Saturday, January 4, 2014

Link building techniques in 2014

 Most importantly, and contrary to what you may have heard, link building is far from dead. Many of the "link building is dead" theories are ingrained in wishful thinking and/or fear. The fear is real and understandable as the Penguin update at last delivered on Google's long running promise to severely penalize websites engaged in manipulative link schemes.

The Google Reaper

Some have fulfilled that the best and safest response to Penguin is to stop link building altogether. That's a bad idea.

Here's a reality check: the best way to recover visibility in the SERPs, in 2014, is still link building. Links are still believed to be the most significant part of the algorithm, according to the most recent Moz search engine ranking factors survey.

The main takeaway is this: Link building is still the key to more visibility in organic search. If your purpose is to improve visibility in organic search, then invest in resources accordingly. Social media and authorship may  impact the SERPs at some point in the future, but not today and maybe not significantly in 2014.

Relevance is the New PageRank

The growth of the original 1 link = 1 vote algorithm took a quantum leap forward in May 2012 with the introduction of the Knowledge Graph, which is used by Google to deliver search results with semantic-search information. This information is gathered from a wide variety of sources, using more than 500 million objects and 3.5 billion details. In Googlespeak, the Knowledge Graph is about "things, not strings."

It's quite credible that Knowledge Graph is baked into Hummingbird, the latest Google algorithm. Assuming that's the case, then a connection between "context, not anchor text" and "things not strings" is applicable. Relevance is the new PageRank when searching for linking opportunities.

A real life example could look something like this: Pre-Hummingbird, a search for car covers might yield results crack among auto accessories to protect your car, tribute bands that cover the classic rock group "The Cars" and songs enclosed by Ric Ocasek and the cars. The "old" algo couldn't distinguish one car cover from another. Hummingbird, on the other hand knows the difference. Now, all of those auto parts links coming from high PR band sites, are now showing for what they really are: unnatural. At best the link is devalued. At worst it triggers a physical review.

Link Schemes vs. Link Building

Understanding the variation between link scheming and link building is critically significant in 2014. For webmasters who were doing SEO before Panda, this can be particularly difficult to navigate.

Many have been directly impacted by the Google paradox. Unlike the Einstein theory of insanity, in the Google Paradox, SERPs really do yield different results after doing the same thing (spammy link building) over and over again.
A link scheme that scored number one rankings in 2010 can and will draw a manual or algorithmic punishment, today. That paradox has driven many a webmaster nuts!
According to Google, the following actions are link scheming – not link building:
•    Buying or selling links that pass PageRank
•    Using automatic programs or services to create links to your site
•    Linking to a site for the sole purpose of getting a link back
•    Building a link networking for the point of linking
•    Large-scale article marketing or guest posting using keyword-rich anchor text
•    Buying advertorials or articles that include links that pass PageRank
•    Creating & Distributing Press releases with optimized anchor text
lately removed from the guidelines, but still likely to trigger a penalty:
•    Linking to web spammers or unrelated sites with the intent to manipulate PageRank
•    Links that are inserted into articles with little coherence
 Secure Ways to Build Links in 2014
 •    Focus external link building efforts on the gaining of editorially given links. These are links requiring human interference and approval.
•    Build links that are relevant – on pages where the readers would have a genuine attention in your website.
•    Quality trumps quantity. A few links from high trust/authority websites will have more crash than hundreds of links from "Made for Guest Posting" blogs.
There are no more short cuts to link building. The process is hard and time intense. In 2014, it's time to spend the time and the money to do it right so you can stop fearing the Google reaper.

You might also like: Link Building Things To Be appreciative For 2013

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