matt cutts

Safe Link Building And Natural Links Part II

Link Building Is...

Build It Safe Link Building In SEO

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Link building is puzzling, confusing, interesting, frustrating, awesome, unpredictable and a host of many other things too and maybe that's why we do it even though there are no guarantees. In spite of this reality, in spite of the fact that Google changes the rules all the time, in spite of knowing that doing it wrong carries painful penalties, yet on the flipside doing it right has the potential to be one of the most gratifying experiences you'll ever have in SEO. So in this continuation on the discussion of link building and link profiles, lets talk about how achievable safe link building and building a natural link profile really is.

Matt Cutts On Quality Links

Matt Cutts in this video talks about the kind of links that Google would give weight to verses the kind of links that the algorithm wouldn't give weight to. Keep in mind that everytime I'm referencing links, I'm talking about what is going to impact your link profile. That link profile is any link that is associated with a particular webpage or domain that the link is pointing to. This video speaks directly to links that are achieved through article marketing, widgets and themes.

With respect to article marketing, this method has been used heavily in the past and has been deemed a pretty easy way to get links in SEO land. In full disclosure, I've certainly made my share of mistakes on my journey in SEO over the last decade. Even I've been guilty of "thin" article marketing in the past for the sake of getting links, but good practice is that when you make mistakes.. you learn from them which has certainly made me more effective as someone that builds links, participates in social media and in content marketing too.

Link Building Tactics And Anchor Text

Bad Idea SEO Strategies And SEO Tactics In Link Building

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Matt goes on to say that developing widgets and themes for the sole purpose of distributing these items with "specific anchor text", while they may have been given more weight in the past are not given much weight these days and quite frankly is a very bad idea. The primary reason for this is that if we're focused on what is natural link building and what is safe link building.. not having any control from the person placing the link as to what the anchor text would be doesn't exactly make it an organic link now does it ? This is all in accordance with my understanding from Matt Cutts.

When the anchor text has been predetermined this lowers the quality of the link in the eyes of Google. This is something to keep in mind as you build your links in the future. It is my own personal belief that anchor text will carry less and less weight with respect to the future of link building. I think that the algorithms will continue to get better in determining placement and context around the links and what weight is given to anchor text specific links in the future of SEO and link building.

In short, creating widgets, articles and Wordpress themes for the sole purpose of link building is a tactic that has had it's moment and that moment is over. Yes, you may still get credit for the links but you're not going to be able to rank what is targeted in your anchor the way you used to using that strategy. Natural link building is the future of SEO and tactics such as what Matt has explained in the video is a thing of the past and isn't worth anyone's time anymore.

Matt Cutts On Un-Natural Link Building

In this next video with Matt Cutts, there's a discussion about how being "un-natural" affects your website in terms of how the algorithm would evaluate your domain and it's pages. From my standpoint, I'm going to say upfront that being "un-naturual" will adversely affect your link profile too so taking an intentional look at what kind of links you're building will help you to a large extent steer clear of building a link profile that is not natural.

The MOST obvious point is to avoid spamming. So here's my plug or rant on SPAM within the context of this post.

Spamming degrades the integrity of the internet and the whole purpose of utilizing search engines is to acquire information that is relevant to what the user is searching for. However spamming, most notably on blogs in blog comments has been done for the sole purpose of link building typically occurring most egregiously on websites that are not moderated or on comment auto approve pages. This is a practice that certainly needs to stop. The penalties for comment spam are growing and in remaining on topic does nothing to improve or benefit anyone's link profile.

Don't Spam Blog Comment Spam And Poor Link Building Strategies

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Nevertheless, in recent years, there have been all sorts of methods used to acquire links to beef up a websites link profile. As Matt Cutts summarizes, un-moderated blogs that allowed blog comments (abused, which turned into blog comment spam), links in forum profiles, un-moderated guest books with poor or very thin comments left just to get a backlink, excessive reciprocal link building or software that has anchor texts that have been embedded into the software without the end users knowledge.

So with this information, here's the conclusion that I've arrived at for the sake of summarizing what is conveyed in the video... If you want a link, don't go out looking for them.

