If you haven’t learned by now – what, with the paradigm-shifting Panda and Penguin updates – Google hates search engine spam. Not only do they hate search engine spam, though. They also hate it when webmasters and Internet entrepreneurs try to game their search engine.
Instead, Google wants real content producers thinking about creating really valuable content – instead of marketers and webmasters thinking tactically about how to get higher search engine rankings.
The tactics that used to work to boost search engine rankings – paid directory listings, unauthentic blog commenting, over-optimizing anchor text, and link networks, to name just a handful of tactics – no longer work. If your website gets mixed up in that kind of stuff, not only will Google frown up it, they will also most likely penalize your site’s rankings.
In this new era of link building, what works and what doesn’t? How should webmasters and Internet marketers be thinking? What should they be pursuing? I’ll take you on a basic walk-through of where you should be putting your SEO efforts – so that you stay on Google’s good side.
As SEO “experts” – either trying to rank our clients’ sites or our own sites – we used to go out and get as many links as possible. We never thought that links could actually “hurt” our rankings. Sure, some links might not have much value, or some links might not be as important as others – but we never thought that links could actually hurt our sites’ rankings and incur ranking penalties. In this new era of link-building, links are a double-edged sword.
Nowadays, removing links is advisable – especially if you have a big, bad mix of unnatural links pointing to your site, or even worse, that the majority of these unnatural links point to your homepage. A mix of unnatural links from blog comments, directories, and link networks with over-optimized anchor text will raise some big red flags. Those are the links that you want to actively remove.
It looks very unnatural if the majority of links pointing to your site are pointing straight at your homepage – because real people tend to “like”, “share”, and “link” to articles and content within your site. You don’t want to raise a big red flag with Google’s algorithm by essentially telling it that the rest of your site, outside of the homepage, is not valuable.
Compared to the link-building tactics of the past, that would cost a lot for each quality inbound link, the new investment now should be in content. Even though there will be a bigger hurdle in creating and paying for content, the pace at which you get quality, natural links will be much faster (and the links will cost much less) than they did before. Invest in content (making the best content that you can), and people will be more likely to link to it. If you start exposing the social media audience to your content, they will do the work for you of making sure that Google notices it.
Content marketing is virtually the only kind of marketing left, and all you have to do is quit beating around the bush and realize that. You just have to dive and start creating content. If you don’t have the budget for great content, then you need to start saving now.