Writing by Nick Stamoulis in Internet Marketing
A lot of site owners got into some trouble thanks to the Google Penguin update that went live in early 2012. The update went after sites there were guilty of web spam tactics like overuse of exact match anchor text, low-quality link building, link schemes and more. Getting nailed with a search engine penalty (either algorithmic or manual) can be a deadly blow to any website and there is no guaranteed road to recovery. I feel bad for the DIY SEO site owners that weren’t actively trying to game the search engines, but didn’t realize what they were doing was putting their site at risk. But I think for many of these site owners they got so focused on building as many links as possible that they forget that getting quality visitors to their site should be the main goal of their SEO campaign, not just getting more links.
For instance, a lot of sites have implemented no-follow back links on their site (meaning they don’t pass any SEO value via outbound links). Does this mean that you should avoid getting links from these sites? Not at all! First off, a natural link profile is bound to have a good amount of no-follow links, so avoiding them completely might raise a red flag with the search engines. Secondly, even though that link is no-follow to the search engines human visitors are still able to click over to your site. A no-follow link from a popular industry site that can send quality visitors to my site is worth much more than 5 follow links from generic directories that no one uses! I’d much rather get a handful of quality visitors and one solid lead than 5 follow links that, although they may technically “count” towards my site’s trust factor, don’t actually do anything for my site in the grand scheme of things.
Did you know that YouTube links are no-follow? Do you really not want to bother with getting links from YouTube, arguably one of the world’s largest websites? Even though they are no-follow, having a link in the video description is a great way to drive quality traffic back over to your site. Someone that takes the time to watch one of your videos is one step closer to being a customer, so why not make it as easy as possible for them to find your site?
I think that if site owners focused more on finding new ways to drive quality traffic to their site and less time getting any old link they can their link profiles would benefit immensely from it. I know this might sound crazy coming from an SEO professional, but you should treat your SEO like Google doesn’t exist. If your site disappeared from Google’s SERPs tomorrow would you still get traffic (albeit much less) from other sources and referring sites? The more links you build that help drive quality visitors the less vulnerable your site is to the ever-changing algorithm.