In a recent Webmaster Hangout, a publisher posed a peculiar but common question. It took two years for his website to get ranked by Google. But within these two years, they did not do link building at all. So the question begged to ask, is link building necessary or a publisher just needs to focus on quality content. And the counter question remains, can we start with link building without quality content. Specifically meaning paid link building.
What is link building from Google perspective
You have a brand new website and you are going to seek professional help in announcing your presence to the world. There are just two possible ways to do it.
- Create unique and quality content for your readers
- Let people appreciate your work by dropping links back to your website aka back links
What is a back link
Pooja runs a food blog where she posts an article about the seasonal winter dish called Daulat ki Chat available in Chandni Chowk area of New Delhi. A lifestyle journalist from a reputed newspaper comes across the article and decides to write about it in the newspaper. She makes a reference to the article by Pooja and places a link to the article on the website of the newspaper.
This provides a back link to Pooja’s blog. This helps Google to understand that Pooja has created a quality content which a reputed newspaper has featured. Similarly readers of that newspaper have shared the article on social media and number of other places. All this linking has been picked up by Google crawlers and indexed.
Back link is unfortunately the only way for Google to know how popular is your website and content and how well are you promoting it.
How SEO experts have misused back links
When owner of any website takes the help of SEO expert, chances are that non existent and fake back links will be used to push up the rankings. An SEO expert manages to convince the website owner the shortcut to glory. This is how the modus operandi works.
SEO experts have tie ups with each other and some shady tie up with high ranking and high domain authority. This also includes a compromised website, who is not aware that links are now inserted artificially. SEO forums and groups are replete with webmasters boasting that they can provide high quality links or website are available for insertion of links. This is the point of worry for Google. Since link builders almost convince the website owners to skip creating quality content and pay for back links and link building. People also start dropping links to social media accounts, groups and comments. These are low quality link building techniques. Google wants something else.
How Google wants link building to happen
Link building is as good as promoting your website. As an owner, admin or webmaster you need to reach out to websites of similar categories or connecting businesses and announce to them that you have arrived! If your website is good and has enriching and quality content for people to read, it will get popular, no matter what. Of-course as promoter of the website, you will have to ask people to put in a good word, just like you would do in a real life store.
What Google is actually fighting
SEO experts have brought a bad name to the whole link business. Scores of SEO training academies just teach their students inorganic and unnatural link building. In turn when they reach out to clients, they sell this concept because they believe there is no other way. No SEO expert actually tells their client to create engaging content for their readers. The situation for Google reached such a extreme that in order to be relevant, they had to hit back. And they hit back hard rolling out the Panda updates since Feb 2011. Overnight in one massive sweep, all those websites with thin content, low quality and advertisement saturated and content farms, all lost their rankings. This also put scores of SEO experts out of business because Panda updates are still rolling out and Google is learning and closely watching.
To conclude, the answer is pretty simple and obvious. Always focus on high quality and original content and at the same time reaching out to the world to promote the same. Link building the natural way!