Can't Rank? Link Building Won't Help You?

djbaxter

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Can?t Rank? Link Building Won?t Help You
by Bob Jones, Search Engine Journal
November 19, 2012

Whether or not you agree, this is an interesting summary of some of the major changes Google has made 2003-2012 and how they have impacted on SEO.

Some say ?SEO is dead?, or dying. In reality SEO as we ?used to practice it? is no longer valid. Looking at a history of Google search changes over the years though, we should have seen the writing on the wall before now. Where link building is concerned, it?s certain old SEO habits have to change ? here?s some ideas and reflection.
Read more...
 

Linda Buquet

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Re: Can?t Rank? Link Building Won?t Help You?

Thanks David! That's a really good article and summarizes all the changes SEO has been going through.

I just had a good belly laugh thinking about how easy it used to be to rank sites back in the good 'ole Altavista days and how drastically everything has changed since then. But it seems like just the past couple years SEO and the Google algo has really started to change more dramatically and quickly.
 
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Re: Can?t Rank? Link Building Won?t Help You?

We did some pretty wacky stuff SEO-wiseback in the day...and it worked. But, these days, that feels like a past life or something, doesn't it?
 

djbaxter

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Re: Can?t Rank? Link Building Won?t Help You?

Definitely. Remember people spending hours and hours submitting to directories or article repositories, buying links, devising complicated 3-way and 4-way links, spending endless days agonizing about how to get into DMOZ... most of it in retrospect seems like a colossal waste of time and money, but it did seem to work for a while for some people...

Remember the million dollar pixel page? In fairness, I knew that one was doomed but the very first guy to have the idea did make a lot of money in a short period of time.
 

Randy Kirk

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Re: Can?t Rank? Link Building Won?t Help You?

I'm totally confused by this thread, and I've seen it in one other place. I see that stupid link building is no longer helpful and may be harmful, but I don't see any reduction in value from quality links or the use of substantive and relevant citations to help Google Places ranking. What am I missing?
 

Linda Buquet

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Re: Can?t Rank? Link Building Won?t Help You?

Randy, I think Bob the author of that post summarizes it well toward the end when he says: "I?m NOT suggesting links don?t matter. However, looking at the progression above, it?s clear now that link building, as we once knew it, was on the way out long before Panda or Penguin."
 

Nick Rink

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Re: Can?t Rank? Link Building Won?t Help You?

The whole "SEO is dead" debate now seems to be no more than a linkuilding exercise in itself. Want to gain a little exposure for your site, then write an "Insert word here" is dead article! I don't think it's dead but I do think that many of us in the industry have different ideas of what it has come to mean.

The way I see it is that link building merely for the sake of building links is no longer as effective as it used to be. So directory listings, other than those used for citations, and low quality article sites, etc. don't really warrant spending much time on now.
 

djbaxter

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Re: Can?t Rank? Link Building Won?t Help You?

In fact, simple link building hasn't been very effective for quite a few years. Basically, that may help to boost PageRank but PageRank itself has been increasingly devalued as a ranking factor over the years.

Targeted anchor text made a big difference for a time but that too has become increasingly less important.

I think the message is pretty clear: Those on the side of content on the age-old "content is king" can now gloat, as long as it is original and unique. Build your sites to give visitors a reason to stay to read more and other sites a reason to excerpt or cite you and search engines will love you.
 

Dino

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Re: Can?t Rank? Link Building Won?t Help You?

Because link building has been such a strong ranking factor, I continue to monitor its effectiveness with some of my test sites and frankly, they're all doing well. My testing is certainly far from scientific as I do not have a whole lot of sites or time to test truly empirically, but it gives me enough information to make the observation that links seem to continue to work in some local, and non-local, situations.

I don't think anyone here is suggesting to give up on them entirely. I believe that it's still important to include them in an overall ranking strategy, but no longer the emphasis of that strategy as many of us have done in the past. They still continue to be one indication that someone out there likes your content.

Solid content appears to be the way to go, as DJ suggests, and I couldn't be happier. I always found it disturbing that so many SEO's were so willing to submit garbage just for the backlink. Never understood that. Why would anyone link a terribly written article to their web property? For most of us this is our chosen profession. Why would one willingly help to degrade its integrity by submitting crap? Got ridiculed in the Warrior Forum once for suggesting SEOs improve the content they submit online. I'm sure they're the ones who are complaining now that SEO is dead.

Regards,
Dino
 

djbaxter

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Re: Can?t Rank? Link Building Won?t Help You?

I don't disagree, Dino.

However, what you do with aged sites with a history isn't necessarily the best strategy for a brand new site, and by the same token with an older established site it becomes even more difficult to run credible A-B tests on any single factor because there are so many factors you're not able to control.

I wouldn't advise anyone to give up entirely on link building, either. But the link-building strategy I'd recommend today is quite different from the strategy I would have recommended 5 years or so ago.
 

racebum

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Re: Can?t Rank? Link Building Won?t Help You?

only part i'll comment on is keyword domains. they still do have more power for that single key word, it just seems like they have less.

imo the biggest drawdown on exact match domains is #1 they are hard to get and #2 they only work for one term. most businesses want to rank for more than one thing. on top of that you don't have any branding like you would with a business name domain
 
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Re: Can?t Rank? Link Building Won?t Help You?

Interesting read, its cool seeing the updates all the way back to 03. I am sort of a fan of most of the changes. It hurts a little right at first but once you get used to it, strategies change and basically the entire game is shifted a little. I think when you see people screaming SEO is dead, what they really mean is that the ability to rank crap sites with crap links is over....and good riddance.

I don't believe that at any point all offsite work will be pointless, in fact I think in a way it matters more than ever. Not only do you have to build good links but you have to do it while navigating the minefield of recent updates.

I agree with racebum, emds are still a good choice as long as they work for you. By no means are they a major factor in ranking, but they do move the needle.
 
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