Direction For Link Building In SEO

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The direction that safe link building is going is that for much of the link building associated with your website.. it should happen with very little intervention from you. Now granted if you're adding pages to your own website, obviously each time you do that you are creating new links for your own website. However, in the case of links that are coming from outside sources that are highlighting or giving you credit for content that you have put together those links should not be incentive based or influenced by you in any way.

Link Building And SEO Footprints

Methods that have been discussed in this post do leave noticeable "footprints". Have you ever heard of an SEO footprint ? If you've been looking into SEO for any amount of time, chances are good that you have heard this term. An SEO footprint is simply put.. a very clear sign that you have manipulated the search engines for the purpose of getting backlinks. Footprints can be traced back to you and be used to demolish your business online, your website traffic and completely deindex you from the search engine depending on the severity of your manipulation.

SEO Footprints What Are SEO Footprints

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If we're thinking about natural link building, there is nothing natural about using an SEO footprint. For example if you're trying to build links that target the keyword "seo tools", it's not uncommon to look to leave a comment on a blog that allows you to leave your website link. You may type in something like the following: site:blogwebsite.com "leave a comment". In that example you're looking for a website that has the phrase "leave a comment" on it's page. It's a very simple example, but it's also a way to find websites that allow you to leave a comment. Once you're on that site, you would leave your comment and your website targeting the anchor that you want to rank for and then proceed onto the next website to do the very same thing. It's a rinse and repeat process, but as you get credit for these links, going through your link profile will show that you have the "same" anchor text for many different links that you own and that is a sign of search engine manipulation that can result in a manual webspam action from Google. Further more it does not look natural and is not natural in your link profile.

Good Advice On Safe Link Building In SEO

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As I close this post, good practice and good advice to bear in mind is that "looking" natural should never be the goal as you build your link profile in your safe link building journey. Write your content and leave the process of link placement to others as you focus on generating material that others will find useful, interesting and worthy of placement on their respective websites. 

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Let's Talk About What Is Safe Link Building And Natural Links

SEO Tips On What Is Safe Link Building And Natural Links

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What Is Safe Link Building ?

When it comes to providing SEO tips, here's a big question for ya.. Is there such a thing as safe link building ? Wow.. talk about opening a can of hmmm... something right ? It's common knowledge that Google changes the rules anytime it wants and some may even believe they do it just for the fun of it just to keep link builders on their toes, but whatever the reason, it's like walking on uneven payment for anyone in the link building game and lets face it folks, that's not a fun place to be.

Matt Cutts On Natural Link Building And Safe Link Building

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What is truly safe link building ? Maybe that's the place to start right ? The word that I would run with if I were looking for something that symbolized what safe meant in the SEO world is "natural". If you've been link building for any amount of time, you've seen this word around the forums. You've heard the conversations around natural link building. You've heard Matt Cutts talk about how links that you build need to come naturally. You may be scratching your head thinking... "What in the world does that mean" ? Well here's my take on it:

  • If you went out in search of the link, it wasn't natural
  • If you paid or bribed someone for the link it wasn't natural
  • I debate whether reciprocal linking is natural based on how good ole' Matt defines it
  • Guest posting for the link (again debatable), but it's kind of subjective here.. if you're writing for the link then it's not natural, but if you're writing to add value and you just so happen to get a link from it then I would argue that it is natural
  • Infographics.. losing the punch that it once had now isn't "always" a safe link building tactic.. I wonder when Google is going to penalize this tactic that has been used.. rightfully so by whitehatters, but has also been abused to some degree by the spammers and by blackhatters too

What Is Safe Link Building

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Safe Link Building And SEO

So we're back to the question... what is SAFE ? If you're new to SEO, while it's never been an easy place to play, it's truly no joke now with all the penalties coming left and right for tactics that aren't considered natural or play by the rules tactics in Google land.

There are plenty of forums that you can explore that will have services galore to consider. Remember my post about avoiding the temptations ? Google BFF Bad Link Neighborhoods. Yeah that one.. Talk about red flags.. You may as well just wave to Google and say hey, I'm over here.. come and get me. Yeesh.. there was a time when you could add thousands of links to your backlink profile and never see a penalty, but try that nonsense now on a website project or business that you care about. Well let me restate that.. DON'T try that on a website or business site that you care about... it's a terrible idea.

So what do you do about this ???

