Let’s start 2013 by ignoring the unending debate over Google’s love-hate relationship with linking, something we haven’t done in this blog since the dawn of the Panda/Penguin era.
Report card-wise, our post Panda/Penguin experience and that of our thousands of LinksManager subscribers has been pretty much overwhelmingly positive.
Many subscribers report seeing their sites rise in the Google returns as formerly higher ranked competitors employing such black hat search-engine optimization scams as buying and automatically harvesting links got dumped.
Still other subscribers, those who responded to the Panda/Penguin challenge by beefing up their site’s content and using LinksManager to add more high quality links and prune some under-performing ones, report improved page rank and return position regardless of what their competitors are doing.
Finally, the great majority of LinksManager users are seamlessly keeping on keeping on. They were happy with their LinksManager-enabled sites search-engine performance before Panda and Penguin and they’re just as happy now.
Happily, only a tiny fraction of our subscribers – less than 10 out of thousands — has gotten one of Google’s infamous “improper linking” emails. We’ve investigated every single one of those cases and in each one the apparent trigger was something done outside of LinksManager. Embedded paid links acquired a few years earlier before the operator knew better, long-forgotten hidden links added by a previous website builder and other such boo-boos.
That’s our story. So-called search-engine-optimization “professionals” whose bread and butter is “earned” by stuffing prospective clients full of FUD (Fear, Uncertainty & Doubt) have another story. Which all forms the basis for the debate we promised not to have today.
Today … today … we’re going to start the New Year by talking about the roughly 25 billion – yes billion, not million – search queries a month submitted to search engines that candidly admit – without any debate or argument – that quality link exchanges, i.e. reciprocal links, are a major positive factor in their ranking algorithms.
We’re talking, of course, about the world’s number two and number three most popular search engines. Bing and Yahoo. In addition to sharing a common website index, they share the vast bulk of search queries that Google doesn’t get … about 25 billion a month. And unlike Google, they are not shy about admitting their reliance on organic, relevant, ethical reciprocal links as an indication of a site’s quality.
Here’s what they say:
BING: Reciprocal linking (is when) you agree with another website to exchange links. They point one at your site, and you point one at their site … exchanging a link is a solid way to not only gain a trusted inbound link, but potentially to gain direct traffic from the other website. That traffic could easily bring with it more links as those new visitors spread the word about your own website … this essentially means the links are built by people linking to your content because they find value in your content. This is an important signal to a search engine because it is seen as a vote of confidence in the content … organic links such as those are how the Internet became a “web”.
YAHOO: Yahoo! strives to provide the best search experience on the Web by directing you to high-quality and relevant web content in response to your search query. Pages Yahoo! wants include original and unique content of genuine value, pages designed primarily for humans, with search engine considerations a secondary concern, (pages with) hyperlinks intended to help people find interesting, related content …
To sum up, a robust, white-hat linking presence – such as that empowered by LinksManager –cannot harm your Google ranking and, based on our users’ experiences, will help it.
If you don’t believe white-hat linking CAN’T HARM YOUR GOOGLE RANKINGS, read Google’s official quality guidelines. Only “linking schemes” and “excessive” linking are penalized and both of those things are impossible to do it you use LinksManager and follow our simple, search-engine friendly recommendations.
Not having a robust, white-hat linking presence, on the other hand, will definitely lower your site’s search-engine appeal with Bing and Yahoo.
All of which raises a question.
But before we ask it we’ll throw another factoid into the fray. According a recent Forrester Research report, approximately 30 percent of e-tail shoppers are no longer initiating their queries via ANY search engine. They’re starting at Amazon.com. Toss in another 20 or more percent that begin directly at eBay and the trend of people moving away from the chaos (largely caused by Google’s favoring directory and other junk sites in its returns) of search engine returns to find what they want is obvious.
Which brings us, after 845 tedious words, to our first question of 2013. At a time when search engines in general are losing a significant number of “I want to buy” queries to dedicated shopping sites, can you really afford to write off the sales potential inherent in 25 billion searches a month by ignoring Bing and Yahoo in your SEO strategy?