When Google employees speak, online marketers and business owners listen. That’s why Big Red SEO wants to make sure you didn’t miss a comment that was made during a recent Google+ live hangout. During this online event, John Mueller, who is Google’s webmaster trends analyst, was quoted as saying that “building links might ultimately do more harm than good” for a site. Since you’ve likely heard about the central role that links play in SEO, this may seem like a surprising statement.
Because SEO is a field that continues to evolve, it’s important for Omaha businesses to understand what works in the current online landscape. So with that goal in mind, we want to dig deeper into the issue of whether or not a business should engage in link building in 2015.
How Can Link Building Harm a Site?
In order to understand the context of Mueller’s quote, it’s important to understand how Google views link building. In a perfect world, Google believes that all links should be acquired naturally. While it’s fine to have an idealistic view, that’s simply not how link acquisition works in the real world. In order for a site to attract links, they have to be viewed as reputable and/or an authority. And to earn that perception, sites have to do things like market themselves.
Since there’s no shortage of competition online, successfully standing out can require a lot of promotion. When businesses invest time and resources into actively promoting themselves, they are the ones most likely to attract links from bloggers or other online sources that are watching their industry.
Although that’s the reality of how things work online, it’s important to remember that Google handles most of their search engine ranking through algorithms. While no one outside of Google knows with 100% certainty about how exactly how search engine results are ranked, there are plenty of best practices for businesses to follow.
One of those best practices is to ensure that a site has a natural backlink profile. What this means is that Google’s algorithm contains information about what the ideal backlink profile of different sites should look like. If a site strays too far from this profile, it can negatively impact the site. That’s where Mueller’s quote comes into play.
What’s the Most Common Link Building Mistake?
Because the potential for link building to harm the website of an Omaha business stems from falling too far outside of Google’s ideal backlink profile, you’re probably wondering what mistake causes businesses to end up in that position. The most common mistake that businesses of all sizes make in regards to link building is emphasizing quantity over quality. Once a business really absorbs the fact that incoming links can improve their website rankings, they may decide to acquire as many as possible. While that may seem like a sensible path to cruise to the top of Google, it can actually cause a website to be penalized.
The reason that Google often penalizes websites which quickly acquire a lot of links is because this is a common tactic used by spammers. Since this whole subject goes back to Google’s algorithmic approach, you don’t want your Omaha business website to have a backlink profile which looks similar to the profile of a spam site.
Instead, you want your backlink profile to resemble that of other established businesses. And regardless of the specific industry, that generally means having fewer total links but ones from quality sources. While this approach takes more time and effort, it will definitely pay off in the long run.
Should Omaha Businesses Still Engage in Link Building?
The answer to this question depends on what someone means by the term link building. If they’re referring to a tactic like submitting a site to dozens or even hundreds of directories, then the answer to the question is no. In addition to not working, outdated tactics can easily lead to a site being penalized.
On the other hand, if someone is actually referring to a strategy like content marketing when they use the term link building, then this is definitely something that’s worth pursuing. Since the term content marketing is fairly new, it’s worth clarifying what’s meant by it. While the term can refer to any type of content, it’s most commonly used in regards to blog posts.
The primary goal of content marketing is to create blog posts that can be promoted and are most likely to attract links. By consistently publishing and promoting blog posts that others find interesting, a site can attract new links on an ongoing basis. One of the reasons that content marketing is so important is even if a site is publishing great posts, those posts are unlikely to attract links unless they’re actively promoted.
It’s also worth noting that in addition to finding the right ways to build links, citations are also something that should be a top priority for local Omaha businesses. By focusing on obtaining quality name, address and phone number (NAP) from reputable sources, you can significantly increase how well your website ranks in local search results.
Work with Proven SEO Experts You Can Trust: (402) 522-6468
Link building in 2015 is anything but easy. While the right links can help your Omaha business rank better in Google’s results, the wrong links can hurt its visibility. And even with white hat strategies like content marketing, it takes quite a bit of effort to see good results.
Because effective link building is such a challenge, you’ll be happy to know it’s not something you need to pursue on your own. Instead, Big Red SEO can help. From doing an audit of your existing links to coming up with the right strategy to managing your content marketing, we have the expertise and resources to help you reach your online goals.
So if you want to improve your rankings but aren’t sure where to get started with tasks like link building, call Big Red SEO at (402) 522-6468 to discuss how we can help you get on the right track.