Don't Buy Links

We all know that the ole mighty link has been the front runner when it comes to website marketing for many online entrepreneurs for a very long time now. We think this Google Webmaster video is important because we still get the question from time to time “can I just buy some links?” The answer is no. Buying links was actually once approved by Google but for quite a while now Google has deemed it a bad practice and can now cause serious harm to a website if you are caught buying links to increase PageRank.

Check out this video with the great Matt Cutts were he discusses why Google does not like paid links but does like paid advertising. What is the difference you ask? Check out the video and find out.

Why is buying links bad?

Google Change is Good

Many people don’t like all of the rules and stipulations that Google puts into place when it comes to increasing page rank. Of course, Google is the search engine that most people use when they want to find something on the web, so anyone who has a website realizes just how important it is to play by the Google rules when they are creating their site and adding content to it. Some try to create the content on their own, and others hire professionals to do it for them.

In many cases, the pros are going to be the better and more cost effective option. They know and understand the rules, and that means that they can create content that is going to work well with the new algorithm rules. This means that there will be less cost because there is going to be less trial and error. It is possible to learn the rules though, but it might take some time to get up to speed on them.

Why is PageRank Important?

The first and second page of Google is where all the action is. Those who aren’t on those first two pages for the keywords they use will find that they just aren’t going to be getting much traffic on their site. The only people who are going to find your site are the ones who are searching for it by name or from a link that you provided. Thus, having a good and high page ranking is vital for the success of your company.

With the new rules for SEO from Google, you can lose your page rank if you do not comply with those rules. Google is cracking down and making it difficult for the Black Hat marketers to sully the first pages in the search engines. This is certainly a good thing. After all, no one wants to search for something through Google and then have to wade through a dozen pages just to find relevant contend.

Dealing with Google

Google wants to link to quality, optimized sites. This means that you aren’t going to want to engage in the Black Hat marketing methods that others have done in the past. Just having more keywords on your page isn’t going to boost your ranking. Instead, you have to make sure that you have quality content on your page, quality links, and real value to the people who are using their search engines. You cannot game the system.

The latest Google algorithm update, Penguin, aims to make the spam sites disappear into the ether. They have even been punishing some sites that are spam sites by lowering their page ranking. As you now know, a lower ranking could be the death knell for a site.

Changes to Google Rules

Knowing some of the changes to the rules will help ensure that your page doesn’t suffer from a page rank drop. The following are some of the things that you will want to consider for your site. Google is frowning upon these things:

  • Keyword Stuffing – having too many keywords jammed into a page and in content just to get a higher ranking
  • Unethical Link Building – link building schemes were once a way that Black Hat marketers gamed the system. Google caught on to this and now punished offenders with a lower rank
  • Using Spun Articles – mass article spinners create content that is virtually unreadable and the same as other content already on a site. While there is certainly going to be some overlap in terms of content coverage, spinning is a terrible way to create content.

About author

Olga Ionel is an original writer at ThemeFuse.com – a leader in the Premium wordpress themes industry. She is fond of sharing SEO and blogging ideas.

PageRank

The PageRank of a website is an important aspect of search engine optimisation (SEO). By no means is it the only metric used when looking at assessing link opportunities but it is a crucial tool in the link building technique to measure the value of a website.

It refers to pages only, not domains, so for example of your homepage is PR5 this doesn’t mean you have a PR5 domain.

But what is it and how can it help your business’s overall marketing efforts?

Toolbar PageRank

 

This displays the site’s PageRank in the Google toolbar but it is updated at random intervals so it isn’t as up-to-date as often reported. The scaling is somewhat complex e.g. a PR7 is not 1 unit better than a PR6 but is actually x8 as important.

Real PageRank

 

This is used internally by Google and is a very small part of the algorithm. It is used by the search engine giant to let them know which pages are important and which it should crawl more often. It is updated multiple times a day and doesn’t reflect Toolbar PageRank at all. Never use it as the sole tool to measure a page’s quality- it is scaled from 0 to 1.

Advantages

  • Raw indicator of link popularity • Shows if the site has been penalized by Google

But don’t get confused…

 

PageRank is not an indicator of the value of a link prospect. It isn’t a reflection of the relevance or quality of links coming into a page, or whether a page has been flagged for spam.

What is more, PageRank is not a static reflection of a page’s quality. At one point, Google.com went from a PR10 to PR9 but surely you would still want a link from that page? And even if you have a higher PageRank that doesn’t necessarily mean you are ranking above another site.

Therefore you shouldn’t use PageRank alone as an indicator of performance- any reputable SEO firm will know that and use an array of link building techniques to achieve high quality, relevant links.

