SEO is dead! You should abandon ship before it sinks…not really, but there are definitely changes that will make many link building strategies obsolete.
Just a couple of months ago it was easy for experienced link builders and spammers to get to the top. Throw some link wheels on, distribute 100 articles, become a member of private blog networks and boom…you are set. Well not anymore!
It didn’t even matter if your content was good or not. You could literally rank with a one-page site just because you had thousands of links pointing to it.
I honestly thought that if you had high quality content you could get away with more aggressive link building strategies (like many big brands do with their little link schemes designed to manipulate page rank) but Google made things pretty clear with recent penalties over the last month. I didn’t care much if a site with awesome content outranked me because of their link building tactics. I thought that the user experience is what Google cared about the most.
Well, it looks like Google doesn’t want you to manipulate their rankings (unless you are a well known brand) in any way. They not only devalued all the backlinks that people were building but also penalized the sites regardless if they were providing good user experience or not.
This triggered a very disturbing trend known as Negative SEO. Basically, if you rank on the front page of Google you are now a target and it’s probably a good idea to watch your back. Some people still think negative seo doesn’t work but sooner or later they will wake up.
If you can harm your own site with your link building strategy then obviously you can do the same to your competitor. Numbers don’t lie so the sooner you realize it’s possible the better chance you have to defend yourself against it.
Maybe Google is going to change this (I hope they do) in a few months, but as of right now it’s free for all.
What hurts me the most is the fact that only the big brands and spammers are benefiting from all this. Big brands for obvious reasons, and spammers because they go by volume. So if you build 100 sites per month a few of them might stick and get to the top somehow.
On the other hand if you are a small business still trying to build your own brand working hard to create something of value, you might get hit hard and lose everything.
Since most small businesses can’t replace their domain names and move on like spammers can, they basically get crushed and their business is dead. Pretty scary if you ask me.
So now you probably wonder what actually works? How can I get to the top of Google results without actually building links?
Most of us think that to get traffic we need to rank on the front page of Google for our targeted keywords. So we build backlinks first to get the traffic instead of the other way around.
That indeed has worked for years and will still work for some businesses, but for majority of us it’s a dead end now.
I think Google wants us to get traffic first before we engage in link building. It’s actually not easy to do because now you need a decent budget to work with if you want your business to grow. This major shift is squeezing the little guy out and makes more room for investors with deep pockets to do whatever they want as long as they dump money into Adwords.
Google thinks that by injecting fear into their ecosystem will attract more advertisers to Adwords. That might work short term but sooner or later they will also get squeezed out from there, because Google wants to be a middle man and get paid per lead as well. Just look at their Comparison Ads for keyword like “credit cards”.
Here is a screenshot I took after doing a search for keyword “credit card” on Google.
This is exactly how it looked like on my 24’ widescreen monitor. Most of the page was filled with sponsored results. I only saw 3 organic listings at the bottom without scrolling down.
This is just the beginning and soon the big G will move into other markets as well. I think that in some near future small businesses won’t be able to compete anymore on Adwords either.
Sure, there are some verticals that will stay healthy for maybe a few more years, but who knows what else Google is cooking up.
Anyway, so back to link building…what you are supposed to do now?
You need to trick your mind to thinking that you don’t need Google to get traffic. It might be tough but I think it’s the only way now.
You should still build links or even buy links, but only those that drive traffic back to your blog or website. Any SEO benefits that results from it should be just a bonus.
So to do that I would start a major guest posting campaign on already established authority blogs. By the way I think Google is already conspiring to squash guest posting but it won’t be an easy task for them. It should still work well for a while.
Here is how to get traffic through guest posting.
First of all, research the blog you want to submit your content to. Find out what their main theme is and for which topics they rank well in Google. Each blog has its own vertical that they do well in, so the content you are submitting should target those keywords.
Go do some keyword research and prepare a nice set of keywords that get 10k+ “exact match” searches per month. Then write your content around these keywords and submit it.
After it gets published check out its rankings. If it ranks on the front page right away, then you are done and move to the next one. If not, you can help it a bit by pointing just a few backlinks to it. Those sites don’t need any major push so getting 2-3 good links won’t hurt it.
Don’t worry about your site’s rankings at all. Just concentrate on building up traffic this way. If you get some action from it on Google…great, if not don’t sweat it.
Even if you get a penalty from Google for your marketing efforts, just totally ignore it. Remember you are marketing to get traffic not to get good rankings (the rankings will come though sooner or later).
Google doesn’t want you to drive on a smooth “highway” to the top. They want you to drive on a bumpy road with holes in it, so hopefully your vehicle breaks down or falls apart before reaching its destination.
Highways to the front of Google results are now “toll-ways” reserved for brands.
Another strategy is to create linkbaits and combining it with press releases. A good linkbait will drive a lot of traffic and links.
To get it seen you should publish a good press release. Use PrWeb or 24-7pressrelease.com for it (the most expensive option on 24-7pressrelease.com gets you to PrNewswire)
Again, don’t worry about what Google is going to think. If they penalize you for it let it be. Just laugh at it lol
You are marketing your business and there is nothing wrong with that. Who the f**k are they to tell you how you should run it?
Just keep on rocking!
Next, you need to plan out your social media campaign. Make sure people can share your stuff. Incentivize it!! You can run contests and give away free stuff.
Use web 2.0 properties to drive traffic to your sites. Don’t confuse this with building link wheels. What I mean is creating high value content and publishing it on Squidoo, Hubpages, Zimbio, Docstock, Slideshare, Examiner.com, and the list just goes on and on.
Don’t worry about nofollow links or whatever. Just write content that will get you traffic. That’s it!
I think that by following this plan it won’t matter much if you actually rank on Google for the keywords you want or not. You might not even care if you are indexed after you start getting decent amount of traffic and build up your email list.
Google is digging its own hole right now. Sooner or later the government will step in. It’s coming.
On the side note, I think they are starting to discriminate against certain topics. For example, they don’t like affiliate marketing, so if you blog about that you might get a penalty of some kind. You will never know the real reason and you could be driving yourself insane trying to figure out what’s wrong with your site.
With all the negative PR they are getting I am sure they want to minimize the effects of it and the best way to do that is to just penalize webmasters for putting out content they simply don’t like. Since they are protected and don’t have to reveal any details they can just nuke you of the first page any time they feel like.
Or worse, if one of their big advertisers complains that they are losing business because of you ranking for keywords they are bidding on, they could make you disappear to protect their cash flow.
So with that said, build traffic first. If you get ranked then that should be a bonus. If not you will still be able to get clicks and laugh all the way to the bank.