If you are at least somewhat familiar with SEO and how it works, then you do not have to be told that link building is an effective way to improve your rankings for keywords of your choice.  There is no doubt that “link juice” has been a driving force behind many SEO experts’ plan of action when trying to rank for specific keywords, but that’s all about to change with the implementation of Google’s new algorithm updates.

Google is an unpredictable machine and sometimes can seem overwhelming to those who are not experienced with its unpredictability.  In the last couple months, Google has release two game changing algorithm updates.  Penguin and Panda are Google’s attempt to give their users the best and least “spammy” experience as possible.  What’s this mean to you? Well simply put, content is king and massive low quality link building has one foot in the grave.

Content has always been an important part of any SEO strategy, but now the importance has been amped up with these new updates.  Google is attempting to do away with small, spammy sites.  They believe that their viewers do not want to visit small sites with little or low quality content.  Seems reasonable right?  Google thinks so, which is why they are taking steps to eliminate spam on a massive level.  Things like Exact Name Domains and massive unnatural low quality links are causing, once high ranking, spam sites to slowly creep down the rankings to make way for higher quality websites.

So What Can We Do?

None of this means that optimization is dead.  All it means is that we need to get better.  Rather than putting up a site in a few days and working it right into a link building campaign, we need to focus more on what we are putting on the website.  Your website needs to have content CLOSELY related to the exact keywords you are targeting.  It is a big “no-no” when Google sees you are trying to rank for Los Angeles Health Insurance, but all your website says you are located in Orange County and you sell Car Insurance.  I know the keyword looks enticing with its’ huge search volume, but it will in the long run you will not do much business from a word that is not targeted and you also run a risk of being sandboxed by Google.  Google wants their visitors to find what they are looking for, so keep it targeted and you should be just fine.

Other things to make sure of when you are optimizing the content on your website:

  • Make sure your site is loading quickly and correctly
  • Are you using Geo targeting features in your Google Webmaster Account?
  • Are you sure that the robots.txt file is not blocking any important pages of your website?
  • Are you sure that your website does not have any duplicate Meta data?
  • Do you have any broken links?
  • Do you have custom 404 pages?
  • Make sure all the pages are accessible to search engines.
  • Create an XML sitemap and get it submitted in Google Webmaster Tools

Now that you have done your best to create quality content, you can begin link building.  Yes, I know that I just spent the first half of this article talking about how Google is cutting down on unnatural link building.  This has not changed in the last 300 words, but what Google REALLY wants to see is your QUALITY content being linked by QUALITY links.  It’s simple, stop buying 5000 comment links and instead buy 50 high PR links from quality websites.  These links are sometimes more expensive and the quantity will not be there, but they carry tons of “link juice” that Google responds well too.

So what have we learned? 

Well we now know that the days of cutting corners are over and we have to take a few extra minutes to create content that is not only relevant, but worth-while to your visitors.  You need to go for quality links rather than massive amounts of low quality links, so that Google can truly gage the true importance of your content to the visitor’s search.  Most of all, we have learned that we must always strive to get better if we want to succeed in business and in life.

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