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Thursday, January 30, 2014

Link Building –Dead or Alive!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

The recent news of Google taking down yet another link network like Buzzea has drawn my attention to write this post, though after a couple of months. Matt Cutts, Google’s head of search spam, time and again, releases videos warning a no notorious practice of link building either via guest postings or directory submissions. While such advice is not new, the reality is different. There is a gap between a 'do follow' and a 'no follow' advice!  
Image Courtesy: 3quarksdaily
Audience Reaction Matters -Frankly speaking, I’m not a big fan of such link building practice. Nevertheless, I don’t mind if content fetches a few backlinks as people, if they find value, share, and like the post on social media. It all depends on audience in a long tail digital channel –whether they consume, or vomit our ‘produce’. 
Audience Reaction (AR) is very important, and this should matter to all of us in real sense. While Google is going semantic and the socially connected network is pacing up with the TIME machine, what holds back these SEO agencies is the lack of ‘applied knowledge’ to adapt to these changes! 
Are We STUPID? Yes, there is always some cause-effect relationship, and this is how search industry works. Algorithms are dark. Nothing new, we all know. Nevertheless, we get into such dark tunnel. The more we get into, the more we discover it darker, indeed, darker than black! The end result -we are made to look STUPID. Not sure why such silliness when the light of hope is actually outside the tunnel!
False Promise - We all know ‘ranking’ is the dirtiest and false promise the agencies make, basically to hold a client in a hope to deliver low cost marketing solution for audience acquisition, a promise easy to make, but difficult to deliver these days! 

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Ranking delights us, but it may not infuse a new life to a drooping business, which could be due to exogenous factors.   
Link Building as a First Aid Box?- I have heard of many clients looking at the top 3 organic results on Google, and perceive them as competitors taking the cream while they, being not there, are losing the opportunity.
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There could be some reality, but don’t sound very prominent. Some of them even point out at SEO agencies and cite examples of a few sites on the top of Google for not adapting to the “current scenario”, yet they rank high. And, SEO agencies, at their fingertips, look at the link popularity as a first aid box, and suggest them to build a robust link structure to outrank them. Not sure if this salvages, but one thing is certain –those on the top of the search engine are not adapting to the “human factors” of Google may likely to see a big impact down the line, and those who have adapted need a little patience.  

Matt Cutts’ on Link Building- Thanks to Matt Cutts whose video is a direct answer to such clients’ query and less convincing recommendations of SEO agencies for enhancing the link counts! Matt, in this video released on 27th Jan, 2014 discards such speculation, and instead, suggests us to focus on taking a fresh look at the website.

Matt Cutts indicated that there are many old sites that are in the range of about 15 years old and while that is a good thing, some of these sites have their original design templates and have not done much to their sites to improve things over the years. They have never redesigned the site, never updated the user interfaces, never added new features for their users, etc. If you want to stay competitive, Matt said you need to take a “fresh” look at your site and keep upgrading, tweaking, improving the site and the user experience. Search Engine Journal has published the story here
Link Building for Social Utility- While I don’t deny the importance of growing organic links, and I love David Amerland’s 3 tips on building links, I hardly seem to be satisfied with SEO agencies on their suggestion to produce ‘just’ content, video, or articles to syndicate solely for link baits. Producing content is not easy, as many of us think. We need to see if a valuable piece we produce gets some value for our audience. Our job, in fact, should be, to produce anything for social utility, and leave it onto our audience for a hit or miss! 
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Cost Effective vs Low Cost Solutions - Clients always look at the things from a business perspective, and try exploring a low cost marketing solution, sometimes even short cut solution, which they find in SEO as a substitute of PPC or some other channels, which I believe, does more harm than good to their business. It’s unfortunate, we being gullible, end up in recommending a low cost and quicker solution too, such as producing low quality video, or audio or article, and do refer them to some low cost services such as fiverr, and what not!
While I have no grudge against the site like fiverr, in fact, such site offers something valuable for users, but unfortunately we have misused them so much that gets them a bad name. Personally, I find a big chunk of gigs out there are junks, and hence a bad reputation we have built online. At time, when Google is taking down a link network like Buzzea, and Hummingbird, in my belief, targets a site like fiverr, we must be cautious, and do a thorough research before referring them to clients. It’s very tough to find a needle from haystack, especially from such sites, better we should avoid, or use them at your risk!  


  1. The fact is not only Google, but a SEO like Mr.Bruce Clay is also of the same opinion. I attended one of his live classroom training in Gurgaon and when asked almost the same type of questions, the answer was to NATURAL LINK BUILDING and trying to look or act like anything else is deceptive and hence SPAMMY.


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