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Is building backlinks dead?

   
5:07 pm on Sep 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member wheel is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



Have all the various permutations of backlinks recently taken a back seat to other factors in Google's ranking algo?

In my serps, there are results these days that I just can't explain by looking at their backlinks, not even close.

And I just read a fairly well known SEO site and they're talking about some onpage/textual type of factors that may be taking a dominant position in the rankings.

Is this what you're seeing? Does it make any sense?

And if so, how long before this gets the livin' beejeepers exploited out of it?
12:05 am on Sep 9, 2010 (gmt 0)



May I know what search queries are you using. I work pretty much 24/7 in link building arena and I do not see this with my niches at all.
9:14 pm on Sep 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Wheel, very good question.

I dont think there is an easy way to answer your question. We can make ourselves crazy with the analysis and even after all of the analysis there is no 100% sure fire way to know why doing X made Y occur in rankings. There are simply too many factors (hundreds admittedly by some G engineers) that go into rankings. For any of us to know what exact factors affect the algo's is practically impossible.

I have also read a few comments about onpage textual factors and changes to G's algo but I try not to make too many changes to my websites based on what I read by these so called experts. If I go toying with things because of what I have read I might hurt my rankings. I maintain the textual content that best benefits my end user without going overboard on keyword density.

Sometimes I wonder if these so called experts who blog about this stuff are just making up stories to create linkbait and/or to just have fun sending us on goose chases! Would not surprise me.

I let my competition play the games (and make the mistakes) which then may cause my rankings to go above them when I havent made any changes its just my competition toying with text and hurting themselves in the process.

I guess what I am trying to say is that sometimes your rankings will appear to go up when really you have done nothing to make them go up - its that your competition has toyed with something to cause their rankings to go down leaving spots above them for you to rise up.

Unless it's published on a G website by a G engineer, I tend to ignore it.
9:47 pm on Sep 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I haven't wasted my time building backlinks since early March. I believe they stopped working long ago. I do mass url pinging and Twitter. Been working just fine.
12:34 am on Sep 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator martinibuster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



...and they're talking about some onpage/textual type of factors that may be taking a dominant position in the rankings.


There would be a lot of collateral damage if that were true. I'm not denying there hasn't been a little shakeup, but on the phrases I regularly monitor I'm still seeing links being an important factor. This is for established sites and brand new sites I'm rolling out.

Is it possible that certain kinds of links aren't working as well as they used to?
4:40 pm on Sep 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Is it possible that certain kinds of links aren't working as well as they used to?


Thats always been the gold nugget question but how would we know? Unless you do a very controlled test with brand new domain obtaining one kind of links for one domain and another type for the other in very controlled situations, I am not sure you would be able to know what works best. This is why I have always preached to not waste time on over analysis and simply get relevant links with quality sites anytime you get the chance. And don't pass up link opportunities with new websites that might rank low today because a new site ranking low today is likely to be an older website ranking better in the future.
5:12 pm on Sep 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator buckworks is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



not waste time on over analysis and simply get relevant links with quality sites anytime you get the chance


That approach has worked for me, except that I wouldn't call analysis a waste of time, I'd simply caution that it creates a danger of ending up with the cart driving the horse.

If you build links that draw well-targeted users to your site, the search engines will like them just fine.

Analysis is useful, but I approach my link development with the mind of a librarian or magazine editor, more than a mathematician.

The mind of a good librarian or editor is what all the search engines' math is trying to emulate anyhow, so start from that mindset and work outwards from there.
5:47 pm on Sep 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I didnt mean any analysis to be a waste of time I just caution to not over analyze or you can make yourself crazy not to mention you could be spending that time on other more important things.
6:44 pm on Sep 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Well this update is really weird. Last week for a "major city business sector search" #2 was switch to a company thats never ranked in the top 50, and this week #2 was switch to another company that never ranked in the top 50 and doesnt even have the major city name listed on their webpage even though they service that city. #1 has not switched at all, they seem to be throwing random websites into #2 every few days, sites that have very few backlinks and 0 recent backlinks and 0 really strong high quality backlinks. These are websites that don't SEO.
9:57 pm on Sep 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I do mass url pinging...


Could you explain that in more detail? I always thought pinging was just for blogs.
4:19 am on Sep 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Clickbaker. [webmasterworld.com...]
12:38 am on Sep 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



For a large site Page Rank (quality links) are still bread and butter. Otherwise only few URLs would make it in the index and with a few URLs there is no $ to be made with long tails.
1:34 am on Sep 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member




Well this update is really weird. Last week for a "major city business sector search" #2 was switch to a company thats never ranked in the top 50, and this week #2 was switch to another company that never ranked in the top 50 and doesnt even have the major city name listed on their webpage even though they service that city. #1 has not switched at all, they seem to be throwing random websites into #2 every few days, sites that have very few backlinks and 0 recent backlinks and 0 really strong high quality backlinks. These are websites that don't SEO.


You would almost think that the search engine is randomly injecting sites into #2 position just to watch user behavior. Does the user stay on the site, or back up and search again right away? Does it get bookmarked?

Since we know that G watches user behavior, why be surprised at random results. For 4 years I have noticed that certain products on my ecommerce sites will sell 3 in one day, and then nothing for 3 months. Random? probably not. Top of the search for that day? probably.
2:43 am on Sep 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member wheel is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



I wonder that too.

In fact, if I was a brazillionaire running Google, after about 10 years I'd probably be bored enough to start throwing some random chaos into the searches for no other reason than to watch SEO's scurry.
1:27 am on Sep 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I sometimes daydream "If I was a search engine, what would I do?" to think of ways that a search engine might decide how to rank my widget site higher than someone else's widget site. Try it, it can be fun.
6:06 am on Sep 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



@dickbaker - You can ping any URL that you want to. It doesn't necessarily have to be blogs, even though that's what it was originally meant for. A "ping" is merely an announcement that a new page has been created.
4:32 am on Sep 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



In the genres I watch, links are still the predominant factor. Definitely there is a 'special sauce' accompanying competitive spots in positions 1-5 however that links do not alone account for.
10:37 pm on Sep 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member jane_doe is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



Is it possible that certain kinds of links aren't working as well as they used to?


I think that may be true. I haven't really spent much time on link building the last few years and my sites are still doing quite well. I don't know what Google is focusing on right now but I know I like the outcome. :)
 

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