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Future of search engine optimization
How to spam search engines
The fact: Search engines are scrapers. They are using content from your websites to attract visitors and advertisers. They are manipulating with search result listing using filters and scripts, allegedly to display better results. Profit driven business. Since they are sending traffic, no reason to complain.
Purpose of search engine (should be) is to give an answer on question, in form of listed websites containing possible answer or, at least, related information. While this is the case, it is the win-win situation. Search engines are getting returned visitors, webmasters of listed websites targeted traffic.
Now, it is easy to make website due to available platforms (wordpress, for example). You need to add a few plugins and scraped/spun articles and website is finished. And second website, and third, until 300 websites are online. Now you are the spammer, not webmaster. F* Black Hat. Search Engine spammer. Who can manage 300 websites, or even 20 and provide unique and quality content and regular updates? Tell me, so I can do that too. Yes, I know what are autoblogs. One of the reasons for this chaos.
Those websites needs links to be listed on search engines. Links from forum profiles, innocent blogs, blog and web directories networks, guest books, link wheels and other link schemes... And we have more spam in action. When this gets out of control, then comes something like Google Panda. Learn from the past. Average life of popular spam method was one year.
Google Panda and backlinks
Google Panda or Google Farmer update (first) is the set of algo updates, try to remove this kind of websites. Many websites were "pandalized" in 2011, some good websites are victims of new Google algo. And there is a Domino effect, since many websites lost backlinks (devalued) from pandalized websites. And search engine position due of that. That shows how important is to get natural backlinks from authority websites. Popular "black" October 2011 panda update was probably this kind of update (devalued backlinks).
Every Panda update will put down some websites, and backlinks from those websites will not have power anymore. For example, site A is linking to site B and your website is linked from both. Say that site A is pandalized. Backlinks from site A have no power anymore, link from site B to your website is now with lower value, links from your website are also with lower value. Imagine this on larger scale, include domino effect on links value, no wonder why some good sites are also victim of Panda updates. Hence, you need to check links to your website and replace or/and add more quality backlinks.
Panda and affiliate websites
Google hate affiliates. Not because they are competition to adwords. Because there are many affiliates last years, growing on wings of search engines spamming, learning and using unethical tactic, driven by greed, to get more sales and leads. SERP was overloaded with pages (called articles) with low or no any value for anybody. So, who is flying too high, at once gets -100 penalty and so on...
Don't forget that Google Panda updates are site-wide penalty. Latest was Apr 19, 2012, just before the first Penguin update, targeting "low quality" pages, whatever that means. So, here we have situation where due to a few bad pages, whole website is penalized. Time to consolidate, rethink and clean your websites. How to recover from Google panda penalty? Read second paragraph above again.
Google webspam update - Penguin update
In the past, Google said SEO (search engine optimization) is good. Optimize your website according to information you are providing to visitors. Help Google to determine which websites are relevant. Not anymore. You don't need to help Google anymore, since algo is now improved and it can decide is your website is relevant or not. SEO is not dead, but thanks to various "SEO firms" and "SEO companies" with questionable practice, it is devalued. Google webspam (Penguin) update "killed" over-optimized websites (read keyword stuffing, cloaking...), and again, there are some innocent victims. However, check your traffic after Apr 24, (2012) for changes.
You have a problem with competitor? No problem! Just plugin your favorite link spam tools and blast a few thousand low quality links to his website. No problem. Competitor go down. You happy. Until next circle.
Sadly, but this is true. Check a few high competing niches. Not far ago there was 302 bug, then duplicate pages generator using simple link, and whatever google spam team says, low quality link blasting will put down website if its link profile is weak.
Future of SEO
As mentioned above, SEO will not be dead. At least, SERP manipulation with SEO factors is reduced. According to available info, things are going to this direction. Single keyword optimization probably will not be important as was before. Even now, visitors are coming from search engines using keywords which are not present on page content, not in backlinks, nowhere, but those keywords are somehow connected with page theme. That means that your page is good, and that it is covering theme right. And, that kind of webpage will keep a good position.
Three simple rules to optimize website for long run.
Most of you will agree with this above. Quality is always above quantity. Fast come, fast gone.
More about SEO in search engines optimization guide
It is not rare anymore that keywords are not provided in google referral string, more browsers are hiding referral, so SEO will be harder, concentrate on theme and quality content.
Like it is mentioned everywhere, write good content what people love, and don't worry about SEO, links and traffic will come naturally. Since main theme of this website is about affiliate websites, I need to add one advice to those who are involved in affiliate marketing. Business driven by greed is the bad business. Period.