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What next for links and SEO?

Posted on March 12, 2014

You may have heard a lot about SEO being a thing of the past, links being dead and lots of other general scaremongering rhetoric about how any form of internet marketing is frowned upon by Google, so it’s best not to bother. You may have also noticed (if you keep a close eye on these things) that a lot of SEO companies have been changing their names, have been bought out or have changed their domain names for ‘branding’ purposes.

They say there’s no smoke without fire, but does all of this relate to a degree of instability in the online marketing world, or is it being blown out of proportion?

Let’s look at the linking aspect of SEO first. A long time ago, in a galaxy very much like our own (it is our own, we’re just trying to be clever) SEO was easy and consisted mostly of links. The main players in the SEO game would use their clients’ budgets to rent links – thousands and thousands of them – and would grow their own rankings by doing the same. For many years, this worked without a hitch. The companies with the biggest link budgets would get the best rankings, whether or not their websites were particular good or well-optimised.

Who moved the goal posts?

In recent years, things have changed. Google has started to clean up the mess it had created by declaring links important and, through updates such as Penguin, the websites that had spent the most on ever-increasing links found their rankings disappearing fast. This was bad news for those SEO companies that had built their strategies on links (which is why many of them changed their own domain names after destroying their existing ones with poor link building) and it was perhaps even more of a bummer for their clients.

Link buying was dead, and we ethical internet marketing agencies understand this to be a good thing. Instead of basing rankings on who has the largest link budget, search engines now assess them on quality (both in terms of links and content) and it allows the best websites to rank above those with the biggest pockets.

Are links dead?

This, however, does not spell the end for links. Whereas previously it was common practice for links to be based on keyword anchor text (with the link being made on a keyword targeted by the website in question) and in the largest quantities, links are now understood to be about the quality of the website in question, with the standard of the content being used being of the utmost importance. This is where Outreach comes in, with partnerships between websites being more important than the bulk acquisition of links.

With Engage Web’s Outreach, our journalist trained editors get under the skin of your business to understand not only how it works, but what is important to those people your business seeks to target. Armed with this information, we identify and approach websites that also target the same audience and have similar demographics, but are of sufficient quality that a partnership between you will be of benefit.

For example, a good website for Outreach for an accountancy client would be a high quality website offering business news and advice for entrepreneurs. It is not a competitor, but would have a similar target audience, so articles written about accountancy would be of interest to its audience, and its audience would be of interest to the accountancy website as potential clients.

It’s our aim to write on your behalf, growing your reputation as an authority within your field by reaching out to new people and businesses through high-quality and insightful content.

How is this different?

Outreach from Engage Web differs from old-fashioned link building practices because it’s not about the quantity, it’s not about the keywords and it’s not about the rankings (yes, we said it’s not about the rankings). Outreach is about forming partnerships with established websites, becoming a regular contributor and engaging with an existing audience. It’s about sharing knowledge and growing your brand into an authority, with the emphasis on attracting an audience, engaging with them and converting them.

For more information on Outreach, to see examples of work Engage Web has done or to ask us for our advice on anything you have read above, give us a call on 0845 621 4321 or email info@engageweb.co.uk.

New faces at Engage Web

The digital arena is a fast moving and ever changing marketplace and, at Engage Web, we change along with that. With this in mind, we’ve grown our team further with the additions of two new faces to our team.

Tom Evans joins our editing team as a web content editor, and Alan Littler joins us as an account exec, looking after our clients’ reports. You can find out more about these two chaps on our ‘Meet the Team’ page here, where they’ve been interrogated (we mean interviewed) by our other editors – it was like throwing lambs to the wolves.

See our social side

If you’d like to know a little more about how to use social media to grow your brand, Engage Web’s team will be at the Chester Business Network on April 9th holding a seminar on social media and increasing brand awareness and reach. This will be held at the Doubletree by Hilton, in Chester.

To find out more about the seminar, visit the Chester Business Network website here.

Meeting room goes retro

While we may keep up with the latest algorithm changes in Google here at Engage Web, we do tend to live permanently in the 1980s with everything else – and the latest addition to our meeting room confirms this – a coin-operated arcade machine.

Engage Web Meeting Room, with a 1980's arcade machine

The fully functioning arcade machine is branded with ‘Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker’ and has a supply of JAMMA boards, meaning we can swap the game for whatever takes our fancy (and whatever our technical director has bought on eBay), such as Robocop, Street Fighter II Turbo and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Games were so much better in the 80s!

Why not drop in and challenge us to a game of ‘Track & Field’ if you’re passing?

Darren is Technical Director at Engage Web, as well as being a co-founder of the company. He takes a hands-on approach to SEO and web design, helped by more than 10 years’ experience in these fields.

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Posted by Darren Jamieson

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TEL: 0845 621 4321