I’m seeing something moving and fluxing in Google’s SERPs right now (past two days), and it’s so rocking my world. I don’t know if this is permanent, but past experience tells me that things will kick butt for a few days then settle back down. I can’t help but wish it would stay like this for awhile though.
Google Muscle Flexing & Paid Links: I do feel for those caught in the cross hairs. Many should have known better, but many more learned something startling and important (I think). Google may have stifled or pulled the reins back on the paid link market, but webmasters and SEOs are a very foxy and crafty crowd. The gaming’s not done yet.
The bad news: I think we’ll see more domains slapping no-follows on each and every outbound just because they’re scared of maybe making Google or Matt Cutts mad and don’t want to risk it (somehow some links are bad and it doesn’t seem linking out has any benefit nor does it ever seem to make Google happy, linking is confusing and weird and negative–so just don’t link out and problem solved); The knob will tighten some more and many bloggers/webmasters will refrain from linking out as much; Link bait content creation will explode, raising the bar higher yet for achieving an action-invoking impression; Mom & Pop with small budgets will be squeezed out yet again and won’t be able to compete with the more sophisticated (and subversive-ad-buying-and-contact-heavy-budget-ready) big boys.
Observation & Speculation: The past few months I’ve been seeing a big jump in direct contacts for advertising requests–approached on all but a couple of my domains as well as domain purchase requests. Filtered & trashed. I expect the ad buy and domain purchase requests to jump even more now. I have much larger fish to fry with a good domain, and I’ve never been interested in the measly $20 or $50 or $100 bucks to risk it. And Hell No, I aint sellin!
The Good News: Domains that are trusted will skyrocket in value; For those wanting to cash in on paid links, their prices will jump too but will be much more selective and subversive. Don’t even think about selling a good, developed domain (even minimally) for at least another two years while things shake out a bit.