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Google has gone through another major update and it’s been garnering plenty of media comments, for good reason. Once again web sites, brands and companies are experienced a digital Tsunami that only Google can provide. And, “provide” may not be the term many are using in their analysis, feedback and observations. Significant amounts of traffic are now going being lost by brands big and small.
The “Google Panda Update” as the Wall St. Journal reported online and via the print pub (yes, Rupert does have real reporters working for him) pointed out, this update has had a significant impact on search rankings driven by Google penalizing sites that have been buying links and/or using back link development processes that are now deemed as being irrelevant and worse, signaling the site quality is bad.
The blogsphere lit up by “holier than thou” marketers that (soap box in hand) that jumped on the bandwagon, raising hue and cry about how buying links via social bookmarking and Web 2.0 sites was foolish, unethical and tantamount to bad strategic marketing. We won’t point fingers! But, we disagree.
Fortunes have been built on bookmarking, Web 2.0 and content platforms like Squidoo, Tumble and Posterous. Marketers and brands have been leveraging these sites for years for content syndication and back links development. Up till now this has been accepted marketing tactic for big and small brands and you can search on Fiverr, Elance and Freelancer today and find thousands of businesses deploying this strategy.
We aren’t advocating funky backlinking tactics. Nor can we say we haven’t done the same for ourselves and clients the last fifteen plus years - we have, as have thousands of SEO and marketing agencies. But, clearly Google has spoken and chickens have come home to roost for many.
1) Sites with no Page Rank whatsoever - meaning they aren’t quality sites and probably never will be and clearly, Google doesn’t “Like” (sorry for using the term Mark) these kind of sites.
2) Any site with lots of OBLs (Outbound Links) on every page. That’s a clear sign they were funky long before Google decided to negate any potential impact they might have.
3) Any site that has not approval of comments or content submissions - meaning, the barriers to entry are non-existent and anybody can post content or comments.
4) Sites with bad content that clearly has no pride of authorship in the content. And, if no outbound links, that’s another bad signal.
5) A deceptive site with Page Rank of 6-7 that may look stellar to any digital marketer on the surface: but, if the site has any two of the above issues that can be discernible with the naked eye than avoid it like a tongue in cheek Jason Gay Review of all things cultural.
The biggest and emerging trend appearing on the backlinking horizon is (drumroll …..)social signals. Take your pick, LinkedIn, YouTube, Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest - Google likes them all and leverage accordingly by establishing a presence and sharing content.
Develop high quality content (images, infographics, videos, etc.) that pique and drive social sharing and or brand amplification via others.Emphasis here should be on “high quality content” - an endless stream of your activities via Instagram on Facebook doesn’t qualify.
Comments still work extremely well for backlinking, brand awareness and visibility in targeted communities that are connected with and engaging with the on page content. You not only generate backlinks but you get your brand in front of a very targeted audience, driving incremental opportunities over a period of time.
Embrace blogging and do it the right way. If you are on WordPress (you should be!) you should be intelligently linking most of your posts back into your own site. Over time these will count as backlinks and also help to drive your site visitors deeper into your site.
Take every chance you can to build (link to interior pages not just the home page/vary your links) backlinks via any profiles you have across the web. Quora, LinkedIn, Plancast, Facebook, YouTube and many other sites (second tier) enable you to upload multiple links. And anchor text them when/where you can; meaning, embed a link in keywords that are consistent with your traffic and content strategy. Marketers take not, sites like Quora are starting to embed their platform with other providers/platforms like Facebook - giving you powerful content syndication capabilities.
It seems many brands hire high powered PR Agencies who do a great job on the press release wording and editorial reach. But, many don’t understand basic SEO principals or if they do, don’t leverage the PR properly for backlinks.
PR is one of the best ways to drive high quality backlinks to your site across hundreds or thousands of sites - the backlinks are typically high quality, can/should be setup with anchor text embedded in the URLs and you can integrate 1-3 backlinks into your PR via most paid providers. We like Press Release Monkey (ignoring the name) - they are low cost/high value and easy to work with.
If you need a tip on the image……just comment away and we will try to help you cross the cultural divide…..