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Links for Humans v. Links for Robots – Survive the Robotpocalypse

By Derek Janis on September 14th, 2012

We are all waiting for it to happen. That fateful day when every robot in the world becomes self aware and turns on its owner. Then they will unify and begin to take over the world. In my wildest fantasies, a virus then breaks out amongst the humans and we all turn into zombies, starting a global war between the undead and the mechanical. It would be epic! Fortunately we don’t have to worry about that right now, which is why we should leave the robots alone and focus our links on what really matters…humans.

Recently there has been so much talk about the updates that Google is pushing out. Penguin and Panda were some of the most industry-altering updates Google has released since the beginning of their company back in 1995. These updates have caused a lot of talk in the search engine optimization world about whether or not traditional link building works. The answer is simply yes. Well, and no. Here’s the breakdown.

Why Traditional Link Building Doesn’t Work Any More

For the last decade or so SEOs have focused on getting “links for Google.” This means that there was a lot of content that was being created where the author did not focus, nor did he care if it was high quality and easy to read. His task was simply to write a few paragraphs and make sure that the target keywords were inserted 3-5% of the time and that they are linked back to the client’s website. Once this content was created, he would then send the writing through a “spinner.” A spinner is a piece of software that can take content, rearrange it, and replace words with synonyms so that the result would seem like original content. This content would then be taken and blasted across the internet on different websites, blogs, forums, bulletin boards, directories, and anywhere else content could be easily uploaded.

This style of link building allowed hundreds, if not thousands of third party links to point towards any website you wished. Once Google associated these links with your site it shot up in the rankings. Thus people focused on making Google happy and not their readers or visitors. They were building links for robot consumption.

For the last 15+ years you could compare Google to a really smart, dumb robot. It was capable of solving complex mathematical and logical equations, but it had no idea how to properly read, compare, judge, and subsequently rank content as literature. But alas, I am one step closer to my fantasy; Google is becoming self aware!

Why Traditional Link Building Still Works…But You Have to Evolve!

I am convinced that the only way we will ever survive a hostile takeover by self aware robots is by evolving quicker than they do. This is true for link building as well. Google still takes into account the quantity of links that point to your site and you need to get as many as you can. You just need to not be lazy anymore and to put a greater focus on quality and clarity. We need to start building links for humans!

Accelerator Marketing is evolving and focusing more on humans. We are making sure that we stay alive and ahead of the Google Robot as it becomes smarter and tougher. We have done this by cutting down on the number of traditional links we build. This allows us to write more unique, higher quality content. It also allows us to be much more selective about where we place this content.

We have also started putting a greater focuson getting more relevant and higher competitive links. The following are the traditional link building strategies we are still performing on a monthly basis for each of our SEO clients:

  • Social Bookmarks
  • Article Syndication
  • Web 2.0 Property Creation
  • Web 2.0 Property Submission

Because we are focusing on well written content these four link building strategies are pulling their weight along with our other link building strategies. Along with these strategies, we have also put a greater focus on the following five link building strategies:

  • Top 100 linking
  • Competitive linking
  • Links from related and relevant search queries
  • Increase no-follow links (through social media)
  • Eliminate existing low quality links

These five strategies take much more time and cost a lot to more to produce than the previous four strategies. Because of that, we don’t perform all five in a single month. Typically it will take us 4-6 months to get through all five strategies thoroughly. It is important to remember that we are fighting robots, and that takes time!

Stay Strong and Win the Fight – Be Patient!

In all of this you have to be patient. Link building is a slow and cumbersome process. As SEOs we always try to automate as much as we can. I submit that we stop automating link building. Just like food, we humans hate consuming processed and bland goods. We have to produce tasty, organic treats for our readers and visitors. As the Google Robot becomes more and more self aware, it will love you for the smorgasbord of quality content you lay before it.

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