You upload one article, spin it a time or two, and then, it’s placed in some niche-specific blogs around the Web.
But I figured that it was doomed of late, just by the way Google was talking about “blog networks, ” and it wasn’t in a good way.
Panda 3.4 changes seem to have made an very negative impact on webmasters who were using the service. One Warrior Forum comment was, “We were using SEO Link Vine, and got hit badly.” It also got the message, “Un-natural links detected.” Not only did the sites take a hit in traffic, but their pages were even de-indexed!
I’m so glad I stopped using it several months back for my clients. It just seemed to me that Google was going down this road, and that it wouldn’t be long before the hammer dropped. You see, this is why it’s so important that if you’re going to use SEO as a traffic source that you stay aware of the hints of change that Google drops long before they actually happen.
Can You Fix Google Panda 3.4 Problems?
So, what can you do to fix things? I’m not sure. If you’ve been using SEO Link Vine for a while, you’ll never get those links removed. There are just too many. I mean, you can go through your backlinks and write to individual blog owners where your links are showing up, and ask them to remove the links, but a) they probably won’t even respond and b) that could take forever.
My advice is just to STOP using SEO Link Vine or other services like NOW!
And then, just do things the right way. It’s going to take a long time to get back into Google’s good graces. Take it from me. I found out about how much Google hates paid linking, and after they lowered the boom on that, it took like 2 years to get my page rank and my Google traffic back. I know this isn’t good news or a great solution, but I’m guessing it’s about all you can do right now.
I checked the SEO Link Vine blog and there hasn’t been a post since January, so apparently Brad Callen doesn’t have a solution, either. It’s surprising to me that someone known for SEO wouldn’t have seen this coming and done something about it long before now. Maybe he has. I’d check with the site and find out.
It’s a shame that this happened, but well… That’s how SEO rolls. What was working one day may be taboo the next. You just have to roll with the punches and NEVER put all your traffic eggs into one basket.
How to Be Google Panda 3.4 or Future Update-Proof?
One traffic source that will always work is 100% unique, useful, well-written content that is well-placed. Google actually wants to see that, so I’d concentrate on that. Content never goes away and there’s cumulative effect.
Anyway, if you stay away from any of what Google considers to be “schemes” to get higher ranking, you’ll do much better in the long run.
They also cracked down on over-optimization of pages, as we’ve discussed her several times before. Make sure that your pages are specific. For example, if you’re using the keyword “dog training,” your page better be about how to train a dog. Don’t go nuts with keywords. Use them, but to a reasonable density. Don’t over-stuff, and remember that LSI helps spiders understand what your page is about without a 7% ratio of keywords to content. That’s just silly and probably really hard to read. Not too much stylistic convention – bold, italic, or underline once, if you must (but I don’t think it’s all that important.) And think about your reader. Write for them.
I think that if you just concentrate on providing great content for your audience, you’ll do very well in search.