Link building in the past was under less scrutiny than it is today. Google has turned up the dial on the quality heater. Anything that is not genuine or well-structured simply doesn’t make the grade, and rightly so!
It was far too easy to gain high-end rankings, the formula was simple, create pages add content, structure the pages correctly, and then build a mass amount of links over a period and make it look natural in the link profile, right?
This worked and it was very effective, new sites with 8-10-month-old domains could scream into the first page of Google with very little questions asked. This did them no favors though because Google clicked on and decided that strict quality guidelines needed to be adhered to by every website. It was too easy to make money and authoritative sites; massive industry companies like NIKE were challenged for keywords by wee tams shoe shops in the Glasgow high street.
Trying to see it from Google’s point is interesting; one might wonder did they have the quality plan in place and ready to be deployed even before they saw that the linking structure could easily be manipulated to bring results? Possibly, even so, they implemented the Panda Update followed by the Penguin update. These were, basically, Google’s knockout blow, to companies manipulating and using black hat SEO techniques, many companies never recovered to fight again.
Google was making a statement, the statement effectively rippled through the world of the web with over 75% of the internet businesses worldwide affected. It was making its self-stand out as the rest of the web fell round about it in a blind panic of not knowing just what happened.
The reality, however, was people, successful people at that we’re going to bed as they normally would, the same thoughts going through their heads on the pillow, only to wake up to this nightmare: from sitting in top 3 ranked Google spot, to nowhere in the top 1000 results. Business’ that were going well, receiving plenty of traffic; plenty of sales, sitting sweetly amongst the top 3 positions in page one, completely dropped out of the search engine results pages due to these two updates.
Business booming went to business bust, but it was needed because Google had to show that it was in power, in control, and its priority was to provide relevant results to end-users. Many companies were wiped out, some still in recovery and some were left untouched. Google made the statement of “I’m in charge and this is how it’s going to be done,” and if people find a way to manipulate the current algorithm, it will only send out another update to disrupt any spamming schemes.