The Back Link Emperor Is Dead,
Long Live The Back Link Emperor?
Is the biggest factor in good SEO, beyond strong content, about to radically shift?
[cue Jaws theme here]
Up until now SEO has been all about back link building. Lay the foundation of on-page and on-site SEO and then build backlinks like mad.
But it seems that Google may have finally realized than much of the best content is produced by writers, not link builders, and that these writers aren’t going to chase backlinks and have been taking a beating.
Three big factors have shifted recently and it is causing a lot of people to sit up and take notice… including many that have never paid attention to SEO before!
Looking at the bigger picture helps you to realize that this could finally be a WIN for the real, personal, engaged, authentic, content creator.
Google’s 3 Key SEO Changes
1. Shifts towards a “machine based learning” model which uses better computer calculations, including a wide range of social signals, that can be adjusted often, to determine what makes a good visitor experience (note I said experience, not just content) similar to what is used by Yandex. You may have heard about some of this with the “Panda” aka “Farmer” updates. (More info here).
2. Shifts towards emphasis on real verifiable people as the author of the content and showcasing that author through “authorship” with changes to both the organic search results ( author image near blog post) but also through preferentially returning search results from authors that you have already circled on Google+ or connected with on the old Google Buzz. This makes the +1 button, a verifiable and active Google+ profile, and “authorship” set up on your blog very important. (Blog Post On This Soon)
3. Semantic markup using the new search engine standard “Schema” markup to help the search engine know what each element of your content is and enable a user to search more explicitly. For example, searching for only a particular person’s job title. This is brand new and not super easy to do by hand, it will be some time before WordPress makes this easy. (More Info Here) This and other Rich Snippet changes are involved in the new Google Site Links.
Okay… so what’s it mean?
It means that for the first time ever a site with no crappy posts, with a delightful theme design, that is super easy to navigate, that loads fast and has no broken links and dead ends, with a high time on site and a low bounce rate, that is created & maintained by a real person who really takes the time to engage with their audience and bring in social engagement …. has a chance to really win.
(Compared to a site with good content, keywording and a thousand links and nothing else)
Do you see how these are the things that visitors actually want but are much harder to mass produce? Oh yes, quality over quantity, Dear Watson!
Today we find Google actively striving to answer the question… “Does this post create a user experience and brand that people are going to love and share and trust” … all while providing strong content and a great visitor experience (theme design & link navigation/structure)? (More Info Here)
Some Areas to Watch:
- Need great content
- Needs to look good
- Needs to have plenty of inbound links
- Needs to handle the native language well
- Authorship, G+ and schema utilized
- High Time on Site, Low Bounce Rate
Here’s how to set up Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools easily.
This does also mean though that SEO work is now far less predictable and that, every couple months, as Google adjusts the machine learning code, we are likely to see impacts on our traffic numbers from it. However, if you’re focusing on doing all the right things right, this will not generally matter. (Yes, there will be updates that will sting from time to time, expect it, roll with it, and keep on creating awesome art!)
Have you been impacted by the changes in Google’s algorithms in either direction? Have you taken the time to work through setting up verified authorship through Google+? How do you feel these three things impact the average Google search visitor?
Look forward to sharing your thoughts below and thanks in advance for the tweet, like and plus love!
Taking The Headaches Out of Internet Marketing
PS: Website and Social Media graphics and branding not up to snuff? Check out some of these nice branding art packages available or for a higher end approach contact my friend Nile Flores for a professional quote.
I am also offering basic authorship installation on standard, single author WordPress.org blogs as a service if you do not feel like messing with it yourself.