It’s all kicking off in the SEO world

It’s all kicking off in the search engine optimisation (‘SEO’) world at the moment. Google has been trying to clean up its results from sites which have been manipulating them, and said last summer that its next target was going after sites which had used extensive “guest posting” on other sites to get links. The outcome has been a whole list of well-known brands having been penalised out of the Google search results, with reports like this claiming that victims have included Links of London (ironically), Brand Republic, TravelBag and Nationwide Vehicle Contracts, amongst others.

So what’s going on, and are you at risk of going the same way? Well, it depends on how your company has attempted to increase the number of links to your site in the past. Some of you will have no idea, of course, if your website was formerly run by someone who’s no longer with the business. Or if you’ve used an “SEO consultancy” which just offered to perform some mysterious magic for a few hundred pounds a month, which it never actually explained to you.

If there is a problem, you shouldn’t necessarily blame your predecessor (or yourself, if it was you who’s been in charge all along). The disappointing thing is that some of the practices now being penalised by Google were thought acceptable by even the best SEO consultants even as recently as a year or two ago. It’s hard to go back on what’s been done in the past. But there are ways to tell Google that you’re trying to clean up your act and get penalties removed. Above all, it’s critical that you don’t stop any efforts to build high quality links from sites with a genuine connection.

The best way to get high quality links is to have great content. If you write it, they will come. Sure, that costs money. But anything you’re spending with low budget SEO consultants might be a good place to start raising the funds.

Discussion

  1. David Turner

    I’ve been through Webmaster Tools to see the list of links to my site and it’s clear that a huge number of links are coming from sites like linguee (multiple region versions of this site) so should I consider killing that off or is there a genuine cause for those sites to have such high link numbers? How can I verify the validity of these links?

  2. Chris Rand Post author

    Hi David – I think if it’s clearly the sort of site where you don’t specifically “plant” your own links, you should be OK. They won’t count for much, if anything, so you wouldn’t lose out if they were removed, but then again, I doubt they’d remove them for you if asked. There’s a Google “disavow links” tool, but it’s only recommended to use this if you ever do get a penalty.

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