Link Building in 2010
Thursday, 14 January 2010
What does 2010 have in store for link building? Before we discuss some predictions, lets look back at 2009 as there were some interesting Internet developments. We saw the birth of search engine Bing in front of our very eyes, social media went mainstream with a little help from Twitter and Facebook, Google tried and failed to buy Yelp but succeeded in delivering personalised real-time search results.
Entering the new decade and checking out the first SEO blogs of 2010 was interesting reading...or not as the case maybe! With so many link building and SEO predictions being thrown around, many posts gave opinions and predictions that have been known and discussed in the SEO community for the past few years and nothing new. There are however a few new things worth mentioning which we touch on below that will impact on link building. One thing is for sure....for many businesses, ranking high in Google and getting traffic will of course be as important as ever in 2010 as competition increases on the web and therefore link building will be at the heart of marketing budgets.
In terms of web trends, mobile
web consumption grew 148% worldwide in 2009 thanks to devices such as the
iPhone and the
A common prediction amongst the SEO community is that 2010 will see its biggest change in terms of securing links as Google continues with its quest to eliminate paid links and devalue old school anchor text links in blogrolls and footers. There certainly is no sign of this yet as we are seeing those at top positions for insurance related searches having a backlink profile with obvious paid links. Will there be a high profile website to be penalized by Google for buying links, only time will tell!
The old tried and tested email link requests will change as webmasters will more and more ask for content promotion rather than one way or
reciprocal link deals. The past year we have seen a significant increase in image banner ads and these will be requested more as they deliver both traffic (if positioned above the center fold) and SEO benefit with the ability to embed do follow text links into the banner. One thing to bare in mind with this is the bandwidth as we have noticed banners created using Photobucket are not displaying properly.
Many in the SEO community believe that link building will turn away from old school blogroll and footer links as they will offer little or no SEO value and instead linkers will turn to
securing links that bring targeted relevant traffic and not just higher rankings. Whilst we agree about footer links, blogroll and embedded link banners still work as you just need to look at those sites ranking in the top 10 for insurance related terms such as car or travel insurance and you will see the backlink profiles of these sites are full of obvious blogroll paid links. These blogroll links are usually from relevant blogs so there lies the key as it always has and nothing new. Those blogs that are updated regularly publishing many posts per week within their niche will stand as authority and thus harness the power to send
lots of relevant traffic to a site via a link. Again, nothing new but worth noting.
The use of Facebook and Twitter skyrocketed in 2009 and
naturally these social sites became magnets for hackers sparking privacy concerns. Facebook now has 350 million accounts worldwide and Twitter is growing exponentially too. Some 40% of online sales are influenced by social media already. 2010 will see both sites actively
addressing safety issues or headline news regarding these sites will be common place.
Both Facebook and Twitter will play significant roles in link building as these social sites will be used to promote and share content amongst friends and followers. Econsultancy reported in the blog post titled Google's real time SEO ranking factors for Twitter that Google are now indexing tweets from Twitter and other status updates from other social media sites, including Myspace and Facebook. If this is the case then these social sites will be invaluable linking tools and sites will need to make it as easy as possible for users to share content such as using Addthis and Retweet. Twitter search will be used widely, especially as a research tool for links.
Marketers in 2010 will continue to evolve and think of ways of using social media to secure links. Those websites that engage with its users via good quality content will have a distinct advantage over those sites that do nothing. Those that do actively engage in social media, content generation and syndication will need to make sure their content is as linkable as possible. SEOmoz did a great post on this titled what makes a link worthy post part 1 and what makes a link worthy post - part 2 The main findings are that a blog post should combine images, lists and videos to make it as linkable as possible.Many in the SEO community feel that traffic is now the new PageRank although this has been the case for the last few years so nothing new but 2010 may see more emphasis on generating as much traffic from a variety of sources as possible. Alexa will be closely monitored rather than pagerank. Many linking strategies will therefore begin to adopt a two pronged approach by splitting campaigns into ''traffic generation' and 'link popularity which will provide a more diverse and natural looking back link profile.
In terms of SEO agency offerings, more firms will deliver on monitoring and leveraging content via social media. The communications giant British Telecom (BT) has delved into search marketing which is an industry first. BT launched a service called SearchSmart in collaboration with SEO agency Latitude offering low cost packages for small businesses. It will be very interesting to hear about some case studies from this service. News out yesterday is that Latitude has gone into administration so it will be interesting how this service from BT is delivered going forwards.
Finally, becoming the ‘authority’ in a niche (especially for competitive brands) will become paramount and achieved via content creation, customer engagement, brand awareness and online and offline marketing. Companies battling it out in a highly competitive niche will need to incorporate both online and offline advertising efforts more than ever because the more eyes on the brand online and offline, the more they’ll trust and link to it when asked.