Dancing with the digital devil is one dance you want to sit out.
Recently my web person disappeared. I returned from a vacation and he was gone. It’s still not clear what happened, and I have been a bit upset that he did not complete the last project for me, which was link building. Link building refers to getting other websites to link back to your site. Traditionally, the more links to your site, the more important the search engines may believe it is, resulting in a higher search ranking.
However, things often work out in unexpected ways, and his disappearance may have actually been a blessing in disguise. This morning I read a blog by Marcus Sheridan, the face of content marketing, as I call him, and he says that link building may actually work against your efforts to enhance your search engine optimization (SEO). Apparently Google and the other major search engines have caught on that much of link building is sometimes nothing more than a way to essentially scam the search engine system. What’s now happening, according to Sheridan, is that the thousands of websites that have invested heavily in link-building services are being “Google slapped,” as he calls it.
In other words, not only are they not getting better rankings in Google, but they are actually being punished for trying. It almost sounds like playing a game with your taxes: when the government finally catches on to what you have done, not only do you have to pay the piper, but there are penalties and interest to boot.
So what does Sheridan suggest instead of link building?
It goes back to what we have been discussing for a couple of years now—good, old-fashioned, helpful content that educates customers who eventually trust you and your company, and with this trust come sales. To add credence to what he is saying, he points out that the website for his own company, which installs swimming pools, has gone from 2,000 to 320,000 visitors per month, not because of a link-building scam but because they are educating customers with words and videos.
Robert “Buzz” Kravitz is president of AlturaSolutions, which works extensively with B2B industries such as the professional cleaning, foodservice, hotel, hospitality, and Green-related manufacturers and organizations. Contact him at www.alturasolutions.com