Link Toxicity and Thriving Communities

April 29, 2016 SEO Theory hangout with Michael Martinez of Reflective Dynamics, Inc. and Kent Yunk of Roaring Pajamas SEO.

* SEO Theory takes on Google Penguin cleanup campaigns in latest blog post
* Link removal requests are targeting good links that should not be taken down
* The SEO industry is responsible for this mess
* SEOs are very bad judges of link quality
* No one outside the search engines knows which links are passing negative value
* People often go overboard when they discover they have bad links
* Without a good clear picture of what is relevant or toxic people tend to take down anything that is not a top-branded site
* SEO metrics are completely meaningless in this content
* Google or Bing could strip a Website of its ability to pass link value w/o hurting search rankings
* High scores in SEO metrics have no connection to the Bing or Google databases
* SEO metrics cannot tell you if search engines trust links
* Hundreds of news Websites have been penalized for selling links
* Most Websites do not have high SEO metrics and search engines know they can trust their links
* The links that Reflective Dynamics judges to be risky are the ones that were easiest to obtain
* Websites that sell links tend to inflate SEO metrics
* People don’t understand how search algorithms work and so they tend to be reactive
* People use SEO tools because they don’t trust their own judgment
* Removing links does not always improve performance and may hurt
* With Penguin, “killing links doesn’t do anything” until there is an update
* Killing links may hurt a site through other algorithms
* Getting good links is hard so people get rid of what they hope are bad links
* If you have been waiting 18 months for a Penguin algorithm fix it is time to get off the Website
* Every SEO agency should discuss this option with clients before cleaning up links
* You can keep the downgraded domain active while building up a new domain
* The SEO industry has done a bad job of managing expectations about Penguin
* No one knows enough to clear the board surgically
* Google has taken all Toolbar PageRank scores down to zero
* Many SEO tools use historical PageRank data
* Google killed the toolbar too late because SEO metrics are now being given more weight by marketers
* Competition between SEO tool vendors will step up
* Web marketers need to focus on Bing and Google, not SEO indexes
* There is a way to measure search performance success
* Track number of queries per page that drive traffic to a Website via Bing and Google APIs
* SEO tool vendors are in a position to anonymously analyze aggregate data from thousands of sites
* Services like Brightedge and Searchmetrics could do this
* Michael does not like Searchmetrics’ case studies
* New metrics would be relevant to clients, not to all sites
* The SEO community overlooks good opportunities for analysis in favor of sham analysis techniques and tools
* SEO audit tools offer a mix of somewhat helpful and unhelpful feedback about sites
* Tools don’t integrate human judgment
* Joost de Valk would probably outperform the Yoast SEO plugin in optimizing an individual site
* Gary Illyes said Google takes existence of thriving communities on Websites into consideration
* Gary said Google gives thriving communities low weight
* Barry Schwartz wrote a sensational, misleading headline claiming it’s a major ranking signal
* People asked Gary probing questions on Twitter
* Someone will commoditize thriving communities
* Michael opposes any attempt to create a fake thriving community
* Search engines have been dealing with comment spam for over ten years
* Successful question and answer sites have thriving communities
* There are many different types of online communities
* Spammers are already faking many different types of communities
* Jacob King is skeptical of “thriving communities signal”
* SEO pundits and experts will create the thriving community problem if it happens
* Watch out for case studies, conference presentations, webinars, slideshows, etc.
* If we don’t hear more about thriving communities in six months the SEO industry may dodge the bullet
* Web marketers tend to gravitate toward really stupid ideas

Related Article for reading:

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