Historically, search engine optimization (SEO) has been a tricky game to play. It has been filled with speculation and abstract tactics in order to keep up with Google's changes, while on the other side developers create more sophisticated algorithmic changes. Although Google keeps their algorithms under tight wraps, industry experts can make assumptions as to how they will change and adapt to such changes.
In March of 2014, Google released patents for a new algorithm called Panda. Since its release, specialists have been trying to decipher exactly what it will mean for search engine rankings. Overall, the consensus is that it will continue to increase high-quality content strategies since link building is still an important factor to Google's ranking algorithm.
That said Google's way of defining a link may change depending on how the patent is interpreted. Google's views and the ways it uses links in its ranking algorithm could undergo a major shift. The shift could affect the way virtually every site on the web is visibly searched.
The Problem with "Authority" and Old School Link Building
Your site needs to convey a high level of authority in order to rank high in search queries. The problem, however, is that authority is an abstract and subjective term describing how credible and/or influential your site is (compared to others in the industry). SEO companies all define (and label) this concept differently. Some SEO companies refer to it as 'domain authority,' others call it 'brand authority'. In addition, they calculate authority using numbers on an arbitrary scale to show the relative authority the site has at any given time.
In theory, authority is a valuable way to determine how highly a site should be ranked in a results page. These rankings change because search engines strive to give their users the most relevant and trustworthy content as possible. The issue, however, is that authority is subjective and using mathematical algorithms can lead to unpredictable results.
Link building became popular (and essential) when it was apparent that having more links pointing to your company's site made it more authoritative in Google's eyes. Google has since noticed these kinds of 'black hat' schemes and has made this way of link building harmful to your site's authority. Modern link builders must be careful to ensure that links are natural and coming from a range of sources (preferably high authority sources).
In the long term, this approach may no longer be a viable link building strategy. The latest information suggests that Google is changing the way it handles links by discouraging older strategies and encouraging new ones.
How to Adjust Your SEO Strategy
There is no doubt that link building is going through some big changes; however, by no means does this suggest that it is becoming obsolete.
In order to evolve with the times and adjust your SEO strategy, you need to ensure that you build your links responsibly. It is more important than ever to keep your building tactics ethical and natural. In addition, you should ensure that you give users what they want. User satisfaction measurement has room to grow.
At the same time, Google is paying attention to who finds websites useful when using specific search terms. For this reason, you need to make sure that your site is both authoritative and valuable to your users.
Chances are, this patent is just the first change in a series that Google is implementing to redefine the way it measures and ranks authority. By continuing to write and syndicate quality content, you can stay ahead of the game and protect yourself against any future algorithmic changes.
By partnering with an experienced search engine optimization firm like SEO Advantage, you can feel confident that the best link building and SEO practices are being used to turn your businesses into an industry authority.
Check out our case studies to see how we've been able to help similar companies meet their marketing goals, and contact us when you're ready for a quote.
About SEO Advantage®
Led by Stone Reuning, SEO Advantage®, Inc. is an online marketing and search engine optimization firm that helps businesses turn their web presence into a powerful revenue generation medium. Our clients enjoy dominance on Google, Yahoo and Bing through a suite of unique pay-for-performance search engine optimization and online marketing services implemented by a multidisciplinary team of SEO engineers, copywriters and web designers. You'll find us referenced in books such as "Writing Web-Based Advertising Copy to Get the Sale" and the BusinessWeek bestseller "The New Rules of Marketing & PR," as well as the popular ebook "The Small Business Blogging Blueprint." Find out more today by calling us at 1-800-366-1639 or email us here.
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