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Right? Wrong? White hat, grey, or black?

Search engine optimization strategies have changed a lot over the years. One thing that’s remained constant… building backlinks is crucial if you want to rank organically.

If I’m being honest, it’s still hard to argue with the tactics old school SEOs have used to make themselves millions. At the end of the day if it works it works right?

Technically that’s true, if you don’t care about your brand and are just looking for a quick hit. But those tricks get discovered and destroyed with algorithm updates, leaving shady sites crying in the dark.

High Quality, Earned Links Only

The shift towards quality means older ways of determining a sites authority / page rank on a keyword or topic relies less and less on irrelevant factors like how many “High Authority backlinks” you have.

But why would the oldschool SEOs ever care about creating the highest quality, unique, and informative content when buying a few links from shady websites worked so well in the past?

The keyword is PAST.

The shift that’s happening in the industry is leaving some of the biggest, so called “best SEO Companies” in the dust with nothing but empty promises to cling to. But this isn’t necessarily their fault, things were going so well for so long… anyways it’s a great opportunity for awesome local teams like our Austin SEO company.

Local SEO used to be insanely simple

As little as 5 years ago “Local SEO” wasn’t really even SEO. Companies would charge outrageous fees to list your business on citation & directory sites…and IT Worked! .

While citations are still a foundation, they don’t carry near the same power. Seriously, it was bazaar, if a competitor had 100 citations all you had to do was get 101 to outrank them.

Understanding how Natural Language Processing and Topical Relevance works is very important.

The search engines are changing fast, and those changes are all focused on delivering the most relevant result.

Search results are so accurate now it feels like they are listening to us. And they probably are… why else would the echo dot be so affordable if we weren’t somehow feeding it information 24hours a day.

But back here on planet earth, the truth is search engines don’t need to listen to your conversations to predict what you are going to search for. Your past search history, those around you, and pages you have visit have provided the machine so much information it could be deaf dumb and blind and still deliver a result that feels too on point not to be nefarious.

A lot, not all of this has to do with natural language processing advancements.

With SERPs being populated based on your entire sites content it’s more important than ever to create high quality content that people actually choose to link to because it’s so damn good.

Here are some bad ways to build links for SEO

  • Automated link building software: There are tools out there that you can simply put your domain name in and get links built. This may have worked years ago but it was so overused those links have no value and to Google are the most lazy type of spam links possible
  • Unnatural article marketing and guest posting: everything has to be natural. Guest posting is a great opportunity as long as it’s a mutually beneficial thing. Ask yourself… would this sites author ever write content that could even remotely relate to my business.
  • Be Gone footer links! Webmasters this ones for you, stop putting your damn business in your clients footers. Be smart and figure a more natural way to get those links. For our local business clients I create an partners page to list us and other partners the clients use.
  • Forum comments with optimized anchor text on links: if you weren’t commenting purely for seo purposes how would you link the site? Instead of saying this is the best pizza in Austin and linking that phrase you’d probably say “home slice has the best pizza in austin”

I’m not gunna argue with the old guard of SEOs, and to be honest I wish I was around to battle in the Wild West the Internet once provides early optimizers.

But now everything is about relevancy, and the old tactics just don’t /won’t work the same.

What does work? Creating high quality, unique content, that people want to share on their own.

Make super useful content = get badass links in your sleep.

Poof.