Google's guiding principle has always been, "create a great product/service and you will rank high on our SERP." After years of developing a web search system that will satisfy the needs of end users, the search giant is coming closer and closer to perfecting their algorithm. Their recent updates not only devalued PR link quantity, but reduced the power of exact match domains or EMDs (domains that contain targeted keywords) to nothing, therefore leveling the playing field and giving other web entities with something relevant to offer the chance to put their content in front of audiences. With this development, websites are strongly advised to reinvent their link building strategies and find ways to dodge the effects of these algorithm updates. This can only be done by following best practices and complying with the guidelines that search engines provide. Gaming the system and relying on EMDs simply won't do anything good to improve your search rankings, especially now that these optimization elements have been greatly devalued.
In the past, EMDs pulled great weight in search results, trumping the value of backlinks several times over. In addition to authority sites, websites that use EMDs were among the hardest to beat when it comes to search rankings. With this much ranking power, EMDs sold like pancakes and were chased by webmasters across industries. Today however, these keyword-targeted domains offer little to no value when it comes to rankings. As far as EMDs are concerned, it's better to focus on your link building efforts than obsess on acquiring an exact match domain for your website—EMDs have lost great power after the most recent algo updates and much of the ranking power has shifted to relevant links.
This said, proper link building is in order. If you don't want to get penalized and thrown to the bottom of SERPs, it is time to throw mass link building strategies and other questionable means of acquiring links out the window. Instead, focus your efforts on what matters—outstanding content that is worthy of sharing and linking back to. Fewer, high quality relevant links will offer you greater value than hundreds and even thousands of links that will only count as spam. Your main goal should be to build links that attract real traffic. This means real web users and visitors that are genuinely interested in knowing more about your company, your products, and your services. This way, you won't have to rely so much on Google and other search engines to bring in the audience you need.
Google's system is still a long way from perfection and while some old-time trickery may still work, websites that use them will only continue to get penalized lose their coveted rankings overnight with every rank-blowing update that Google throws. The best way to avoid deadly blows on your search rankings: doing SEO the right way.
Here are some creative strategies to help you reinvent your link building practices and climb up those search rankings:
- Stop subscribing to un-natural links. Buying links from artificial link farms in an attempt to over-optimize your site will no longer help your rankings. Today, link-buying and keeping un-natural links are sure tickets to getting penalized. Smart content marketing is still key to helping you earn the relevant, natural links you need.
- Leverage hyper local links. Search standards have changed dramatically over the years, but some things never change. Links, for example are still the best means to direct search engine crawlers into indexing your pages and content properly. Finding like businesses that are local to the areas that you are targeting is an excellent way to build strong link partnerships through sharing content, guest posts, banners, and more.
- Locate your fans. As Google always insists, creating a worthy product or service will give you the ranking you need. If you do have a rave-worthy product, a lot of people with blogs and websites may be talking wildly about it without your knowledge. Use Google alerts to find who is talking about you on the web and use this opportunity to ask for a link or a reference back to your site.