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What if links aren’t as important as you think?

Discussion in 'Black Hat SEO' started by BottingWorks, Jul 26, 2012.

  1. BottingWorks

    BottingWorks Regular Member

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    Links, links, links. It?s pretty much at the top of any SEOs ?must discuss? list of topics. For a long time, the prevailing thinking was links were the golden egg. They were what you needed to turn the tide and boost your rankings. And that was true.

    Today, though, it might pay to broaden your thinking.

    I am not saying links are dead or links have no value ? let?s get that straight up front.

    What I am saying, however, is that it can pay to keep the big picture in view and not get mired too deeply in the weeds. I mean, just watching comments on popular search industry sites from those who work in the industry is enough to convince anyone that link building and managing link campaigns is very much the current ?tactic du jour?. But what if that time were better spent?

    It?s easy to get fixated one a single tactic, hoping if you double down on that one area it?ll pay dividends. Easier for you, easier on the budget (in some cases) and easier to track results. But it?s a single signal to the engines. Links. Just a single signal. So what are you doing to work with the other signals?

    Are you putting equal time into the social side of the equation? Is your social program ramping up to engage people in a meaningful way? Or is it on autopilot still pumping out self-serving links to only your own products and services?

    Is the editorial side of your house producing the killer content you need them to? Do they seek new ways to engage readers through not just well written content, but with content that answers questions before they?re asked?

    Are your content management system and your page templates sorted out from a technical SEO standpoint? Still got multiple <H1> tags on the page? Still leaving <ALT> tags empty? Missing a <meta description>?

    The point here is to not get caught up in one single aspect of the complex world of SEO. Links, while still holding value, have evolved as signals over time. If we see a sudden appearance of obviously spammy links pointed at your site, and your site is otherwise showing a history of trustworthiness, we?re most likely going to just ignore those links. Still, while this can cover the obvious instances, tools like the Disavow Links feature in Bing Webmaster Tools enables you to flag inbound links you don?t like.

    To be clear, again, this isn?t a post stating links are dying, or you should ignore them, but it is a post saying watch how much time you invest in them. By and large, building links the right way is beyond your control. While it?s smart to allocate some time to watching this signal via the tools and data available today, don?t place all of your eggs in one basket.

    This isn?t foreshadowing anything either, but what if links ceased to be a useful signal to the engines. What would you focus on then?

    So many times across the industry you hear conversations about shortcuts. How can I build links quickly? I need more followers on Twitter, quickly. Where can I get free content?

    If all the time that was spent seeking shortcuts was invested into producing quality, engaging content, more websites would find success. The main point behind today?s post is to remind you to look around; watch what you invest in and make sure you?re not wasting time seeking shortcuts when the answer to success is right in front of you.

    User Experience + Compelling Content FTW!
     
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  2. Roland32

    Roland32 Regular Member

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    What if Santa Clause were real?
     
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  3. Scritty

    Scritty Elite Member Premium Member

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    My thinking is that sites need links, but people are indeed focussing far too much on them.
    Also - i'm convinced that the value of links (essp crap ones) has decreased a LOT in the past 18 months.
    Off the top of my head I'm thinking that maybe links were once 80-90% of SEO, and they are now perhaps 60-65%

    But people still spend 80%+ of their time on them

    The only thing that's truly yours is your website - so refocussing on that and altering your set up might be best.
    Automate or outsource linking and spend your time on your website.

    Caveat: I'm talking medium/large/authority sites here.
    For throwaway or micro sites - links still absolutely rule, but the sites tend not to last that long.

    Here's a thought... what if...

    Create a website in a moderate competitive niche.
    Add 1000+ words to it a day 5 days a week for a year. Add the odd video and image. Take part in a few communities realted to the niche in question. Do some research and make sure your content adds value, make sure your onsite SEO is good but....DO NOT LINK AT ALL
    1-2 years on you will be well on your way to an authority site and be ranking moderately for all sorts of stuff in your niche


    No one is going to do that. Unlikely to make cash for 12-18 months and it takes comittment. But I'd put money on it working in the long run, and 2 years down the line (with half a million words, say 50 videos and what not) your site will have the potential to make you thousands a month for as long as you want to keep making it.

    Linking is vital, and would speed up the process a lot (making money after months rather than years) - but spending 80% or more of your time on it is not the way these days. Refocus 20% more of your effort to your site and away from obsessive linking.

