Keeping Pace with Google Search Algorithms and Best Practices in Link Building

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Keeping Pace with Google Search Algorithms and Best Practices in Link Building

January 13, 2019
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Every year, Google’s ranking algorithm undergoes big changes that website managers and SEO experts ought to keep pace with. These updates are not perfect on their own, but cumulatively they play a fundamental role in helping users find the best results for their queries.

While some of the changes are dramatic, others are so tiny that they often go unnoticed. One of the most difficult and important tasks that SEO strategists and online marketers are faced with is the regular adjustments to be made in light of these updates.

A Snapshot of the Recent Algorithm Updates

In the recent years, Google has made some prominent updates in an attempt to address some flaws that were affecting the quality of search queries. To get a sense of the magnitude of these updates and what Google was trying to accomplish, below is a list of the top updates made.

Panda – This was released on February 24, 2011. It sought to address problems linked with duplicate or weak content, plagiarism, user-generated spam, and keyword stuffing.

Penguin – Released on April 24, 2012, this update addressed problems associated with over optimization of anchor text and spamming or irrelevant links.

Hummingbird – Low quality content and keyword stuffing have been consistent problems that internet users have had to grapple with. Hummingbird update which was released on August 22, 2013, sought to address these specific issues with an aim to discourage their recurrence.

Pigeon – This algorithm update went straight on to the heart of SEO both on and off page. Released on June 24, 2014, Pigeon update sought to fix weaknesses in SEO approaches.

Mobile – The use of mobile has grown tremendously, and many surfers prefer accessing websites using their mobile devices. To ensure mobile users have optimized experiences, Google released a mobile update on April 21, 2015.

RankBrain – Artificial intelligence and machine learning are two of the major advancements in technology. RankBrain released on October 26, 2015 is concerned about the implementation of these technologies into the algorithm more than addressing specific website issues.

Fred – This is the latest update released on March 8, 2017. It is focused on content and mainly on ad-centered, thin, and affiliate heavy content.

Tracking Algorithm Updates

Algorithm changes directly impact SEO tactics and strategies. It is therefore imperative that website managers and SEO experts stay on top of these changes as they roll out. Failure to track these updates can hugely affect the following:

  • Return on investment
  • Organic search traffic
  • Search engine ranking
  • Revenue
  • Conversions

There are different resources that can help you track updates. Some of them include:

Twitter Updates – Twitter has industry-focused community discussions involving detailed analyses that may not be shared promptly on other channels. Some of the top Twitter handles to follow are John Mueller (@johnmu), Barry Schwartz (@rustybrick), Marie Haynes (@marie_haynes), and Glenn Gable (@glenngabe). These Twitter handles belong to marketing consultants, search geeks, and webmasters who regularly update actionable search engine insights.

You could also check out blogs on Search Engine Journal, Search Engine Land, and Moz Blog. These sites have insightful and effective tips, tutorials and guides as well as algorithm update highlights.

Link Building is Not Dead

Algothim updates and tweaks are not punishments by Google but rather a way of rewarding websites that provide helpful and relevant content. Link building which has often been targeted through algorithm updates still remains one of the most powerful off-page SEO strategies. As long as you follow the best practices, link building can boost your revenue and search results.

Google confirmed that links alongside great content are the topmost ranking factors. Through the Penguin Update, spammy links are filtered and websites penalized. When it comes to link building Google has best practices that must be followed for success online.

Reciprocal Linking

This is where you do a link exchange with a goal to raising your website profile. Excessive reciprocal linking can lead you to the algorithm black hole where you are penalized. While link exchange is not bad, do it moderately.

Article Marketing and Guest Posting

Google highly considers content written by others or on other people’s sites which link back to your website. However, the links should be natural. When you stuff anchor text with commercial keyword phrases, you could end up in trouble. Aim for navigational phrases or brand keywords.

Web Directory Links

Directories are designed to provide useful information to third parties including your potential customers. That said, there are some directories that have no real value to users and as such Google has expunged them from their search results. Don’t use such directories for link building. Instead, aim for relevancy by linking in niche and informative directories.

Buying Links

Do not buy links to impro

Every year, Google’s ranking algorithm undergoes big changes that website managers and SEO experts ought to keep pace with. These updates are not perfect on their own, but cumulatively they play a fundamental role in helping users find the best results for their queries.