Safe Link Building Tips

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Well the first thing that I would do is determine who your audience is and simply just write for them. If you have a business, the reality is that you have to connect with them and writing is a no cost, thought provoking way to show the people that are interested in your brand and business that you care about them. Everyone knows that writing takes time and when there's value embedded in the content that you're putting together, believe it or not that resonates with people. Focusing on the people that are interested in what you have to say will lead to building a very natural link profile. Yes, it is a slower process, but it's as natural as natural gets. When people read something that is worth sharing, they will share it all over the place and other people will share it too. Nothing ever built that was worthwhile was ever done very quickly. It took time and so will building a link profile that is natural to Google, but that's the point and that's what Google is looking for. Those are the websites that get rewarded when other businesses that have inflated their metrics get penalized and knocked out of the coveted first page positions they hold. The benefits of doing it right lead to dividends that are certainly worth waiting for.

Link Building And Patience

I get it that "waiting" is not the "in thing" to do. Given how quickly information is acquired and disseminated these days, waiting seems so 1999 ! But guess what.. it might not be for everyone, but man it works ! It gives true credence to the adage that "patience is a virtue". Additionally, if you're able to write for your readers and not focus on the popular notion... "what's in it for me", you might be on your way to doing something valuable, inspiring and meaningful.. things that people from all walks of life would be willing to connect themselves to, consume and respond to willingly. The sales pitch, something that people in general have developed a negative aversion to is also something that your readers will sense thousands of miles away or sense before you even make the attempt to try to sell them something they really don't need all for the sake of making a quick dollar.

Building A Natural Link Profile

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The goal is to add value, build trust and solve the problems that your readers have and are looking to solve as well. Many of these problems can be found in other's blog posts, forums, blog comments, news and in video's related to the topic that you write about. The questions are everywhere and being a source of information and solutions will build your brand and readership which will also ultimately lead to others talking about you, sharing your content and thus in turn building a safe link profile that will help you move up the rankings in Google land.. and there's nothing wrong with getting as much Google love as you can.

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SEO Tips On Webmaster Mistakes Featuring Matt Cutts

Webmaster Mistakes SEO Tips Matt Cutts

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Ever hear that funny, but memorable phrase... K.I.S.S referring to this specific meaning.. Keep It Simple Silly or Stupid..or whatever you feel comfortable with. It's fair to apply that to a litany of things no matter the industry, the situation or place in the world. There's something inherent about avoiding the simplest of answers when that's all we need for the most common problems. We come across this issue as bloggers, as webmasters, for the newbies and even in cases of the most seasoned among us too.

Mistakes are imminent, there's no escape and I would even argue that they are necessary. Without mistakes, individual growth just doesn't seem as potent. Mistakes give us tangible and real reasons attached to memorable experiences that teach us invaluable lessons. We use these lessons to drive decisions, to give us perspective in life, work, love and many other things unmentioned that may still apply to you as well. Carry a love, hate relationship with mistakes if you like, but they may as well be akin to the air we breathe.. we need mistakes to live viable lives.

Living, breathing, eating and drinking SEO is a lifestyle of sorts.. With that lifestyle comes decisions that webmasters, bloggers, businesses and corporations all make on a daily basis. Every decision impacts their business which in turns impacts their website or maybe it's the other way around, but the point is that it's a relationship where each move impacts another. In making these decisions, silly mistakes are made, careless mistakes are made and as I like to often say.. you don't know what you don't know until you know what you don't know. Quite a mouthful, but it's profound so let that sink in a bit.

Matt Cutts sees mistakes being made everyday as people from all over the world try to make their mark within the Google search engine. In this video, he addresses a question that he received on the mistakes that people make, provides insight and answers as to what people should focus on to avoid making simple but costly mistakes.

After viewing this video, what I found interesting is that these are areas that are very avoidable and simply requires that you pay attention to "small" things. One thing that I have learned in building websites, my involvement in search engine optimization, link building and writing content is that if you're going to have a chance in this game, you've got to learn to pay attention to the little things, you have to be aware that the most minut things still have an impact on search, results and SEO placement.

A very impactful takeaway is that you have to think about the user. Think about what they are going to be searching for. I created an "in the news" post regarding how voice is going to take a more prominent place in how search results are delivered and it's coming.. sooner than later. You can find the post here: Voice Is Changing Search.

