Every SEO wants the “perfect” link profile, amongst other things. Many digital marketers hope to one day achieve a solid link profile consisting entirely of high-quality, high-authority pages from well ranked, reputable domains. However, a majority of websites, at one point or another, have received a less-than-desirable link or two. Despite the occasional (and virtually inevitable) flaw in an otherwise pristine link profile, there is one important fact that all SEOs must remember: A few bad links don’t necessarily equate to bad rankings.
After Google algorithm updates such as Penguin debuted and affected the rankings of many sites and even caused de-indexation of others, the SEO community became extremely wary of low-quality links. Rightfully so, as such links were amongst the primary targets of the now-notorious update. In the months following the Penguin update, however, some SEOs noticed a surprising trend when analyzing their site’s link profile… a few bad links didn’t always hurt a site’s position in the SERPs.
Although “white hat” search engine optimization practitioners stand firmly behind the principles of natural, high-quality links, some sites have actually managed to avoid penalties even with several bad links pointing toward their domain. In reality, a “good” link profile is all about diversity.
Natural links from blogs or online news and media sites are important. As are links originating from relevant pages and domains. Remember, a few bad links won’t ruin an otherwise strong profile.
While tools such as the new Google Disavow are helping many webmasters eliminate the risk of particularly harmful links pointing toward their site, it can be even more problematic for a site’s rankings if used incorrectly. Even with innovations such as the Disavow tool, it is still critical for SEOs to monitor their site’s link profile closely and frequently to determine where the real concerns are.
Read more about Matt Cutts and the disavow tool related to the Penguin update.
That being said, a few bad links are not a concern for a site with an otherwise solid profile. On the other hand, a few hundred low-quality links will almost certainly negate the value of even the most authoritative sites. Overall, the best link profiles are the ones which look the most “genuine” to the search engines and as the saying goes: Nobody’s perfect.
To analyze your own site’s link profile, try our new Website Analyzer tool and feel free to share your insights on link building and monitoring techniques with me on Twitter, by email or in the comments below!
SEO is almost constantly evolving, growing and becoming more complex, but regardless of how search engine optimization techniques change; content will always be an important component of online marketing initiatives.
While a majority of my posts emphasize the benefits of rich content and multimedia within Internet marketing campaigns, the role of blogs, articles and other on-site text is as crucial as ever before. In fact, creating more effective and “SEO-friendly” content is a primary objective of many campaigns.
Since Google’s Panda and Penguin updates made their now-infamous debuts, words like “quality” and “relevance” have become prevalent in the SEO community, but creating strong, relevant content is only the first step. Search engines actually encourage the promotion and distribution of such content and have even developed useful tools to help authors achieve greater visibility within the SERPs. The following strategies are amongst the most effective in the industry for authors and marketers looking to enhance the reach and visibility of their content:
When properly utilized, Google Authorship can be an excellent resource for content creators and can help to increase overall visibility and social engagement within Google+.
Notice how a Google search of the term “Chris Countey” returns results from sites on which our own SEO guru is featured as an author? Additionally, when Chris is mentioned by other contributors with authorship enabled, those results appear prominently on the SERP, as well. Authorship offers distinct advantages to content creators and definitely provides value within SEO campaigns.
Social Media Promotion
Outside of G+, networks such as Facebook and Twitter provide prime promotional real estate. Sharing, tweeting and liking have played a part in social media marketing and optimization campaigns for quite some time now, but using these platforms to promote blog posts, articles and other content has also helped many SEOs achieve greater success and higher visibility.
PR & Media Outreach
There are opportunities for content creators that go beyond guest blogging and social promotion. PR efforts such as press releases, media outreach and interviews provide major platforms for content creators to enhance their audience on a local, national and even global scale. Some Internet marketing firms are already offering PR services and more are likely to jump on the bandwagon in the months ahead due to its proven success.
Speaking of PR, I’ll be presenting at next week’s Agile SEO Meetup and further elaborating on the role of public relations and media outreach within online marketing campaigns. Click the link to check it out live next Monday (the 12th) at 7pm EST or tune in online via Webex.
As our own Chris Countey reported just moments ago, Google’s Matt Cutts announced at #PubCon in Las Vegas earlier today that the world’s most prominent search engine is releasing a “Disavow Links” feature within Webmaster Tools.
Formerly, the removal of damaging, low quality links from Google’s consideration was a tedious and often difficult process. Going forward, removing such links (once they are located) will be a much less complex procedure and the tool is expected to be one of the most useful resources in the digital marketing industry.