While some of the changes are dramatic, others are so tiny that they often go unnoticed. One of the most difficult and important tasks that SEO strategists and online marketers are faced with is the regular adjustments to be made in light of these updates.

A Snapshot of the Recent Algorithm Updates

In the recent years, Google has made some prominent updates in an attempt to address some flaws that were affecting the quality of search queries. To get a sense of the magnitude of these updates and what Google was trying to accomplish, below is a list of the top updates made.

Panda – This was released on February 24, 2011. It sought to address problems linked with duplicate or weak content, plagiarism, user-generated spam, and keyword stuffing.

Penguin – Released on April 24, 2012, this update addressed problems associated with over optimization of anchor text and spamming or irrelevant links.

Hummingbird – Low quality content and keyword stuffing have been consistent problems that internet users have had to grapple with. Hummingbird update which was released on August 22, 2013, sought to address these specific issues with an aim to discourage their recurrence.

Pigeon – This algorithm update went straight on to the heart of SEO both on and off page. Released on June 24, 2014, Pigeon update sought to fix weaknesses in SEO approaches.

Mobile – The use of mobile has grown tremendously, and many surfers prefer accessing websites using their mobile devices. To ensure mobile users have optimized experiences, Google released a mobile update on April 21, 2015.

RankBrain – Artificial intelligence and machine learning are two of the major advancements in technology. RankBrain released on October 26, 2015 is concerned about the implementation of these technologies into the algorithm more than addressing specific website issues.

Fred – This is the latest update released on March 8, 2017. It is focused on content and mainly on ad-centered, thin, and affiliate heavy content.

Tracking Algorithm Updates

Algorithm changes directly impact SEO tactics and strategies. It is therefore imperative that website managers and SEO experts stay on top of these changes as they roll out. Failure to track these updates can hugely affect the following:

  • Return on investment
  • Organic search traffic
  • Search engine ranking
  • Revenue
  • Conversions

There are different resources that can help you track updates. Some of them include:

Twitter Updates – Twitter has industry-focused community discussions involving detailed analyses that may not be shared promptly on other channels. Some of the top Twitter handles to follow are John Mueller (@johnmu), Barry Schwartz (@rustybrick), Marie Haynes (@marie_haynes), and Glenn Gable (@glenngabe). These Twitter handles belong to marketing consultants, search geeks, and webmasters who regularly update actionable search engine insights.

You could also check out blogs on Search Engine Journal, Search Engine Land, and Moz Blog. These sites have insightful and effective tips, tutorials and guides as well as algorithm update highlights.

Link Building is Not Dead

Algothim updates and tweaks are not punishments by Google but rather a way of rewarding websites that provide helpful and relevant content. Link building which has often been targeted through algorithm updates still remains one of the most powerful off-page SEO strategies. As long as you follow the best practices, link building can boost your revenue and search results.

Google confirmed that links alongside great content are the topmost ranking factors. Through the Penguin Update, spammy links are filtered and websites penalized. When it comes to link building Google has best practices that must be followed for success online.

Reciprocal Linking

This is where you do a link exchange with a goal to raising your website profile. Excessive reciprocal linking can lead you to the algorithm black hole where you are penalized. While link exchange is not bad, do it moderately.

Article Marketing and Guest Posting

Google highly considers content written by others or on other people’s sites which link back to your website. However, the links should be natural. When you stuff anchor text with commercial keyword phrases, you could end up in trouble. Aim for navigational phrases or brand keywords.

Web Directory Links

Directories are designed to provide useful information to third parties including your potential customers. That said, there are some directories that have no real value to users and as such Google has expunged them from their search results. Don’t use such directories for link building. Instead, aim for relevancy by linking in niche and informative directories.

Buying Links

Do not buy links to improve your search rankings because this bleaches Google guidelines. Links are considered as votes and buying votes is unethical. The best way is investing in creating high quality content and attracting natural backlinks.

To succeed in link building without being on Google’s spotlight, build relationships, start a blog, list your site in directories that are trustworthy, do guest posting, and where you can ask for backlinks from relevant sites.

 

ve your search rankings because this bleaches Google guidelines. Links are considered as votes and buying votes is unethical. The best way is investing in creating high quality content and attracting natural backlinks.

To succeed in link building without being on Google’s spotlight, build relationships, start a blog, list your site in directories that are trustworthy, do guest posting, and where you can ask for backlinks from relevant sites.