    Just my opinion of course. :)

    Scritty
     
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  4. moonlighsunligh

    moonlighsunligh Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    I do not think there is any difference between authority or non-authority site. Google can and will ban any site, if they do not like it. But you are right, if you do not build any links, site may last a bit longer.

    At the moment google's goal isn't to provide good but bad content, so people will click on their ads more.
     
  5. swi7ch

    swi7ch Power Member

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    What if the Matrix was real?
     
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  6. Expertpeon

    Expertpeon Elite Member

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    Or, based upon my own experiences pre-penguin, you can do all this and still get slapped because google changes their algorithm around.
    Doesn't matter how many pages of content you generate, as far as Google is concerned.

    Ultimately, link building should be 95% of all SEO. Even social media should be a small small part, unless you are interested in generating leads that way (it won't help you rank afterall).

    Google is not a business partner, and they don't want to be the business partner of webmasters. If you pretend they want to be you will just suffer...
     
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  7. macdonjo3

    macdonjo3 Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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  8. Scritty

    Scritty Elite Member Premium Member

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    Size and age of site DOES matter.
    I have sites that make me $1000's a month have 500+ UV's a day and I've never made a single link. Others have made a few, but the stats programs claim I have 250 maybe?

    What those site are is VERY old (1998 for one, 2001 for another) and have over 1,000,000 words each of totally unique (written once/posted once) content.
    Not one iota of onsite SEO (no keyword counting EVER) not one single link ever made by me either.

    One is in the niche of Golf holidays in Spain and Portugal. Last October (when people book for Winter sun golf holidays in Europe) it netted me over $22,000 in 5 weeks.

    So when people say spend a huge amount of time linking, then they are either;

    a) Totally wrong or ...
    b) Talking about a different business model.

    Don't presume that your way of making and building sites and rep on the net, and your way of achieving onsite and offsite SEO success is the only one that works,
    BY "aged" site I don't mean "more than 6 months" - I mean "more than 2 years...minimum"

    By a lot of content I don't mean 50,000 words of well spun "almost unique" content.
    I mean 250,000 words of ABSOLUTELY unique content.

    The tossers at SEOMOZ invited the BHW community to throw trash links at their site a few months back. Hell I joined it. 250,000 AA scrapebox list with the keywords ""F^ck", "Warcraft", "Diet, "Porn", "Viagra" and "Make money quick" as well as the ones they would like "SEO", "Ethical link building" and that kind of thing.
    I followed by testing my new Xrumer server for 96 hours solid with the same keyphrases (1.2 million links). That was my contribution. Hundreds of other guys, including many from this forum did the same..or a whole lot more in some cases.

    Remember SEOMOZ actually ASKED PEOPLE TO DO THIS to prove a point about Negative SEO.


    Net result 6 weeks after the event..?

    Nothing

    Site ranked just the same for it's 12 main keyphrases. The number of inbound links Webmaster tools detected had gone up by over a third in a matter of a couple of weeks (and this is an old site)

    Now I reckon this is becasue the site is aged, has authority, has a ton of content and UV's a day.

    I'm finding negative SEO is hitting smaller newer sites much MUCH harder. But then if you consider a 6 month old site with 50,000 words to be "aged" and "content rich"..then that's your problem. We are talking about different things.

    Again - my best guess for AUTHORITY sites is probably closer to 50-50

    If you are making several sites a month )or a week - or even a day) with under 50,000 words. Then yeah LINK LINK LINK LINK. because your content counts for very little
    If you have 3 or 4 authority sites with a 6 or 7 figure number of words, images, videos, good social interactions, plenty of UV's showing on google, regular updates, low bounce rate blah blah..then THAT'S WHERE YOUR VALUE IS. Spend 50% of your time on your site and 50% on your links

    YOU NEVER OWN YOUR INBOUND LINKS unless you have your own link farm. So don't spend 90% of your time on them if your site has real value in itself.

    Again - to finish - links are VITAL. but tha balance is now more quality than quantity for larger older sites. Same tools - different methods.

    But hell, I'm just booking 22 days in Cancun in January 2013 - with me paying for myself and 3 mates, club class from Gatwick, 5 star hotel, playing the best golf courses, some jetski-ing and all the night life we can eat, so what the fuck do I know about making money on the internet?

