Artificial Link Building
If you haven’t been paying attention, Google has been attacking sites benefiting from ‘artificial link building’. For those not familiar, ‘artificial link building’ is the practice of gathering back links from other sites artificially rather than organically [= sites linking to yours voluntarily because they value it].
Chasing or even buying links artificially is a practice any company can certainly take on themselves, and it’s definitely pursued by ‘less than reputable’ SEO firms. You know the firms, they send you email every day saying “We can get you to the top of the search engines”. But be careful!
The truth is: nobody can outsmart Google’s algorithm all of the time AND if you pursue anything less than ‘visibility based upon merit’ you may suffer a fate worse than poor visibility. You may be cast out!
One Sad Example
See this excerpt from ‘The Chilren’s Furniture Company’ who’s web presence, maybe even the lion’s share of their business, was undermined for using such tactics:
“We have both advertised on Google and like many companies, used SEO specialists (Search Engine Optimisation as it’s called), to help move us up the natural Google listings. A company we used about two years ago put some external links onto our site that Google now considers as webspam and for this it has demoted us to nowhere land (along with 1,000’s of other businesses as well).”
Unfortunately, ‘The Children’s Furniture Company’ were not informed. Certainly not as informed as you will be now!
Search Engine Optimization Is Based Upon 4 Key Strengths
1. Content: You must produce relevant, well formed & consistent content about your product or service with some discipline. Be sure to target subjects AND the language your target consumer would search online. SEO is, and may always be, key word content driven!
2. Site Markup: Your site has to be coded and then configured well, so that it’s easily navigated or crawled by search engine spiders. That crawling generates keyword indexing for your site’s pages. Google acknowledges WordPress has superior markup for search engines, but to have an advantage there’s much to be done.
3. Signals: Search engines can see & measure reactions to your content, signals that help them to rank your content versus the next guy in your field. Search engine algorithms measure ‘recognition of your content’, which includes *organic back links* from relevant sites to yours; bookmarks people save to your pages; RSS or email subscriptions to your content; Search Engine Results Page activity or when people choose your page from a search result page; the time visitors spend on your pages; sharing by visitors of your pages out to various social sites and many many more …not all necessarily known by anyone… signals. And sure, if you’re site has been around for a long time, focused on a particular subject, that’s a relevant & highly weighted signal. If not, that’s OK, just focus on what you have to work with. After all, there are believed to be in the area of 200 signals used to compare sites & pages, so NO ONE is able to ever rest on any laurels 😉
4. Competition: what your competition does matters! Some subjects or geographically targeted areas of information are highly competitive and others are not. Look into the keywords searched, the level of competition for those keywords and leverage ‘the long tail’ too! Be aware of what your competition is doing… and compete accordingly!
And Remember: a search engine’s goal is to get everyone the most relevant results possible to a keyword search. They need ‘your current trade knowledge’ content indexed and ranked accurately so that they can serve that end. Whether we know it or not, we all hold the search engines accountable every day based upon our interest in the right answers; based upon their stiff competition all vying for our search activity AND ALSO based upon their need to keep us coming back [so that we click some of the ads]. Those ‘Pay Per Click Ads’ you see wrapped around the search results enable them to monetize their investment in the index … and Google’s earnings are legendary! As a result, search engines have an interest in fighting ANYTHING BUT good ‘organically recognized’ content. They deploy some of the world’s best engineers to identify, filter and even penalize gaming. So always avoid ‘artificial link building’ schemes, back link networks, paid back links and anything other than organic back links or, sooner or later, it will get your website penalized.