No doubt by now, someone you know (though never you, of course) has been heard cursing a panda. And maybe even a penguin. Google’s algorithm updates can be frustrating at times. But let’s be honest. Google doesn’t update their algorithm to make the SEO world fall apart. Algorithm updates are designed to make search better.
How It All Began
SEOMoz recently posted a Whiteboard Friday discussing how, as link marketers, we’re coming full circle with our strategies. When the internet started and before search engines were our go-to source, we had to be creative with finding information. Site owners connected with trusted domains that could send them more traffic. They would partner with these sites and earn the coveted links because they knew that more traffic would lead to more conversions.
A Little Too Smart
Then search got a little smarter and we discovered things like PageRank. Words like “authority” and “anchor text” became a big part of the strategy. Because instead of focusing only on traffic, we had to rank well too — good rankings lead to more traffic! We discovered that acquiring a link from generic high PR sites would make us rank better. And there was no shortage of sites from which to easily win these new links.
House of Cards
So when these algorithm updates come along and effectively say that our easily acquired but highly valuable links are no longer as beneficial as they once were, well that’s a bad day. Search marketers learned quickly that it was about to get rowdy again and that they were going to be required to earn links the way they had in the past: slowly, methodically, and relationally.
So What Now?
In link marketing, our job is simple but challenging. We’re called upon to protect and grow the link profile of our sites. And if we’re honest we’ll admit that our calling hasn’t changed since the beginning. All that has changed is what we’re willing to accept as being good for our link profile. We need relevant and trustworthy links that add to the credibility of our domain and, hopefully, send some traffic our way. It’s time to get back to that.
Imagine how different link marketing would be if there were no search engines. No need to rank well – only the need to be found. How would that change the way we do things? This scenario has been offered up in our offices as a means of challenging our mindsets to think harder about what we’re really doing. We can’t settle for easy links. We must do better. While there is still some value in certain types of “link building”, our first priority has to be helping our clients earn links.
Google isn’t going back. We must go back to creating connections and truly building a link network. Fortunately, unlike the dawn of the Internet, we now have tools like Twitter and LinkedIn that can help us find our way.
So what’s it going to be? Are you going to get mad? Or will you get better?