SEO Tips Part 4 - Goodbye Yellow Brick Road - Link Building Schemes, Pagerank

David Brown

Links That Make You Blink 
Many small business owners still think that buying links and using certain link schemes are valid and helping with their page ranking.

Unfortunately, due to a prolific amount of scammers (link sellers) and spammers (those emails that promise you the "top of Google"), we are all inundated with link mania and page ranking link schemes. Black hat SEO? Enough already, do you think?

Here's what Google has to say about link schemes - methods that try to trick or fool the search engine to give it better page ranking. In reality, it may have the opposite effect with penalties from Google.

What is a "Link Scheme"? (aka "Black Hat" SEO)
A link scheme is any link intended to manipulate Google's page ranking algorithm.This includes links to and from a web site.

Some examples include:

Buying links such as advertised in spam emails -" 40 PR5 back links for a screaming deal of only $25", etc. Link exchanges - trading links to each other's site from another web site in your industry.

News releases or article marketing that includes "follow" links.
Guest posting campaigns that include or allow links in the guest post.
Automated programs that set up links systematically "in a way that avoids Google penalties". Right.
Unnatural links - that were not placed by a verified owner of a web site including text ads that pass page rank, advertorials - articles that pass page rank, optimized anchor text links (used to be a major SEO strategy)

Google's message to "Black Hat" SEO - Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. Hello Hummingbird and algorithm updates.

 What Does Google Want with Links?
It all comes down to content quality, from a verified author, that is being read and linked from third parties from their own computers and accounts. It's all about transparency, authenticity, quality, and external social acceptance of the content. Unique and relevant content will win every time.

The content is what creates the links from people finding it helpful and authoritative enough to share it. I would go so far to say that the "follow" and "no follow" code used to advise search engines what to do with links may be superseded by the Google Bot algorithm analyzing the content and how it was shared or used by others. So a "follow" may not be followed and a "no follow" may still be given credit for the content, which would have a similar page ranking effect as "follow". It may sound crazy but it is not beyond the goals of Google for authentic content search results.

Trying to second guess Google may not be helpful but looking at  the trends that they have shown in their updates of analyzing content and filtering out manipulative link methods are important.
Hint - when you use Google + for sharing content, blogs, etc. and you follow the above guidelines, they seem to have a "built-in" reward for better page ranking as a result of using their own networking platform. When they can verify authorship and publisher, and can see a direct relationship to a web site or blog, then the content becomes "trusted" by Google as authentic. As a result, they can trust the content because it has passed through their "filters" even before the Google Bot sees it. No surprise there. 

What the Experts Say
According to Cyrus Shepard of Moz in a recent post, "Ten Smart Tips to Leverage Google + for Increased Web Traffic",

"When Google+ was born, it was a bonanza for links, and seen as an SEO paradise. Since that time, Google has replaced most equity passing followed links with "nofollow", which pass no link equity. This includes profile links, "contributor to," and shared URLs.
There is one exception. Public +1's remain followed. For now, whenever a visitor +1s your content without sharing it to their stream, this results in a followed link as long as the visitor has +1's set to "public." This could be an oversight, or Google could remove these followed links soon.
While the value of +1s for SEO has been debated again and again, this may be the last remaining place that a +1 may actually pass link equity."

The Future of PageRank - 13 Experts on the Dwindling Value of the Link
In this informative blog, experts discuss the same idea that I mentioned above that "follow" and "no follow" may not be relevant anymore when Google just looks at the content.

Bottom Line: Build Quality Content and Forget About Links (Almost)

The main focus gets back to basics - create unique, interesting, high quality content and let others decide if they want to link to it. Post your title and short summary on Google + and place a link to the content there. Make sure that you have the authorship connection between your Google + account and your published content. 

Authored by

David Brown

David Brown is a Certified Content Marketer and an award winning internet marketing consultant. As owner of Logion Web Design, he has been in the SEO and content marketing industry since 1999. He is the sole author and publisher of this blog, Likes, Tweets and SEO, and also is the owner of Dentist Webmaster LLC, launched in 2013. He offers consulting and is accepting qualified accounts for monthly advanced SEO and content marketing services. His dog's name is Shaman.

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