We’ve heard an awful lot about Author Rank and the Link Apocalypse in recent weeks. The fact of the matter is that this is going to massively impact the gambling affiliate sector more than most in the online world. Whether we like to admit it or not we are in an industry where a lot of webmasters have used some less than completely white tactics to get ahead in the SERPs and an awful lot of them got spanked in Panda, this is coming (and to some extent has already begun in the link world).

The Link Networks Destroyed

The below graph shows that SERPs affected by the Link Network update vs the latest Panda update, whilst this may not have been as much of a shift as the original Panda this is only the beginning. (Graph courtesy of Tom Anthony’s talk at ionSearch and SERPmetrics).

Recently the Google WebMasterTools warnings have been big news amongst those in the SEO community and of course for those affiliates who have received them. Interestingly enough however there have been some examples of people who have not reacted to this warning and not seen a penalty whilst those that have essentially admitted guilt.

The fact is that it is not just people who have been using the most well-known and spammiest of the link networks which have been caught out here. Some more sensible webmasters engaged in buying and trading links have been caught as well. Not many people have really made sure to keep their link profiles clean enough being one obvious reason, for example a site which has never engaged in link manipulation would expect around 70% of their backlinks to be brand based or with anchors such as “view site”. There is also the fact that a lot of webmasters have not been taking enough metrics into consideration when they’ve been link building, (follow ratio, IP spread, Brand to Non Brand anchor spread, TLD spread and going forward even Authored Spread to name a few).

So moving forward, webmasters have two options (assuming your domain hasn’t already received a warning in which case my recommendation is to take the hit then 301 to a new domain). And those two options are get smarter with link building or look to the algorithms future. Really if you want to remain competitive you need to be doing both of these things. In terms of smarter link building I’d suggest getting hold of a tool like LinkResearchTools this will enable you to compare competitors results and look at their metrics spreads to see what is working and view the spreads of a site which has only natural links (they’re not too hard to find) these sort of tools are now pretty much essential.

Look to the Future of Links

Or look to the future; Author Rank, I could be wrong with this as its impact is going to be widely reliant on its take up, but in principle it is quite easily quantifiable as a metric, so it would seem unlikely that Google intends to ignore it. For those of you that don’t know Rel Author allows a site to give credit to a particular author using G+ and the Author Tag, with this in mind you could in theory build your own profile and as such any piece of content that is attributed to you. Also links given from a particular author’s posts could in fact be given boosted value if the author is trusted.

So whilst I am by no means a fan of Google Plus this is something that you’d be best looking into tying to any guest posting that you’re planning on doing so as to build up your authority now. It could even become such big business that people begin to ask you to “author” something on their site in exchange for a link. Wouldn’t that be an interesting turn of events?

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