About the Author

This article was written by Custard-media.com, specialists in digital marketing. Speak to the team today about they’re fantastic SEO and link building services.

Matt Cutts

For quite a long time now I have also made claims that the Google PageRank number actually added to the amount of spam that sits in search. Once upon a time PageRank caused one too many webmasters to focus so much on simply increasing that number that the true marketing side of search engine optimization simply fell by the waist side.

Listen to what Matt Cutts has to say about PageRank in this Google Webmaster YouTube video.

Google PageRank Alternatives

Are you still wasting your time staring at the silly little PageRank number on your site pages? If you are Google is saying nicely to stop. Many moons ago PageRank was somewhat accurate when trying to figure out the overall strength of individual pages on your website — but those days are over. Back in 2009 Google even went as far as removing any traces of PageRank from their webmaster tools but people still don’t get it. Google recently wrote a very important blog post regarding the alternatives to PageRank that should shed some valuable light on the situation.

This is an important post that everyone should take the time to read because PageRank is something that does not equate to business success online. PageRank can be high on the most horrible of web pages and it doesn’t mean that specific page will be successful or produce any revenues for a company what so ever.

Google states:

“The fact that people are still writing about this almost two years later—usually in the context of “Startling news from Susan Moskwa: …”—really drives home how much PageRank has become a go-to statistic for some webmasters. Even the most inexperienced site owners I talk with have often heard about, and want to know more about, PageRank (“PR”) and what it means for their site. However, as I said in my fateful forum post, the Webmaster Central team has been telling webmasters for years that they shouldn’t focus so much on PageRank as a metric for representing the success of one’s website. Today I’d like to explain this position in more detail and give you some relevant, actionable options to fill your time once you stop tracking your PR!”

Google has been stressing for quite a long time that it is crucial for webmasters and website owners to look for alternatives to measure success of certain web pages. Primarily the three most important alternatives to look at are conversion rate, bounce rate and click through rate. You can have a high PageRank on a web page and still have a horrible bounce rate that really leaves you with nothing.

Google Video

Google states:

“If I don’t track my PageRank, what should I be tracking?

Take a look at metrics that correspond directly to meaningful gains for your website or business, rather than just focusing on ranking signals. Also consider metrics that are updated daily or weekly, rather than numbers (like PageRank) that only change a few times a year; the latter is far too slow for you to reliably understand which of your changes resulted in the number going up or down (assuming you update your site more than a few times a year). Here are three suggestions to get you started, all of which you can track using services like Google Analytics or Webmaster Tools:

  1. Conversion rate
  2. Bounce rate
  3. Clickthrough rate (CTR)”
Years ago search engine optimization was a very technical approach which caused many to simply think about manipulation. In today’s digital space visibility is all about marketing, branding and trust building which should be at the top of every webmasters list of things to do. The days of getting cute with purchasing links and PageRank sculpting are 100% over. Social media and a healthy combination of proactive SEM marketing is the honey that catches the bees. Are you still trying to use vinegar?

SEO Slang Disappear

Over the years the search engine marketing industry has developed quite a bit of slang that some people understand and others simply don’t make any sense of. As the industry grows and cleans it’s self-up a bit certain words give the wrong connotation to the practice of marketing a website online which I wish would sort of disappear.

Years ago SEO/SEM was approached like a numbers game accompanied by a tactic that looked a lot like a science room project. Formulas do not grow a business! Marketing grows a business and I think as a whole we are all starting to realize that a 1,000 directory submission “blast” is not going to cut it when trying to spread a company image online.

Here are some slang words in our industry that I wouldn’t mind to see disappear:

  • Anything with the word “blast” in it – Blast in my impression implies easy and quick and marketing a website is more about quality and strategy than anything else. Nothing strategic about throwing a can of paint at the wall and hoping something sticks. If you are interested in hiring a company to market your business and the word “blast” dominates the content you should run the other way.
  • SEO packages – I wouldn’t mind seeing SEO packages disappear either. Every website/company is going to have its own approach on how to brand their company name. Sort of like DNA no two marketing strands are ever the same.
  • Alexa ranking – Nothing like bringing an out of touch dinosaur to the modern marketing game. Alexa was beneficial at the turn of the century but there have been many new advancements in this area since the late 90’s.
  • PageRank – In my opinion PageRank is one of the single factors so many website owners have a skewed vision on how to market a website. Some people got so caught up with increasing that number that I think they forget that they are marketing a business.
  • Hits – Unique visitors…OK, website traffic…OK, hits are something you do with your head against the wall when you get a Google penalty from buying an “SEO blaster package”.
  • Link Building – I’m on the fence with this one but I think people tend to misunderstand the concept because they tend to become fixated on the actual link and not the big picture surrounding the link…the branding & marketing stuff.
  • No hats allowed – There should just be right and wrong. No white or black hat just the process of using your judgment and thinking about whether your approach is right for your business or whether it is wrong for your business.
  • Cloaking – Cloaks should only be referred to when discussing scenes in a Harry Potter movie.

