Links And Google Can Coexist

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It’s all in the way you gain incoming links – purchased equals bad and earned with content equals good. Keep that in mind because Google watches those backlinks more closely now.

Links And Google Can Coexist
Google Shares Its Link Love

Even though a number of factors contribute to the fabled Google PageRank algorithm that determines where a site will place in Google’s search results, backlinks continue to be an important piece of the puzzle.

Since the number of backlinks has driven that placement, the revelation that searchers tend to stay within the top five results found with a query has made getting there the goal of every search engine optimizer in the field.

High organic search placement can be the key to profitability. Without a high placement, webmasters believe they will not gain the traffic they need to maintain a viable web presence. That’s when efforts to boost incoming link totals by link-buying takes place.

Judging by the recent post at Google’s Webmaster Central blog, that tactic has worked to some degree, at least in the past. Stefanie Ulrike Drr wrote that such past success is no indicator of future performance:

[W]e thought it might be helpful to clarify how search engines treat link spamming to increase a sites popularity.

This confusion lies in the common belief that there are two ways for optimizing the link-based popularity of your website: Either the meritocratic and long-term option of developing natural links or the risky and short-term option of non-earned backlinks via link spamming tactics such as buying links.

We’ve always taken a clear stance with respect to manipulating the PageRank algorithm in our Quality Guidelines. Despite these policies, the strategy of participating in link schemes might have previously paid off. But more recently, Google has tremendously refined its link-weighting algorithms.

We have more people working on Google’s link-weighting for quality control and to correct issues we find. So nowadays, undermining the PageRank algorithm is likely to result in the loss of the ability of link-selling sites to pass on reputation via links to other sites.

A shift away from no-longer reliable link sellers to the concept of link-baiting has taken place. Link baiting means writing content in such a way that it ensures being picked up by users of social media sites like Digg or Delicious.

Those sites can drive a heavy volume of traffic to a site in the short term, but without good content it won’t be sustainable. For sites that seek to capture just a lot of page views in rapid fashion, this could be enough to grab some short-term profits.

If Google is watching and punishing link sellers as they claim, even those short-term benefits won’t be an option. As has been stated many times at conferences like SES and PubCon, focus on the quality of the content consistently, and people will take care of linking to it.

And if it isn’t happening fast enough, Google will certainly be there to offer the option of search marketing with its AdWords service to help.


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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

Links And Google Can Coexist
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