SEO and Linkbuilding: We're All Blackhat Now
Google is knocking all the good guys down a rung with its latest algorithm update. Recently, Google announced that it will be making changes to its search algorithm to give websites that aren't using the latest SEO tactics a chance to be seen in the search engines. The promised changes could bump "over-optimized" websites down and reward websites that are "under-optimized."
That makes everyone basically a blackhat marketer now. Why? Well for years, Google told us to optimize our website. Optimize, optimize, optimize. make it easy for users to navigate. Make it easy for Google to crawl. Fill your website with keywords (without stuffing). Use anchor text when linking back to your homepage.
If you've done all of this optimization, you may end up being kicked down to page 2 or even 3 of Google and you may find your lazy competitors pushed up to the first page of Google. Remember all of those articles you published with your anchor text? Remember all of the links you built using anchor text? Well, those links will be de-duplicated. Translation? Your anchor text backlinks aren't worth what they used to be. According to Google:
"We look at a number of signals when generating a page’s title. One signal is the anchor text in links pointing to the page. We found that boilerplate links with duplicated anchor text are not as relevant, so we are putting less emphasis on these. The result is more relevant titles that are specific to the page’s content."
Congratulations! Google will now treat your SEO and linkbuilding efforts the same way they treat blackhat strategies. We're all blackhatters now. It doesn't matter that Google told you to use relevant anchor text in the past. Its algo is changing. You had better change with it or suffer the consequences. What can you do to protect your website from losing traffic?
Use Old-School Linkbuilding
Do you remember the 1990s? You need to go back in time and start doing things the old fashioned way. No, there's no need to drag out the M.C. Hammer pants. What you need to do is start building plain old links to your homepage and to subpages. Links like www.yourdomainname.com will help you rank for the keywords on your site.
Google will start looking at citations more than they used to. Yes, they use citations for local search, but there is some evidence that non-hyperlinked keywords will also have a bearing on your rankings for national searches. A citation is just a mention. Yes, plain old text. Google has always been fairly good at parsing websites to determine content and context. In fact, that's the whole basis for its ad network. Now it seems like they want to put more emphasis on it for its organic search results. So, don't worry so much about anchor text. Worry more about being relevant.
Buy Website Traffic
The easiest way to combat a drop in your organic rankings is to start buying web traffic. Banner ads, pay-per-click ads, and any other lead generation strategies are much more reliable than organic traffic. You get to control the text, the landing page, and can see instant (or near instant) results from your ad campaigns.
What About The Future?
Will Google change its mind in the future? Probably. The big G tends to make changes whenever spam artists and blackhatters find a way to game its algorithm. As an honest and ethical Internet marketer, your only option is to either return to paid traffic or roll with the punches.