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May 31, 2012

New Linking Metrics for the Post-Penguin Web – A SPN Exclusive

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In case you haven’t noticed, Google has pretty much flipped the entire web in the last couple of months, disrupting countless well-established sites and replacing them with what Google believes are better quality ones. If you’re the dominant search engine with 65% to 90% of the web’s lucrative search traffic, you can do that with just a few changes in your algorithm code.

We won’t go into details, but anyone who has been marketing on the web, knows on a Post-Panda/Penguin web, things have really shifted. SEO and link building must be viewed in an entirely different light, if you want your site and content to still rank in Google. Over-optimization and the wrong kind of aggressive link building can do more harm than good on this new web.

The over-riding theme, which is becoming more and more evident, is not falling on silent ears. If you try to “game” or “manipulate” Google’s search engine rankings, your site will move down in the listings, instead of up. If you too aggressively target commercial or money paying keywords in your anchor text links and in your internal site structure, you will be penalized by these latest ranking filters.

Thousands upon thousands of affiliate site owners and online marketers are groaning in unison. Along with millions of small business owners who have bought SEO services which have aggressively optimized their content to rank in the search engines, especially Google. Everyone is scrambling to fix these issues in order to keep Google happy and to protect themselves from any future updates, which everyone knows will come.

Keep in mind, this is not an SEO problem, but a Google problem. Optimizing your site and content, even aggressively building backlinks to your content, wasn’t a problem until Google decided this aggressive marketing was unfairly influencing their index and decided to cut out aggressive site owners and online marketers.

Neither Google or anyone else should assume that just because a site was earning a healthy income from the web, it wasn’t creating superior content. In recent years, we have seen a whole online industry built up around Google search traffic, with these site owners working full-time to create quality content. In the process, many of these webmasters built very active niche communities on the web and became recognized experts in their niche. Most will not survive and from this perspective, many believe that Google’s recent changes will eventually downgrade the over-all quality of the web. Google’s short-term gain is the web’s long-term loss.

Regardless, webmasters MUST realize this is Google’s ballgame and they MUST play by Google’s guidelines or suffer the consequences.

Against this whole backdrop, webmasters and site owners, simply need a better way of judging the quality of sites and links on the web. They need a simple way to find quality link partners which will help them combat Penguin and any other changes Google will be making in the future. In a very timely release, a site called MajesticSeo.com has just created two new “flow metrics” in order to better evaluate domains and/or links on the web. This new evaluation consists of two metrics, both measured in numbers (between 0-100) and can be shown graphically.

Citation Flow – how many links are flowing/linking to a domain or URL.

Trust Flow – how much trust is flowing through a domain or URL.

View Link Profile images for SiteProNews and Google

In most cases, your citation flow or number will be larger than your trust flow number. This stands to reason, because in a natural link building process, most domains will have many more links coming from low level sites, which also have low trust flow. This last metric will give webmasters a good idea of how trustworthy a potential linking partner will be in improving their site’s authority on the web. Supposedly, the higher the Trust flow number, then according to the MajesticSeo site, “…proportionally more of that value will ‘flow’ through to the links from that URL.”

Best of all, one can quickly and better judge the quality of a site or link by viewing the graph and the numbers which pop up. It gives more information than a Google PageRank number which has become less important over the years. The only other comparable measurement is probably MozRank by SeoMoz.com which you can find by using the OpenSiteExplorer site – it will show your Page and Domain Authority rankings.

Just how, or if, the SEO community uses these metrics and whether they will become popular with webmasters, remains to be seen. The signup requirement for a free or paid account could stifle adoption. In the Post-Penguin world, however, linking for higher rankings has become much more complex than in the past. The more information you have about a domain and its links, the better equipped you will be at making a wise decision in regards to your own linking and marketing. These two new metrics fit the bill perfectly.


The author is a full-time webmaster with several sites on the web. His main site offers free marketing guides/resources/tools and is located here: www.bizwaremagic.com. He has also just written a very informative report on the Google Panda/Penguin Updates, a must-read if you have been affected by the recent Google changes – you can find it here: Free Penguin Report.

10 Responses to “New Linking Metrics for the Post-Penguin Web – A SPN Exclusive

    avatar Andy says:

    “SEO and link building must be viewed in an entirely different light, if you want your site and content to still rank in Google. ”

    What a load of complete tosh! Anyone who is doing proper SEO, obeying the rules and following guidelines will a) still be ranking and b) not have to change anything.

    The only people that have suffered after Penguin are people who employ black-hat SEO techniques and utilise link-farms, keyword stuffing etc – and it serves them right and it makes the web a better place! If your site is well designed with informative with relevant unique content and isn’t stuffed with keywords then you’re site is almost certainly in the same place it was before Penguin.

    Don’t listen to people who’s objective is to advertise their own SEO tools/books and make money from your fear. Don’t be scared, just follow the guidelines and your site will be found!

    Hi Andy,

    I have to agree to disagree with those statements.

    Unfortunately, a lot of innocent high quality sites were hit by Penguin, most were doing strictly whitehat SEO. Other sites which were hit may have being doing past linking practices which Google now looks upon with disfavor.

