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Digital Marketing News Round Up: Link Building Reaffirmed, Guest Post Links Clarified and Industry Survey from Moz.com

The principle link one could build between this week’s news items is the building of links. So allow us to quickly segue into a round up that features a defence of links from the very top of Google’s webspam team, a ‘nofollow’ directive for guest posting activity and a little on what our peers think of contemporary and future search.

Matt Cutts: “not all link building is bad” or “illegal”

Matt Cutts, Google’s Webspam team head and the Eric Enge at Stonetemple.com about link building last week. Enge specifically took the opportunity to pose the question of whether link building was ‘illegal’, mindful of how Google’s sustained focus on penalising link builders has muddied the waters.

Cutts was quick to clarify, setting aside most forms of link building from genuinely illegal practices (“hacking blogs, that sort of thing is illegal”) and reassuring SEOs that:

[…] a lot of people approach it from a direction that’s backwards. They try to get the links first and then they want to be grandfathered in or think they will be a successful website as a result.

Their goal should really be to make a fantastic website that people love and tell their friends about and link to and want to experience. As a result, your website starts to become stronger and stronger in the rankings.

Cutts goes on to say that “the link from a press release will probably not count”, suggesting that such material should convince editors to write and include links, rather than provide the link itself.

Clarification from the top is always welcome, but even if Google is positive about marketers creating links, it’s apparent that they would prefer link building to be more inductive – with links as a side effect to genuinely good content.

Guest blogging links should be marked with ‘nofollow’

Within the grey area created by the new and old approaches to link building is the guest blog. In principle, the idea of getting guest experts onto a blog seems a legitimate way of getting a mention. In practice, guest blogging has become a byword for mediocre content, written by non-experts namedropping their clients on websites that have very little content actually written by non-guests.

Back in February, webmaster trends analyst John Mueller piped up in a couple of Google’s webmaster central hangouts (here and here) to address how links in guest posts should be handled. He encourages authors to “Think about whether or not this is a link that would be on that site if it weren’t for your actions there.” These once ignored clarifications were recently highlighted by Marie Haynes over at Hiswebmarketing.com, the key points being:

  • If you’re submitting articles for you or your clients’ websites with links, they are not natural and should be given the ‘nofollow’ attribute
  • It’s okay to drive traffic from your piece of content, but the link cannot naturally be placed for influence: if people like your content, they should be able to click through to your site

SEOs speak their brains in Moz survey

Every two years, the Moz formerly known as SEOmoz surveys a selection of SEOs on search engine ranking factors. The results – based on opinions grounded sometimes in observed facts and otherwise possibly on whatever mood the SEOs were in at the time – provide us with a picture of contemporary search as painted by the industry. Despite the arguably widening gaps in how different agencies approach SEO, the results of the survey throw up some observations that are worth pondering:

  • Moz.com’s own Page Authority metric (conveniently) shows a better correlation with ranking ability than any other metric measured
  • Social signals  are also a source of significant correlation
  • Penguin has apparently failed to reduce the effectiveness of anchor text correlation

The pie chart below shows how the overall algorithm is approximately perceived to be constructed. Appropriately enough for our link-themed DMNRU, link related power accounts for almost 40% of the algorithm:

Google Algorithm makeup

The survey also predicts what SEO will look like ‘in the future’. The aggregate prediction is that the days of exact match domains are numbered: bad news for the moon-dwelling owner of Roastdinnerinapill.com.

Moz predicts ranking factors

The Digital News Round Up will return next Monday. In the meantime, why not contact us to discover how our digital marketing knowledge could help your business to succeed?



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