If you are at all familiar with link building services or in need of them, then the terms Google, page rank, link building, Penguin, Panda, and now Hummingbird are probably familiar to you as well (if they aren’t, keep reading!)
Google is keeping internet marketers and small business owners on our toes; and for those who bought into old link building tactics, you may have found your website traffic has fallen flat on its back. The old formulas link building services used often included using link building farms, purchasing links and using SEO tactics that created a façade of having relevant content helpful to the search results, but may not have had actual helpful information when a human searched for answers.
So Google has been on a mission. Its goal: to provide the most relevant, helpful, “this is what I am looking for!” search results as fast as possible. And it is continuing to do this by updating and making changes to its formulas so websites that rank in search results are the most relevant and helpful, matching the search terms entered by the user. Hence Penguin and Panda algorithm updates. So those irrelevant links are now consider bad links and really hurt your website ranking.
Even recently, in September of 2013, Google rolled out Hummingbird- quickly and quietly just like its namesake. The aim is to provide better search results by considering context and the meaning behind the search terms used. The flip side of this may be that more credit and ranking is given to those websites with quality content that actually addresses the search terms. For more information on this major update, read more about Google's Hummingbird algorithm.
So with Hummingbird comes the need to double check how you use link building services or even how you choose to do link building on your own. For those who have used link building services that included not so great SEO practices that tried to “trick” Google into thinking your website was more authoritative and relevant than it actually is, you have some changes to make. For those of you who slowly built up authentic links and focused on creating relevant content on your website, Hummingbird changes very little you already are doing. Just keep doing what you’re doing.
So basically, some things may remain the same; other things may need to change. This quote sums up the answer to the question “How does Hummingbird Impact link building?”
“Directly, it changes little. Indirectly, it changes everything.”
If this is true, what do small businesses need to include in their internet marketing strategy?
Depending on the objectives in your link building services, this changes little or it may require a big shift in your strategy. For starters, take some time to look at your objectives when it comes to link building.
If your goal is to “get ranked #1 in Google” tomorrow, then you have quite a bit of shifting to do in your link building objectives. You may want to consider examining objectives that are more holistic such as gaining brand visibility and recognition, increasing thought leadership in your industry or specialty, as well as increasing referral based traffic. These objectives will better fit and attract the “Hummingbird.”
If Hummingbird is indirectly changing everything, what do you feed it? Hummingbirds feed on nectar, so our strategy advice:
Fill your linking building services with a combination of these “sweet” tactics:
- Focus on the end user
- Develop relevant content that is helpful and informative
- Build relationships with other “experts” in your industry
- Share your valuable content as well as the content of others
- Make authentic contributions in online communities
- Earn your links naturally and authentically
As we reexamine link building services and weigh the advice of so many experts out there, keep in mind this key thought from SearchEngineLand:
Everything we do should also focus on the end user. More than ever, link building needs to be focused on providing real (significant) value to users.
As you choose your link building services and decide which strategy will be best for your small business marketing, start doing the things that matter to your website users and Google will like you too!