First of all, I wish all of ZaheerMalik blog readers a happy New Year 2013. I hope like all other internet marketers that this year doesn’t bring us as many surprises as the last year from Google. Here is my personal input on best link building and SEO strategy for 2013 based on the experiments I did on a variety of clients’ and my personal sites during the last year.
Google Algorithm Discrepancies: First thing first, it’s evident from the work we did during the last year that Google is still not following 100% similar pattern when it comes to ranking algorithm. This uneven pattern could be due to several reasons including not perfectly built algorithm or due to the authority of site itself. For example, a couple of sites, the major players in auto transport and mobile gadget industries who are evidently over-optimized both for their on-page and link building techniques and yet they are showing in top results. On the other hand, I tried with several new sites with a huge variety of links, anchor text and unique domains and still the sites were consistently under the Google radar and often fell of the top 10 pages even.
Link Quality, What is it Anyway? It seems that link quality would be the biggest factor during 2013 in SEO industry. Quality means the linking domain authority, back links to the linking domains, the quality of the content on the linking domains, domain relevancy and age and how little outbound links the backlinking domain has. The easy-earned links would still not be sufficient enough to rank high competition keywords as everyone could earn those links hence reducing the quality of such backlinks. Hard earned links including paid links will stay on top of SEO strategies in 2013, however these paid links should only be sorted very carefully through manual research and by contacting webmasters. Sites that are solely developed to sell links are outside the scope of paid links as far as the quality is concerned.
Paid Press Release Distribution: Paid press releases are a good way to get high exposure and give a push to few of your easy keywords and start a good pattern for some high competent keywords. However as press release sites use the similar database and sites every time you blast a release, it doesn’t make sense to blast a news very often. One paid press release very couple of months could be just that, or even every 3-4 months. Or, alternatively, you can use a different PR distributor every time to introduce some variety.
Web 2.0 Properties? Web 2.0 properties will need much careful link incorporation in 2013. Concentration should be in developing great looking, content rich web 2.0 till these are crawled, indexed and well established in search engines. Once you reach there, you can throw a link every now and then, here and there with no optimized anchor text. Give a link to an authority site every now and then, like Youtube, Facebook, Google etc to make it look more natural. And also don’t forget to use a separate account for each web 2.0 so there is no pattern establishment when Google crawls these posts.
Forum/Blog Commenting? Usual blog & forum commenting would be a waste of time. The best strategy in 2013 would be to find real blogs in your niche and establish a professional relationship by writing regular comments and getting a hard-earned link. The good blogs will never give a link right away, and you will need to prove yourself first that you are a genuine reader and poster of the blog. Again, the less spammy a blog commenting page is the better quality of outbound link it will provide to you.
Profile Links: Say no to profile links in 2013. They have not been good in 2012 and they are not going to be worth their while in 2013 either. Links coming from social media are no-follow anyway but still it’s good to get few to balance your no-follow, do-follow pattern. Document sharing sites, video links etc again are easy earned links and will not help much in competing heavy keywords, but they are good to balance your linking profile and giving it diversity.
Guest Blogging/Contextual Links: Guest blogging whether free or paid will stay on top of all link building strategies in 2013 along with contextual links from well established sites from the posts that have already been indexed and have a good pagerank. Finding contextual links is not easy and bargaining the price is even tougher, but I must say that if you find a contextual link every now and then, it’s still worth its while. Very few companies offer real contextual links online and most probably you are going to need a dedicated person who will do the research and dirty work of finding opportunities and bargaining a right price for you. You can then go ahead and get a great link.
Social Media: Social media presence is going to influence all SEO effort directly in 2013. The stronger the presence you have in Facebook, twitter etc, the lesser the chances you have to get penalised if ever comes an algo that doesn’t like your website. So do your best to create at least a good Facebook and a twitter page and keep it moving, increase likes and tweets and followers, this is going to help in long term trust me on this.