Un-Natural Google Links cuz You’re Naughty…
I just watched a webinar with SEO Braintrust – I like those guys. It motivated me to make this post. Its sort of a combo of my thinking and theirs (as I understand it)…
If you’ve received an unnatural links notice from Google recenlty, remember you haven’t necessarily been penalized. It takes a manual review by a person to de-index you. BUT, if you have been relying on a bad link network, those links have now been nuked, so obviously you have less links to your site now… so naturally you would lose rankings.
Now if you have ALSO done a lot of good linking practices, those links will still count, so you may only drop a few places. It depends on how heavily you were relying on the naughty links. And keep in mind, during this time, your competitor may have been doing things right, so it makes sense that he now passed you.
Google’s TOS says you cannot use the automatic distribution of poor quality content in order to inflate anchor text and links. So everyone knows what they’re doing. If you’re playing on thin ice, you know that ice may crack at any time. Its up to you. You may get lucky. You may stay under the radar.
Keep in mind, when google finds a forum that has 5 posts in the past month but 100k new profiles, its pretty obvious that they will either slap a “don’t trust” label on that forum, or they may de-index it altogether. Either way, your links are nuked.
You may get links from directories, profiles, forums, blog comments, sponsored reviews, guest posting, social, press releases, videos, etc – but if you go overboard on any one, they may go away and you’ll fall.
If you seriously never want to worry about rankings dropping, here is what you would need to do… now keep in mind on some sites I still personally use tools like UAW and some profiles, blog commenting, guest posts, sponsored reviews, etc, but I diversify so that if any of those things get killed overnight, I don’t drop too far. But when I do those things, I always try to add value – my articles dont suck, my comments are relevant to the post, I use my profile to leave decent comments in the forum, etc. (this may be considered by some as grey hat – whatevs)
But here’s what you do for real staying power, completely white hat:
Do press releases about stuff that is actually interesting on your site, not BS. If you aren’t interesting, get interesting.
Become facebook or twitter friends with similar sites, retweet for them, fb like them, converse with them, engage with them, advertise with them, follow the people that follow them, etc. Make these people like you.
Make cool youtube videos and share them… link bait.
Run contests and polls and share the results… link bait.
Give away ebooks, videos, the results of a case study, or do a hard hitting, controversial review of a product, anything of value. Link bait.
Try to get links from the same places as your competitors. Stalk them. Do what they do, while continuing to make them look good at the same time, and conversing with them.
An example at my site BringTheFresh.com is Greg Morrison – this guy has done nealy $1mil in the past 8 months or so, using our advice, and he’s given us plenty of proof and testimonials – he makes us look good – obviously we’d do just about anything for him at this point… and the same goes for others who are doing the same, whether or not they’ve mad $5k, or $500k. If they make us look good over and over, we want to help them. Don’t you think it works the same with SEO?
Many seo companies don’t have a “link building” division. They do marketing or events for their clients that lead to organic links like press releases, polls, events, case studies, a controversial opinion piece, etc. Even if its just a meme photo that gets shared. Its all legitimate link bait.
Think about the site “Cracked.com“. Take a look at their articles and tell me if they get backlinks all day. Its an obvious yes. Take a look at a company on facebook called Dayuum. They get huge interaction from just posting cool pics for guys.
Like Dan Thies says, he would pay $100+ or more per article for world class writing – because people will link back to it. LINK BAIT.
Think about what Google wants – they want stuff that they don’t already have in their index. They want unique value. Sure they screw up, but thats what they ultimately want. They don’t want less value.
If content is awesome, it will get links. Obviously, this is a much slower process than most people who want to get rich overnight or rank #1 overnight… which is why I do some greyish hat stuff on some sites. But if it stops working, I move on… I never have my stuff depend on any ONE thing too much…
Its not just SEO – your email list management company may dump you tomorrow, your merchant account may close your account without notice… STUFF happens. You need to be ready with a backup plan at all times.
If you don’t think you can create good content or hire someone for it, consider “content curation”. You can use a snippet from the original source, and/or a link, and just add your commentary. As long as your commentary far outweighs the original content, it now becomes original content, and its also an easy way to get inspiration for your writing. Adding in related youtube videos, etc can also be a good idea, or better yet, create your own.
Good content, participation, and link bait builds you an AUDIENCE. And your audience gets you links.
But if you wanna go the fast, risky route of 1000 profile links, an exact match domain, little competition, and little content, thats fine. Just don’t think the site will last forever, and don’t whine if it disappears. Just be thankful for the time that it was ranked and any money you DID make. Thats why launch jacking is so cool. By the time the ban hammer gets around to you, you’ve already cashed out.
Now carry on, and remember the sky is always falling… (if you remember the Google “Florida” update of 2003 then you understand)