What’s next for SEO Link Building in 2014?
As we wave goodbye to 2013, the Mediaworks heads of department reflect on what has been an exciting and ever-changing year for online marketing, and hedge their bets on what these changes mean for SEO in 2014.
In the final installment of our three-part blog series, Craig Bradshaw, Head of Outreach, takes a look at the future of link profiles in 2014.
Craig Bradshaw, Head of Outreach
From a link development perspective, 2013 saw Google continue their efforts to tighten up SERPs with the release of Penguin 2.0 on 22nd May. This was the fourth Penguin-related launch by Google. Penguin 1.0 back in April 2012, addressed various ‘spam’ factors, such as mass exact anchor text links, low quality directories and forum comments.
Of course, the fourth coming of Penguin brought an updated algorithm rather than just a data refresh, which meant that internal pages were targeted and analysed for low-quality link building as opposed to just the homepage of websites – hence the ‘2.0’ moniker.
Many websites continue to see their attempts to reshape their link profile through good-quality link development go to waste, because they have overlooked poor quality links that are still pointing to their site.
A big part of what we’ve been doing with new clients in 2013 has been going back and evaluating our clients’ link profiles to ensure that historical external links are contextual and thematic. Where the links have been less than ideal, spring cleaning has been carried out.
Alongside this, we’ve been making huge strides to develop processes that make effective use of a client’s ‘linkable assets’; these are features and characteristics of a client’s brand that have a high level of relevance and practicality for their target demographic, and are therefore highly unlikely to be penalised and devalued by Penguin 3.0 in 2014.
Moreover, we’ve been putting a real focus on what we can do with the client and not for them, which helps to create more value for the client and ourselves. Leveraging linkable assets encourages strategic thinking and builds brands organically online. Activities could include anything from securing a client role in an industry Q&A on a leading business site, to collaborating on a visual guide providing advice about streamlining your supply chain; if it’s unique and valuable, then it’s a linkable asset.
This is a core focus that we’ll be continuing to champion in 2014 and beyond, as the world of link development continues to evolve into more of a traditional marketing & PR model, with an added technical edge.