    Scritty
     
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  9. mrxinbollywood

    mrxinbollywood Elite Member

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    I do not agree with this statement. After Panda and Penguin Updates, google's goal is to earn more and more revenue through google ads.

    As through this update normal google user do not suffer. Here only those websites suffer who spending money in seo services. Google want those money should be spend in google ads and Google can make fortune.

    Google do not care right now, what users are getting in search results.

    Here in BHW a lot of members and myself also can show you a lot of keywords, for which results displaying are nothing related to keywords, blank website are displaying, blogspot posts are displaying. some other website displaying which is not related to those keywords, a lot of new websites displaying which have 10-20 backlinks created few month ago.
     
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  10. JDIZM

    JDIZM Junior Member

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    I booked a lottery ticket on the internet tonight. Hopefully I can make money on the internet like a boss too!
     
  11. superangion

    superangion Registered Member

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    I wish I could thank you more than once in the same thread :D
     
  12. MrBeastsOnToast

    MrBeastsOnToast Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    Thats going to get messy, cancun is mental.
     
  13. moonlighsunligh

    moonlighsunligh Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    Recent google update ranked down around 20 HQ articles of ~1000 words on one of my sites. Completely original and very useful content.

    I do not really know why would you defend Google. Take look at SERPS and you will se load of garbage. Their only goal is to earn as much as they can.
     
  14. swi7ch

    swi7ch Power Member

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    We all know Google does not treat sites equally. If you did that to your site I'm sure your site will suffer. If you do the same thing that Huffington Post is doing I'm sure your site will suffer. Hell, Amazon can copy all the product description they want verbatim but none of that would matter. But if you did that to your site I'm sure your site will suffer.

    Point is, again, Google does not treat big sites the same way they treat small sites.
     
  15. Scritty

    Scritty Elite Member Premium Member

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    Can point to posts that say more or less exactly this on forums and sites going back to Google's inception about 12 years ago
    What goes around...comes around, and every time it does some people get their panties in a stuff and start blaming the world and claiming they are being picked on/abused/messed by a crappy system
    Most of the time it's because their website, the one they think is the best thing since sliced bread, is...in fact...RUBBISH

    Entitlement, essp when you get away with it for som long - is a strong force. People actually think they DESERVE to keep getting away with crappy websites and lazy linking, and the minute they don't they feel real palpable ANGER. They rate their skills far higher than they shouldm and fool themselves that they are working much harder than they really are.
    I'm betting thousands of SEO guys ragequit after Panda and Penguin

    "Goole's ranking this rubbush" and "My websites better than yours" bullshit.
    Please - be my guest and quit. Internet's only getting bigger in terms of cash generation possibilities, and with people floundering around moaning on forums and ragequitting - just leaves more money for the rest of us.

    But this is BHW - and none of us are going to quit....are we?
     
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  16. Scritty

    Scritty Elite Member Premium Member

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    Sadly we don't all kinow this (this thread is full of posts from people who vehemently disagree with this)
    But obviously I do agree with this...
    It is exactly the point I'm making :)
     
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  17. Scritty

    Scritty Elite Member Premium Member

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    Moon Palace - went their this January with just 2 mates for 22 days. Played golf, partied (did a bit of work) swam, drank, did other stuff (ahem) 5 star all the way. loved every minute of it..except the flight from Gatwick. Luckily slept most of the way back..was bloody exhausted.

    Scritty
     
  18. unzero

    unzero Junior Member

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    Awesome Scritty, like reading my own thoughts :)


    Coming back to the subject. Writing quality content is still a link building technique. It is called "Link bait", so in the end of the day it is still about "link building" eh?

    User-experience is something which is very close to my heart. There are still too many poorly designed slow websites around the web. Come on it is year 2012, the website should load in a blink of an eye and with clean and awesome visuals.
     
  19. imserious

    imserious Senior Member

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    @scritty - how do you explain the traffic drop for askthebuilder (dot ) com guy.
    He has an authority and really old site with awesome content, still the guy lost 70 - 80 % of the traffic, first from panda and than from penguin.
     
  20. moonlighsunligh

    moonlighsunligh Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    I have just checked, askthebuilder loosed all google traffic.

    But for example myweddingfavors.com is still ok. It wanks for keyword: wedding favors.

    a2armory is ok too.