If you just started your business website or if you have had it for years, you should know that it is very important to rank in search engines like Google, Bing and others. So, how do you start ranking? Will Google or Bing just "magically" come find my site? Unless some other website is linking to your website, the answer is no.
Not to worry, everyone who has ever taken their business online has gone through this exercise in some form or fashion.
Search Engine Basics
SEO is critical in order to increase traffic to your website and get all the content you worked so hard on shown to the world. There are some very basic things that you can do to improve Search Engine Optimization (SEO) with your website.
Google, Bing, Yahoo, Ask and many other Search engines have algorithms at their core that figure out where a website should rank from a given search. These algorithms are not "set in stone" and updated several times per year. The search engines are not all the same, but there are several inner workings of each that are common.
At the end of the day, this is what the Search Engines are looking at for ranking purposes:
- - Content Type (and how much you have of it)
- - Optimization Level (did you pay attention in SEO school?)
- - PageRank (popularity - just like the high school days)
SEO: Slow and Steady
In the old days of bumping up a sites PageRank (we're talking maybe a few years here), it was a common practice to spam links to essentially junk "farm" websites that hold tens of thousands of links creating what is known as "backlinks". What these backlinks from these spammy sites did was create a false sense of importance of the website they were pointing. The more unique sites having these links, the higher the search engine would rate the PageRank.
Hold the Spam
According to Matt Cutts, Distinguished Google Engineer, he has stated that backlinks are safe... for now. There is an internal effort going on at search engines like Google (and others) that has been reevaluating the value of backlinks. Matt Cutts was quoted as saying:
"I think backlinks still have many, many years left in them," he said. "But inevitably what we're trying to do is figure out how an expert user would say this particular page matched their information needs. And sometimes backlinks matter for that."
In the interim, backlinks will still be viable, but be cautious of the type of backlinks you are creating trying to drive traffic to your website. You should stay way from the "fly-by-night" link-building companies that may boost you for a few weeks or months, but search engines like Google are aware of these tactics and working towards a solution. Matt Cutts continues onto saying:
"So I think, over time, back links will become a little less important," he said.
Quality over Quantity
Google seems to be leading the charge when pioneering the way that websites are assigned their reputation for the website as a whole and/or individual pages. They are taking the focus off of backlinks and putting it back on the quality of the content of the particular pages.
Wait, there's more... pages written by experts and professionals in their particular field will be given more precedence and weight. Page authority is going to become part of the new norm. There is speculation to how Google will determine whether experts are "experts", but they are Google, and I'm sure they have something in the works.
If you want to check out the video for the backlinks that was done by Google Webmasters, check it out below: