Link building is one of the most important aspects of search engine optimization. Webmasters try to do everything they can to get as many inbound links in an effort to boost Page Rank. Amid the frenzy, one wonders whether there is such a thing as building too many links. Assuming that you follow all the rules, will it ever get to a point where you might be banned due to excess?
According to Matt Cutts, webmasters should not worry about ever running into a limit. You can build as many links as you can without getting into trouble if you stick to Google’s published guidelines. The inbound links should ideally be organic in nature. Google frowns upon artificial links built through arranged exchanges or acquired by paying money.
The main driver for link building should be excellent site content. If you create compelling articles, videos, or artwork, then people will like them and feel compelled to share it with their friends. The links will come naturally through word of mouth because of merit — all for free and without much additional effort. These are all valid and will not be penalized no matter how many you receive.
Google has announced that page loading time will now be included in the ranking criteria. As a consequence, a lot of SEO specialists are now obsessing over speed. A webmaster from Michigan is skeptical about this intense focus, though. He personally thinks that load times will have very little influence on the final rankings. Is this a correct assessment or should he be more worried like the other guys?
Matt Cutts says that this change is part of an effort by the company to promote better user experience. People don’t want to wait forever for a page to load so they are trying to encourage fast load times. Let’s assume that we have two identical sites with exactly the same content. However, one loads faster than the other does. All things being equal, Google will put the faster site ahead of the slower site in the rankings.
Yet this type of similarity is rarely seen in real life. There are a lot of differences between websites and Google has to factor those into the equation. Google considers over 200 signals for ranking. Speed is just one of them. Webmasters should strive to get a good balance instead of obsessing over a solitary factor.
Dave Shuts from England bought a domain 7 months prior and yet it still isn’t showing up on search engine result pages. He wonders if its history might have something to do with the situation. Digging deeper, he found that it was first registered in 2000 and it has since gone through a number of owners. One of them was a company in Australia that used it to serve ads. Is it possible that trust issues are preventing its appearance on Google SERPs?
Matt Cutts agrees with this assessment. Seven months is far too long as domains typically appear after a few days. Try typing the exact URL on the search engine textbox. If it still does not appear in Google results, then there are probably trust issues going on. The problem may also be rooted in an esoteric country code. Another possible reason is a lack of links pointing to the website. This would prevent spiders from finding it. This should be easy enough to check and rule out.
Matt invites us to look at the situation as a black hat SEO. Such a person would buy domains and use them for spamming until these sites become useless because of their bad reputation. The domains might then be sold to an unsuspecting buyer. Avoid being victimized by doing a thorough background check before purchasing.
It’s been recently discovered that Google has submitted a patent that should change the way linkbuilding is done in a drastic manner. We’ve all been aware of the linkbuilding penalties that Google has been handing out for the abuse and misuse of links, so it’s no surprise to see them taking action. In fact, this has been coming for a while, it’s just unclear how many people truly expected this kind of superb fix: implied links.
Under our current understanding of linkbuilding, ‘express links’ are the only types of links that are beneficial to a site’s ranking. An express link is your standard link that leads back to the webpage by embedding (or just plain pasting) the URL on a page. For example, http://www.Google.com is an express link. These are the links that are being used in negative SEO and link building schemes, as well as by honest internet marketers like you and me.
Enter the Implied Link
But now, Google is poised to swing the emphasis from express links to what are being called ‘implied links.’ Implied links do not actually have to include the URL to the website, they are simply implied by the mere mention of the website (or brand, product, service, etc.). This means that mentions and citations are going to be the next wave of linkbuilding, mostly because they are much harder to manipulate in order to score higher rankings in the SERPs.
This isn’t to say anything of nofollow links, we expect these to stay pretty heavy in the algorithm, but just to say that implied links are going to weigh a lot more than express links. Granted, this is mostly educated speculation right now, but the patent filed by Google certainly makes it clear that implied links are a real thing and will matter.
Reference Queries and Brand Mentions
But the changes aren’t stopping there. Not only does the Panda patent talk about express and implied links, but authority calculation will now also be affected reference queries. This is essentially a road map that starts with a very specific query that ends up in a very specific location. In other words, if 80% of all queries into “soda pop” end up on Coca Cola’s page and not Pepsi’s, Coca Cola will benefit from the reference query weight of “soda pop.”
This helps ensure that Google is directing searchers to the right pages by sending them to the places that others have found success. This determines popularity of the page by query entry, thus adding to the authority of the site. Basically, this is just another way to improve the visitor experience so keep focusing on making sure you are giving your audience exactly what they want. The better you answer their questions and meet their needs, the better your reference query scores will be.
As for brand mentions, this is just another term for implied links. They are also called mentions and if you want your brand to carry authority, you simply need other sites to talk about your brand and/or website. This is going to change the outlook on blogging since now you don’t really need anyone to place an express link in their blog, only talk about you as an authority or in some similar form.
Creating new content is critical to the success of your web pages, but let’s face it: It’s also a pain in the butt.
It often seems like you’ve already said everything you want to say about your blog or website’s subject matter. Yet if you don’t provide a constant stream of fresh, engaging content, you risk alienating your regular visitors and you could stop attracting new fans.
Here’s some easy ways to keep your blog or website engaging and interesting to new fans and loyal return visitors:
– Engaging Content Is Critical – This is something you hear a lot, but what does it really mean? Engaging content can mean any number of things, such as a lively debate about a controversial subject relating to your niche to reviews of the latest news. It could mean stories from your own real life or somebody else’s that are relevant to your subject matter.
Developing engaging content is something that should come organically to you. If you are the author of a popular blog or website, you probably already are constantly on the lookout for articles, images and other content you think your readers might find interesting. But you don’t always have to give your readers long blocks of text. In fact, it’s probably better if you don’t.
Infographics are one of the hottest types of engaging content being used online right now. These are images that present information both textually and with engaging graphics. The purpose of infographics is to make your content easier to be absorbed by your visitors.
Videos are another great type of engaging content, especially if you don’t usually post videos of yourself. If your readers have following your blog for a long time and then suddenly, BOOM!, there’s a video of you in your own home or office, it can be like: Mind. Blown.
– Put Your Visitors First – The most successful sites make their readers the blog or website owners’ top priority. This pays off because when visitors feel valued, they are much more likely to come back another time.
Did you ever read a blog or website and think, “Boy, this person is such a know-it-all?” How did that make you feel? Now compare that to a blog or website where the author is actively responding to visitors’ questions, sharing stories about interactions with fans, and inviting visitors to share their stories or tips as they are relevant to the blog’s subject matter. Big difference. Much more inviting.
– Mix It Up A Little –If you’ve been using the same theme since the first day of your blog or website, or always use the default layout, it may be comfortable for you but it can be a real turnoff for your visitors. People like it when you shake things up every once in a while.
Think about the way Google will change their home search page for special holidays or just for fun. You can do the same thing with your blog or website to make it more engaging for your visitors. At the very least, change your theme to reflect the season, such as having a snowy background in winter, a sunny one in summer, and so on.
Okay, these techniques of enhancing the users’ experience when they arrive on your pages may take a little time or effort on your part. But they will pay off royally when you build your subscriber list and start attracting hundreds of new visitors every day. See for yourself!