Were you a victim of the Google Dance?
By now many of you have probably heard about - or felt the effects of - the most recent "Google Dance". The massive overhaul of their entire index.
Has it hit ya? And if so, how?
Actually, it's helped me.
I had pretty good rankings to begin with, and where SEO is concerned, I always erred on the side of caution. I also wrote a lot of legitimate content for my sites. I didn't do a lot of spamdexing kind of stuff, not did I cloak, or get into illegit stuff.
Because I wasn't sneaky and because I was conservative, I suffered by getting very few number ones. I had them, but most of the number one spots were held by one particular company that broke all of the rules and created a lot of doorway pages.
Since the update, all of my number ones are intact, and many of the spammy sites have disappeared, moving me up. I'm also starting to notice that I'm getting some reasonable rankings for keyword phrases that don't appear in my site's title, but appear in the page's text.
As Florida hit the Net, I was redesigning two of my sites, so as I was hearing that too many keywords in the URL or filename might become a penalty point, and too much SEO with anchor text linking to same-titled pages would hurt you, I revamped some of my naming conventions. Also, as I reworked some of my written text so that I wasn't just writing about "big cocks" but "big cocks, huge dicks, and enormous manmeat." I also reworked a lot of my alt tags.
So far everything seems to be holding.
That was definitely the case with me, as well.
I'd always stayed away from "overoptimizing". Sure, exactly when Google will revamp their index you never know. But you do know it's going to happen at some point. It'll happen yet again a few years from now.
It's also no secret that going overboard on optimization techniques will end up hurting you. For example - flooding an index page with keywords, but relevant and irrelevant to the site content. Having a list of keywords in the metatags a mile long. Using hidden text on the main page. All those were "optimization" techniques several years ago that the SE's got smart to and cracked down on.
Sames goes for doorways. Same goes for anchor text. As people get wise to how an SE is running their index, the SEs have to stay a step ahead so that they're designating relevance - not the webmasters.
So frankly I just kind of chuckled when everyone flipped out when the hammer fell.
I work with 35 sites - not a one of which got dropped off the index or experienced any real drop in ranking. The opposite was true, in fact. As you mentioned, since so many other spammy sites got dropped - including many ranked higher than my own - lots of my sites got a great boost out of it, getting bumped up a notch as space cleared out ahead of em.
You hit another nail on the head concerning content and substance. You can still have keyword rich text that doesn't go overboard and isn't abusive. Articles, reviews, press releases, and the like are great tools because they have real substance and are also keyword and phrase rich. "Doorway" pages that are standalone, self sufficient, informative and useful sites from the perspective of the surfer and SE are indeed the way to go.
Hell... I still see a few sites I wouldn't mind seeing get dinged. Maybe they'll overhaul the index yet again
Of course, there is certain to be some "collateral damage" from it all. Websites that weren't necessarily spammy or overoptimized and for which the webmasters weren't even optimizing. That weren't being abusive or misleading and were genuinely relevant, good sites but got dropped anyways. But I think that's happened to all of us at some point in time, as much as it sucks.
virgin by request ;)
My PR numbers on a few sites have dropped but the traffic from google has remained steady.
Are there places that will review and write reviews for your sites, pay or free?
Are the sites you guys referring to, pay sites or AES sites?
Overoptimazation was never something I was good at... now maybe google will pick up my sites. LOFL
Good well written content will always win out I reckon. A scary thing happened yesterday. I was checking my site and suddenly I noticed the pagerank on the Google toolbar had changed to 0. I checked about a dozen sites and they were all showing a ranking of some kind. So for 30 minutes I thought I had been blacklisted or something. Then suddenly the pagerank was back to normal.
One thing that bugs me is that a simple site I put up about our family history a year ago now has a higher PR than my main gay site, which I have spent thousands of hours on over the last four years LOL
What kind of written content are you looking for? I write a ton of it for my two sites and I'm always looking for work.