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April 11, 2011

Is Page Rank Still the Key to Good Link Building?

linkbuilding

Ever since the dawn of Google there has been a single constant of SEO and that is that we must build links. Quite simply, when you put all the other minutiae aside, links are what make the difference between a #1 ranking and search engine obscurity.

Naturally, then, when Google first pioneered this thing that we call “Page Rank,” the world of SEO quickly adopted it as the litmus against which all potential link prospects should be measured…

Today

The thing is, Google has gotten a little more sophisticated these days. Links still matter, no doubt about it, but how much each link matters has become a complex thing indeed. So, the question arises then: Is page rank still the best thing to consider when doing your own link building? I say perhaps not.

The Dreaded Panda

If you know anything at all about SEO then I will assume you have heard of the recent “Panda Update.” In simple terms Google has declared a new effort in the war against spam.

Video: http://videos.sitepronews.com/video/4652/Google-FarmerPanda-Update-Whitelists

Content farms are the primary targets, and for this reason, many big sites with less than great content have been slapped back down the rankings. But the real casualties as far as I can see are not restricted just to these “farmers”…

For every content farm that’s been all but eradicated from the index, there are probably hundreds or even thousands of links which effectively don’t even count anymore.

That’s right, if you have been overdoing it on the article submissions etc… there’s a good chance that many of your links are almost worthless now. It’s the link builders equivalent of a stock market crash.

What Google Wants

The simplest way to figure out what Google really looks for in a link is to think about what Google wants to achieve. After all, as Matt Cutts put it in one of his videos on webmaster help:

“Webmasters should be chasing after what the user wants (rather than just chasing the algorithm).”

Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IdmzKzuXurY

The Ideal Scenario

What Google really dreams of (I wonder if it has started to dream
yet…?) is that we, as web masters, simply focus on building better sites and focusing our marketing efforts on our users and not on what the algorithm wants.

Logically then, Google is going to try to single out the pages which are popular with the humans who are viewing them. As a corollary to this, wouldn’t it make sense that Google would also care more about links which are more important to the user too?

So if not page rank…

How can you tell then which links you should and shouldn’t bother with? If you can’t chase after that old idol of page rank, then what should you look for in a link?

The answer is simple: Imagine for a minute that Google didn’t exist (scary thought right?), and for that matter search engines in general were unheard of… How are you going to get free traffic to your website now?

That’s right, logically, shouldn’t the most important links be the ones which you would build even if you didn’t care about SEO? i.e. the ones which will bring you the most traffic?

Summary

Link building has been heading this way for a while, and OK we’re not quite there yet, but logically; if a link gets you oodles of relevant traffic, that has to be considered a good link right?

Let’s stop chasing this silly algorithm and adding more and more useless content and poor quality links to the internet. Let’s start focusing on getting more traffic and happier users – Google is bound to catch up with us before too long!


This guest post was written by Alex from WhoIsHostingThis.com. Alex is an SEO fanatic, a coder and all round tech geek. Come visit our site for hosting reviews and other webmaster tips and tools.

4 Responses to “Is Page Rank Still the Key to Good Link Building?

    I have recently read various articles {including this one} that absolutely talk in circles. The so called videos that are supposed to help…do not. To be honest most web site owners {like me} are busy doing business not chasing their tail. So if someone really wants to write a helpful article, or make a helpful video, go ahead and do it because you could probably make a fortune.

    avatar John says:

    Danny
    The trouble is no one really knows what’s the best and what google is looking for and if there is someone how knows for sure then unfortunately they will not blast it on the internet for anyone follow the steps! That’s why everyone is going over the same old same old as they don’t know either!

    avatar Marc says:

    At the end of the day, I think the addage “content is king” still prevails, but it has to be quality, original content, not just re-hashed nonsense.
    Google is trying to give the searcher the best experience possible and it is not a perfect algorithm but they do keep improving upon it.
    Too many people are trying to game the system, but all one has to do is “google” a search term and you can see the good sites from the bad sites. Even though at this point in time, bad sites still come up on the first page, if they offer no quality to the viewer they will eventually fall by the wayside. The reality is, if a bad site ranks ahead of you, when a viewer chooses that site and sees what garbage it is what do they do? They hit their “back” button and will probably end up on your site. Happens to me all the time when I am searching.

    avatar Irfan Rehman says:

    Thank you, I’ve recently been looking for information about this subject for ages and yours is the greatest I have discovered till now. But, what about the bottom line? Are you sure about the source?

    Manchester Handyman

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