An Interview with Marie Haynes: Saving Sites and the Future of Link Building

Do you think links will decline in importance as a ranking factor?

  • Yes, **all** links will be less important as a ranking factor in the future?

    Votes: 1 3.4%
  • Yes, **most** links will be less important, however some will still be essential to ranking highly.

    Votes: 10 34.5%
  • No, links as a ranking factor will continue to be of primary importance for brands.

    Votes: 10 34.5%
  • No, links will become **more** important for ranking.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Maybe, the quality of the link will determine the value of the link.

    Votes: 8 27.6%

  • Total voters
    29
Joined
Mar 15, 2016
Messages
474
marie-haynes.png

Saving Sites and the Future of Link Building an Interview With Marie Haynes

Who you gonna call when your traffic drops?

If your answer is Google penalty expert and algorithm analyst Marie Haynes of Marie Haynes Consulting Inc., you'd probably be making a great choice.

For years, Marie has been a go-to for websites in crisis.

She graciously agreed to an interview with Grade.us as well, and she had a ton of insights to share about Google's ever-shifting algorithm, as well as some updates she expects Google to make in the future.

Some of what she had to say may surprise you!



Read the entire interview here.

In the interview, Marie says she thinks Google will continue to get better at ignoring links.

"We're going to see a shift away from link building and towards authenticity, if that makes sense.

So, what I think is going to happen is Google is going to find ways to rank sites based on factors that aren't links. I don't think they're going to go away completely, but I think they'll be less and less important."

What do you think? Are links going to continue to decline in importance for rankings? If yes, what factors do you think will replace them?


Gradeus-LSF-Banner-Ad.gif
 

Yan Gilbert

Administrator
Joined
Oct 15, 2016
Messages
265
Google still has trouble distinguishing between some 'good' and 'bad' links. They want to serve good results to the searcher, but can't do that properly bc their algo can't get it right yet. That's why they keep telling us to not do any link building at all. Google wants us to police ourselves.

Since that won't happen obviously, Google will continue trying to find a way to provide good search results by relying less on links, and more on other elements.
 
Joined
Mar 15, 2016
Messages
474
Hey Yan, Thanks for the reply. Loved your interview with Phil that was published this morning.

I agree, about Google's limitations. Of course Goggle wants us to police ourselves, but we all know how that works out. Because SEO can be a make or break for a business, many people won't act in a way that's not competitively advantageous.

The next few years will most likely change the landscape pretty dramatically, but it's really challenging to be able to predict what will replace the current algorithms. The discussion of the future of the link/URL in general is fascinating and could completely change our whole internet in the next 10-15 years.
 
Joined
Mar 15, 2016
Messages
474
Thanks Phil!

It's really interesting to me that there's a lot of distribution in the early poll results.

It seems that voters generally agree that the quality of the links matter, but that there's no consensus on whether quality links will increase or decrease in importance.
 

Chris_Gregory

Member
Joined
Jul 21, 2012
Messages
55
I will add a slight variation to what is presented above. We actively build links (manual outreach only) for some of our clients and have seen a change in their effectiveness with the latest algorithm tweaks starting in April. What we've noticed is that the content that you are building links to has to be a higher quality - long form content, linking out to other resources, 2,000+ word s, FAQ's...etc. I do agree that link building has changed and is less effective if you are just throwing links at a website and hoping that they stick so to speak. However, we are still seeing good results when the underlying content is good, informative and resourceful.

I also agree with Marie in that the latest algo tweaks use the quality raters guideline as their source and give insights into where we all need to be focusing our resources on. I think the future of link building as a service has shifted to be more content marketing in nature. However, it all starts with the content. Links won't fix bad content.
 
Joined
Mar 15, 2016
Messages
474
Thanks for providing additional info and context, Chris!

I think the future of link building as a service has shifted to be more content marketing in nature. However, it all starts with the content. Links won't fix bad content.
When you speak about link building for clients, are you generally working on linking to the long form content or are you prioritizing earning links to the home page, product pages, core marketing pages? What tends to have the most SEO value and effects important metrics like new customers, sales, and leads in your opinion?
 

JoyHawkins

Administrator
Joined
Jul 18, 2012
Messages
2,994
It's funny how split the vote is right now. At Sterling Sky, we don't put a huge emphasis on link building and have no issues getting clients to rank without expensive, labor-intensive link building efforts. We look for press opportunities and local sponsorships. I would completely agree that Google's goal is to block the impact of SEO-company-built links and their algorithms will try and do this more and more.
 

gyitsakalakis

Member
Joined
May 23, 2014
Messages
31
Meh, links! Seriously though, if the question is, "will Google continue to identify additional signals that improve search quality," of course the answer is yes. Will some of those signals be "non-link" signals? Again, of course the answer is yes. Is Google, "dialing-back the weight of link signals?" I haven't seen any evidence of that. If anything, while still much room for improvement, their ability to distinguish link signals has greatly improved, at least in my experience. For example, the weight of toolbar PR, DA, and other proxy link quality metrics seem to be diminished. In my experience, search engines seem to be getting more better at distinguishing, and giving more weight, to topical and geographic link signals. And in fact, even nofollow links seem to provide signal, which really ought not to be a surprise based on the Quality Raters Guide and relevant patents. At the end of the day, links, citations, and mentions, still seem to make good sense for use as prominence signals. If you're advising people to ignore links... well, please continue to do so... and good luck!
 
