I already reported on Google’s most recent “slap” against spammy sites an content farms in my previous post. Shortly afterwards, we saw what is probably the biggest real-life difference this slap has made, in two different ways:
1. An algorithm change that apparently affects about 12% of all search results was rolled out on Thursday (February 24.).
2. Ezinearticles reacted. Or perhaps I should say they over-reacted?
Why Care About EZA?
Ezinearticles have been a pretty reliable traffic source for affiliate marketers for a long time. In fact, they’ve been such a staple in Internet marketing, it’s almost impossible for you to be in this field for more than a few days before you learn about them.
So, what happened? If you want to get all the details, you can read up on them in this post about Ezinearticle’s reaction to the Google slap.
Here are the cliff-notes:
- EZA lost over 30% of their traffic, almost over night.
- Most of their traffic was coming from Google, obviously.
- The announced that they wanted to get back into Google’s good graces (understandable) by making EZA author’s lives as difficult as possible (huh?).
- People panicked all around (the blog post with the announcement has about a gazillion comments).
Basically, EZA’s reaciont to the change is to make EZA a much less attractive place to submit articles. Increase minimum character count, lower maximum allowed keyword density, disallow people from posting the same article to their website and to Ezinearticles (does that also mean EZA articles will no longer be open for syndication? not sure), more rejected articles, potentially longer review process…
Pretty much everything that would put people off of submitting articles in the first place. They also announced that they would nofollow all links, including the ones in the resource boxes. After much protesting, they seem to be reconsidering this position, though.
The goal is, of course, to increase the quality of the articles on EZA and hopefully regain their lost rankings in Google.
The Death of…?
Ezinearticles got hit hard and now their firing on all cylinders to try and recover, which is understandable. The problem is that they’re pointing the wrong way.
Their proposed solution is to increase the quality of articles submitted to EZA. Guess what? Google can’t detect the quality of an article.
Which brings me to the reason for writing this post in the first place. On the one hand, it’s interesting to see this happening. And who knows, maybe we can soon all finally write a “the death of…” article and not mean it ironically.
More importantly, there’s an SEO lesson in this. Yes, high quality, relevant content is the best kind of content to create, SEO-wise. Why? Because that’s what search engines want to deliver to their end-users. They can’t truly separate good from bad content yet, but that’s the ultimate goal. So by creating awesome content, you’re ahead of the curve, in a sense.
But awesome content does not equal SEO. And just because Google has made a change doesn’t mean SEO has changed.
SEO is this: Figure out what signals Google is looking for when placing pages at the top for desirable search terms and send those signals deliberately.
Martyrdom is not going to cut it. Google will not reward you for working extra hard and neither will it reward Ezinearticles for punishing it’s authors extra hard (unless they make adjustments specifically for EZA, which is possible but unlikely). I’m all for good content. But the bare essence of SEO still lies in finding the right tweak and has little to do with (human, subjective, elusive) “quality”.
What are the new tweaks? I don’t know yet. For now, just keep building those links.