"Quality of inbound Links and the quality of content are not firmly correlated."
Last month Google rolled out its Penguin update, the alleged purpose of which is to improve the experience of searchers by penalizing websites with "spammy links."
There is flawed logic with this approach that is destined to result in the failure of Penguin, or at least will require a major adjustment.
Yes, its true that many websites have bought links to promote their sites and also to manipulate Google's results. Why? Because for years Google rewarded link buying behavior with a good position in organic searches. Google created this problem, but now suddenly it wants to put the genie back in the bottle. Google has decided that any websites that have what it considers an "unnatural" link profile will be slapped with a penalty. I actually own a website that was rightly "A #1" for its search term, and for years sat on that throne. Yes, I bought links. Big deal (I won't identify the site because, well, I'm scared of Google).
The reason that Penguin will eventually fail is that in many cases, such as mine, the content of the site is excellent. In my case the content is well planned, original, updated, and the best source for its niche subject.
Although my site was knocked way back to the bottom of page 5 presumably for links Google considers spammy, that content remains excellent. In fact, its much better content than the other 200 or so pages that are ahead of it.
As with many my things in my life, I don't think my experience is unique. If this happened to me, then it probably happened to you and half a million other websites.
It's difficult for me to believe that a company like Google, which purports to place a premium on serving up excellent content for its users, will be satisfied very long with delivering second rate content. Just to make a point with people it's angry with.
Links and the quality of content are not mutually exclusive. And with many articles now being posted on blogs by scared SEO Pro's who are scrambling (unsuccessfully it appears) to try to remove the thousands of links that were placed on these website, it just ain't gonna happen. Although I sense an excellent business opportunity for the owners of link and directory website to charge for the removal of links, the fact is those links are here to stay.
The only thing that Penguin will accomplish is to encourage a different kind of behavior that Google will eventually deem undesirable. Google, do you really think I'm going to contact 5,000 link website owners with an individual request to remove my link? Really?
I've already began aging the .NET version of my site. Website owners will simply abandon their "spammy" sites with great content and start over. We go to the top once, we'll get there again because its our livelihood.
Thanks to Penguin, the web will simply become that much more cluttered.... Great content with crappy inbound links, buried by hastily built sites with lesser content that outrank the good stuff. Crap at the top of Google's search results, which is exactly the result they are trying to avoid.
Once Google realizes this error, one approach they could take is to consider whether any 'new' spammy links are added. If no more are added over a period of time, then give more tilt to the quality of the content and allow the sites to rise again. But if Google takes too long to do this, then their actions will continue to encourage the pollution of the internet.
Or Google could provide us with a method to "disavow" a link through its webmasters tools. Or how about a "badlinks.txt" file on our website that tells Googlebot that we agree with them that the following links are bad. Mea culpa!
Inbound links are not spam. Bad search results at the top of Google are spam. Google only has itself to blame for the problem. If it hadn't been so easy to game Google in this manner for so many years, I wouldn't have had to play this game. I wouldn't have had to fight fire with fire.
This is why Penguin has failed.
[Note: since I wrote this 2 days ago, my site has crept up from bottom of page 5 to be the last listing on page 3. Meanwhile, a shill blog site I built to provide links suddenly now is on page 1. That's astounding, since the content is just crap. I will begin to add good content to this site and see if I can leverage it to the top of the page 1.
Ultimately, great content will trump inbound links. I just have to believe it. No way is Google going to continue to embarrass itself like this. I wish I was brave enough to provide examples for you. It is a lot of fun watching Google squirm, but I don't think its in my best interest at this time.]