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When Being a Contrarian Works In SEO

SEOThe SEO community can often be an echo chamber where the same advice is repeated over and over until it must be true. It can be a challenge to block out all that white noise—even for even those who are experienced with SEO, let alone business owners who are not.

In the past year, there have been two SEO “tips” that have definitely skewed the paths that some people may have taken to a successful SEO campaign:

Google’s Youtube Announcement about HTTPS

Last summer, in a YouTube video, Google announced that:

“Data delivered over an unencrypted channel is insecure, untrustworthy, and trivially intercepted. We must protect the security, privacy, and integrity of our users’ data. In this session we will take a hands-on tour of how to make your websites secure by default: the required technology, configuration and performance best practices, how to migrate your sites to HTTPS and make them user and search friendly, and more. Your users will thank you.”

As a result, many SEO consultants directed their clients to update their websites to HTTPS, which caused chaos. Broken security certificate issues and broken plugins made the transition from HTTP to HTTPS an expensive proposition for many.

Companies that relied on AdSense for revenue saw less relevant ads, lower ad CTR, and a sharp drop in AdSense earnings after going secured.

Almost a year later the search engine results page looks very similar to what it was before the announcement. While HTTPS might be one of the metrics in Google’s algorithm, it is still only one of hundreds, and it is not a magic bullet to make your site rank better.

Google’s John Mueller’s Advice about Linking

Also earlier this year, Google’s John Mueller was captured in a Google+ hangout saying that webmasters should avoid trying to focus on link building.

When asked by a webmaster: “is link building in any way good?” John’s initial response was, “In general, I’d try to avoid that.”

In the seven months that followed, his advice set off reverberations throughout the SEO community with many SEO consultants reluctant to advise any link building to clients.

The anti-link building sentiment has grown so strong, that our email box is no longer filled with linking requests. The pendulum has swung so far against linking that this is now the best opportunity in years to actively engage in link building as your competitors are probably not doing any.

This does not mean that you should actively engage in two or three-way reciprocal link exchanges or that you should go and buy links. There has to be a strategy behind the execution of any successful linking campaign, which is why when we engage in link building with a client, we ask:

1. What are we trying to accomplish by linking?

What is the goal of the campaign? Drive traffic? Build awareness of brand? Increase sales? The answer to these questions lead us to determine the success of a link building campaign.

2. How are we measuring that campaign?

What does success look like? What are the metrics that we will use to measure the success of that campaign? Can we baseline results before and after the engagement?

3. And finally, what assets do we have access to?

The hard truth is that not every company is suited to link build. A good link building campaign includes an asset (or assets) that your target audience will find useful, likeable, and shareable. Without these kinds of assets the chances of success drop dramatically.

We find that website owners, bloggers, and social media influencers are much more receptive to our outreach efforts today than they were six to nine months ago due to less SEO consultants reaching out to them.

This presents opportunities for website and business owners to take the contrarian approach and link build while your competitors are not. Contact us today to let the link building begin!