In Feb / Mar 2012, Google started de-indexing private blogging networks whose sole purpose was to provide backlinks to their paying members. You paid to join the blog networks and they would provide you thousands of backlinks from their network of blogs to your website. That made your website look like a popular site to Google and they would rank it higher in searches as compared to other competing sites. It worked for a while but not any more. There is a lot of information out there as to what private blog networks were, their pros and cons and why they have been de-indexed so let’s not spend too much time on that.
The question is, is link building dead? Should we not link any more. What about forum postings? Are forum accounts dead too? I’m not sure that forum accounts worked in the first place. Using robots to create thousands of forum profiles with links back to your website or your satellite sites doesn’t fool anyone, least of all search engines. Remember, they have a lot of smart people working for them.
So should you stop spending time on forums and posting on blogs? Not at all. Participate in forums for real. Pick a few forums that are about the subject matter that interests you and actively participate. When you do, people will pay attention to you and some will follow you to your website / blog. The same is true for blog commenting. No more canned posts. Use Google Alerts or similar to locate blogs writing about your areas of interest, read the posts and genuinely contribute. People will follow you to your blog.
Will that generate traffic? Yes. It won’t be a river of traffic that mass link builders promised but it will be genuine traffic, i.e., people who really are interested in you and your services.
What else will it do it for you? If people like you for real, they will spread the word about you, not through massive forum profiles and private blog networks but through social media.
Google and Bing realize that the web is becoming more of an interactive social place and the more people talk about your site, the higher your page should rank in searches – all else being equal. I repeat, all else being equal. There are a quite a few factors that go in search rankings so don’t get carried away by just one thing.
Social interaction and the recency of activity (is there such a word) are starting to weigh more. Two years ago, Twitter hired a senior search executive from Google. Why? Twitter is about what’s happening now and Twitter search provides you information that is very current.
Bing heavily uses Facebook data – it’s also about what’s happening now.
Google has experimented with Wave and Buzz and now Google Plus is evolving.
Search engines historically have been focused on the depth of data – how much data they have indexed and how best to server that to searchers and deliver exactly what they are looking for. That is changing towards what is happening now? The term ‘trending’ sounds familiar?
Social interaction may be the now and the near future. However; most SEO practitioners see it through their SEO lenses as that is what their background is and they try to use it as a link building tool. I am glad their links are generally No Follow.
I am coming to the realization that for social interaction, we may need a different type of professional. Someone who is less technical and more of a people person. Does it make nerds obsolete?
Do I have ideas? Yes some and over the coming months I will share them with you. It will take a good bit of experimentation but that’s what keeps life interesting.
Do you have some ideas? Have you conducted some experiments? How were your results? Feel free to share them below.