OK, I’ve had it with link building; I’m done. Tossing in the towel. Waiving the white flag, no fight left in this link ninja. Google, you win!
Ever feel like your link building efforts are going to waste? Are you worried that the latest link you worked so hard to build might prove to be DAMAGING to your site? Trying hard to get ahead in the SERP’s but confused by the massive amount of backlink offers and other "automatic link building software" readily available on Digitalpoint and other webmaster forums?
Well you’re not alone! Link building as we all know it is one of the most important factors in SEO. If you want to compete on Google and show up in the SERP’s you will need the right quantity of QUALITY links. (Notice how the emphasis is on QUALITY) Oh and did I mention that you can’t take a break? Well, maybe a quick one just to stretch your wrists. But since link development strategies are always adapting, a good link ninja needs to consistently develop their arsenal of weaponry.
Now this brings us back to the grand ol’ debate of blackhat vs. whitehat SEO tactics but we’ll save that discussion for another time. Either way, at the end of the day it’s all about whose on top of the SERP’s, and more importantly, how long they are able to maintain their position over their competitors.
This brings me to my beef with the big kahuna, Google, and their constant efforts to penalize ‘text-link ads,’ or other paid links or reviews.
My question is this:
What’s the big difference between directory submissions and “paid” text-links? I mean, Google penalizes both directories and bloggers, but they generally seem WAY MORE lenient with directory submissions as opposed to ‘text link ads’. I examined the underlying reasons for this and became even more puzzled. Consider:
Google wants Links to be Niche-Related
Directories have categories for absolutely everything, so eventually you’ll find your niche and then you can scroll down to ‘submit URL’, pay a few bucks and within a few days your site will be “approved” and listed in the directory. Pretty tough right? Didn't think so…
Whereas blogs are far more niche-focused, and there isn’t a magical “submit here” button that allows you to include your link after paying a fee. Yet Google favours directories, hmmmm interesting…let’s continue:
Google insists Directory Links must be Human-Reviewed and Approved
Google insists that the human review is one of the most important processes involved with directory submissions. They say that this should deter spammers and should increase the credibility of the sites. Well I for one just don’t buy it. I have yet to be rejected by a directory. However, webmasters and bloggers reject me on a daily basis and vice versa. I even got this message today from a high authority site that refused to place my link although the client is a high ranking authority site with Google:
“The client behind that firm has had issues with the SEC before according to our research”.
According to their research??? They took the time to do research!?!?!? Do you see the point here? Bloggers and webmasters CARE about their site; they simply won’t risk being penalized so they can satisfy a crafty link ninja and make a quick buck or two. They know that Google is trying to penalize their activities so they take EXTRA precaution as to not accept any spammy or un-related links whatsoever.
Google wants Sites to provide Unique, Quality Content to their Visitors
How many people actively subscribe to directories? How many people bother to search through directories? Better yet how many people even SEARCH for directories? My point exactly= not many!
Now how many hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of blogs are there online? How many RSS subscribers are there?
The point here is that directories don’t attract visitors; they don’t provide unique content… HECK they barely provide any content at all! On the other hand, a blog with lots of quality content can literally attract hundreds of UNIQUE visitors each and every day if the blog is promoted well via social media.
In conclusion, the underlying fact hidden in this argument is that most directories and text-link ads both require a monetary investment, a human-edited approval system, and a requirement that the link be “niche-related” in order for the link transaction to be beneficial for both parties. But for some reason (unbeknownst to me) I find Google penalizing these link building strategies very differently.
So who made the rules of this link building game anyways? Do we have to follow them? The answer is that they are constantly changing, and YES you should follow them: but don’t just follow them aimlessly, PLAY HARD AND COMPETE!
I'm a SEO Manager here at SEP and am responsible for overseeing the organic ranking of clients for their major keywords. When I'm not in front of computers my main passions are drumming, hockey and hanging out up north at my cottage in Muskoka.