“If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball.” – Patches O’Houlihan.Patches O’Houlihan might as well be Google’s John Mueller, throwing heavy metal objects at SEO professionals. One such recently hurled SEO wrench involves link building, a subject I hold close to my heart. Google’s John Mueller, in a Google Webmaster Help thread, said:
“If you’re making quality links to your site, then that would be considered against our webmaster guidelines, and by that, those links would definitely not be considered ‘quality.’”On the surface, it seems that Google is saying that any work done building links to a site is tantamount to spamming. The outcry from a confused search community was like a cornered animal – lashing out at anyone and everyone, including other SEO pros and Google, trying to protect their precious territory. Many SEO black hats were quick to smugly respond with their tired mantra of “See, if you do anything to manipulate the search engine results, you’re no better than a spammer like me.” The debate became so prevalent that Mueller took to Twitter to answer questions about his statement. His clarification shed some light on his thinking, but his efforts didn’t seem to do much to clear the confusion.
Trans Europa Express@ingobousa
I still find it bizarre that G have no interest in a clear acknowledged value differentiation between ‘reclaimed/made legitimate deserved link’ and ‘engineered non-deserved link’. There’s a difference you see? And the link graph is already ruined anyway by the no-follow bonanza.
“Someday SEOs will realize that rankings are not black and white. The algorithm is no longer linear. There is no such thing as ideal word count, ideal anchor text mentions or (gasp) keyword density. Many SEOs desire to ‘be right” and have an exact formula are damaging the industry. It’s sophomoric to think that there is an overall formula that will universally work to increase rankings for every keyword. If you think that there is, it’s probably time to find a new profession. I might suggest coding, where there are more absolutes. Don’t get me wrong, there is value in knowing why a site is ranking for a certain keyword. But it’s correlation, not causation. Just because something works for one site doesn’t mean it will work for another. You can create hypotheses and test them – but realize that you aren’t going to come up with a unified theory around content length or backlink numbers. You create the best you can, promote the best you can and make sure that you do what Google says. If you create quality content (which is subjective and hard to define), promote that content adequately and make sure your technical aspects are up to snuff, you succeed. If you try to work in some formula, you’ll usually end up failing.”I think fellow SEJ contributor Jenny Halasz said it best in How Ranking Factors Studies Damage the SEO Industry:
“ALWAYS and NEVER do not exist in SEO.”