Prior to Google’s major shakeup of its search algorithms with Panda and Penguin, many optimisation techniques relied on link building through paid postings or submissions to article directories, blogs and forums.
This approach has been made problematic as a result of the changes and left many site owners chasing the elusive natural links that are now far more favourable to achieve.
In an article for Search Engine Watch, Kevin Gibbons argues that it is still possible to run a solid link building campaign, as long as you adapt to the factors that are more likely to bring success now that natural links are of the utmost importance.
He points out that the quantity of your output is no longer as important as its quality and that you really need to start thinking about the audience that will be targeted by your posts, catering to what they will want to consume, rather than taking an approach that is fuelled purely by search analytics.
This feeds into the idea that link sharing that is powered by social networking can be far more valuable today than any other techniques that are designed to drive traffic to your site.
People will be encouraged to naturally link to a particular site or article if the content strongly engages with them. Whether their response to it is extremely positive or negative is largely irrelevant; it is the fact that any kind of response was elicited that makes all the difference and increases the likelihood of a valuable share.
Site owners are now advised to look at things from the point of view of readers, rather than search algorithms, when composing and sourcing content.
Mr Gibbons even argues that seeking out dedicated copywriters is not necessarily as effective as getting specialised authors who can put their own personal stamp on a site to which they contribute.
Anonymity of posting is becoming more problematic in a world that is fuelled by sharing. People are less likely to engage with content if they are unable to associate it with a name and a face, so copywriters churning out articles which lack a particular authorial voice or associated persona, might not be as valuable today.
The social, communal nature of the modern web means that sites cannot exist in a vacuum; it is necessary to tap into large, established communities online when you are trying to kick start a new project. You can then feed off the popularity of another service and improve the visibility of your brand, without necessarily having to spend lots of money on marketing.
Mr Gibbons believes that AuthorRank will becoming increasingly important in the coming year, which is why he recommends that sites should adapt to make the most of this approach sooner rather than later. If Google updates continue to privilege posts that can display authorial reputation and unique qualities of the like, then this will become an increasingly important part of optimisation and link building.