Here are my rantings on internet marketing. I've given some good advice in some articles, and others, well. Take a look for yourself.
Blog » Ok, now content really is king!
Google is the most used search engine in the world, with 80% of the world search traffic going through Google alone. So, when Google released a series of updates including Panda 4.0, the world of SEOs had no choice but to step back, take note and assess the situation.
Link building is one of the major parts of SEO with second being content. Only until recently SEOs never had to think too hard about the quality of the content, only that it was readable and was relevant to the subject of what they were trying to rank. SEOs were previously warned, however some ignored the signs.
One positive effect is now local writers and journalists are going to start making more money, a negative effect is SEOs are going to need to hire these writers and prices will rise for clients.
Another major part of Google's updates are design and user interface functionality. This is also great news for web designers and developers will versed in onsite SEO techniques, however, bad news for the local business that built their website themselves using a program or are stuck using site builders from Godaddy or cPanel.
There has also been an ongoing discussion this month in the SEO community and I’m here to clean up some information that is floating around, whilst at the same time giving some information of my own.
First of all, let me share information for people that are not so up-to-date with the SEO industry. I'll try to add reference links at the bottom and number what I'm talking about.
March: Google tested the waters of their new update to be rolled out in May.  At this point nobody had any idea what was about to come. Link networks were dropping off and deleted domain numbers were getting higher. Mentions about manual penalties were flying around forums and social media.
May: Most SEOs noticed a huge update on May 14 and there have been panda and penguin updates since then, which has resulted a lot of websites to dance in the SERPs.  
One example is this website you’re on right now. I was ranking #2 for one of my keyword for a long time before May 14, then suddenly I'm dropping and going back up then dropping off again (this is commonly known as dancing). I don’t spam but it does show me that there are some huge updates happening in Googles algorithm. Also my inquiries tripled with most people telling me their traffic has dropped or stopped completely.
June: Google changes its Authorship algorithm and pulls avatars in the SERPs.  I've noticed a freeze on some of my author stats in webmaster tools and the clicks have dramatically reduced, even though the positions for those articles have not changed. In late May early June, we seen a change with fetch and articles asking us to NOT block any java and CSS files. We are now able to fetch and render. 
July: Google completely rewrites the ratings guide and hires a team of quality raters.  This has resulted in some data being completely removed from the guidelines because they're quite confident that the algorithm can pick a lot more up now. Which is why I mentioned fetch and render.
During July there have been some heavy discussions in internet marketing forums amongst people that use a black hat strategy called “churn and burn” which is also known as “rank and bank”. This strategy is pure spam and manipulation, nothing more. The objective is to have a website rank within a few weeks in the #1 spot, meanwhile they make a lot of money by being in that #1 spot and the show is over once Google discovers the domain and de-indexes the site; which is known as a Google Slap or Penalty. 
The discussions have been about how “churn and burn” techniques are no longer working since the May 14 update and black hat SEOs are finding it hard to spam their way past page 2. One theory mentioned was that the sandbox is back and link age has something to do with the way you rank. Some have disagreed with that theory saying they are still ranking by using 301 techniques, using tiny URL buffers and SAPE links.
Ok, now that information is out in the open, you’ll understand the rest of the article. To keep you up to speed, I'm thinking the reason it's not working for them is the quality of the links and they're using spun content that will most likely duplicate at some point.
I've been doing some SEO experiments recently that I will not give away, however, my findings may interest some people within the SEO / internet marketing industry and raise some questions.
Before I openly give you valuable information, do you know the saying in business “it's not what you know but who you know”? I hope so because it was the first thing that came to mind after analyzing the results.
Comment: Yes, despite Google trying to “even out the playing field” after articles stating that rel=author throws out the balance.
The experiment was mainly focused on links and ranking a site using those links. Although I can’t give the exact result without giving away the strategy, I do ask you to think about some questions you should ask before writing an article.
Some other questions you should ask yourself after it’s published.
Previously in the guidelines “Low quality pages may only be acceptable to users if there are no other higher quality pages.” Well this has actually been removed.  Why?
Ok, now for another experiment I was running at the same time in June, but first some background information. I previously had an agreement with another SEO from the Warrior Forum with two of my affiliate sites, as I don’t really have time to dedicate offsite SEO to affiliate sites with little return (they’re just a hobby really and I do it because I’m passionate about those particular products). I know he did a good job and we have been sharing the profits of the sites since 2010, however he used spun content to keep time and costs down.
Both of these affiliate sites dropped in ranking on May 14, which lead me to believe it was a panda/penguin mutant update. Then another drop around one week later, which is when Panda 4 was officially announced as released.
After the affiliate sites dropped in the SERPs, we had to part ways for the time being and thought this was a perfect time for me to run this particular experiment.
I pulled 100k domains from Godaddy Auctions, with a combination of my skills and some SEO tools I set out to find some great expired domain names within the same niche as my affiliate sites.
While I was waiting for my new domains names to be transferred, I then wrote some good quality articles (around 1000 words long with unique images). When the domains were in my control, I created websites on them and posted the articles with links pointing to my affiliate sites.
I actually didn't create these sites just to point links on to my affiliate sites, I had to schools of thought here. One was to create niche relevant blogs I can update and keep updating in order to gain readers, and two was to kick off the content as part of this experiment.
The rankings of the affiliate sites climbed within one week. There some other factors that came into play but the bulk of it was what is mentioned.
Although both experiments were different strategies, they both completely rely on the quality of the content, where the content is coming from and if there is content already available in Google about that subject.
It's all to do with the authority and quality of the content you’re providing Google for indexing.
The theory I have come up with based on my findings regarding and the discussions in the SEO forums is that it is very possible that Google’s algorithm (specifically Panda 4.0) now has a feature that detects low quality content including scraped and spun content: you can thank the information collected by hummingbird for that.
Once flagged by the algorithm, the content is raised with Google's new “quality raters” – which could have been working before the new guidelines were published – and they are the ones that give you a thumbs up or thumbs down.
Obviously this needs to have some kind of rule in place or every Tom, Dick and Harry will use this technique to de-rank their competitors (commonly known as negative SEO). 
These is all just speculation based on my finding and not to be taken as actually fact.
Another article related to this subject: How to find a good domain name.
If you would like to continue the discussion – I know I don’t have a comment section – then just share this article via twitter and tag @nickcavarretta so I can respond to you.
Thanks for reading. 🙂
I'm a digital marketing and SEO consultant based in Sydney, Australia. I drink a lot of coffee and spend most of my time working on clients websites and improving their search visibility.