Link Building And SEO For The Long Haul


by Aryeh Powers

If you’re an SEO working toward implementing a higher ranking for your client’s Web site, then you probably have your own link building technique, and if you’re a smaller outfit, you might have a link building person or company that you outsource that part of your campaign to. Although link building has always been a crucial component to good SEO, it has been the topic of quite a number of articles, and not for its merits.

What has become more and more apparent over the past 2 years  is Google’s resistance to link building techniques in determining page rank and more and more talk of the relevance of social media in SERP’s.

Take this recent article by Search Engine Land titled Official: Selling Paid Links Can Hurt Your PageRank Or Rankings. This is the most recent article that I have read on the topic of Google taking action against Web sites promoting paid links.  As the title suggests, Google is cracking down on what they perceive to be links on Web sites that sold to boost other Web site’s PR ranks. As a result, Google has demoted these sites PR ranking’s. Although the above mentioned post discusses the Web site that is linking out, there have been numerous articles discussing Google’s crackdown of Web site’s that have tons of links linking back to them (inbound links), like the famous New York Times article reporting on the J. C. Penney Fiasco.

I am sure that this is not the last instance of Google demoting Web site’s that abuse link building tactics that we can expect. The purpose of search engines vis a vis the consumer is to anticipate what results would be most beneficial to the use. As a result Google is taking action against artificially boosted Web sites of yesteryear.

One area of Web site relevance that search engines have been paying more and more attention to is social media. The way in which people engage each other and engage their favorite brands through social media platforms, gives search engines more insight into people’s preferences. The most noticeable example of this is the personal results option in Google search results, introduced a couple of months ago. This feature gives users the ability to search results based on “personal” search results. What this means is that Google is using all of the personal information that has been gathered about you and is offering you search results based on your social media behavior.

Google has also begun to offer search insights in their Analytics and Webmasters tools as well. The message is clear. Your Web site’s social media relevance and popularity IS important in search results.

Parenthetically Bing has also started offering similar social related search results in their SERP’s recently.

Again offers some great insight into the extreme importance of social media for SEO. Read the article titled: Why Entity Search Will Be Controlled By Social Media.

Lastly I want to point out the ever relevant importance of on-page SEO. When people first started tweaking Web site’s to manipulate the site’s relevance to search engines, some of the most important elements of the Web site to be tweaked were meta tags, keywords and header tags. Since those days, we’ve seen tremendous importance in link building, social media relevance and added relevance added to HTML tags like the anchor tag and image alt tags.

I think that as search engines try to fight the war against paid link building it is in the SEO’s best interest to begin their SEO campaign with on-page SEO tactics, then move onto a robust social media campaign and LASTLY worry about link building. I realize that I am preaching the ideal, but the ideal is one which will create a long lasting SEO effect for your client.

I think that as search engines continue to alter their algorithms in favor of TRULY relevant Web sites, the LAST step in a good SEO campaign is link building. Once you have your duck’s in a row (lots of good content and a substantial social media presence), then you can really go for the link building gold. By then you will have a Web site that search engines see as clean and authoritative of its own accord.

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