As a software developer working on mainly desktop applications in Australia, 2000 was the year that witnessed many recruitment’s in the IT field and most of them were due to the Millennium bug scare. Those were the time when desktop applications where more popular than any online service or software on the Internet. It was around this time that I attended an exhibition event that was arranged in Melbourne, Australia. The topic was “Microsoft ASP” and it highlighted all things about the Internet and also mentioned the concept of free software and per transaction charges. It was clear at this point that the Internet was going play a big role in the future of software development.
That was the year 2000. By the year 2010 I was involved in making customised websites in India using PHP and not Microsoft ASP as I had imagined and vowed to learn. Search engine optimization was also a big thing back then and I used to help out the SEO team occasionally in the lull period between website projects. At that time link building was growing in popularity and all the SEO tools in use were quite different from those used today.
Up till a few years ago link building was not very popular however it’s importance was growing rapidly as was the face of SEO. Over the years the SEO professionals have come to accept that regular change is inevitable when it comes to SEO.
When Google Penguin Came
Google Penguin became one of the biggest algorithm updates till date and needless to say it was big. This resulted in a 90 degree shift in the SEO strategies of almost everyone involved doing it. This even meant the doom for several big names firms who did not heed to the warnings sent by Google. One of the important changes was that link anchor text was being devalued and instead more importance would be given to where the link is located and its relevancy.
This meant big changes for many. Gone are the days where you spend a lot time effort on seeking linking directories and posting links and it really mattered. More or less all the low quality link building strategies are now irrelevant. Google always recommends good quality links, but this update sent out the message loud and clear and hence the SEO professionals around the world had no choice but to listen.
The SEO scene now is all about good quality links which also means added hard work and a changed of tasks.
Paying for good links?
Just about every SEO professional would have come across some or the other website advertising good quality links, about 500 of them for a fee in a short amount of time. However the truth is that there is nothing like 500+ good quality links in a week or whatever time duration they give you. The fact of the matter is that such link building strategies are all about using fast script that make bulk posting no matter what the theme may be. Hence a lot of the links will most certainly be irrelevant.
The algorithm change and lesser tolerant Google rules will certainly penalize your website for such low quality links and that’s not half of it. If you do acquire 500 links overnight, don’t think you can avoid the radar watching you. What I mean to say that there are few sites that provide blacklist history of a website and they easily pick up such unusual linking activity or patterns. Thus Google being “Google” is bound to pick up any such unusually rapid acquiring of links and strike back with double the penalties in half the time.
With penalties like these and lesser to almost no importance of such lower quality links, there is absolutely no reason to consider them.
Buying links to articles:
There are several places online where you can buy a link and qualify for your website to be placed in an article. However at times the article is not completely relevant and doesn’t serve the purpose.
There are high quality links and there are low quality links. The low quality links may not be of any value however the high quality links can be beneficial.
However Google has some rules about paid links that is clearly mentioned in there guidelines. Google will does not mind paid links as long as the links do no pass page rank Google will mind. However the links should be labelled as an advertisement or a sponsorship and should also have a no-follow attribute applied to it.
Hence as long as you do not cross this thin fine line you should be fine with Google. In spite of these strict rules some do cross the line and buy paid links. Some of these do get noticed by Google and are penalized as well though not all do.
To Submit or not to Submit (Directory Submissions):
Directory Submission are already not very popular when it comes to acquiring high quality links and many rumors are already floating around that it is all but dead. That said directory submissions are still pretty much alive, however it is true that they may not make as much as a difference as they used to in the past. Several experts have suggested to stop using free and general directories since they are likely to be a waste of time. It is more fruitful to submit to niche directories.
Either way the new Google updates have spelled doom for directory submission, making them one of the least effective techniques at this stage.
Other Linking Options:
There are a few other options when it comes to linking. The SEO professionals will be more than familiar with reciprocal links and 3 way links. Reciprocal links as the name suggest is where one site links to the other and the other links back. The reason reciprocal links are considered important is because they are easier for the search engines to find. However it is necessary to stay relevant even with reciprocal links.
However the reciprocal links technique is long outdated. In spite of this we often come across several SEO firms involved in reciprocal links by linking the websites of their clients together, usually on the links or resources page. Such links are classified as low quality links and for all practical purposes have no value.
The 3 way linking strategy has pretty much gone the same way as reciprocal links. This was a strategy where one site links to another and instead of that site linking back to the other site, it links to a site related or owned by the other site. This is no longer effective and had created several neighborhoods that you don’t want to be caught in.
Stalking the Blogs and Forums:
Blogs and Forums are a good place for an Internet user to obtain detailed reports of other people’s personal experiences as well as valuable insight into problems or issues of their own. It is also a place where you a post your own question and usually get a straight answer. However until recently blog commenting and forum posting was being practiced with the aim to create a link to their own website. Hence several SEO firms began using comments and forum posts and add their link somewhere in the post.
As it happens this was frowned upon by most blog owners and is now filtered. Almost every post made with links will almost always be rejected by the filter. At the same time Google too has noticed these practices and was quick to devalue such links.
However if done correctly a comment in a blog or Forum signatures do have the potential to bring the desired results. As long as the link is relevant to the discussion and has a potential to either answer the questions or solve issues they will always be included. Such links have the potential to bring loads of traffic to your website.
For a long time now many SEO strategies have always includes the articles bit. They often have several articles with many links and keywords. There are several directories that allow the submission of low quality articles. However since Google’s tolerance level on low quality articles has gone down we see fewer lower quality articles. The strategies practiced in the past involved taking existing articles and reworking them with keywords and links of their own.
But such practices are now on the steady decrease since Google updated its search engine algorithm.
Link building in 2015:
With Google making a lot of changes to their search engine and also penalizing those who stick to their bad practices link building may seem all but dead to many. However there are still many methods that can be used to practice link building as mentioned below:
Internal Linking: At times instead of hunting for place where you can get a good quality link it may be a good idea to review the very website. To start with select a page which you feel is important for all the reasons. Once done, analyse the website to check how many of the other pages already have links to it. Now try to figure out a way to increase that count by placing links on other pages on the website and even the navigation. However make sure you do not go overboard and place only sensible links.
Guest Post: Guest posting has been a favorite way of generating links and some additional traffic as well. However Google gave many quite a scare by stating that Guest Post was dead. Later however they retracted and said to the contrary. That said guests posts have changed for ever and they are not what they used to be. These days it is easy to get penalized for going against Google and posting blogs which are keyword centric as well as using low quality article for the sole purpose of link building.
Amongst the other popular link building techniques in 2015 are sponsorships and advertising as well as Infographics.
Saskwebs is one of the few firms that has witnessed the changes in SEO techniques and strategies. At lot of it is to do with the search engines and the emerging technologies (the mobile trend for example). Saskwebs too has had to change their strategies in these testing times make sure they continue to deliver a high quality service to their clients. Besides having developed more than 2000 websites for clients from all around the world, they have also been offering SEO services. Over the years this too has evolved and now the term Digital Marketing is more prevalent. SEO is a part of digital marketing though it is more than SEO. And SEO is more than just content marketing however one cannot deny the fact that good quality content is in high demand and make all the difference.