in SEO by Jeffrey_Smith

How stable are your off-page SEO efforts and how dependent is your website on other websites for rankings? Recently, Google performed an algorithmic update that functions like a chopping block for websites that are algorithmically challenged (light in the pants on relevance), contain minimal content (from a user perspective) or publish duplicate content from other sites.

domino-effect

Can your website survive the domino effect?

This “spring cleaning” tactic devalues duplicate content and minimizes the number of keywords a website can rank for, for sites flagged by the algorithm. For more about which specific websites were affected, read the complete report at Sistrex, a research firm in Germany, who has highlighted a number of sites impacted by “The Google Farmer Update” (designed to undermine content farms).

If your website ranks as a result of a website that has been swept under the bus by the last update, chances are your pages will take a dip as well. This is the price of link dependency as a ranking tactic and now is the time to consider beefing up your on page SEO and content to stave off vacillations in rankings.

The estimate also concludes that roughly 12% of search traffic was impacted which leaves two things to be said about the changes (1) does Google have too much control and (2) will people continue to use it (of find other ways to search) as the long list of “live or die by the algorithm” ripples impacts thousands of business owners. Some “good” websites got lumped with the “bad”, so we will have to wait and see if this update gets the thumbs up or thumbs down from users at large.

The Strength of the Link

If you reply on links from other websites and neglect the power of internal linking and content creation as a means to develop authority, you are only seeing the glass as half full when it comes to your SEO efforts and could suffer the domino effect if supporting sites lose influence.

There are two primary methods to rank websites (1) by developing authority through acquiring signals of relevance and trust and (2) by acquiring relevant or strong inbound links as citation to augment your web pages or website’s authority.

The ratios of how much on page or off page SEO you implement is up to you; but at least with on page optimization you minimize risk and cultivate multiple pages to rank for distinct variations on a theme to augment rankings for entire related clusters of keywords.

The Thing About “Link Dependency”

The thing about link dependency is first and foremost trying to minimize your ranking factor to any one method. The take away here is, Google and other search engines will continually make changes which could potentially undermine or improve traffic. Riding the roller coaster of algorithm chasing has its benefits and drawbacks.

What you CAN do to protect yourself from the impact is (a) focus on a quality user experience (b) focus on conversion optimization or (c) create more compelling hooks for the traffic you do receive.

One does not have to increase traffic to increase profits, only the conversions based on that traffic. So, just as putting your eggs in one basket are never a solid strategy, traffic source diversity is imperative as a website grows, if revenue is a concern. 

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About Jeffrey_Smith

In 2006, Jeffrey Smith founded SEO Design Solutions (An SEO Provider who now develops SEO Software for WordPress).

Jeffrey has actively been involved in internet marketing since 1995 and brings a wealth of collective experiences and marketing strategies to increase rankings, revenue and reach.

8 thoughts on “The Domino Effect: Liberation from Link Dependency
  1. ice says:

    verry interesting ideeas. big thx :D

  2. I’m an SEO blogging addict. Although I still consider myself somewhat of a newbie, I am learning amazing SEO stuff by finding cool sites like SEODesignSolutions.

    I just recently found you guys and I’ve already put your feed straight into my iPad!

    Thanks for the fantastic SEO info!

    Gary Anderson II of The GanderCo Blog!

  3. Hey Gary:

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    Enjoy!

  4. Content is once again king. Just to sum up the article :). Good article btw

  5. Bill says:

    Some “good” websites got lumped with the “bad”, so we will have to wait and see if this update gets the thumbs up or thumbs down from users at large.

    The average user isn’t likely to notice. If they need to look up “blue widgets”, they will enter that search term and press the enter key (or click the analogous button). They will then consider the search results and either choose one or page down if all the links offered are lacking.

    But they will not know that the search results were different yesterday. The average user does not know if Google is giving them the best answers or not; they are unaware that they even have a dog in this fight. If the search results from Google are consistently unsatisfactory they will gradually drift away to other search engines … but Google will have plenty of time to detect the trend and correct it. That trend, in fact, will be one of the measures that Google can use to know when it has overstepped its bounds and offered too much paid traffic versus organic. Right now, if there are 3 paid links at the top and the Google maps listings on the same page, there is hardly any room for organic search to rank at all. If Google adds one pink listing and enlarges the map section just a tiny bit, people will get used to clicking to page two automatically.

    Or using another search engine altogether.

  6. Bill says:

    It would not be unreasonable to take this as a major hint from Google to focus on internal links and content (ie; easy to navigate and worth viewing) and let external links find -you-. Of course, if you let external links find you, it may take years before the first one arrives. I try to be generous with my outgoing links because I think that they help define MY sphere of authority based on the topics discussed on the other sites. Where others see “link juice linkage” I see “authority definition”. I make certain that my blog posts add to the conversation (similar to a good comment on the target site) and then I send my readers away for more information. I, in effect, serve as a tightly focused search engine for my readers. My traffic is growing steadily.

    So, instead of focusing on incoming links, focus on cross-linking within your own site and well-targeted out-going links. As you comment / guest post on other sites, links will come. As other readers follow links back to you or as other authors note your backlinks to them, the organic links and readership will ramp up.

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