one thing I will add though

If you are running cheaper vps system then to give yourself a chance install nginx and get rid of Apache. Even the Googler tweaked version of Apache. To really bullet proof your vps against spikes in traffic add Varnish to the mix.

For a run down on how to do this go here http://www.ewanleith.com/blog/900/10-million-hits-a-day-with-wordpress-using-a-15-server . Not my site but this guy has helped me a lot! I have setup some cheap vps systems for clients that can take a beating. Some blitz.io tests say I could easily take 2 million visitors a day. 

Pro tip when looking for a cheap vps (IE not AWS) then get one that uses ssd's and not hdd's like Ramnode.

there are a lot of weird things going on with their link data

I noticed that when you export the data at different times (like days or so apart) the data set is a little bit different...literally different number of rows and different sampling of links WTF ....sometimes I wonder if they're developing this process literally AS they're trying to teach people how to use them ...

We've noticed it too.

We've noticed it too. Sometimes we just keep downloading daily reports and they are different EACH hour!

As a customer communication

As a customer communication channel? With just 140 chrs on Twitter? Come on, someone tell me they are joking.

In fact, can anyone show me any report that Twitter works for real world direct marketing? Seems everyone is using it - for no other reason that everyone else is using it. But nobody is actually saying anything - except social media companies trying to scare brands into thinking they need to buy their services.

I would disavow

If a site has bad links that you absolutely cannot get removed, then you should disavow the links. Google Penguin or not. And oh yeah, by the way: Bing has disavow, too.

I would disavow

If a site has bad links that you absolutely cannot get removed, then you should disavow the links. Google Penguin or not. And oh yeah, by the way: Bing has disavow, too.

Is it inevitable?

I agree, Jaan, it's been the direction for some time, by design.

Google has clearly stated their intent to be an "answer engine", and if they can peddle ads to companies that aspire to be the answer, I think we can bet they'll continue on that path.

With billions of dollars being spent to be in the top 3-5 results, I think it's safe to assume that even more would be spent to be the only result. And as Siri-type interfaces continue to develop for mobiles (and eventually all systems), the only result that will really matter will be the one that's stated. The KG is key to that, and from my viewpoint, fleshing it out was the only real reason behind G+. It's not a social platform, it's a data harvester.

Burned either way

Thanks for bringing up this topic, Ann.  I am deep in the midst of assisting my two primary clients recover from penalties. It is all a guessing game. What links are "bad"? Which ones are ok? Links I thought were a problem, Bill Hartzer says aren't. So meanwhile one client's first reconsideration request has already been declined and now we're back to trying to guess what it is Google doesn't like.

 

In your scenario you have the same issue. If you know links are definitely bad I would try to remove them and disavow if I couldn't. But we have to keep in mind that blackhat works. It works really well. The rules are not applied evenly so all we can do is make our best guess. Maybe remove sitewide bad links in footers and sidebars and leave other types of bad links until you get hit because they're bringing in sales. But then so might the others be.

 

Many of the best and brightest minds are wasting their precious time removing links that Google can and should just ignore. They are destroying ethical businesses and much needed jobs. Conveniently, they penalized the one client just before their busiest time of the year - and they do have competitors that would definitely do them in with reverse SEO. So if we do recover, how long will it be before a competitor gets them penalized again? (Probably right before their highest sales time of the year.)

 

Google has openly created a way for businesses to make their competitors disappear. If destroying small business is not Google's intention they need to fix this. I doubt they will, though, because their CEO is on record saying he plans to clean up the "Internet cesspool" by favoring big brands.

 

Burned either way

Thanks for bringing up this topic, Ann.  I am deep in the midst of assisting my two primary clients recover from penalties. It is all a guessing game. What links are "bad"? Which ones are ok? Links I thought were a problem, Bill Hartzer says aren't. So meanwhile one client's first reconsideration request has already been declined and now we're back to trying to guess what it is Google doesn't like.

 

In your scenario you have the same issue. If you know links are definitely bad I would try to remove them and disavow if I couldn't. But we have to keep in mind that blackhat works. It works really well. The rules are not applied evenly so all we can do is make our best guess. Maybe remove sitewide bad links in footers and sidebars and leave other types of bad links until you get hit because they're bringing in sales. But then so might the others be.

 

Many of the best and brightest minds are wasting their precious time removing links that Google can and should just ignore. They are destroying ethical businesses and much needed jobs. Conveniently, they penalized the one client just before their busiest time of the year - and they do have competitors that would definitely do them in with reverse SEO. So if we do recover, how long will it be before a competitor gets them penalized again? (Probably right before their highest sales time of the year.)

 

Google has openly created a way for businesses to make their competitors disappear. If destroying small business is not Google's intention they need to fix this. I doubt they will, though, because their CEO is on record saying he plans to clean up the "Internet cesspool" by favoring big brands.

 

How much damage is Google doing to small businesses? See this

You be the judge. I just received this request via my contact form:

" We got hit with google update and looking to come out of it. We are not sure whch  link(s) harms our site but we have decided to remove all links pointing our site.Here the details of link pointing our site."

I sent them some links in hopes they do not actually remove every link pointing at their site.