Beginner’s guide to inbound links
Not so long ago SEOs (Search Engine Optimisers) were able to exploit Google’s PageRank-based algorithm. The PageRank based algorithm would count the number and quality of backlinks to a webpage which would indicate a webpage’s authority and determine search engine rankings based on backlink anchor text.
SEOs began to manipulate Google’s algorithm by submitting a client website to as many online directories as possible and acquiring backlinks, through mass produced and largely useless or uninformative, but keyword rich, articles and press releases. In addition, website owners were being enticed into participating in Link Farms in response to guaranteed page 1 ranks. An example of a link farm is a scheme involving including code in the home page of your website which dynamically selects another website to link to from a pool of participants.
Amid growing frustration about exploitative SEO techniques, evident flaws in the algorithm and ‘spammy’ websites appearing in the search engine results pages, Google introduced updates to their ranking algorithm in a bid to stamp out black hat SEO tactics. The first update was nicknamed ‘Panda’ in 2011. Panda reportedly affected around 12% of searches and was aimed at preventing websites with poor quality content from holding high positions in the search engine results pages.
In 2012 ‘Penguin’ was introduced. Penguin targeted websites engaging in black hat link building tactics such as paid links, link networks or ‘link farms’ and ‘spammy’ directories. As a result, a large number of black hat associated websites’ rankings plummeted in the Google SERPs.
To ensure you don’t incur Penguin related penalties from Google, stay away from paid links, dubious article directory links, low quality press releases, low quality online directories and link exchange networks.
Gaining backlinks in 2014
As it has always been, the best and safest strategy with respect to gaining backlinks to your website is to produce unique, quality content. Focus on creating valuable, captivating content that people want to link to and share through their social media channels, email marketing and website content. We find that links to your website from related, high authority sites (e.g. those with a high Google PageRank) are the most useful for your search engine ranks.
Effective content marketing techniques may include the creation of video and infographic content, regular blogging and hosting webinars and/or online events.
Implementing a social media strategy is a very important component of every content marketing strategy, especially if you are just starting out and/or don’t have a large following. Sharing your content frequently through social media can enhance the opportunity to gain inbound links, build the image and reputation of your brand and increase traffic to your website.
Should I still submit my website to online directories?
Submitting your website to reputable, authoritative online directories (Hotfrog and True Local are two examples) is still great for search engine ranks. Overall, directories are not as important today as they once were in terms of link value, however submitting your website to a reputable online directory will still benefit your website by increasing website traffic and boosting exposure for your brand. It has also been speculated that listings in trusted directories can enhance your website’s performance in local search results.by