Am I building back links or should I just go for another drink?

For years, all we ever heard was.. ‘Get links – if you don’t get links you’ll get nowhere’

All Google seemed to care about was how many links we all had pointing at our websites.

Building Back Links…

The more the better” preached the SEO gurus..
They threw links at sites as though they were going out of fashion – a few hundred from here – ten thousand from there.
There were link sites that literally had hundreds of outbound links on thousands of pages.
Life was wonderful, they were all happy as, well, as happy as our little friend here…

How to get back links

Then, along came another Google update from their little zoo of algorithms – not sure if it was a panda, penguin or hummingbird to blame, I think it was the latter.

I had SEO people emailing me..

’You know all those links you kindly added to your sites for me?’
‘Yes, pleased I could help’
‘Can you remove them all for me? I think it’s affecting my sites ranking’
‘You cannot be serious!’

They were.

So here we are at the end of 2013 – are we adding links or taking the bloody things away?

What are we supposed to be doing?
Pass me another drink someone..

Back in August, Google released this info along with it’s Hummingbird update;

Any links intended to manipulate PageRank or a site’s ranking in Google search results may be considered part of a link scheme and a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. This includes any behavior that manipulates links to your site or outgoing links from your site.

The best way to get other sites to create high-quality, relevant links to yours is to create unique, relevant content that can naturally gain popularity in the Internet community. Creating good content pays off: Links are usually editorial votes given by choice, and the more useful content you have, the greater the chances someone else will find that content valuable to their readers and link to it.

Now this tells us is that Google doesn’t like anyone trying to sway things in their favour – we’re just meant to sit around and wait for people to find our sites  and like them – then, when they start Facebooking and Tweeting all their friends, our traffic will skyrocket. Easy.

Just one problem there – I ain’t got ten years to wait – I’ve got a life to live.
If I’m doing some affiliate marketing for a way to cure hemmeroids
(I’m not!)  – one thing’s for sure, all my mates aren’t going to be rushing out to share this groundbreaking info with their Facebook buddies.
I’ll be waiting for visitors until hell freezes over.

All of this said, what’s the best way for us to handle this link building fiasco without the merciless Google getting all upset and throwing our sites out with the bath water?

One thing’s certain, to rank well on Google we need good content, with not too many keywords (wouldn’t want to over optimize, would we)
along with links from sites Google considers reputable, the sort of site that wouldn’t upset your granny.

What we don’t want are thousands of links appearing very quickly from dubious sources such as public pr networks or link farms
(I don’t know if these link farms have pandas or penguins – there seems to be an online obsession for wildlife)

We need to go about our link building in a more cautious and sensible fashion.

I’ve had enough for now, check out my next post where I’ll look at how to get some back links that even Google would be proud of!

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