I think I dislike the thought process surrounding some of these words a bit more than the word itself. I think what happens with some of these slang words is that some website owners tend to associate the wrong picture surrounding the search engine optimization industry from these slang words. Either they are using tools that simply have no foundation to them or they are missing the bigger picture to SEO.

New Google Chrome LogoIf you like to handle everything organically without any technology to help than kudos to you but if you enjoy using little trinkets and business applications that provide you with great real time data than these SEO plugins are perfect. Of course you must be a Google Chrome user to enjoy these but if you haven’t tried Google Chrome yet I suggest you give it a whirl.

Here is a list of some of the top SEO plugins for Google Chrome:

Chrome SEO

Users: 128,726

Google Chrome SEO PluginThis one is my favorite! If you are looking for good quality data on the fly it is an amazing little tool.

Current Features

  • Quantity of pages indexed
  • PageRank indicator
  • Domain details
  • Sitemap detector
  • Quantity of backlinks

 

SEO Site Tools

Users: 32,922

SEO Site Tools Chrome SEO Plugin

I haven’t used this one as much but let me tell you the data is intense. It provides a great deal of information on any website that can be very useful.

Current Features

  • Quantity of pages indexed
  • SEOMoz data
  • Recent tweets
  • Social sharing stats

 

WooRank Chrome Extension

Users: 15,517

WooRank Google Chrome Extensions

I just started using this one so my opinion will be brief. It provides a lot of data. Do I even need to say more?
Current Features
  • Traffic estimation
  • Keyword analysis
  • Whois data
  • RSS data
  • Tweet counter
  • Social stats
  • W3C validation
  • Competitor analysis

 

META SEO Inspector

Users: 6,459

META SEO Inspector ExtensionI haven’t used this one at all yet but people seem to really like its simplicity.

Understanding Ranking Factors

A good amount of new online entrepreneurs sometimes fall prey to thinking that achieving search rankings for their brand spanking new URL should and will come easy. With a few sprinkles of this and a dash of that before you know it success is pouring through the door, fat chance. I’m sorry to burst your bubble but rankings and success online do take time, patience and a whole lot of business brand building. If you are new to the online game you have to ask yourself, why do I deserve being on the first page?Are you in a competitive space that took others years to get to? If so why do you think you deserve being there in just a few short months? You have to understand some of the important ranking factors that exist in the search algorithm before you are set on ranking quickly.

Age of Domain

This is an important one to understand. If you just launched a brand new domain name it will take some time to achieve any rankings especially if your space is somewhat competitive. Search engines really like aged domains.

Trust

There is such a thing called trust factor in the search engines especially Google. Have you had a chance to build up your trust in the eyes of the search engines? This is something that happens naturally over time so don’t expect to hire someone to force this effort because it won’t work. Treat your website like a brand and the trust will build naturally over time.

Onsite Optimization

Having your buddy jam keywords into your website is not going to optimize your website properly. Having a well written website that is highly optimized with your targeted keywords is very important. This means having well optimized content and along with meta info and a strategic internal linking structure.

Quality Inbound Links

Quality is the magic word here. Sure having links to your site whether they are great or just mediocre is still important but the really good links happen when you become a trusted source with something important and fresh to say. This isn’t something that can usually be forced because it is a natural occurrence when you build your business but in bound links take time so be patient.

Diversity

Bringing in traffic and being accessible from a variety of sources is an important part of achieving those rankings you are looking for online. Search engines like to see you visible in many different corners online because that is what a brand would do. Finding one little nook or cranny and beating it into the ground is not the best approach for your website to grow strength in the search engines.

There are a few hundred ranking factors out there that determine how you appear in search results but these are some of the more important ones in my opinion. Take the time and research all the ranking factors so you completely understand what you need to do to achieve your business goals online.


seo-emotions-and-car-insurance

 

I think many people cringe when having to purchase SEO than they do when they have to pay for car insurance. Why is that? Is it because SEO is such an unknown for many people and the concept alone is still very tough for people to comprehend or that everyone’s approach is vastly different that website owners don’t even know anymore what works and what doesn’t. There are some very important elements every website owner needs to understand when they finally venture out and decide to hire either a company or a consultant to work on their internet marketing.

 

Things take time


 

Don’t expect to be ranking in two weeks if you are in a somewhat busy category. If you are a shoe cobbler in Milwaukee you might rank in two weeks but for the most part it will take some time so be patient. You have to earn rankings and that comes with good solid marketing strategy.

