Like Me? Follow Me.
Over the years many SEO companies have touted link building as "the magic bullet" for improving search engine rankings - you get lots of back links with the correct anchor text linking to your site and the sheer weight of numbers will make your site rank in the top ten for a certain keyword phrase - easy as that.
Over time, a whole industry has been built up sourcing and supplying both relevant (and irrelevant) back links to "game" the search engines and improve web site rankings. Offering packages of 50, 100 or 1,000+ links of a certain Page rank in 3, 6 or 12 months these companies offer top ten rankings for competitive keywords that couldn't be simpler.
However the truth is that sheer weight of numbers of back links is no longer the way to rank effectively for many highly competitive terms. Large numbers of similar back links from similar, or same web sites, will build a linking pattern that the search engines can easily spot and eventually penalise.
Research has shown that sites with much less but very high quality and, very importantly, trusted back links are now ranking much higher than those with thousands of back links with search engine optimised anchor text.
By trust we're talking about those sites which appear to have been around for ages, or are considered sites of authority. Those sites you would visit to find out information that can be trusted as correct or accurate. In addition these quality back links will bring more qualified visitors who are really interested in your web site.
Trust rank - the "new" Page Rank.
Think about it - the search engines need to effectively rank sites and back links have been gamed to the limits, so new factors have been introduced to assess the "trustworthiness" of a website and to make the search engine ranking positions (SERPS) less of a back link numbers game.
Factors of Trust
There are several factors that will have a big impact on your site's trust rank, such as:
- The age of the web site - if a site has been around for many years your site will have a much higher trust rank than a site that is less than a year old, regardless of how many articles that new site can produce or the number of back links with relevant anchor text that it gets.
- Quality content - good, well-written content will get read and referenced by the right web sites and also get back links.
- Quality Back Links - not just thousands of back links with relevant anchor text. If you source and get good links naturally from other related sites which will have a high trust rank, you will be rewarded with better ranking positions.
Linkbuilding in the Future
So what does this mean for linkbuilding? Linkbuilding has now moved on - back links should be sourced by experienced link builders and Search Engine Optimisers, not package bought, and any link building projects should be bespoke. It's not about getting 500+ back links with optimised anchor text - it's about getting the best quality back links that you can. It's better to have 10 quality back links from sites that are considered to be of authority or value to the subject matter than 100+ poor quality optimised links. Link building projects should now be seen as a long term strategy and not a short term strategy to rank quickly.
So where am I going with this? Well if you want to rank effectively in the search engines building thousands of back links with anchor text is not really the answer. Sure it may get you a boost in the SERPS but this is now a short term strategy and the rankings may soon drop if the keyword terms are highly competitive and then you're caught in a back links "arms race" that will cost you more and more and may even result in your website being obliterated by the search engines.