How Google is going to treat link building in future
Since the first Penguin search algorithm (April 24 2012) started punishing websites which had spam and unnatural links, there has been a great misconception living among SEO peoples that link building is dead and the SEO show is finally over. Some people think that link building is not dead, but they are too afraid to invest their efforts into it. All and all there is a great confusion about link building which needs to clear.
To get a clear understanding of it, you need to know the past of link building that makes people think that it is dead.
In the early days of Search Engine Optimization, people misused link building process, they submitted their websites to thousands of web directories, social bookmarking websites just to increase the total number of links pointing to their website.
Later, people adopted some new methods such as placing backlinks within blog posts, blog comments, forums etc. They realized that it is very easy to misuse these methods, besides automatic submission software made it too fast to get bulk links regardless of the quality. Then link network emerged and buying/selling of backlinks became popular, soon enough the number of directories, bookmarking sites, dummy sites and blogs reached to millions.
The increased quantity of these spam or low authority sites raised the worries of Google and so it released search algorithm Penguin that cracked down thousands of websites that were manipulating link building structure. After this, people from SEO world started thinking that link building is not beneficial anymore.
The fact is “Link building is not dead” however the format of “building links” has shifted to “earning links”. To understand it more let’s look at some factors that will play a big role in shaping the future of link building.
Co-citation and Co-occurrence
In early days SEO, webmasters and website owners were using exact math anchor text which Google didn’t like at all. In reality, Google is not keen in those links which are built by you because in this case you do have full control on anchor text and you can manipulate it as much as you want.
Thus, Google takes interest in those links which are natural and built by people because they liked your content. That is where co-citation and co-occurrence comes into the picture, let’s understand what are these two terms:
It is a way to build links without putting up an actual link, in other words, when an entity name like brand, product or an individual name is mentioned by two sources, it is called Co-citation.
Generally, there are two situations when co-citation can happen:
- Mention of a brand in different places, without a link.
- Discussion of relevant topic without using common keywords.
Co-citation gives a signal to Google that the brand name which is shared by various sources is significant and all the websites that mentioned that brand name are interrelated. In most of the cases, high authority websites play a communal role between less reputable websites.
Co-occurrence is the frequency, existence & proximity of similar keywords on different websites that means the inclusion of relevant keywords (not exactly the same) into a piece of content. The concept is similar to LSI (latent semantic indexing) which considers webpages structurally close if they have many common words.
The value of anchor text is diminishing day by day, so you should include Co-citation and co-occurrence into your link building strategy because these are the next big factors of modern SEO.
Link Trust & Authority
In the early age of SEO backlinks were getting created regardless of the authority and trust, for people it didn’t matter to check for these things, but now it does matter and in future it will be a huge factor in link building.
A backlink that you earn from a website that has got high trust and authority value gives a proper boost to your website’s rankings instead of a link that is created on spam or low authority website.
Additionally, high authority websites always take care of their link profile & keep it clean. When you link to these websites you don’t have to be worried that your link neighborhood would get corrupted.
The relevancy of the back link source is another key factor that will affect the future of building links. Google is focusing more on bringing precise and relevant results for a user’s query and so it gives more priority to those websites which earn links from relevant sources, because Google search spiders can easily distinguish the nature of your website.
SEO is ever changing game, so the methods of link building are dynamic. But for now we can be sure that link building is not dead and factors mentioned in this article will hugely affect the scenario of link building in the future.