Joined
Mar 15, 2016
Messages
474
In my experience, search engines seem to be getting more better at distinguishing, and giving more weight, to topical and geographic link signals. And in fact, even nofollow links seem to provide signal, which really ought not to be a surprise based on the Quality Raters Guide and relevant patents. At the end of the day, links, citations, and mentions, still seem to make good sense for use as prominence signals. If you're advising people to ignore links... well, please continue to do so... and good luck!
Great points Gyi!

Ultimately it comes down to Googls wanting to provide the best 'search quality' and reputable links are a signal that can help search quality.

One thing that I'm curious about, now that Google + is being sunset, I wonder if Google will take Twitter references, FB references and other social signals more into play with rankings or will Google Reviews be the only primary 'social signal' that Google includes as a major signal. If I had to guess, I don't think they'll want to ever rely that heavily on another network (despite their own social network failures).
 

Chris_Gregory

Member
Joined
Jul 21, 2012
Messages
55
When you speak about link building for clients, are you generally working on linking to the long form content or are you prioritizing earning links to the home page, product pages, core marketing pages? What tends to have the most SEO value and effects important metrics like new customers, sales, and leads in your opinion?
That's a good question as it's hard to expect people to link to a service or product page. We focus on outreaching to people / websites that would be interested in sharing or linking to a long form article we've created for the client . We do link to services or product pages from these articles where it makes sense to but primarily it's the long form article that we promote. These articles take too much resources to just publish and hope for the best. We do see really good traffic numbers from these articles but usually, the conversion happens somewhere else on the website.
 
Joined
Feb 24, 2014
Messages
33
I think over time we will see a decline in link value from less niche relevant or geographic relevant sources.

That being said I have not worked in a super competitive niche where link building did not help to overtake top positions.

It may not be the only way to reach the top, but it does work.
 

Marie Haynes

Member
Joined
Aug 7, 2012
Messages
131
Thanks for mentioning this interview Joy. This thread has a good discussion!

I do think that links will always be important. But, I think that what Google is doing is greatly reducing the effectiveness of self made links. I mean, when you think about it...the reason why links help improve rankings is because Google is saying, "Ah! If someone is recommending this content, then it must be good!"

I really do feel like the latest algo changes in early October were related to what kind of links Google is trusting. I think that a lot of people are going to find that a lot of their link building efforts are less effective now. BUT...if you can get links from truly authoritative places, then that kind of link likely still be quite helpful.
 

Chris_Gregory

Member
Joined
Jul 21, 2012
Messages
55
Mary, I subscribe to your newsletter which has been a great resource, and I remember you saying something in regards to a recovery of one of your clients with just submitting a disavow list. This was in regards to the October update. Have you seen more examples of this since then? I'm curious as to what examples are out there about links being targeted with this latest algo tweak.
 

OnlineLobstar

Member
Joined
Sep 9, 2018
Messages
25
Google is already giving less value to links as a ranking factor. They are not going to remove links as a ranking factor ever. It will be the quality of a link and how that link is helping users i.e bringing referral traffic. I've written an article about Google August Algorithm Updates and shared a few points about determining the link quality. Would love your feedback. Thank you.
Article Link: Google Algorithm Update August 2018 - A Guide to Secure Your Website SEO Permanently
 

JimFranco

Member
Joined
Oct 10, 2015
Messages
109
I don't get it. People saying links will place a lesser value then they name alternatives that all bring in links. PR , Outreach and local sponsorships all give backlinks to a website and help them rank.
 

consultant

Member
Joined
Sep 29, 2015
Messages
107
On a side but related note, I was reading a recent article from the guys over at GotchSEO in which they seem to think sites can be penalized for too many bad links. I haven't kept up with the subject of "Negative SEO" much in the past couple of years but I thought it was put to bed that Google simply ignores bad links and doesn't "penalize" sites for them. Otherwise it leaves sites open to sabotage via Negative SEO. Are the GotchSEO guys not current on the actual situation? Or is my memory failing me on the subject?
 

Weekly Digest

Weekly Digest
Subscribe/Unsubscribe

Promoted Posts

New advertising option: A review of your product or service posted by a Sterling Sky employee. This will also be shared on the Sterling Sky & LSF Twitter accounts, our Facebook group, LinkedIn, and both newsletters. More...

Local Search Forum


Google Product Exert

@LocalSearchLink

Join Our Facebook Group

Top