One of the most popular forms of backlinking for internet marketers over the past two years has been the utilization of “private” blog networks. I use the term “private” loosely. Yes they are private in that you have to become a member to use them, but when everyone knows about them are they really private?
Over the past two weeks, it has become obvious that Google and their web spam team have put these networks squarely in their crosshairs. There was the public outing of a site using Authority Link Network, which led to about 5000 of its domains being deindexed.
Matt Cutts confirmed this on Twitter.
Today, one of, if not the most popular blog network announced they are shutting their doors.
And then there is the worst of the worst, SEO Link Monster which has had nearly all of its sites deindexed, yet will not admit it and still continues to accept new paying customers.
Does this mean it is the end of such networks? The large public ones, I would say yes. I’m sure there will be others launching to try to fill the vacuum these left behind. They will undoubtedly claim that they have some super secret method of staying under Google’s radar.
In my opinion, these networks were a victim of their own success. Their popularity is what put them on Google’s radar. There has been little evidence that this was anything but manual action taken by Google and their web spam team.
Many people are going to be discouraged by this. In their minds, SEO just got a lot tougher and a lot more expensive.
For those of us who are serious marketers though, I would say this is nothing but positive news. The harder things are, the more effort they take, and the more money people have to dump into building their business, the more people will give up and abandon their efforts. In other words, less competition.
Think about it. Was it a good thing that anyone could spend $59/month and a few bucks on some content and be able to rank easy to sometimes medium difficulty keywords? That just invited more and more people into our niches. It also made more and more people think that they are SEOs.
If you were relying on any of these link networks for the majority of your link building, you weren’t doing it the right way to begin with.
The best way to get good high quality backlinks has always been to build up your own quality web properties and link from them. That has not changed. Those properties can be domains you own, Web 2.0 sites, YouTube channels, forums, business directories, and a host of other ideas.
You know why most people will not follow this advice though? Because it takes time. It takes effort. It will not make you rich overnight. But that is why they will be starting the next “My site dropped 100 places and I don’t know why” thread in some forum, while those of us who are willing to put in the work will just continue on.