Easily the most famous and widely-regarded website comparison metric, Google’s PageRank value is becoming increasingly maligned by some webmasters (I suspect; however, not those with high PR!). Frankly; PageRank can sometimes seem inaccurate, although I strongly suspect Google knows what it’s doing. Google’s animal-kingdom algorithm changes are simply placing emphasis on different aspects of search engine optimization; in the past just a few backlinks would have been enough for any lucky webmaster to monopolize a niche. Today that’s of course a dream. Consider the different schemes for building backlinks that have had their time in the sun over the years:
Top Link Building Methods
1. Link exchanges. In the early days, link exchanges dominated the scene, because they were all that was necessary. Today; you’d have more luck skipping stones across the Atlantic to England from the East Coast than ranking well by using purely link exchanges – they really don’t work very well. A few dozen, when combined with other forms of link-building, such as article marketing and banners, will work quite well.
2. Blog commenting became quite dominant for awhile. But then people caught on (the human race tends to be good at that); and started leaving ‘weight loss’ backlinks on blog posts about ‘virtual data management with VMware’ and other such incompatible and transparent nonsense. And then, spam came to dominate. These actions may not have killed the effect of blog commenting, but they certainly have seriously wounded it. Nonetheless…today, blog commenting still gets you backlinks, but there’s no doubt the overall importance has been attenuated in Google’s overall algorithm. You’ve got to get literally thousands; from good to great websites usually, for them to be really effective – and you have to do it over time for a natural link-profile. If your content is good enough to get a handful of links from really high PR sites (perhaps 8 and above), then just a few will get your site ranked (very) favorably by the search engines.
3. Banner advertisements. These have always been important, because they give you direct traffic from the backlinks, as well as search engine boosts. The only notable difference is that now you’re paying for backlinks, because people will rarely let you place banners on their site for free, even if you do happen to attend the same meeting. ***Of course, if you provide a very useful service that everyone wants, such as counting the number of visitors to their website, then they will place the widget that does this on their website, giving you a backlink for ‘free’. In fact, this is what sites like Alexa and AddThis do, which is why they’re so prominent in cyberspace – everyone has their widget on their site!
4. Article marketing kind of took over for blog commenting, in terms of the importance in the search engine algorithm of Google. The great thing about this method of building backlinks is that it also serves the same function as banner advertisement, if you do it correctly and honestly. Article marketing will bring you direct traffic (for well-written and informative content), as well as raise your search engine ranking directly, placing you higher up in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). DO NOT forget to use really high quality article marketing in the form of guest blogging, which actually rates higher in the Google algorithm ever since the most recent Penguin update.
5. Content Marketing. I’m not sure the exact percentage this takes in the Google algorithm code (heck; if I knew that, I’d sell the information from a secret room in Microsoft Headquarters and buy Facebook with the change), but I can assure you it is significant. Perhaps Google’s reasoning is that, with the increase in spammy articles with article marketing, webmasters would be much more reluctant to post shoddy work on their sites. Thus, having a lot of good content matters and can raise your PageRank.
6. Update. Your. Blog. Frequently! Some high-interest websites can get away with languishing, precisely because they were originally so well-written that visitors to the sites still find them useful, even years later. If you have content that stays relevant because it is so comprehensive that nobody can reasonably improve on it, then congratulations: you’ve pretty much got passive income into perpetuity. Otherwise, you must contribute regularly to your blog; which means at least once-a-month.
Google’s post-Panda update’s called Penguin, and it has clearly placed more emphasis on websites that are worked on. Two of my pages shot up to PageRank 4 (here, and here) in just 3 months, which was unheard of before (some bloggers have complained that their suddenly-high-PR pages don’t have a correspondingly high amount of traffic; but c’mon let’s be serious: you’re not suddenly going to get ten times more traffic from one day to the next! This high PR will allow you to rank a lot higher in the SERPs, which will then – sometime later – lead to more visitors.)!
I usually work on my blog every two weeks; sometimes more, sometimes less. Even as new updates from Google come about every two months, you can expect stuff like this to become even more fine-tuned, so remember the sage advice about treating your blog like a job, and update your great content regularly…
7. Great content. This has always mattered; however, never as much as it does today, or will in the future. This had to be last because the old online adage rings truer than ever: Content is King. No matter what else you do, try and write well, and inform your audience. Always deliver on the promise of your title, because Google can tell when you don’t. How? Well; they listen to the readers!
In your Google Analytics profile, you’ve probably noticed by now in the Drilldown Content section, you can view how long visitors actually stay on any particular page of your site. When correlated with Bounce Rate, I imagine this tells Google all they need to know about whether the huge numbers of visitors are actually finding what they want. Therefore, if you’re really good at SEO, or really good at hiring people who are really good at SEO, but your content is spammy or uninformative, then people will be leaving your page almost as soon as they get there. In the past; this wasn’t the case – all you needed to rank highly was to get them there.
It isn’t possible to over-stress just how important Kingly Content is; not only will it withstand any update, there’s some evidence that it will help you rank early, and highly. My current blog (this one!) is only a few months old – just this year 2012, in fact – but nearly all the internal pages are already PR3, and two or three of them are PR4 (not surprisingly, I’m busy keeping spam off those. I’m quite happy to approve comments that don’t have a long list of unrelated URLs after them☻.
I completely understand and so am not at all angry at people who try to spam blogs for backlinks…but that doesn’t mean I will let it happen). I’m pretty sure these rank so highly because the content is captivating and fresh (I’m not saying this; the time-on-page from Google Analytics is telling me this!!). You guys are, on average, staying on some of these pages up to 3 times longer than I would guess they take to read. Thanks☺.
Well; that’s about it for now. Just remember that Content is King, so be sure to spend time crafting your posts and not outsourcing them to be written, unless you’ve got some damn good writers who always keep the audience in mind first; search engine spiders second. They both can read, but advertisers are only marketing to one of them, and this is what matters most to Google.
Thanks for reading, and please take a moment to leave any relevant comments that come to mind below. Place your link in the Website box; avoid leaving any hyperlinks in the comment box itself that don’t link to relevant content, or the comment itself will not be approved. Thanks!!
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