 

More money doesn’t fix it


 

Spending more money on your SEO is not going to get things to move any quicker. It is not a money issue but rather a competition, time and age issue. If you have heavy competition in your search space things are going to take a bit longer to appear and move around.

 

You need strategy


 

Why exactly do you need 1,000 links per week? A link building needs to be strategic for the most part. Put out a viral marketing campaign and get your industry bloggers to write about it. Those are nice strategic links not directory submissions. I spit on directory submissions.

 

Trust


 

For the most part when you hire an SEO person you are hiring them because you don’t fully understand what you need to do. Don’t argue with their process because they are on your side. If something truly looks out of whack by all means ask for an explanation but put some trust in the person you are working with. We don’t get anything out of having your website fail in your space.
 

Paying your dues


 

Why is it that you deserve to be number one for your keywords when your website has only been around for 3 months? Some of the websites sitting around in the number 1, 2 or 3 slots have been live for many years and they have done the leg work to be and there and stay there. You need to do the same.

 

Forget Google PR


 

Google PageRank does not generate or equal sales. Marketing your website equals sales so stop stressing about the little number in your tool bar. Google PageRank was just an invention by Google that probably made things a lot worse than they could’ve been.

 

You are not going to beat out EBay


 

If you clearly cannot compete against the big brands don’t try. You are not going to push out the EBay’s that are sitting out there. If your space is littered with big brands that have anchored themselves in try a different approach and go around them. They are like beached whales, nobody moving them.

 

Take the time to educate yourself on the various steps to search engine optimization and what it truly takes to make things happen not just in the industry but your niche or space specifically. Once you understand you will have a better experience when approach the SEO landscape for your website.

Danny Sullivan

Here is an older interview that I feel is still very important conducted by Danny Sullivan with the folks over at Google and Bing to discuss how being social really relates and responds to the overall algorithm. Up until now most people don’t really assume that authority is given on a social scale but I think we all knew that would change eventually.

“1) If an article is retweeted or referenced much in Twitter, do you count that as a signal outside of finding any non-nofollowed links that may naturally result from it?

Bing:

We do look at the social authority of a user. We look at how many people you follow, how many follow you, and this can add a little weight to a listing in regular search results. It carries much more weight in Bing Social Search, where tweets from more authoritative people will flow to the top when best match relevancy is used.

Google:

Yes, we do use it as a signal. It is used as a signal in our organic and news rankings. We also use it to enhance our news universal by marking how many people shared an article [NOTE: see the end of this article for more about that].

2) Do you try to calculate the authority of someone who tweets that might be assigned to their Twitter page. Do you try to “know,” if you will, who they are?

Bing:

Yes. We do calculate the authority of someone who tweets. For known public figures or publishers, we do associate them with who they are. (For example, query for Danny Sullivan)

Google:

Yes we do compute and use author quality. We don’t know who anyone is in real life

3) Do you calculate whether a link should carry more weight depending on the person who tweets it?

Bing:

Yes.

Google:

Yes we do use this as a signal, especially in the “Top links” section [of Google Realtime Search]. Author authority is independent of PageRank, but it is currently only used in limited situations in ordinary web search.

4) Do you track links shared within Facebook, either through personal walls or fan pages?

Bing:

Yes. We look at links shared that are marked as “Everyone,” and links shared from Facebook fan pages.

Google:

We treat links shared on Facebook fan pages the same as we treat tweeted links. We have no personal wall data from Facebook.

5) Do you try to calculate the authority of someone on Facebook, either say via their personal wall or their fan page.

Bing:

We don’t do this on Facebook. On Facebook, we only get what’s public, only updates and things you’ve posted to everyone as viewable. We don’t get things only shared with friends, so we don’t know how authoritative you are on Facebook. There isn’t the whole convenient retweet mechanism we see on Twitter.

We do see valuable content shared by Facebook users, even though we only get what’s public.  For example when Gary Coleman died we saw a  video from Different Strokes, saying his favorite line “what ya talk’in ’bout Willis” gain popularity.  It happened to be what a lot of people are sharing on the day he passed away.

Google:

Again, the treatment is the same as for Twitter. And we have no personal wall data from Facebook.

6) Do you calculate whether a link should carry more weight depending on the person who shared it on Facebook?

Bing:

We can tell if something is of quality on Facbook by leveraging Twitter. If the same link is shared in both places, it’s more likely to be legitimate.

Google:

Same as question 5.

7) And just to be really clear, the new Facebook data is not yet being used in ordinary web search, right? (asked only of Bing, because it was only relevant to them)

No.”

This is some pretty interesting data for those who are not sure whether they should hit the social media space.

 

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