If you were here yesterday, you saw that I posited that SEO Is Dead. It is, as we know it. Sort of.
Gone are the days when an SEO could throw thousands of backlinks at a site and get it to the top of Google. No, nowadays, especially after the Google Panda and Google Penguin search engine algorithm updates, you have to be more pragmatic, more careful, and more strategic.
You also need more patience.
Tools like SENuke, which used to be pretty helpful, can now prove more harmful than helpful.
Where once you may have been able to garner the #1 position on Google for a keyword phrase (KWP) simply by writing a few articles for eZineArticles along with some forum profile backlinks, you now can no longer do that. You still should, perhaps, but there is a lot more that needs to be done.
I will try to boil the new face of SEO down into a few basic concepts.
4 Pillars of SEO
Let’s get right to it and then explain in a little more detail.
The majority of the backlinks you get should be relevant to your site. If your site is about dog breeding, there really is no reason to actively try to get a backlink from a stamp collection site. If a stamp collector wants to link back to your site because he likes it, then that is great. Just don’t actively seek out backlinks from sites that have no immediate relevance to your site.
The backlinks you get ought to come from “authority” web sites. Sites like wikipedia, CNN, and the AKC should be links that you actively seek out.
How? That’s a topic for another ten posts!
In the “old days,” SEO types would get as many backlinks as possible from as many different websites as possible, using specific anchor text that matched the KWP being optimized for. For example, a good backlink to get from a site would look like this:
It was not uncommon for the vast majority of a site’s backlinks to have anchor text of the exact KWP the site owner was shooting for.
Google doesn’t take kindly to these exact-match anchor texts any more. They know that most “real people” who would send a backlink to a site really don’t link that way. Instead, for that link above, most people would link to it simply by pasting the URL into their web page editor like this:
Now, real people will link back to your site in many different ways and they won’t always link back to your homepage. Of course, they will link to the exact web page they want to share with you. If that happens to be the homepage, then so be it. Otherwise, if you wrote a post about selling high-end real estate, they would link to that post.
Simple as that.
Diversity of links matters. Some backlinks should be to your homepage. Most should be “deep links” to your individual pages. The anchor text you use ought to vary as well, as should the “title” of your backlink.
A note on “do follow” versus “no follow” links: Don’t get caught up in this silly game. A few years ago, SEO gurus might have told you to go after only those web sites that offered “do follow” backlinks.
Do not worry about this. There is no “optimal ratio,” either.
Get backlinks that are relevant from authority sites within your industry or niche, and vary the anchor text.
Finally, social media is becoming more and more important in getting your web site ranked high on the search engines. Google and Bing understand the power of social media and are adding more and more “social signals” to their search algorithms.
Gone are the days when you could ignore social media “because I don’t really want people to know what I had for breakfast.”
Some people actually do want to know what you are doing. But many people look to their social circles for advice and recommendations on a variety of subjects. If you become their authority in one of those topics, then you just vaulted ahead of your competition.
Both Google and Bing get this.
So they’ve added various social media components to their systems. Embrace that change. Or wither on the vine. It’s really that simple.
In SEO Is Dead, I suggested that the good old days of SEO were, in fact, dead. But SEO is still alive. It’s just different. Search algorithms have made drastic changes, many of which have come from Google.
In some senses, SEO has gotten easier. Now, instead of getting literally thousands of backlinksfrom all over the internet, you now must be a lot more choosy. You cannot just load up a search engine spam tool and be done with it.
UPDATE: Here’s a nifty video from none other than Google’s own Matt Cutts.
You have to be strategic more than tactical. Pick the backlinks you want and then go get them.
You need a plan. Stay tuned for that.