In the wake of some of the recent changes we’ve seen in the internet marketing world—and especially Google’s Penguin and Panda algorithm updates—we have noticed that a lot of business owners seem confused about the best way to think about links.
We often hear questions like: Should I still be trying to get links to my website, or should I be working to disavow the ones I got in the past? Do links still have search engine optimization value? And if so, does it matter where they come from?
It’s only natural to wonder about these things, given that there was so much bad information going around. To find the answers you need, let’s look at three lies and the truth about links and internet marketing in 2017…
Lie #1: Links Don’t Have SEO Value Anymore
It’s a common misconception that inbound links pointing to your website no longer have any search engine optimization value. The good ones can still help a great deal. The only catch is that low-quality links (like the ones you pay for) won’t do you any good. You need links from known and trusted websites within your own industry, or major business media hubs.
Lie #2: You Should Skip Business Directories
If you’ve read the first point, it might seem obvious that you no longer need to sign up for local online business directories. They no longer have SEO value, in that the links they provide aren’t going to boost your search positioning. However, Google does use them as corroborating information for contact details. So, if you want to be visible as a local vendor or provider, keep your profiles current.
Lie #3: Internal Links are Meaningless
In a lot of ways, internal links—that point from one page in your website to another—are more important than ever. For one thing, they help Google’s search spiders to understand what your website is actually about by providing contextual keywords. And for another, they make it simpler for searchers to get from one topic or page to another, making your website more useful (and increasing user engagement) as a result.
The Truth: Linking is About Usability and Context
Boil those ideas down, and you end up with a clearer picture of what links mean today. Having inbound links from trusted sources can still help you gain a higher ranking on Google. Beyond that, though, local and internal links are really about context and usability. That is, they tell search engines (and the searchers who use them) what your site is about, and how they can find their way from one piece of information to another.
That makes them less valuable from a general SEO perspective, but worth more when they are placed and used correctly.
If you’ve been confused about links for the past year too, know that you certainly aren’t alone. But, now you have the information you need to make good choices and build a stronger search engine optimization campaign.