Search engine optimization strategies have evolved quite a bit over the years, but one fact remains true: Inbound links are still a key factor in Google's ranking algorithm. Because links play such a crucial role in search engine optimization, Google tries hard to make sure that only high-quality links get counted.
Algorithm updates, including the recent Penguin 3.0, penalize websites that indulge in spammy link-building techniques. Let's review some important concepts to keep in mind when crafting your site's search engine optimization strategy.
1. Know What Not To Do
Understanding Google's criteria for "low-quality" links can help you avoid these links in your own search optimization tactics. A few examples of spammy, penalty-causing links include:
- Guest posting on low-quality sites is a search engine optimization no-no. This sort of spammy guest posting usually involves thin content that provides no value to readers.
- Syndicating your website's content to directories and blogs can inadvertently cause search engine optimization problems. If you're using the same content that's on your site, be sure to get your rel=canonical attributes right or your link-building tactics could backfire on you.
- Doorway sites, which exist only to provide inbound links to your site, are a relic from the old days of search engine optimization. This is black-hat stuff that will get you in trouble with Google.
- Inbound links from affiliate sites can be seen as spam links. Be sure the affiliate page has original content that provides value.
2. Think About Relevance
Not only do the sites that link to you need to be high-quality, but they also should be relevant to your niche. To determine if a site is relevant from a search engine optimization perspective, ask yourself some questions about it: Is it related to your industry? If it's not clearly related, is there some section that is somehow related to your products or services? Links from unrelated sites can still be considered relevant if the content on the page containing the link is related to the content on the page that it links to.
3. Use Multiple Strategies
The most effective way to develop your link network for search engine optimization is to diversify your link-building approach. Create high-quality content that links back to your site. Become a guest blogger on a reputable site in your niche. Keep your social media marketing active and build up your social proof. Using multiple link-building strategies will provide the best search engine optimization benefits.
It's clear that quality trumps quantity when it comes to inbound links used for search engine optimization. Building a solid link network takes time, but your patience will pay off: In the world of link-building, slow and steady wins the race.