Links, Content and RankBrain are the Top Dogs
Ever since the Panda, Penguin, Penguin 3.0, Mobilegeddon, Pigeon and all their modified algorithm updates have been released over the last few years, SEO’s and internet marketers have been up in arms about the changes to SEO and mainly how this would effect link building. Some even went as far as saying link building was dead and everything revolved around content. It was content, content, content (more on this later). This noise was nothing more than a bunch of hoopla by so-called professionals of my industry who didn’t bother to read between the lines or get off their humps to do a little research.
Back around December 2012 former head of Google’s web spam team, Matt Cutt’s, created a YouTube video explaining what they truly meant about link building. In the video he specifically stated that link building was still a significant factor in how Google determines the authority and ranking of a website. Then in October 2014 Matt Cutt’s released a second video regarding links and the quality guidelines surrounding links that point to your site. Again, links are still a crucial signal in how Google determines ranking as long as they are not built in a spammy manner. It was simple, you get caught implementing illegal links, buying links from link farms or try to manipulate rankings in a black hat way you would soon be hearing from Google.
When these discussions came about, to be honest, I didn’t read much into it. I had known for years (luckily I was trained in SEO the right way), that as long as you do things by the book, within Google’s guidelines, you would be fine. But just to be sure I began to look at this a little deeper.
I watched the Matt Cutts videos over and over. I also looked at his Twitter posts as well as his blog posts across the web. Had anybody taken the time to listen to what Matt was saying they would have realized that earning links from high domain authority websites would actually be of huge value to your website, it’s traffic and it’s keyword rankings. When websites that are relevant to your industry think your site is appealing and want to write content about you and link their site to yours that’s when your site starts to move up the ranking ladder. That’s when you start experiencing traffic spikes. And once you’ve put in the time and Google has begun to view your site as an authority to your industry, that’s when things start to stay consistent. Does that mean that you’ll never experience any traffic dips or rank position changes? No! Sometimes new algorithm updates and industry trends or seasonal trends can cause things to sway up or down from time to time, but that’s out of our hands and a part of the game. But when you stay consistent with earning high quality links from other high quality sites with solid domain authority these dips end up being very minor, meaning nothing to lose sleep over.
Then we have content. People have been saying content is everything when it comes to a website. I agree with this for sure, content will always be king! But again, we need to read between the lines. When creating a website the content of your site should clearly and specifically state who your are, what you do, the details that go into your services or why your products are beneficial, the areas you conduct business in, why you’re the best at what you do, and so on. You could even create a blog for your site, which I recommend by the way, and go into further detail about your services. If you really think about it I bet you could find a lot of things to talk about that your potential customers will find interesting. These are the types of things Google is referring to when they state content is one of their most important ranking signals.
But let’s get a couple things clear. It’s very true that your website needs to have great content and it has to be interesting to your audience. You wouldn’t want to visit a service website that you were interested in using only to see that their content on the site was very boring, unclear, too busy, or just way too long to read. When potential customers come to sites like this most of them bounce from the site and head on over to your competitors. See, this is where we read between the lines and I’ll put money on it that this will be the next future announcement. And what is it? Glad you asked! While having great content is awesome I feel that Google and a lot of my colleagues who are professional bloggers on sites like Moz or Search Engine Journal, along with a lot of internet marketers, forget to take in account that small business owners have time constraints and don’t have time to be creating unique content consistently. I believe somewhere in the near future Google will emphasize what they really mean by all this content talk and take into consideration the smaller business.
We all agree that good content is a must for every website. The problem is when SEO bloggers write about how content must be engaging and content must be added as much as possible, when they state these kinds of things, they’re mainly referring to national brands and other types of internet businesses that sell to a national or even global audience. This even pertains to link building (this will be another post down the road)! What they forget to take into account is that most small business owners, generally ones located in a specific city, don’t have the time to add new content to their site every single day. Small business owners are too busy running their businesses, managing employees, dealing with customers, and everything else that comes with running a small business.
Over the course of the years I have never seen a small business client lose any significant rank position because they weren’t blogging everyday. In fact, I’d even say as long as the content on the main portion of your site and all it’s sub service pages have clear, engaging content, you are going to be fine. Now, if you do have a blog and can post a couple times a month about your industry or services, that’s just icing on the cake. Also, when ever there are changes within your industry that effect your service descriptions within your sub pages you should always update the content of that service page to stay current and change with the times. If you stay on top of that you’ll be more than fine. Anything in addition to this, like I said about blogging from time to time, will just add to your success.
Recently on March 24th Google made the announcement and explained their 3 major ranking signals they use to determine rank position of a website. You can read more here.
The 3 factors are links, content and RankBrain. Haha!! Like I said way at the beginning of this post, Google never said that link building was dead or that it would get you penalized. They simply said that your links must be of high quality. I’ve been saying this for years now. The 2nd factor is content. I covered that above and again, yes content is very important, but don’t stress over needing to blog everyday. Focus on your site’s home page and all the main menu sub pages of the site. Make sure you perfect that content and that you have all the necessary call to actions. If your able to blog here and there then that’s even better. But remember, don’t read into “content” too much. I have yet to come across a client that has such horrible content it’s effecting their traffic or rankings.
The 3rd factor is RankBrain. This is something I’ll speak about in another blog post in the future. If you want to read about it now click the link above to go to the Google Rank Factor announcement and then click the high lighted word”RankBrain”. It’s pretty interesting where technology is going.
My point to this post was to demonstrate one thing. Regardless of what’s going on around all of us and within our industries, I’m am always watching over your sites, the progress they’re making, and SEO trends. I’m always looking to educate myself, improve, and implement anything new that I may have not known about. There’s no such thing as perfect or “the be all know all”. There’s always something you could be doing better. Always know this, I am always improving the quality of SEO, staying on top of the times, and I never take anyone’s word for it until I’ve researched it, applied it and drawn my own conclusions.