Let’s not kid ourselves, the state of SEO 4+ years ago was laughable, a
joke, if you will. Google’s own search results were so easily
manipulated with “backlink packages” and the like that it was
straightforward to a fault to get a new site ranking, even for a
competitive keyword, provided you had the money (or the time).
Over the past few years, Google – and other search engines, too! – has
wised up and started making it more difficult to game the system. While
some lamented the downfall of blackhat, spammy techniques, it was a game
that was doomed from the beginning, and an equal number of people
recognized the value in Google’s new incarnation.
Right now, the social and link cues that tell Google a page is important
and relevant are more closely aligned than ever with the actual
relevance and genuine popularity of that page. This has been Google’s
goal for years, so it’s no surprised that they’ve worked extremely hard
to move this direction as quickly as possible. I’m sure they’re quite
happy with themselves, and they should be.
Is there still some way to game the system? I’m sure, but it’s not
worth it, because every loophole gets closed, and at a rate that is
gaining speed with every single day.
So, if the old kinds of link building aren’t effective, what does work?
Social cues are big
Social media is the currency of a generation right now, and content that
is blowing up with links, likes, shares, and retweets on social media is
going to make a blip on Google’s radar. Google knows that these are
often real indicators of people thinking something is valuable and
worthwhile, and they’re all about that positive end user experience.
Leverage and squeeze every drop out of your social networks. Repurpose
your tweets and posts to help appeal to different people and at
different times. Try scheduling posts to go out on social at various
times of day, with different images, and try alternating your headline
with a quote from within the page itself.
Mobile is king, for now
While we can’t know exactly what the future holds, one thing is for
sure: Google is big on the mobile trend. It’s for good reason, too,
seeing that internet usage on phones has skyrocketed over the past few
years, meaning that websites who are responsive to various screen sizes
and who don’t have a crappy mobile experience are going to be rightfully
propped up in the search results.
This trend is also true of tablets, and any new device that comes out
and begins to gain popularity.
Don’t stop building links
Backlinks are still a big deal, but the focus now is on the quality of
the links you’re bringing in. When it comes to lone links with
suspiciously consistent anchor text, your efforts are going to get
ignored at best or earn you a penalized site at worst. Instead, focus
on building contextual links through creating products and services so
good other people write about you, through stellar guest posting gigs,
and by leveraging the press.
Looking Forward To Your Success!