What is the best link strategy? What should you disavow?
We all know that having good quality links directing users towards your website is not only useful for your traffic, but for SEO. But linking can be a minefield, and bad links can have the opposite effect and you could actually be penalised by Google.
This topic requires longer discussion, but the key message from Google is to EARN NATURAL LINKS. When they say EARN, they mean providing something on your website that others WANT to link to, rather than you approaching a company to ASK them to link to you.
Disavowing is the process of telling Google that you don’t want to be associated with certain websites. For example, if an adult site linked to you for some reason (usually spam), or a website that might be deemed unethical, then you can’t STOP them doing that. What you can do, is send Google a list of domains that you want to ‘disavow,’ which means you become disassociated with them and they don’t harm your search performance.
Google provides instructions on how to disavow, but if you need help get in touch because we do this for companies on a weekly basis.
Can you have ‘low quality’ links from a ‘high quality’ website?
One user asked this interesting question and the answer was YES. You may win a great backlink from a great quality, reputable website with lots of ‘link juice’ to offer, but if your link is buried away in a page that was created years ago, and nobody visits that page any more, then it won’t have as much value as a link from, lets say, their home page. John’s guest described a poor quality link from a good website like being shoved in a “dusty old basement.”
Are there different ways to rank well?
Yes. Google uses “over 200 factors for crawling, indexing and ranking websites.” Those words come directly from John.
One website may have loads of great backlinks, which helps it’s ranking, whereas another might not have a great number of links, but instead has great quality, useful content and a large user base.
For a website to rank well, it doesn’t have to hit all 200 factors, and actually to do that would have to be achieved unnaturally.
What is the ‘Possum Update?’
One guest asked about the latest RUMOURED change to Google’s algorithm, nicknamed the Possum Update (in the same vein as Panda, Penguin etc). The guest hinted that the Possum update affected local search results, and maps. John wasn’t able to comment on this.
Other SEO hints and tips that came out of this session…
- Keep track of 404 pages in Google Search Console, and keep things tidy on your site
- Remove any pages of your site that have ‘thin content’
- “Work on being a resource, instead of just another billboard amongst a million other billboards.” – great advice from John’s Google Guest
- And another one – “Look at your site through your visitors eyes. Take an objective view. Can’t afford to have a ‘my baby is the prettiest’ attitude.”
- Use AMP pages on your site (Accelerated Mobile Pages). We will write a separate article on AMP soon
- Cut down on pagination and instead use a ‘Read More’ or ‘View More’ button that reveals more content on the same URL.
- Create fewer pages, with better content
We hope you found that useful. If you want to know how you can apply this advice to your website, contact us.