2012 has brought many changes in the search marketing industry, in primarily from Google. Google made 40 changes in February alone, followed by 50 changes in March and in April, another 52 updates to it’s algorithms. All of which changed the search landscape for quite a few businesses, thankfully we must point out, not materially for our clients. We did see some significant competitors change quite dramatically though.
By doing all these changes, as explained by Matt Cutts, Google’s head of search spam, in his speech at SXSW, Google tried to ‘level the playing field’ between webmasters that build quality content versus webmasters who are just really aggressive SEOs,. These changes also stressed the point that Google is after any kind of link building that looks ‘unnatural’. Your website should be able to attract links naturally and any artificial attempt to manipulate the rankings will result in losing rankings and will probably lead to de-indexation from the search results.
The link building techniques that brought improved rankings in the past are no more that effective. Therefore, you need to adapt your SEO strategy to take into account these changes to warrant success for your website in the future.
The link building techniques that were still effective at the end of last year, included article marketing, forum profiles, blog networks, blog commenting, link exchanges/wheels, site-wide links and directory submissions. However, with recent updates, these techniques have lost most of their potency and should be replaced with more high quality link building.
Your SEO strategy should now focus more on getting the basics right by doing on-site optimization and adding quality content that can attract links naturally. It should also include getting social signals from sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Your website should also be easily crawlable and any crawl errors should be fixed without any delay. That’s not news per se, but it’s surprising how many big sites neglect their house-keeping.
So it’s back to the link profiler for us: to assess our current client link profiles post-Penguin. Often, big changes mean new clients and if new clients have lots of low quality links with targeted anchor text in your link profile then they could possibly be at risk. It is important to acquire quality links and at the same time diversify anchor text.
So for SEO strategists, we have to renew our efforts, inspiring our creative content colleagues to conceive fascinating campaigns that can be outreached to maximum effect, for conventional, human linking and social approval.
Written by Jonathan Brech