Weekly SEO news: 7 January 2014
Welcome to the latest issue of the Search Engine Facts newsletter.

Since Google's recent updates, link building by spamming does not work anymore and that's a good thing. To succeed with your website in 2014, you have to do the right things.

In the news: Google won't index your website if there's a problem with your robots.txt file, a new Google patent, Google gains social logins, and more.

Table of contents:

We hope that you enjoy this newsletter and that it helps you to get more out of your website. Please pass this newsletter on to your friends.

Best regards,
Andre Voget, Johannes Selbach, Axandra CEO

1. Future-proof link building techniques for 2014
Since Google's recent updates, link building by spamming does not work anymore and that's a good thing. To succeed with your website in 2014, you have to do the right things.

1. In 2014, link building is more alive than ever

You've probably seen some "link building is dead" theories on the Internet. People who say this usually engaged heavily in link spam activities.

Automatically creating backlinks in bulk does not work anymore. Faking social network profiles to get backlinks does not work anymore. Spamming forums and article websites with fake or low quality content to get backlinks does not work anymore. Automated link networks do not work anymore.

In short: spamming does not work anymore.

Link building, however, is still the most important thing that you have to do if you want to get high rankings on Google. Google's Matt Cutts made that clear in an interview:

“Links are still the best way that we’ve found to discover [how relevant or important somebody is], and maybe over time social or authorship or other types of markup will give us a lot more information about that.”

2. Relevance has become even more important

"Things, not strings" is one of the most important concepts that Google introduced last year. The context of a link has become even more important.

The links that point to your website should come from pages that are related to the topic of your own website. Google has been saying this for years but now they are serious about it.

If all of the links that point to your website contain exactly the same keyword, you can be sure that this will trigger an 'unnatural links' filter. If the links to your website contain keywords that are related to the topic of your website, Google will find your website relevant for that topic.

3. Once again: spamming is risky

Some people still think that they can trick Google's algorithm with the 'brand new secret method that will get your site on Google's first result page with just a few mouse clicks.' These spam tools do not work anymore.

Google does not like link schemes and you should avoid these link types:
  • Buying or selling links that pass PageRank.
  • Excessive link exchanges.
  • Large-scale article marketing or guest posting campaigns with keyword-rich anchor text links.
  • Using automated programs or services to create links to your site.
  • Text advertisements that pass PageRank.
  • Advertorials or native advertising where payment is received for articles that include links that pass PageRank.
  • Links with optimized anchor text in articles or press releases distributed on other sites.
  • Low-quality directory or bookmark site links.
  • Links embedded in widgets that are distributed across various sites.
  • Widely distributed links in the footers of various sites.
  • Forum comments with optimized links in the post or signature
If you use these methods to build backlinks, it's likely that your website will be penalized.

4. This time, it's personal

Links that require human intervention are the links that Google considers in the ranking algorithm. Quality is much more important than quantity.

A handful of high quality links are much better than hundreds of automatically created backlinks.

The tools in SEOprofiler help you to build backlinks as efficiently as possible. While it is not possible to automate the link building process, the tools can make your life much easier:

  • they find suitable websites for you
  • they help you to contact other webmasters
  • they help you to keep track of your link building activities
  • they help you to separate the wheat from the chaff
  • they help you to save time so that you get more things done
Invest your time wisely. If you haven't done it yet, try SEOprofiler now:

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2. Search engine news and articles of the week

GoogleRap Genius back In Google after 10 day penalty
"Rap Genius was never banned from Google. Instead, it was slapped with a penalty that appears to have made its content that would normally show in the first page of Google listings slip to the sixth page (sometimes called a -60 penalty). [...]

For a fairly high-volume search query such as 'someone like you lyrics,' where Rap Genius took a 95 spot plunge according to Searchmetrics, it now ranks on page 7, not much of an improvement."


Google: we won’t index your site if we cannot access your robots.txt file

"In an online discussion, Google’s Eric Kuan said that Google won’t index a website if they cannot access the robots.txt file of the site.

If Google is having trouble crawling your robots.txt file, it will stop crawling the rest of your site to prevent it from crawling pages that have been blocked by the robots.txt file."

Editor's note: check your website with the website audit tool to make sure that there are no problems.


GoogleEntity associations with websites and related entities

"When we talk about how web sites are related, it’s not unusual for us to talk about links between sites and pages. Google pays a lot of attention between such links, and they are at the heart of one of its most well known ranking signal – PageRank. [...]

Google also seems to be very interested in building a knowledge base of concepts that better understands things like what different businesses or entities are ‘Known for’ or by defining entities better in ‘is a’ relationships."

Google: Gray hat engineering

"When they had regional monopolies they could make large demands to advertisers - sort of like how Google may increase branded CPCs on AdWords by 500% if you add sitelinks. You not only pay more for clicks that you were getting for free, but you also pay more for the other paid clicks you were getting cheaper in the past. [...]

Where Google gets paid for the link, the link is blue. Where Google scrapes third party content & shows excerpts, the link is gray.

The primary goal of such a knowledge block is result displacement - shifting more clicks to the ads and away from the organic results."

Social login trends across the web for Q4 2013
"During Q4, Facebook reversed a year-long slide and actually gained two-tenths of a percentage point in share, increasing to a shade above 45%. [...]

Google continues to close the gap as the second most popular choice, with its share increasing 2.5% to 35%."


Search engine newslets

  • Google 2014 New Year logo.
  • Yelp lobbying on patent, copyright reform.
  • Holiday mobile progress report: iPhone, Kindle, Surface biggest winners of holiday season.
  • Chinese search giant Baidu fined for copyright infringement.
  • Study: Americans fall into one of 6 “deal personas”.
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3. Recommended resources

Everything you need to get high rankings on Google

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4. Previous articles
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