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Good link/bad link

One topic of questions I hear a lot is about linking - no real surprise as this has been the mainstay of off page SEO in the past.  However, Google, with its billions of dollars and a stable full of engineers, is getting smarter.  The old focus of getting dozens of backlinks all with the same anchor text is well dead, yet many companies still consider this relevant.  But it's not just about backlinks anymore.

Is every backlink good?

Short answer is no - not every backlink is good.  Links from known link farms and spam schemes are not good and will generally hurt your rankings long term, even if you do see short term gains.  Worst case is they get your sire delisted and then you're in deep doo-doo.

I get asked (by those with a little SEO savvy) about the worth of getting no-follow links.  The truth is, many sites that you don't even think about post links as no-follow.  Craigslist is one, for example.  So, if they're no-follow (that is, they don't pass any authority - often called link juice) what's the point of getting them.  There's no point in setting out to get them, but get them you will. Have a look at this video from Max Cutts of Google.  He confirms they have no weight but makes an interesting point.

Mix it up!

One thing that Google is really going after now are links that, while they were good a few years ago, are now considered spammy.  That's using the same anchor text over and over again.  That WAS the way to do it, but no more.  Google has gotten way better at synonyms so rather than using identical text every time, try throwing in synonyms instead.  For example, use Quality SEO & site design services for Sacramento instead of Sacramento web design & SEO.

Google is now, more than ever before, changing the playing field and getting smarter in its algorithms.  SEO consultants need to be aware of changes on an almost weekly basis and drop old habits if they're no longer valid.  "That's how we have always done it!" is no longer an acceptable response.  SEO has always been an ongoing process to stay on top, and, this year, is gotten even more fluid than ever before.

Is this the end of search engines?
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