Matt Cutts, the head of the web spam team at Google, recently revealed that back links are still a relevant factor for ranking your website in the Google search results. For those who work in SEO and do not follow the herd and their knee jerk reactions to the latest Google updates…it wasn’t a major surprise.
Here’s the video for you to take a quick look at:
However, as usual, the latest offering from Matt has sent the SEO community into a spin.
Anybody who REALLY knows SEO should not have been surprised as the people who really know what they are doing take the word of others with a massive pinch of salt and do their own testing, me included.
Let me explain a few basics before I get into my rant properly.
Search Engine Optimisation is essentially made up of two factors:
On page optimisation
Off site optimisation
Let’s Talk Algorithmns
Search engines like Google have their own algorithms which use these factors to figure out what your site is about and it uses signals such as the words used on your website to the other websites which link back to yours. We all hate spam and would like to see it stop for good and this has been the mainstay of changes to the search engine algorithms over the last few years.
Google in particular release their PANDA update which targeted these spammers who were creating really poor content on their websites and another update – PENGUIN – which targeted those who were building thousands and thousands of poor quality back links. As a result of this and other updates it left the SEO community somewhat bewildered as to how exactly they could promote their websites any more.
Testing, testing 123
If I were a plasterer or plumber I would never dream of going into a clients home without making 100% sure that I can produce excellent results for them first. I would train and I would practise and then practise some more.
The same is true of a good Search Engine Optimiser
Before I came to MayFly Internet Marketing I spent YEARS of trial and error. I built site after site after site with the sole intention of messing around with the trillion factors that Google tell us they look at to rank a website. SEO in principle has never actually changed, the only thing that HAS changed is quality control. Spam does not work any more and neither does poor quality content. If you were doing this as part of your main SEO strategy anyway without trying other things then you probably dropped out the game a long time ago.
Link Building Is Not Spam – Spam is Spam
Link building has never gone away. People who build a website, are proud of that site, who can offer their findings during their research to help other people are still around. This is because:
a) their content is so good that it generates it’s own links as people find it and appreciate and want to share it;
b) when building the initial links to push their content up the search rankings they have something worthwhile to share.
This is because link building when it is not done in a spammy fashion is still relevant and always will be. Google crawls billions of pages everyday and it does this by following these links, this is how your website will be found and move up in the search results. A link coming from a relevant website which contains 100% unique and useful content (I may add that this content can be something as simple as a re-hash of your own research during your on page content by the way or simply engaging within a relevant community), is the best type of link a website could have. It’s not spam, it never was and really should never be.
Google is not the Internet – they cache webpages and allow you to search those pages. Providing useful content which links to other useful content which is then followed by a human being is the way the WEB works, this is why it is called a WEB. Google’s search engines may eventually decide not to crawl these links but by doing so they cut their own nose off to spite their face. With the amount of money generated everyday by Google this won’t be happening any time soon.