Are you frustrated and still trying to figure out how to rank a new website in the aftermath of the disasterous Penguin update? Well, leave your white hats and coats at the door because for all the talk about reigning in web spam, Google has never rewarded it so much.
Examining Google’s Weaknesses and post-Penguin Limitations
While Penguin aims for the financial throat of web marketers, there have been a lot of criticisms that it doesn’t do much to improve the actual quality of Google’s search results. Instead, it does reveal a few of the search algorithm’s vulnerabilities that are ripe to be exploited.
In the last few months, I’ve watched as a batch of spam domains replaced all of the webmaster blogs in a particular niche, and it looks like the formula for ranking can be replicated so long as you are careful about how frequently you use anchor texts and focus on in-content backlinks.
The Pyramid of Penguin Spam
The information contained in this post is not intended as advice for your primary website(s). One or two missteps could knock you right off the SERP mountain, so we’ve officially entered an era of SEO where throw-away domains are the main focus of ranking efforts. Any attempts to replicate this on an established site could be extremely hazardous to your rankings.
However, it is important to know what works and what doesn’t – just for the sake of identifying and creating a new path. So read on to learn about the crap that Google seems to love and reward lately.
Single-Purpose, Disposable Domains
Here’s the first step: Get about 5 disposable domains hosted on different IP addresses. This will cost about $50 up front an an additional $35 a month.
Everything about these domains is dedicated to the search phrase you want to rank for. Use synonymous and exact-match keywords as much as possible. Then, when you’ve got the site hosted and DNS servers pointed to the right place, build one single page for each domain. The title and content should match your target keywords, but unfortunately, the quality of your content doesn’t seem to matter in the slightest. The guy whose results I am studying now actually used some kind of article spinner that takes sentences out of obscure works of fiction, stuffs some keywords in them, and picks the next random sentence from the next random book. It isn’t readable or useful, but it is outranking my four-year old domain with hundreds of unique articles.
In fact, every single one of the top 20 results is a single-purpose domain. Google isn’t rewarding site authority unless you have a TON, so the key seems to be investing in hyper-relevancy and domains you can afford to lose.
Web 2.0 Profiles
The meat of this spam sandwich is the web 2.0 profile. These are sites that allow you to sign up, create a profile, and contribute to the curation of content on the site. Those profiles are the key to ranking after Penguin (for some inexplicable reason), and here’s how you do it.
Find about 100 unique Web 2.0 domains hosted on 100 different IP addresses. Start signing up and filling out profile information: one per web 2.0 per domain. So if you are building 5 disposable domains, you will need about 500 2.0 profiles. No matter what your user name is, set your first and last names to your targeted keywords – this will change the Title tag on your profile page!
Now, stuff that profile full of content, and be sure to sprinkle a couple more instances of your keywords in to the mix. Again, the guy I’m watching didn’t use any quality content here, just more spun junk from his fictional book spinner.
Once you’ve got the web 2.0 profiles filled out, start adding some links in them back to your disposable domains. Add them right in the middle of a paragraph somewhere – not in the URL or homepage fields. When you are picking your anchor text, make sure about 50% of it is just the raw URL address of your website, like http://example.com. Avoid your money-anchors – the less you use them the less likely you are to get tripped up by the Penguin! Each of your disposable domains will end up ranking differently, so keep good records of your anchor text breakdown and compare for future plots.
Index the profiles, cash out!
These web 2.0 profiles won’t index themselves because unless you are active on the site you won’t be building any links to it through the source domain. If you do set up a strategy like this and try to participate, you are likely to get flagged as a spammer and wreck the efforts put in so far.
So the guy I’m following in my case study decided to pull out five more disposable domains and plugged them in to an affiliate product feed. Each type of product gets its own subdomain, and this way he got a few thousand pages indexed for each domain. Inside those product pages are some hidden links pointing back to the Web 2.0 profiles.
Personally, I might try to avoid that last step and try to get some microblogging or bookmarking links pointed at the web 2.0 profiles. No idea if that will actually work though, but about five links to each profile seems to be sufficient for indexing and ranking them.
Or uh, what I meant was, I would never try or advocate any such tactics – even though they seem to be the only ones that are working.
The SEO situation created by Penguin is rather unfortunate, but there is still a way forward for those who are desperate to make some scratch. Unless you can socially engineer yourself in to the inner circle of your web niche, you are not going to get the organic, authority links you need to establish a solid domain. Those few who still have link juice are more scared than ever about passing it out, and Google isn’t giving much credit to articles, directories, and bookmarks. Ironically then, it is those who are mass producing articles, directory submissions, and bookmarks who are continuing to rank well, while those of us who tried to play by the rules are getting left behind.
What do you think? Will Google’s changes to search influence the way you promote your sites? Is this a positive update, and are you able to find the results you want when you make a search?