Link building of the future

Keep up with the very latest developments in the digital marketing world

By Guy Levine
on 18/7/08

In the previous posting we asked the question does traditional Link Building work?  The answer is no.  The question is then how do we Link Build not just for today but tomorrow?

First point to make is traditional link building is no longer that effective because it deals with the web of yesterday.  In fact if we look at the why our link building experiment failed the main problem is that directories deal with creating quantity, quantity in combination with other factors works but quantity in itself is not something that provides us with success.  The overwhelming problem with web directories is they actually provide a way of passing link juice or Page Rank on mass but as we saw in the experiment most of the pages on most of the directories are totally ineffective at actually getting spidered by Google, they basically fail at the first hurdle.

If we go back to some previous posts about Page Rank.  Recently we've had Guy's PR rant and a great quote I read from Google's Search Evangelist Adam Lasnik on Page Rank and there's also an older post Better Page Rank.

If we look at Adam's great quote then he states Page Rank was relevant to the web of yesterday, he stops at there are more factors but stops short of saying Page Rank is irrelevant but if he didn't work for Google that's where his quote would have naturally taken him.  In Guy's rant he asked the question do Google really care?  If you look at our web site the answer is no.  The answer to why that is get's back to the point that they know it's no longer relevant.  We know our Blog should be doing much better than a 0 and our site much better than a 1, our rankings in Google tell us that.

Page Rank is dead!  The king is dead, long live the king!  So who is the next king?

Adam says a few key things that give us and idea of what that is:

  • Relevance / Quality is now important not quantity.
  • In fact the goal of the query is relevance.
  • Audience factors are also key.

You may have heard the term Trust Rank before.  This sumises the fact that Google is instead looking for links it trusts.  What does that mean?  It means Google are basically looking at four factors:

The site - does Google trust the site?  Again if we go back to our experiment and we call this the first Google hurdle then web directories are mostly failing at this first hurdle.   You may have heard sites described as Authorative or Hubs, these are the two key factors in determining trust for a site.  Authorative sites have lots of links, particularly of quality to them and Hubs are sites that have lots of links to other sites again particularly of quality.  Going back to web directories how many would we say are authorative hubs?

Content is the second factor, what's the relevance between the content of the two sites is the question Google ultimately asks on this point. It doesn't matter in what context you see a link, you may be reading a great piece of copy on a great site but if the content suddenly turns and say oh btw I know this great site selling viagra, then every web user on the planet, including Google defines that as spam.  If it's not in context don't put it there.

Then there's the link itself, why is it there?  Again what's the relevance.

Lastly we have age factors, no one knows exactly what the exact factor of age and timing is in the Google algorithm.  We know age like a fine red wine is good.  We know if new links are suddenly disappearing that's not good. We also know that if your getting a bunch of links at the same time from the same old site that's not good, in fact if this in combination with other factors comes back negative, again Google consider that spam.  It's old web, one link is no longer one vote.  A bunch of links from the same web site in today's web is one vote if your lucky.  Lets put it into "web 2.0" context say there is a user on Technorati that is only liking to the same blog, no one else links to it and they don't link to much else either, do you think Google considers that spam?  Well not really because Technorati also consider that spam as well as all their users, think about this your not just hacking of Google, your hacking of Technorati and your probably most important of all hacking of the people in social networking sphere - that's a whole lot of hacked off people!  What would you assume in this sitatuin?  Well if your me your a user voting for your blog,  more than that your not commiting to the ideal of social networking and what you can't do is take and not give.  Given that situation do you think one user still equals one vote.  Well actually in these situations Google is going to give you a negative note.  That's right Google will take away one natural vote you've rightfully earned.  Harsh?  Not really!

We're almost forgetting what I think is the most important element of quality link building.  That is if you don't have quality content who is going to want to link to it in the first place?  Quality content not only makes generating quality links a whole lot easier but actually there's a point where that process becomes natural.  Ulimately if you want to link build and you want to do it properly in todays web that means focusing on your content should be your first step.