Well into 2014, post numerous Pandas and Penguins, and Matt Cutts is still saying quality Search results are dependent on using links in the ranking algorithms’ – no news then? Well the answer while the ingredients for good SEO have largely remained the same, but the recipes have changed dramatically.
For many years competitor analysis has been instrumental in structuring SEO strategy and budgeting for link building, but with the introduction of the disavow tool the landscape has significantly changed, here’s why: nobody, apart from the Google database, knows how many of those links from a profile have been disavowed, therefore the data is no longer as reliable. Alternative link growth models and more reliance on content and Brand building seem to be the way forward in the current Search climate.
Anchor text – more Brand focus
Post Penguin, Brands have gained even more of an advantage, and branded anchor text is ‘safer’ because there is virtually no limit to how much branded links can be built, around content, PR and advertising. These ‘legitimate’ activities in Google’s eyes justifies sites linking in what looks like a natural pattern on the internet. On the other side, more aggressive, exact match techniques will almost surely attract unwanted attention.
Content, links and on site optimisation
For years, the SEO table of success factors had links as the most important ranking factor and SEOs focused on the offsite side for immediate results. As things stand now, content is at least as important and thinking in terms of SEO only, without taking into account the overall picture, is no longer enough. Meticulous onsite optimisation is a must and without it content and links are nowhere near as efficient.
SEO, other internal stakeholders and strategy
To achieve the best results possible, a coherent overall strategy is necessary to keep together the onsite and offsite sides of optimisation, as well as SEO contribution to other channels of acquisition – PPC, Affiliate, e-mail etc. An efficient SEO professional should be at the centre of implementing optimisation know-how in an interdepartmental context within the organisation. This wider approach takes longer to implement, but eventually brings better organic results.
As long as there will be Search engines, SEO in one configuration or another will be a valuable addition to the acquisition basket. The only thing to remember now, in the post Penguin and Panda world, is that SEO has to be part of the wider organisational culture rather than just a small isolated department working on its own.