I was recently in talks with the director of a large MNC in India who is about to launch a new ad management tool. As part of reaching out to more users he wanted to do content marketing for his site. He asked me a direct question.
What are the three most important factors that are key in SEO today?
I replied along the lines of..
a. Content optimization, the content needs to have words that people are searching for
b. The content we produce should have something that would make it shareable. People should like it, tweet about it and love it.
And I stopped with that. He continued along, telling me the third and the most important factor, where by people who have great content and who have optimized their posts don’t rank for their posts and the reason for that being-no back links.
Back links, no matter what updates come and no matter how Google tells it back links do matter. Google’s PR machinery doesn’t want you to build back links because that would bring organic traffic which would dwindle their advertisement revenues. If they know what bad back links are then it’s easy for them to discount all of them and prevent sites that are using blackhat or low quality links from ranking at all.
But they won’t do any of that and penalize sites. This opens up lots of opportunities for people to run a negative SEO campaign, harm any site and even submit the site urls in the Disavow list thereby calling it a spam site( new kind of attack)
These changes in SEO force me to think about ways and means that can give sites a natural link profile and keep it from harm’s way. In the past I have worked with people who had their sites ranked on the first page for 8 to 10 years and suddenly without a warning drop like dead bird.
Even after multiple link disavowals and months of patient waiting they hear nothing back from Google.
Some of you might have heard about RapGenius the lyrics site that received a penalty from Google, lost their rankings, didn’t even rank for their brand keywords but was back on Google 10 days later after some link removals and disavowals.
You can read the full story here,
While some may be led to believe that Google favours good SEO and link disavowals work, for the average Joe, in most cases it would take months of waiting for the same thing to happen to him. In most cases it may never even happen.
What can you do in this scenario?
Your best to stay safe is in monitoring and keeping track of your links, keeping a constant watch on the kind of links that your site is attracting and if you are ranking for some super cool keyword that brings in lots of revenue it will be only natural to see some negative SEO fireworks going around your site.
Thankfully there’s a way around all this mess.
You can save all the future trouble because in doling out penalties there’s a rule that would remain true many years from today. There is a time delay between a site getting penalized and the links being built to it. You don’t get a penalty the very moment you build bad back links. It takes time and if you are monitoring your links everyday and taking proper action then a penalty would never come.
Monitoring your backlink profile everyday is a tedious job and there’s always a possibility that we may not make sense of what is going wrong. Since the past one month or so I have been using a Backlink Monitoring tool called Linkody for this job and here are some interesting things about it.
Anchor text: If you have a large number of links pointing to your site with the same anchor text then it will very likely attract a penalty as it would trip the Penguin parameters. You can see a detailed report of your anchor texts. If you’re monitoring a site and just click on the analytics tab and you will get a detailed anchor text report. Don’t have your money keywords cross the bar of over 40%.
Link quality: I always trust the Moz rank of a site and higher the rank the better the site is when it comes to gaining a link. The Moz rank of the site tells a lot about the quality of the site. The PA and DA will be the determining factors for me when it comes to guest posts.
IP addresses: Private blog networks often tend to host all their sites under one host. If you have many links coming from the same ip address it’ll raise red flags regarding the link structure and this is a data I find very useful.
Number of outgoing links: It is always better to get links from pages or sites which have low OBL.
The only cons that I find to Linkody are that there is no system to upload a list of backlinks to it and monitor it every day. You can only depend on the links that Linkody finds out.
As you can see monitoring links can save you lots of trouble. A stitch in time saves nine.