We are using Google as the example since they are the 800lb guerrilla when it comes to search engines.
In 2012, advertisers spent $19.51 BILLION – Yes, with a B, for Search Engine Marketing. SEM incorporates both paid ad’s and organic SEO – or Search Engine Optimization. It is estimated that by 2016 the US alone will spend $77 BILLION annually. With that kind of money floating around, it seems as if everyone and their brother is jumping on the SEO/SEM bandwagon, and becoming “experts”. It is because of the lucrative nature of this business that there has become “overnight” experts selling snake oil. Our belief is that these “experts” are not necessarily out to deceive their customers, but truly do not understand what they are doing, and as a by-product, end up costing their customers more money in the long run.
In 2010 SEO was all the rage, and marketing companies offered to get their clients to page one of Google almost over night for a few thousand dollars or so, and keep them there for a small monthly retainer. Depending on your budget, anywhere from $1,000 to over $10,000 per month, they were able to provide this because they optimized sites and pages for the search engines, not necessarily for their readers.
February 11th, 2010 Google released the PANDA Update, which was designed to filter out these low and no quality web sites. The tactics the “SEO GUY”, or “Marketing Expert” had been using, and worked, were now being penalized.
Early 2010 and prior, web marketers would sell services creating BACKLINKS to your website using what was called Keyword Anchor Text. They partnered with 3rd party companies that created these links by the thousands for their clients, or they used some form of “automated software” to provide this service.
Many companies sales guidelines for marketing service look something like this.
Many SEO people still believe this works
This does not work. It may for a very short time yield some results, however on April 24th, 2012 Google released the PENGUIN update which over night, made the tricks used over the last decade not only useless, but harmful to websites search engine ratings.
The short answer is yes, most definitely. The longer complicated answer is while you should have links back to your website, these links need to be created over time, naturally, by other sites who are linking to your site because they believe you offer some insight, or other valuable information to your niche industry.
As part of our SEO services we offer to our clients, we do not offer monthly backlinking services because of the negative impact it has on sites.
We do offer advertising and paid link support. As long as links are identified to the search engines as paid links, or advertisements, there is no penalty to your site.
So what about exchanging links with another site? In other words, they link to you, you link to them? There is no harm, and even some benefit to doing this. However, make sure if you do exchange links with another site, that it is done because you truly believe that the site you are linking to has something valuable to offer.
In the end SEO is not a secret. Google publishes SEO guidelines on their website here. Make sure your content is optimized for your readers, and your audience, not for the search engines, and you will not go wrong.
Tomorrow we will discuss branding – EMD – Exact Match Domains
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