In the olden days (meaning before Panda and Penguin), one of the main factors for success in internet marketing and getting a good placement in the SERPs was to build up tons and tons of links. The number of links that you had for your site was seen as a sign of internet marketing prowess. “Look how many links I have!” and “How many links do you have for your site?” were common remarks buzzing around in the world of online marketing. Then, with the algorithm updates, those remarks changed, often to “How many unnatural links do you have?” or “Have you been penalized by Google?” or “How far did your site drop in the SERPs?”
The trend now is much more toward link earning. Google wants to see only quality links. They seem to be on high alert for sites that contain what they consider to be unnatural links. Webmasters and online marketing companies are on a quest for the best way to develop the numbers of links needed for good ranking in the SERPs.
Here are three things to remember when it comes to link earning:
1. Relevance: One of the main goals of link earning is to find the most relevant links that you can for your site. Your SEO plan should include a link building component, but it should not only be methodical, it must be effective. The number of links that you have is less important than the quality and the relevance. So, forget about trying to get 100,000 links like before (when link farms were less taboo) and focus on connecting with sites that have something to offer to you.
2. Free: Forget about buying links. This used to be a common practice, but it is now really frowned upon in the online marketing world. While you used to be able to subscribe to a service that would help you gain a few links per day or per week, this is not something you want to be involved with anymore. When you buy a link, it is almost always going to be flagged as “unnatural.” This does not mean that you should avoid purchasing advertising space on a site that can help drive traffic to yours, just make sure that you are going about things in the right way.
3. Affiliate: Look for ways that you can develop solid affiliate relationships with others that are in your niche or related niches. When you can associate yourself with other sites that can help you get more traffic or conversions, this will help your placement in the SERPs, and it is considered to be good SEO.
Links are not dead, despite what some real critics are talking about. They are alive and well. But, remembering that the shift has moved toward earning links, rather than hoarding or buying them, is important. Quality is the first goal, and having only good links is important. Try not to worry too much if you have a large number of unnatural links. Do what you can to get them removed, but concentrate more on moving forward and outnumbering the unnatural links with the good, high quality links that you can earn legitimately.