The vast majority of business owners today are aware of the importance of SEO and how it’s crucial to work towards higher search engine rankings as part of their digital marketing. After all, in today’s highly digitized market, it’s imperative to be high in search engine rankings in order to stay on top of your competitors and attract more traffic to your website. Having high SEO ranking is how you are able to attract potential customers and clients to your products and services. This is why it’s so important to learn about the various aspects of SEO and be informed in order to make the best decisions for your company site so that you can rank. Being updated about link spam and the various ways it can impact your SEO ranking is one of the important elements of your overall SEO strategy. Link spam is one of three different types of spam that Google is trying to combat in a newly released webspam report. Other types of spam that the report discussed include spam on sites that have been hacked as well as user-generated spam. Read on to learn more about how Google has fought these different types of spam in the last year. MyCity Social provides premium backlink service for your SEO efforts as a top SEO company Miami business owners rely on. Call MyCity Social for your SEO needs today to grow your business and brand!
Link Spam and What It Means
While links are what the internet is built on, and are like the synapses between the neurons of your brain- they connect sites of information to each other. However, it’s important to keep in mind that not all links are natural or helpful to your brand and company site. As Google has taken the lead in using link signals to drive its algorithm, many websites have tried to manipulate rankings with unnatural linking practices, and we’ve discussed the ways that Google has been fighting this manipulation above. When Google first came on the scene and began to build their search engine, they determined the quality of a website through using the site backward. As people on the internet began to learn this, they also began to understand how Google was using this information and many people out there just started building links for the sake of building links. The ultimate result of all of this link building was that there would be a lot of bad links pointing to their site, with the goal of quantity over quality. Google started to realize that link building, even from non-quality sites, was becoming an easy way for webmasters to manipulate the search results, and they began to fight back with link spam fighting tactics.
The first major tactic that Google employed with fighting link spam was the Google Penguin update. Penguin was targeting these link farm sites and low-quality directories. While there are many directories out there that are high-quality and that you should definitely utilize in building links, a bad or low-quality directory or a spamming directory will be targeted by Google as they are looked at as link spam sources. Google was also looking at the number of anchor text and the way that they were using their anchor text in links. It’s important for you to have your keyword in the anchor text, but you want it to be done in a natural way. You don’t want your anchor text to be overused, as if it is repeated over and over again it can really flag the signal. Another thing that they started to do early at Penguin was to look at the location of a link. For example, if your site is supposed to be based in the US, but a majority of the site links are coming from Russia, China, or Denmark, from places where you obviously don’t have a lot of clientele, then it’s a red flag to Google and they will flag you for link spam.
So what exactly is link spam, and how can it affect Google guidelines and the way that search engines respond to your SEO efforts? Google defines any type of link buiilding practice that violates Google’s webmaster gudielines as link spam. The value of links as a search ranking factor is stressed by Google as they explain the reasons why it’s so crucial for them to combat link spam in the report that they issued. “We continued to protect the value of authoritative and relevant links as an important ranking signal for Search.” Google notes that particularly egregious link spam is dealt with swiftly and severely, and a number of inorganic link building practices commonly utilized by various websites were made much less effective last year in an effort to fight link spam by search engines. Basically, Google’s report explained that it “made a number of bad linking practices less effective for manipulating ranking.” Moreover, in the recent report, Google also highlights its efforts in webmaster and SEO outreach. “Above all, we continued to engage with webmasters and SEOs to chip away at the many myths that have emerged over the years relating to linking practices.” What Google is trying to explain to various internet webmasters and SEOs is that the premier way to not end up getting penalized for link spam is to avoid building links primarily as an attempt to rank better. Understanding how Google sorts out and penalizes spam is important for SEOs who aren’t using a premium backlink service such as MyCity Social in order for them to avoid being penalized and maintain or climb search engine rankings.
Google fought webspam in the past year in various ways, and the report highlighted several of these ways. Here we will break down what Google was communicating and what to be aware of in your SEO efforts and digital marketing strategies. First of all, Google notes thaht less than 1% of results visited by users are for spammy pages, making them a vast minority when it comes to search results. There has also been an 80% reduction on the amount of impact that user-generated spam has on search users. In 2018 Google has received over 180,000 search spam user reports, and of the 180,000 search spam user reports that Google received, they took action on 64% of the reports that it processed. Over 186 million messages was sent by Google to website owners regarding their site’s appearance in search results, and around 2%- or about 4 million- of the messages Google sent were related to manual actions. What does this mean? That Google is trying to be more proactive about link spam and more interactive with legitimate webmasters, and you are able to take advantage of that.
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So now that you know what Google is doing about spammy sites, what can you do as a webmaster to build credit with Google and how can you utilize strong link-building techniques? Let’s start with some beginner techniques that you can use to build links so that you are able to expand your site. First of all, you can consider utilizing your alumni site. The majority of college sites (or standalone alumni websites) have a section of their site dedicated to their alumni. And some of these sites also link out. If you are the alumni of a university or sports team, for example, link your profile page to your brand website. University websites are considered high-trust websites, making links that come from these sites to your company page more trustworthy and valuable in Google’s eyes.
In a similar train of thought, you can also directly ask people you know for links. This can include everybody from friends, relative, employees, colleagues, business partners, clients… the list goes on! More and more people in today’s digital age are creating their own sites and blogs, or are in touch with people who do, so it can very helpful to reach out and ask about them possibly putting in some links towards your site. Of course, it’s also important that you get links from relevant websites. After all, if the links to your company website aren’t relevant to whatever products and services you offer or of interest for your potential clients and customers, then having a link from them will not have that much of an impact. Moreover, whoever sees a link that is not appealing to your target demographics will probably pass it by. You should also be specific with your link sharing if you are going to ask somebody to backlink to your site, as you shouldn’t be afraid to let your outreach targets know exactly where you want your link to go. Asking somebody to put your link in a specific location if they’ve already agreed to link your site is not being pushy, but actually being considerate. If you don’t tell them where to put it, you’re forcing them to figure out where you want your link to go and they have to do extra work for you. Avoid this mistake and let them know exactly where you want your link to go.
Blog commenting is also a great way for you to get backlinks, as although blog comments don’t lead directly to dofollow links, they are still a great way to get on a blogger’s radar screen, which CAN lead you to these links. Make sure that you are commenting thoughtful, relevant comments on the blogs that could be of interest to your potential customers and clients, or if their bloggers would potentially be interested in your content. Being on a blogger’s radar is a great way to get backlinks, and if you have a blog, you can also submit it to various blog directories. You can also submit your site link to other directories, which are basically a free way for you to get your link out there and backlinked from relevant, trusted websites. The Chamber of Commerce is a great directory, and getting a link from your Chamber of Commerce is a guaranteed link just waiting for you to get. Sometimes, though, it can take a little bit of time for you to figure out the right person that you need to get in touch with. Just like general web directories and blog directories, another type of directory you can submit your blog or company site to are company directory submissions. You should continue to focus on getting links from high-relevant sites, just like with most submission-based tactics. For example, if you are a startup in NYC, then you will want to get listed in the business directory for NYC startups + tech.
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When it comes to link spam, Google is combating the issue with a myriad array of ways, among them being more proactive with webmasters. There are plenty of legitimate and useful ways to build backlinks in order to improve your SEO ranking. MyCity Social is a top SEO Company Miami business owners rely on, and provides a premium backlink service for our clients. Call MyCity Social today for a consultation to expand your digital marketing efforts!