SEO is one of the most controversial topics in internet marketing. This is because the vast majority of “SEO knowledge” is based on pure speculation. Internet marketers don’t run the search engines. All they can do is test and experiment with different techniques. When they find a technique that works with some consistency, that technique is shared with other internet marketers.
The result is a wealth of SEO techniques and strategies which can help you rank your website higher in the search engine rankings. However, there seems to be a lot of grey area with SEO. What’s the difference between white hat and black hat SEO? Is white hat SEO even possible based on Google’s linking requirements?
On places like their webmaster forums, Google talks specifically about SEO and link building. It seems they are taking a much more transparent stance on the issue. In today’s article, we’ll be discussing what they revealed and what it means for internet marketers and SEO experts.
How Are Links Ranked?
There are many different types of links. There are blog comment links, forum post links, guest post links… the list goes on. How does Google REALLY rank these links? Is it important where you get your links from, or is it more of just a numbers game?
In their presentation, Google clarified what many “white hat” bloggers have been saying for years: the source of your link DOES matter – substantially, in fact.
In the world of white hat SEO, most people tend to believe it’s okay to build links. Google is opposed to link building since it “games” their results, but they realize it’s an essential part to helping your website grow. Link building is important, but more importantly, where your links come from is important.
For example, imagine you have three links pointed at one of your pages. Two of these links were from well-known authority websites with relevant content. However, one of the links was from a spam website. In this case, you’re MUCH better off if you drop the spam link. When Google penalizes a website for being spam, any website linked to that spam site is immediately in the crosshairs.
The Best Link Building Strategies
There are plenty of link building strategies out there, but which one offers the best results? Well, Google says the best results come naturally. In other words, when people like your content, they’ll give you a link. Unfortunately, this doesn’t help beginning marketers who don’t have traffic yet.
For this reason, the best link building strategy revolves around authority websites. As mentioned earlier, Google doesn’t like link building but realizes it’s a necessary evil. As long as you are building links from well-respected websites, you will have a very high chance of escaping any punishments from Google.
Guest posting is a great way to build these types of links. Simply find blogs and websites within your niche and write a post for them. If they like it, they’ll feature your post on their website and give you a link for your time.
How to Get “Natural Links”
Getting links naturally is more difficult, yes, but it’s made out to be much more difficult than it actually is. Getting natural links is about providing value with your content. If you entertain, inform, or answer a reader’s question, they will naturally want to link back to you.
Writing list articles (articles that contain “top ten lists” or “ten ways to___” lists) is a great way to do this, as you’re delivering a lot of value within one article. Another great way to gain natural links is to film HD videos related to your niche. These can feature you talking about a specific subject. By providing value to your readers, you dramatically increase the odds they will link back to your website.
Are Links the Biggest Factor?
Lastly, Google stressed a very important point: links aren’t everything. In fact, links seem to matter less and less in the grand scheme of things. As Google’s technology improves, they can begin to rank websites based on other factors. Of these factors, the most important is your website’s content.
The recent Panda Update showed us just how much Google is paying attention to content. If you have a website with spam or filler content, don’t be surprised if it doesn’t rank well in the search positions. This is intentional!
You’ve probably heard of on-page SEO, but it’s usually mentioned as an afterthought. According to Google, your content should always be your first priority. Link building should be the afterthought.
The Most Effective and Up-to-Date SEO Strategies
The world of SEO is constantly changing. One thing is certain, though. As long as internet marketers are regularly experimenting with algorithm changes, we’ll always have an idea of what’s going on behind the scenes.
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