Some weeks it is hard to settle on which topic of the week to blog about and try to bring the most important items to my readers. This week was not one of those weeks. Though this may not have an immediate bearing on your site, it says a lot about Google.
They are freaking out a little bit. They have acknowledged in the past that perhaps they have put much weight in to link building and I have even suggested that in the future links will not be as important. However this kind of takes the cake in a giant CYA move. Google has announced that asking for links is unnatural.
So maybe we should lay this out.
1. Google gives huge importance to external links coming in to your site as a ranking factor (see every factor correlation study ever)
2. Companies make money by ranking highly in Google and selling their products to the searching public
3. Companies buy links because Google has made it worthwhile to do so.
4. Google says you shouldn’t buy links but get them “organically” or “naturally”
5. Google continues to make links extremely important for ranking.
6. Google now says that you shouldn’t even ask for links. This is unnatural.
7. So links are the most important ranking factor, but asking for them (not paying) is against the rules.
8. Sounds like covering their you know what’s for a change in the ranking algorithm somewhere down the line.
9. Making it punishable to simply do what they have encouraged doing in their ranking environment is ridiculous.
10. It will be interesting to see if anyone actually gets punished for “asking for a link”.
If punishments ever go out for asking for links, I would expect to see some major lawsuits from those with deep pockets similar to the right to be forgotten policy. It is going to be very interesting to see how serious Google is about this or if it was just an offhand comment, because defining what “asking for a link” is will be a hot topic.
If you join a chamber of commerce, are you asking for a link? If you are invited to add content to another legitimate blog and put a link in their to market your site, are you asking for a link? If you sponsor an event or put out a press release, are you asking for a link? Seems like a pretty gray area now, and they at least used to keep it black and white, even if we didn’t know the value of the factors, we knew what was right and wrong.
More to come…..