The Disavow Links page, which is now live within Webmaster Tools states:
“If you believe your site’s ranking is being harmed by low-quality links you do not control, you can ask Google not to take them into account when assessing your site.”
The tool will utilize a new “disavow.txt” file, which will work similarly to the long-standing “robots.txt” and specific pages containing links (or even entire domains) can be added to the file and subsequently eliminated as a ranking factor.
While this tool has been rumored for quite some time and even hinted at by Cutts since July, the official announcement and debut of the new resource is a major leap forward for SEOs and is certainly going to impact the industry for the foreseeable future.
Matt Cutts, Google’s head of webspam, announced at Pubcon that a new tool: Disavow Links within Webmaster Tools.
If you’ve ever been caught up in linkspam, you may have seen a message in Webmaster Tools about “unnatural links” pointing to your site. We send you this message when we see evidence of paid links, link exchanges, or other link schemes that violate our quality guidelines. If you get this message, we recommend that you remove from the web as many spammy or low-quality links to your site as possible. This is the best approach because it addresses the problem at the root. By removing the bad links directly, you’re helping to prevent Google (and other search engines) from taking action again in the future.
Link (Use the disavow tool with caution!): https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/disavow-links-main
In Webmaster Tools, select a site you control:
Google Disavow Tool Case Studies
SEOWizz.net recently posted some real examples of success stories using Google’s new Disavow Tool: http://www.seowizz.net/2012/10/the-disavow-tool-works-real-sites-real-recoveries.html
It doesn’t take an online marketing company with a decades’ worth of experience to see that the relationship that SEO service providers have with Google is a complicated one. Of course much of this is owed to the recent string of Penguin and Panda algorithm updates (of which we discuss quite often), but there are also several other key aspects of the world’s biggest search engine company that makes our jobs equally challenging and exciting. Take for example the constant addition and removal of network features for Google’s numerous services.
Feature Report and Secrecy
Just this week, in fact, Google announced several changes will be made in the near future to a host of network functions. While these features include only a few select aps that generally aren’t being used all that often (don’t expect to see Maps go away, for example), this is still part of an ongoing trend with the company. It’s also a habit of Google’s that Microsoft even openly mocked earlier this year.
Aside from the constant adding and dropping of support for its applications, Google also tends to be incredibly secretive with everything it does. This is especially true with anything regarding the inner workings of its search engine. Although we shouldn’t expect the company to unveil how its algorithms work lest a new age of black hat SEO emerge, it still makes understanding what Google’s search engine deems worthy of high page rankings quite the task. Matt Cutts, Google’s head of its webspam division, does offer vague advice from time to time on his blog and on the Google Youtube account, but what constitutes a perfectly optimized page is still mostly conjecture at the present.
The SEO Back-and-Forth
Between Penguin and Panda, the apps, and the vague demands made of SEO companies, there are many ways that Google consistently impacts what we as online marketers and SEO consultants day-in and day-out. These days, the top SEO companies around are those that continue to hang on the company’s every word and attempt to predict its actions. While no one can know for sure what Google intends for the future, most of us do realize one important thing: staying ahead of the competition means constant innovation and revision.
On September 4th, 1998, two Stanford University students named Larry and Sergey formed a privately-held company called Google, named after the Internet search engine they had begun developing more than two years earlier. Today, that company celebrates fourteen years of innovation and success.
As Google continues into its second decade, ongoing efforts have been made by the company to ensure an even more successful future. Developments such as Gmail, Google+ and Chrome have made the brand relevant beyond search and important algorithm updates such as Panda and more recently, Penguin, have established quality and relevancy as key components of the brand’s patented Web search functionality.
For Internet marketers, Google’s longevity and consistent dominance of the search market has made the brand a focal point of many campaigns and initiatives. Since the early days of search engine optimization, Google has been instrumental in virtually every campaign. Going forward, the online marketing industry will continue to construct campaigns with an emphasis on Google and utilize its proprietary tools such as Analytics and AdWords to create more effective campaigns.
Google’s innovations are certain to be ongoing and SEOs will subsequently need to strive to design campaigns that remain effective against future algorithm updates and other critical changes. Today, as Google begins its fourteenth year, SEOs should evaluate their strategies and enhance their focus on quality in order to remain in the SERPs for years to come.
Happy birthday, Google.