Google is pretty secretive about the exact details of its algorithm updates, so it is not always easy to see when a change has been made. Here at Relevance we keep a close eye on the game and our research and analysis of data allow us to provide essential insights for our clients’ continued success online.
Recent updates are changing the way we think about links and continue the debate about the future direction of SEO. Today I want to give you my insights into the theory behind link building to improve brand visibility in search engines, and how this has changed over the years and with recent updates.
In terms of the Google algorithms, a link is essentially a vote for your website and brand, and would typically take the form of a full web address or an embedded hyperlink (contextual link). Historically more links equaled better visibility in search engines and many companies would post hundreds of links to their websites, often from completely irrelevant sites. All this polluted the Internet with irrelevant content and compromised Google’s aim to give the most relevant results when people are searching.
Over time, search engines have evolved and become wise to links coming from irrelevant sources and only using one specific anchor text. Things are therefore much more dynamic and links need to be from relevant sources with a good mix of branded and keyword anchor text, while other off site signals including social media have also grown in importance.
To have a successful link building strategy, not only do you have to ensure a website is properly optimised and links are pointing to the relevant landing pages, but you also need to consider the other signals Google is looking for.
The biggest change we have noticed in the recent updates is that Google appears to have now differentiated between clickable links and implied links. From our research we have noted that implied links or brand mentions are becoming ever more important and are now taken into account by Google as a ranking factor.
This means that even if your brand is mentioned on the web, be it on a website or on social media without a link, there is a high chance that this is having a positive impact on search results.
Our clients who are talked about prolifically online have benefitted from this recent update with increased visibility. So instead of just chasing links for our clients we ensure that other authority sites and influencers are talking about their brand. Both traditional links from relevant sources and brand mentions are now an integral part of any link building strategy.
It would be easy to purchase brand mentions online just as many companies pay for external links, but a much better strategy would focus on creating great, interesting and shareable content as part of a robust digital PR campaign.
Tracking brand mentions has become essential for our clients and also gives us a barometer with which to measure the influence of our digital PR strategies. Updates in the algorithm appear to favour companies who are relevant and important in their industry, which should help Google reach its goal of having relevant results for search.
Want to know more? Contact the team of experts at Relevance.