We can’t check our feed readers without seeing post after post on Google’s Penguin updates, and with good reason; recent Google updates yield some serious penalties for those websites caught with their pants down. Yesterday, Search Engine Watch explained the difference of Google’s Panda and Penguin updates. The Panda update targeted low value on-page content such as spammy outbound links. Penguin effect mainly inbound links – spammy and unnatural links pointing back at your website.
Even though we’re well into the Penguin updates now and that deals with mainly backlinks pointing at us, I decided last week to begin removing useless “Low Quality” links left by those that comment on this blog. This is something I’ve been considering for a couple of months and I finally took action, finishing up today. While Google shouldn’t be our only concern, any blogger ignoring the fact that SEO is changing in a huge way will very likly find their blogs a thing of the past.
Steps I have Taken And You Should Consider Them As Well
- The first step was taken weeks ago by deactivating the SEO Smart Links WordPress Plugin that was automatically linking selected keywords and phrases in published posts to other pages and posts. Old school SEO thinking makes that seem like a great idea but current Google updates makes it a dangerous mistake. Using your best keywords for anchor text too often in inbound and internal linking looks spammy and unnatural and therefore suspicious.
- The next step was to update our Comment Policy to reflect our new policies and changes.
- Then I used WordPress plugin Broken Link Checker to check and reduce the number of link redirects going out from our blog. These are not broken links but many are from dead or parked domains redirecting to other sites.
- Next was a huge task. At the time of this post we have 4,680 comments on just 105 posts. The WordPress plugin Broken Link Checker came in handy here as well and I removed hundreds, if not a couple thousand, outgoing links and even entire comments that should have never made it through. I removed spammy and low quality links such as URLs to real estate sites, hotels, insurance and hosting review sites. We even had links like bad credit loans and dating sites somehow slip in there. I also removed or changed links that were linking to Feed URLs. I have no idea where this trend of using a feed URL for blog comments came from but they are no longer welcome on this blog. Those links are for our readers, not search engines and we are not a feed reader. Also gone are links to foreign language sites, links to sales pages and niche sites. I also tried to catch and remove links from what I call CommentLuv Spoofing, where the comment author ‘tricks‘ the plugin by changing the URL just before submitting the comment. This is a common tactic among comment spammers and paid link builders.
- The final step was to go through every approved comment, one page at a time, and remove CommentLuv($) from those same spammy links that were removed from the step above.
Well, it’s far too early to know but we are a couple thousand links lighter on the outbound side and hundreds of links were removed from internal linking. We are still do-follow and I love using CommentLuv Premium($) and believe in both but this requires a little due diligence on our part to insure this blog survives long term.
What Steps Have You Taken?
Do you plan on cleaning up your outbound and inbound links? What changes has the latest updates forced you to take? Do you think these recent Google updates are good or bad overall for the blogging community?