How To Get Out Of The “Google Dance”
What is the Google Dance?
The Google Dance is when you’re site jumps around in the search engines. For example, you could be ranking in position 5 on Monday, and Tuesday morning you may not be in the top 100 results. This is often due to an unnatural linking pressure that raises red flags at Google, and dramatically changes your ranking overnight. Other names for this are the “Google Slap” and the “Google Sandbox,” which are essentially the same effect, but with varying lengths of affecting the site.
Google works on an algorithm that takes 200+ factors into account when deciding the ranking order. A lot of these are covered elsewhere on the site, such as On Page factors (title tag, meta description, h1, etc), Site Factors (domain age, site age, registration, etc), and Off Page Factors (backlinks). The backlinks are most likely to cause a the dance, as they’re most easily screwed up by amateur SEO’s and can easily trigger the red flags. Building links at the wrong pressures, for the wrong amount of time, or from the wrong sources can all mess up your rankings.
If you see a “fantastic offer” for 10,000 guaranteed backlinks; don’t take it. These links will be low quality, and will be done with automation. They’ll be done in a very short period of time, which doesn’t match up with the practice of Link Acceleration and Link Velocity. They’ll also be one type of link, which is going to look natural. All 3 of these can definitely cause red flags at Google, so it’s not worth doing.
How to Fix It?
I often am approached by clients who complain of a sudden drop in traffic after ordering one of those services, and most of these clients have newer sites without any authority/reputation with Google. Depending on the extent of the link building they did, it can take anywhere from a few days to several months to recover. As with all SEO, it’s not an exact science; just more of methodology based on experience.
Step 1: Start Producing Content
Whatever rate you were posting content at on your website before, multiply it by 2-3 times, and spread out the posting evenly over the week. Google loves fresh content. If you weren’t posting at all, start with at least 2 new articles weekly; although I’d recommend being around 5. Make it about related topics to your niche, but not all the same one. If your “How To Play Baseball” site got hit, start popping out articles based teams, fields, strategies, and anything else related; not just “how to play baseball.”
Step 2: Market That Content
Start with light social bookmarking on 5-10 big sites for each article you post, and mix up your anchor texting. Share them on your social media profiles, namely Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. If people repost it, all the better; so make your content interesting.
Step 3: Blog Comments
These are by far one of my favorite links to use. When they come from sites with related content on the page, and from pages that have a high Google Page Rank, you will see an almost immediate boost in your rankings. Mix up your anchor text on these links as well. Hit each article with 2-5 links, and hit your home page with as many links as your building to all the articles. For example if you are building 5 links to each of 5 articles (25 total links), then build an additional 25 to your home page. And again, mix up your anchor text. It’s extremely important. Also send a few links to other main pages on your site.
Step 4: Most Importantly Keep This Pressure On For The Long Term
Keep the links coming in. You want it to look like your site belongs at the top because the content is great, so make sure that “people” keep linking to it. Vary the pressure slightly as the weeks go on, and keep this on for at least a few months; even after the rankings return. Mix in some other types of linking to your campaign during this time as well, including videos, articles, web 2.0′s and any other type of link you were doing before.
Can I Use This Knowledge To Ruin My Competition?
Personally, I would never do it, because imagine if it happened to you. It’s bad business, and not to mention that whole thing called Karma. It’s better to focus on improving your business, or the market as a whole; rather than bring down a competitor.
Back to the question, it’s somewhat possible. There’s been a few reports recently of innocent sites being punished because someone else spamming links at their site. Google is doing its best to solve this problem. This affects newer sites a lot more than old ones, as they’ve already established trust and authority with Google.
Do need to worry about it on your site?
If you’re producing great content, and you keep decent links coming in; then you have nothing to worry about. High PR links will keep this from happening. Keep everything White Hat, and you’ll keep ranking for the long term.
Hope that helps. Thanks. ~Ryan England – Executive SEO