For a couple of years a number of results were seemingly being ranked on quantity of links over quality, for exact match keywords, before Google started to clear up their results, with their Panda (Feb 2011) and Penguin algorithm updates.
Since the Google Penguin algorithm update in April 2012, the world’s most popular search engine has been doing its best to improve the quality of its results by ditching those sites that try to manipulate the system.
Gradually, webmasters and link builders are moving away from the outdated techniques that worked to manipulate the rankings prior to the Penguin update.
As someone who regularly looks at clients’ competitor’s rankings and backlinks, the amount of low quality backlinks are certainly being built at a much smaller scale these days. Generally, outside of the gambling, porn and finance industries, you won’t find results on page 1 of a competitive niche that have built spammy links recently.
Moving forward it has been about high authority backlinks and creating an interest in your company and/or product.
Who doesn’t need to worry heavily about these algorithm updates and changes in Google? The big brands. Here is a good reason why Amazon don’t explicitly need to go chasing the money keywords:
There are more than 250x searches for their brand name than there are for some of their top products. They are guaranteed to be number 1 in Google for their brand name and people are most-likely searching their brand with the intention to buy then and there.
Of course, we’re not all behemoth’s like Amazon. Small businesses want to be ranking in well in Google for money keywords for exposure. So here’s what you can do for those instead:
Just look at all successful brands and 99% of them will have made their money off the back of some or all of the above.
Link Building With Assets
A linkable asset is basically something on your website that its target audience will naturally cite and/or link to. This could be content, a calculator, an event, a download; anything that is of keen interest to their audience.
Some of the benefits of these assets include that they will naturally, and potentially continually attract links to your website, strength its brand presence and attract more traffic to the website.
For more in-depth information on linkable assets, Garrett French’s The Link Building Book is a good read.
Link Building With PR
Over the past couple of years there has been a large crossing between SEO and Public Relations. So much so that newspapers and magazines have caught up with this (they often hire the best in the industry) that many of them now NoFollow hyperlinks or don’t include them at all.
PR has also been at the forefront of successful businesses – whether that’s building relationships with journalists or simply creating a story that will naturally be picked up and go viral. Amazon’s recent Zombie Apocalypse Clause is a simple, yet effective example of good PR.
Some major links and PR picked up just by adding a simple line of text:
For PR stunt ideas, pick up a copy of the latest newspaper and you’re sure to find a couple of examples of what companies are doing to get in the press.
Link Building With Relationships
Relationships can be a huge advantage when it comes to both link building and public relations.
If you’re friends with journalists for major publications in your industry it can make it a whole lot easier to be featured than if you’re starting out from scratch with a specific journalist.
We all have to start somewhere and getting your name on their radar is the first approach. Cold calling essentially. This can be done by the traditional method of a telephone, or modern tools such as email or Twitter. Just be a bit more subtle than your traditional salesman.
I’d recommend Neil Patel’s guide to Relationship-Based Link Building for more information and methods on how to start a relationship.
So move away from those old methods that worked once upon a time in Google and start to focus on real marketing for your business and website. Google is never going to penalise you for having a story and link in local and national newspapers…
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