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Why SEO Is Going Back To “Web Mastering”

You know those emails that you get all the time offering “Link building for $99 a month”. Well, we got the first one yesterday offering “Professional Link Removal $99 a month”. High farce? Yep. But you are probably going to have to consider this new offer if you did indeed take up their first offer.

The reason? Google now aggressively penalises sites that have links which do not appear to be naturally obtained. Google has spent an enormous amount of money to automatically detect unnatural link building strategies. Thus there is a high element of risk that the link building strategy will harm your rankings. So Link Building, if done the wrong way, which is the way these services have been offered, is now officially a VERY BAD thing to do.

If you have relied on unnatural links from a heap of other websites chances are your website is now copping a beating in rankings.

Google made several changes to the way it sees these inbound links last year (Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird updates). Why? Because a lot of people (especially those spammy offers from India) started abusing the fact Google gave credibility to inbound links and low quality sites started creeping into the search results.

As we’ve said before, Google’s business model is to provide the best search results. Full stop. If that quality starts to drop, they change the algorithm. And that’s what they’ve done with linking. What was happening was these Link Builder providers were creating their own “farms” of websites and adding your links amongst them.

The websites they built served essentially no other purpose than to provide a place to put links. So Google started analysing the sites and doing two things: if you were lucky they simply stopped giving your website the kudos for that link. However, if you have a heap of these inbound links, and they start actually looking hard at your website, they may apply a penalty to your site. Ouch.

Even if you were lucky, you are going to see a decent drop in your rankings if link building was a significant proportion of your SEO strategy. So what do you do? Well the answer to that is to say “the same as we always have” here at Kook. Keep adding rich content to your site and focus on On-Site Optimisation.

We are not saying for a second that link building does not work. But the level of investment required to create a natural link building strategy is now much higher than it used to be and for our customers we have found the return on investment is focusing on good quality content and the structure on the site, such as regular on-site blog posting, thereby encouraging readers to link to your site in a more natural way.

Content Is Still King

On-Site Optimisation is the process of reviewing and tweaking site content to improve conversion rates and give your site the best chance to rank well organically (naturally, without further paid advertising). The number one strategy is to continue to evolve and expand your site’s content.

We also look at something that is often overlooked, which is the Site Architecture and Data Structure, site authority such as Google Places, user experience (such as load times, mobile usability). A perfectly worded article for search engines might mean that humans don’t stay on the page because it’s boring to read, and Google then looks at the time spent on the page and says “well it must be boring” and will adapt accordingly.

Yes, Google is that smart.

Of course, we also list relevant keywords, as suggested by Google’s various keyword planning tools, and then splitting and integrating these in numerous locations such as page text, page titles, behind-the-scenes meta tags and more. Google Analytics basically no longer shows full search keyword data in its statistics. One of the reasons for this – we believe – is that if you can analyse the data to this level then you can skew it accordingly.

So it requires a pretty switched-on analysis,  record-keeping and then the ability to know what elements to change to refine and grow your traffic. Most importantly it includes the evaluation of current ranking / traffic patterns, developing an understanding of the site’s key influences in Google’s ranking algorithm and tweaking content to make the most of influences. Other items covered as part of this service are correcting any missing links, 404 errors, improving main heading attributes, looking at heading tag saturation and modifying accordingly.

If you want more advice on this topic give us a call any time.

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