    For example, WPMU.org is a PR7 highly respected site was hit by Penguin and has since recovered. If sites like WPMU.org can make SEO mistakes, we all have to pay stricter attention to how we do our linking and who we link to in the future – which was the whole point of my article.

    http://www.webpronews.com/google-penguin-update-refresh-recovery-provide-hope-for-webmasters-2012-05

    If you think someone can build a site, place it on the web, then be discovered and get high rankings without doing SEO, then as one SEO Expert put it… you’re waiting for pigs to fly.

    avatar Titus Hoskins says:

    Hi Andy,

    Yes, you make some very valid points but I have to agree to disagree with those statements.

    Unfortunately, in an ideal world much of what you said would be right, but a lot of innocent high quality sites were hit by Penguin, most were doing strictly whitehat SEO. Other sites which were hit may have being doing past linking practices which Google now looks upon with disfavor.

    Just take as one example, WPMU.org is a PR7 highly respected site was hit by Penguin and has since recovered. If sites like WPMU.org can make SEO mistakes, we all have to pay stricter attention to how we do our linking and who we link to in the future – which was the whole point of my article.

    Do a search on Webpronews and you will find out all about WPMU and the problems they had with Penguin.

    If you think someone can build a site, place it on the web, then be discovered and get high rankings without doing SEO, then as one SEO Expert put it… you’re waiting for pigs to fly.

    avatar Craig says:

    Sorry Andy. It’s just not true. Thousands of relevant and valuable sites (maybe lots more) which had never done anything even close to black-hat have been relegated to the Google junk pile.

    But I digress . . .

    The new “Flow Metrics” from Majestic SEO (who I love BTW) just doesn’t provide very much useful, actionable data. Unless your company, or your client has insanely massive numbers of links and referring domains your chart looks a black square with a diagonal line through it and a few pin pricks of color. How is this helpful? The raw stats displayed underneath the graphs contain the relevant data which is more actionable and trackable. I wish someone would come up with a way to graphically display a link profile that contains useful information.

    avatar Craig says:

    Sorry Andy. It’s just not true. Thousands of relevant and valuable sites (maybe lots more) which had never done anything even close to black-hat have been relegated to the Google junk pile.

    But I digress . . .

    The new “Flow Metrics” from Majestic SEO (who I love BTW) just doesn’t provide very much useful, actionable data. Unless your company, or your client has insanely massive numbers of links and referring domains your chart looks a black square with a diagonal line through it and a few pin pricks of color. How is this helpful? The raw stats displayed underneath the graphs contain the relevant data which is more actionable and trackable. I wish someone would come up with a way to graphically display a link profile that contains useful information.

    avatar Barb says:

    You are absolutely correct, Andy.

    To Craig, have you ever looked at the source codes for the sites that were punished? Can’t judge a book by its cover…

    Titus says “If sites like WPMU.org can make SEO mistakes…” Those mistakes, most which still exist, were from not following the rules. They could very well get hit again from what I can see.

    avatar Titus Hoskins says:

    Barb,

    Andy is not right – innocent sites were hit and Google pretty much admits this by providing a form where webmasters can object if they believe they were un-wrongly affected by Penguin. If Google was 100% sure why provide this form – unless Google has suddenly gone into the public relations business.

    In regards to WPMU.org – it is not so much SEO mistakes but linking techniques which Google now looks at differently. Especially where it concerns blogs, theme creators usually put a link back to their site in each theme. This is link bait and Matt Cutts talked about this kind of linkbait in a video in 2009 as being ok. You create content/tools/resources/services everyone wants to link to naturally. The video is even called Whitehat Linkbait.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2QIxTI59r5o

    In the WPMU case, I believe they had site-wide blog links in the 1000s coming from different sources, not all of them high quality. Once they deleted those “bad” links coming into their site. Then when the Penguin algo was refreshed on May 26, WPMU no longer triggered a penalty because these links had been removed.

    Once you clean up your link profile – Penguin shouldn’t affect your site. However, many sites practicing strictly whitehat techniques and/or linkbait may have been affected by Penguin even though they weren’t trying to “game” or “manipulate” Google’s rankings by using SEO tactics that go against Google’s Guidelines.

    avatar Barb says:

    Nothing should affect a site that uses pure white hat. Follow the rules and nobody gets hurt or breaks an ankle doing the Google Dance…

    If people don’t know by now that the linking is part of the problem…well…

    Begging for and buying links to make a site worthwhile doesn’t say much for the site does it. Shouldn’t a site stand on its own merits? Maybe it’s just me but it appears that’s what gets sites into most of the trouble they get into.

    I’m a great believer in:

    - Pure white hat
    - Properly written meta tags
    - Relevant, fresh and unique content
    - Internal linking and other factors

    As far as paying for links or requesting an exchange…nope, won’t do it, never have, never will. Any links to me are natural. Didn’t ask or pay for nary a one of them.

    Hey, here’s a novel idea. What about guest blogging on popular sites with a similar core message to yours? Think that works good? Yes? No? I’ll have to try that sometime and see.

    But if other people want to spend their time chasing down sites to clean up bad links to them…seems overboard, but have fun. I’m on my way to the beach in my hot new thong bikini.

    avatar Masha Lisk says:

    I have discovered first hand reputable websites being hit by the Penguin.

    Look up negative SEO and you will see now there is a war online between reputable companies and those who spam them.

    Majestic metrics is one of the best for measuring the speed of link building. If we do it right, we get high trust flow, and if it drops, we know that we should dial it back.

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