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.
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.