As Matt says, we have to start getting away from being so focused on the search engines and link building. While even I have my own issues trusting Google sometimes, I think there's something to be said for this since the ability to search by voice is sprouting up in search engines, apps and on other media more and more frequently. It's probably fair to say that there's something more to this than mere speculation. Besides, people don't search the same way they would using their voice verses typing something into a search box. Thinking about how people search using natural language is going to change search altogether. However, the larger point is that we all have to think about the visitor and the content we're providing and that content has to be compelling and provide value too.

If you're a business, get away from the using a subdomain. Invest in a TLD (top level domain) ex. something.com while subdomains looks like this: something.mysite.com. You are going to look much more natural to Google with a TLD as opposed to going the subdomain route. The biggest benefit to using a top level is that the likelihood of your content getting crawled gets a LOT better and you have far more control. On a subdomain, the domain belongs to someone else and if you're a business, the easiest question that I would ask is, why would you want the island you're on to belong to anyone else but you ?


While we're on the subject of business, what kind of business are you ? What literature about your business have you posted on your website. Is the information on the page something that your visitor would be looking for ? Have you thought about the questions that your visitor would be asking if they came to your page and would you have content that answers those questions ? If there's something in particular that you sell, how is your page optimized to help your visitor find that information ? Your page has to speak to what your visitors want and need. If not, that's one less visitor that is going to stay on your page and when people don't stay very long, your bounce rate goes up. So while you may not be thinking about the bounce rate metric, it is a piece of valuable information that says something about whether people find what you're offering valuable or not to them.

What's the most important content on your website ? Can people access this quickly ? Where is this information located ? Is your navigation pane cluttered or uncluttered.. how many links to other destinations on your website are there ? The navigation of your website should not be frustrating to your visitors. Let me just put it this way.. you need to make it easy for them. When they feel like they have to work, then you're going to lose them and when that happens don't expect them to come back. Matt explains that not only does your site have to be crawlable, it also has to be easy to navigate.

These are straightforward ideas, tips and changes that you can make to address on your website that will positively impact your business. Ultimately we're looking for more positive movement in rankings and a more favorable outlook from a search engine analytical view. So implement the advice.. besides first and foremost on the generality of the subject SEO.. the advice is genuinely coming from a trusted source in Matt Cutts and there's something to be said for that.

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Zero Footprint Private Blog Networks Are Not So Private

Some Notable Words On Private Blog Networks

Zero Footprint Private Blog Network-(PBN)

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If you own a website or a blog, link building shouldn't be anything new to you as links among many other factors are vital to your existence online. However, where you get those links from can definitely make or break where you rank online.

Private blog networks have been known to work well in ranking websites. Many of these PBN's claim that they carry not footprint.. ways that Google can sniff out the links they're building to achieve the ranks they're getting.

With that said, I've mentioned Google's Webspam watchdog Matt Cutts before. He's been behind the takedown of several private blog networks in recent years. As of today, he's taken down yet another one. So let this be a word to the wise.. if you're thinking of using a PBN in your linking strategy, you might want to rethink that strategy.. short term gain, long term loss.

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More on PostJoint Takedown: Article

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Play Nice With Google To Avoid Link Building Penalties

Link building penalties are costly and in future Google updates can result in huge losses in organic traffic.

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Lets Talk About Links

The biggest problem in link building these days is that what worked in the past just doesn't work anymore. When you consider that the Yahoo-Bing alliance and Google are the major players in the search engine game, each is driven by their respective "algorithm". The algorithm defines the rules in ranking. Google has changed it's algorithm "numerous" times over the past 3 years. The most notable change was when the Penguin update rolled out. Link building techniques such as reciprocal links, blog post links, forum links and exact match anchor text are methods that simply don't hold any weight in ranking anymore. These methods are watched closely and can get you into lots of trouble as well. Now I'm not saying trouble like you're going to go to jail, but trouble if you're trying to rank. You just won't see your site rank if these are methods you're trying to use.

If you're unfamiliar with Matt Cutts.. just Google him. He's Google's web spam watchdog and not one to be trifled with. If you're openly using bad link building strategies like those listed above, expect that your site isn't going to last long and worse yet may even get deindexed from Google altogether.

Read about the story of Rap Genius and how they used poor and blatant disregard for the rules and got Google slapped and what they had to do in order to get their website back in good standing with Google.

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More on Rap Genius: Article

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