Unnatural Links

Huh? Unnatural Links?

There have been some recent changes to Google’s ranking methods, that have resulted in big changes for some Websites. Some with page one rankings have nearly disappeared from search engine rankings. This can be devastating to a business that depends on Google for leads, so it’s a matter of concern. These changes are said to involve “unnatural links”. What in the world does that mean, and what should you do about it?

How Google Decides Site Importance

Google’s big innovation is its method of deciding which Web sites are authoritative on a given subject, and deserve to be at the top of their list of search results. They decided that a site with lots of other sites linking to it is likely to be more important than a site with no other sites linking to it. And if those links have words dealing with the key topic of the site, then it must be even more important.
So how can you become important in Google’s ideas for the topic of most interest in your site? Have important things to say on your site so that other sites link to yours. In other words, become important and be recognized on the Web as important, and then Google will recognize you too.

Gaming Google

But that’s the hard way. Surely there’s a way for me to get to page one without all this work, isn’t there, site owners asked? So the people who game Google for a living found ways to get links other than from site authors who believed that the other site had important content. Such as paying sites to link to them, for example.
As a search engine, Google wants to provide its customers a list of sites that are actually relevant to the query that’s been entered, sites that are actually authoritative. Not the sites that have gamed their links the best. The big innovation that Google brought to search.

Google’s Response

Google’s latest changes involve detecting links that have been “arranged” rather than placed because of interesting content. For quite some time they’ve been after purchased links, and a lot of sites that have purchased links have been penalized for that behavior. But now Google’s new method look at such things as a site suddenly acquiring a large number of relevant links. That won’t happen if they are “natural”, but if they are “arranged,” then that’s possible. So the latest thrust is toward links that are apparently “arranged”..

The Bottom Line

Be careful about acquiring incoming links from sites that aren’t relevant to yours. Also be careful about creating any patterns in your incoming links that might cause Google’s computer programs to decide that you are “arranging” links. Usually I don’t make this recommendation, but given the rate of change in this area, you’re better off to leave the link-seeking to someone who spends time tracking exactly what Google does and doesn’t like.

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