When an SEO used to talk about link building, prior to April 2012, this usually meant building thousands of links to a website in order to increase Google rankings. The process itself wasn’t difficult; you could buy cheap software that would automatically create hundreds of profiles on sites, that would then, in turn, create thousands of links from those profiles. This was easy, affordable, and effective — you could make money from these tactics. Then, Google released the Penguin update and the majority of the sites built on these tactics were ineffective overnight. Now, there is an aggressive penalisation for these low-quality links and the tactics used to gain them.
Now, when an SEO talks about link-building, they’re talking about a whole range of different things, or at least they should be. With less emphasis being placed on sheer numbers, focus should now be moved towards more traditional marketing perspectives. An effective SEO strategy now needs to be more comprehensive; designed to engage the customer, build a community around the business or products, and ultimately add value to the business. Businesses now need to offer solutions to customers and tell a story, rather than just try to sell and market to them directly.
It is rumored that Google is considering reducing the effectiveness of links that have been built via info-graphics and guest blogging. This only stresses that a solid and long-term strategy for link building needs to be adopted now, rather than later, to avoid possibly having to develop a new marketing strategy and starting all over again. Strategies spanning over six months, rather than six weeks, could and should become the standard. Links built on this type of forward-thinking should hopefully avoid any further Google updates targeting low-quality links or content farmers.
Those SEO’s wishing to succeed in this new era, should focus on the core of the business they are working with. Understanding of the business and the industry it is in, as well as how it produces revenue, will give them a better idea of how to market to their customers. In the future, it is a great possibility that the key performance indicators for an SEO will be “Revenue produced” rather than “Backlinks produced”. Gaining that edge now, and the language used to communicate that in whatever industry the business is in, will keep an SEO ahead in the post-Penguin world.
This new type of link building is harder work, and takes a longer amount of time to produce results, but overall, it should improve the reputation of the SEO industry. Businesses will see a much clearer result in their revenue (directly linked to the services of a hired SEO), instead of having to question the value of having an SEO working with the company. Right now, anything SEO-related is still viewed as spam by most people, and telling someone you work within the SEO industry doesn’t normally create a lot of awe. As the industry continues to require higher and higher standards, hopefully the reputations of those within the industry will increase as well.
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