As you might have noticed recently Court Tuttle’s Internet Marketing School blog recently got ‘Google Slapped’. Court seems to think it was caused by him promoting the idea of “Keyword Sniping” as he describes in this article: As It Turns Out, Content Is King. However, I don’t think that Google has it in for Court personally or for what he’s written in relation to building niche blogs. I think that the slap is due to something else, tripping the Google Bomb algorithm.
The Google Bomb
Al Gore may have invented the Internet but George W. Bush invented the Google Bomb. More accurately, one of the first places where Google bombing cropped up was in political activism. Essentially the Google bomb is using the same anchor text over and over again, 1000’s of times, in the hope of ranking well for a particular keyword term such as “miserable failure” or “French military victories”. This method used to work well until Google implemented algorithms to blunt the effect of such bombs. I suspect that Court ran head on into this algorithm by overusing “Internet Marketing” as anchor text.
Court’s Penalty Box
Court isn’t the first blogger to encounter this situation though. John Chow received this penalty a while back for his review linkback scheme. David Airey also ran afoul of it a while back too. In Court’s case I think a few factors played heavily into him getting the penalty.
First, his SEO Themes, especially his Keyword Sniper theme, were in widespread use, spreading the single anchor term all over the place. I also suspect that a lot of these links were from a single class C source, Host Gator, one of the most popular hosts for WordPress niche blogs.
Secondly, there are 61,000+ “Internet Marketing” links from Blogging Zoom alone. Court and Vic’s keyword anchored link is on each and every page. Google probably does discount these links but having so many off-site links in one place that were built up rather quickly probably raises spamming flags.
A third factor is that “Internet Marketing” is most likely considered a high competition search term which probably lowers the threshold for spamming and bombing penalties. You’re less likely to draw a penalty if you rank via anchored links for something that isn’t that competitive like “Vaseline Glass” rather than something like “Payday Loans”, “Weight Loss” or “Make Money Online” where there is a huge amount of competition.
Slow, natural, link building is, well, too slow for most marketing purposes. Sure, great content may get you noticed and get your site many natural links eventually in a year or two but, then again, it may not if you don’t get lucky. Don’t get me wrong, great content can be an effective long term strategy but if you want to make money online you’ll need to couple it with other link building techniques.
The main thing that you want with any link building campaign is to vary the text used in the link, the anchor text. My primary strategy in this area is to go for lower competition, long tail, terms. To do this, in my anchor text I blend my primary keyword, let’s say “Cheap Glassware” with many other related terms. For example, I may have links that say “Cheap Christmas Glassware” or “Inexpensive Decorative Glassware” or “Informal Glassware”. The idea is not to have a single term standing alone but a basic set of 1-3 terms modified by a wide variety of other words.
The advantage here is that you’ll soon find yourself ranking for and bringing in traffic for a wide variety of terms rather than just the single term. For example, one of my better earning niche sites gets about 8% of its traffic from the primary keyword term. The other 92% of the traffic comes from long tail terms that relate in some way to the main term. My link building for this site has included the main term, a particular brand name, as well as generic terms for that product.
There are other linking strategies out there, this is the one that is working well for me.
So, What About Content?
Should you always have very high quality content on your niche sites? I’ve been asked that several times recently, probably due to my Blog Content Wizard program. My opinion is that your niche marketing blog content has to have two goals, placing well in searching engine results and directly or indirectly encouraging the search visitor to click on an ad. This more closely aligns with decent, yet dull, content rather than great content. Save your truly great content for a flagship blog or an informational niche site or blog, not a site expressly intended to make you money.
Feel free to share your thoughts on Google bombs, slaps, penalties, link building and content in a comment below.