Links are important, not just for search engine optimization but to the Internet as a whole. After all, the whole idea behind the web is that different sites and pages can be connected in a coherent, useful way. Without links, that wouldn’t be possible.
Within the realm of Internet marketing, though, the value of a link – and the best practices surrounding link-building – have changed significantly since the introduction of Google’s Penguin algorithm update. Marketers can’t simply attract links from anywhere and hope their sites will gain more search traffic anymore. Now, links that aren’t high-quality, and from related websites, can actually hurt you.
So, where does that leave you as a business owner or executive who wants to use links a smart way? Here are two Link building details for 2016 and beyond:
#1: Only the Right Links Matter
Gaining inbound links used to be all about quantity over quality. Now things have been reversed. Having just one good link from a website with a high page rank, or one that’s related to your industry or geographic area, is better than having dozens that seem forced or random.
In fact, we’ve reached the point where having the wrong kinds of links can actually be detrimental to your website and search engine positioning. There is a whole new field, called negative SEO, that revolves around trying to sabotage other people’s websites by pointing low-quality links at them.
That’s not something we recommend you try, obviously, but it perfectly illustrates the way good links matter more than ever, while cheap links barely matter at all.
#2: You Have to be Careful Who You Trust
A lot of the marketers who are suffering from the effects of Penguin right now are feeling especially abused because they didn’t even know they had low-quality links pointing at their websites. So, what happened? They trusted the wrong web design and Internet marketing partners.
More often than not, they put their faith in someone who came to them with an unbelievably low price and lots of promises. And, they might have even gotten some positive results, at least for a little while. But, eventually they were always going to have to pay the price, and now their websites are essentially invisible to Google because of mistakes someone else committed on their behalf.
The moral of the story? That’s easy – be very careful of whom you trust with your website and online reputation. With future updates to the Google Penguin algorithm likely still to come in the future, link building will never be the same as it once was… and believe it or not, that’s a good thing for most companies. Still, it means that all of us have to pay closer attention to the material we’re linking to, and where our links are coming from. Otherwise, we can find ourselves being ignored, or worse, because of the company we keep.