A private network are an inter connected set of websites that happen to link to clients. Google theoretically doesn’t like networks that built for the purposes of manipulating the search algorithm – but does that mean we shouldn’t build them? And if we do build them, is there any way we can build them that doesn’t offend Google least of all anybody? Yes absolutely, if they provide value to users, then it probably would positively affect client media properties (i.e. websites) on merit thus the search engines probably would be okay with it. So why is my private network better than yours?
Great trustworthy content
Of course not every single written piece can be considered great – that’s pretty subjective. But if it’s well written enough so that people like it then on average, the content is great enough and thus people may actually click on the links which are the links the search engines want to index. People will actually share the content imagine that? What makes the content great? The content is trustworthy and written with a journalist code of ethics. Matt Cutts and his search quality team are aware the internet is full of sites stating opinions and quite rightly not all opinions have the same weight. So the least you can do is write with integrity and with some authority.
People actually visit the sites
If people actually like the sites, why wouldn’t the search engines like the sites? Especially if people keep coming back for more, then there is every reason to expect the search engines will want sites like this in their index and thus value the content with some trust. As with all marketing common sense, you go where the people go and then you market to them. Well, by providing the content people want, the people are likely to come to you which will be a honeypot to the search engines.
We don’t try to hide it
What is the point of trying to make the networked sites invisible? We don’t care about competitor brands and agencies trying to reverse engineer the network. There isn’t some clever trick going on to deceive users and search engines. If you’re going to promote clients and other worthy websites then it makes sense to be visible so that you can build the potential for further collaboration that not only enhances the value of organic search but also goes beyond it. Speaking of which.
The purpose goes beyond search
Since the networks (yes there’s more than one), are actually built for users, they have a value over and above passing PageRank. The audiences can actually be marketed to, provide insights, the limit is your imagination. So the network of sites become brands in their own right attracting direct and referral traffic making this more robust to changes in search engine updates.