Google Encourages Content Over Link Building for SEO by Silently Changing Help Article

posted this in
SEO, Content Marketing
on July 16th, 2013

Although it’s not really a secret that Google doesn’t encourage SEO tactics that focus on “link building,” they’ve just made it even more clear. As Search Engine Land reported recently, Google has changed the wording in this help article on SEO rankings.

The article used to say:

“In general, webmasters can improve the rank of their sites by increasing the number of high-quality sites that link to their pages.

And it now says:

“In general, webmasters can improve the rank of their sites by creating high-quality sites that users will want to use and share.

Does this mean links no longer have value?

Absolutely not. Links are still a primary ranking factor for Google (and all search engines, for that matter.) However, this change makes it clear that you should not be simply trying to build links to “game the system.”

Some less than reputable SEO services have done things in the past to build links such as using link farms, low-quality directory sites and content farms. But these have all been penalized by Google.

This change is likely meant to discourage companies and the SEO experts they hire from finding another, similar way to build links without a focus on content quality. So if you’re not supposed to focus on building links to better your website’s SEO, how do you get more links?

Google’s answer:

Good content will naturally create links

Think about the last great article or great site you found – did you share it with your friends? Did you link to it from your company blog? That’s what great content does – it gets shared. In fact, that’s the reason Google uses links as a ranking factor in the first place.

So if you’re looking to improve your site’s SEO, you should focus primarily on creating great content and an easy to use site. This should help you naturally create links for your website that will help it rank in Google’s search engine.

Nothing new to see

Again, this is not a new message from Google. It’s the same one they’ve been preaching to anyone who will listen – build quality content and sites first.