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Google’s New Link Building Guidelines

This may be of some interest.

In case you missed it, Google has just changed up the rules for link building.

It used to be that when people link to you, the link would either be a dofollow link or a nofollow link.

Well, that’s now changed.

They are now introducing 2 more link types that will affect
SEOs.

Now before we get into the 2 new link types, make sure you read the whole post. Because not only will I explain Google’s requirements, but I will break down what this means for SEOs.

The current landscape

The current SEO landscape is simple… especially when it comes to link building.

The more dofollow (regular links) links you can get the better your search rankings.

If you are unsure of the number of links you have or the type, just go here and enter in your domain.

You’ll see a count of total backlinks along with the total amount of nofollow links pointing to your site.

Now, when you are link building, if you are paying for links or leveraging tactics like guest posting, Google wants you to nofollow those links because they don’t think you should be leveraging tactics like guest posting to manipulate rankings.

And as for buying links, you shouldn’t do that as it is a simple way to get penalized or banned from Google.

So don’t send emails like this if you are trying to build links… it’s a big no, no.

How does Google look
at links?

Google’s algorithm is smart. Sure, they ideally want you to nofollow links if they are bought or not naturally earned (such as from guest posts), but many SEOs break the rules.

They aren’t going to say it publicly but they do these things. And because Google isn’t dumb, they also know.

Google can easily
identify when a post on these big news sites aren’t earned because many of them
have signs all over them that Google can detect.

For example, here is
an example of a guest
post from me
.

Forbes, of course, uses nofollows links, but it wasn’t always that way.

Google can easily detect it is a guest post through verbiage on the page like “former contributor” or “guest contributor”.

And even if they didn’t label me as a guest contributor, Google can use other signals to figure out that this link shouldn’t be given much weight when it comes to SEO just by reading the URL structure of that article on Forbes.

Let’s take a closer
look at the URL

https://www.forbes.com/sites/neilpatel/2016/12/26/my-biggest-regret-in-life-going-to-college/#5f74f3a91ac7

Do you see the big
issue with the URL?

It’s clear that an author can have their own subsection on Forbes through the “site” folder structure. Now that doesn’t mean all “Forbes sites” are bad, but they clearly know which one is from staff writers because they are clearly marked.

Those signals (among others) that Google probably won’t disclose (nor should they) make it easy for Google to determine if a link is natural or earned.

If Google doesn’t want to count a link from a specific author, they can just ignore it on their end.

So, whether it is nofollowed or followed, on their end they can systematically control whether a link should help your rankings or if it shouldn’t.

As John Mueller from Google once said, in the context of bad links…

If we recognize them, we can just ignore them – no need to have you do anything in most cases.

Now keeping that in
mind, here are the changes Google wants webmasters to make.

Google’s new link
policy

If someone pays you
for a link or you are buying a link, Google now wants you to mark it as sponsored.
Not just in the text of the site, but more so through the link attribute:

Rel=”sponsored”

And if you build links through user-generated content, they want you to mark the links with the attribute:

Rel=”ugc”

The same goes for site owners. For example, if you have a forum on your site because the content is user generated, the links that people place should contain a rel=”ugc”.

You can still use the nofollow attribute or if you want you can use a combination of the above. For example, if you have a paid link you can use:

Rel=”nofollow sponsored”

So, what’s the
purpose of this change?

Well, here is how
Google puts it:

All the link attributes — sponsored, UGC and nofollow — are treated as hints about which links to consider or exclude within Search. We’ll use these hints — along with other signals — as a way to better understand how to appropriately analyze and use links within our systems.

Now if you are wondering what that means, Google is pretty much saying that adding these attributes will give them a better idea on if they should crawl the link or not. Or how they should analyze the link when it comes to indexing or SEO.

This change goes into effect March 1, 2020, and don’t worry because you don’t have to make modifications to your old links. The ones that were nofollow can just be left as nofollow.

And even in the future, if you decide to just use nofollow instead of “sponsored”, you’ll be fine.

What does all of this mean for SEOs?

As I mentioned
earlier, I would provide my own insights and opinions on why Google is doing this.

We all know their algorithm is sophisticated and hard to game. But, just like any other algorithm or computer, it isn’t perfect.

By webmasters and SEOs labeling the type of links they are building and the purpose of them, it will make it easier for Google to learn how we use different link types and it will help their algorithms more quickly and easily identify link types and the context they are used in.

For example, if thousands of people use rel=”ugc” for links generated through guest posts, it may help train Google’s algorithm that these links were actually created by random people instead of the webmaster and they should be discounted.

Of course, Google already can identify wikis, forum, and other types of user-generated content, but this helps them tighten things up and make things more accurate.

They can also decide to take a more relaxed stance on certain link types. For example, maybe they will decide to count UGC links when it comes to link building, but they may decide to only give it 1/3rd the weight of a naturally earned link.

In addition to that, this also provides them with more signals on if the URL linked to should be potentially crawled or ignored.

But in the long run, as their algorithm becomes more accurate, it’s safe to say that the real solution to winning is putting the user first.

Their goal isn’t to rank a site at the top that has “perfect SEO”. They want to rank the site that people love the most.

Hence, you’ll want to focus on creating an amazing user experience, building a great product/service, creating mindblowing content, and anything else your competition isn’t doing.

As for link building though, links will always be hard to come by, so they will be part of their algorithm for the foreseeable future. And as the data shows, there is a strong correlation between links and rankings.

So one thing I would recommend is that you build as many links as possible, even if they are user-generated links. As long as they are from relevant sites, the referral traffic can generate you sales or leads. And if Google starts placing some value on these user-generated links, it can help boost your rankings.

Now that doesn’t mean you should go out to forums and spam your link everywhere. It means you should go find all of the user-generated content sites, provide a ton of value, AND ONLY IF IT MAKES SENSE, add a link back to your site when it benefits the reader.

Conclusion

Over the next year or so you’ll see adjustments in how SEOs build links.

First off you’ll start seeing companies like Ahrefs and the SEMrush show you nofollow, dofollow, UGC, and sponsored backlinks. This one change will help SEOs build better links and spend their effort on the links that actually help with rankings.

Secondly, my hunch is UGC links will eventually carry some weight. Probably not a ton, but more than 0 as long as they are from relevant sites, the link is within context and it provides value to the end-user.

And lastly, most webmasters probably won’t use sponsored or UGC attributes anytime soon. It will probably take another year before they really catch on, which means for now you will just have to focus your efforts on dofollow links.

So, what do you
think about the new change?

The post Google’s New Link Building Guidelines appeared first on Neil Patel.

Thank you for reading.

How to Generate More Traffic with Google’s New Features

This may be of some interest.

google my business

You’re probably already familiar with Google My Business.

If you aren’t, as a quick recap, Google My Business is a simple way to claim your office address or storefront on Google.

backyard bowl

That way, when someone searches for your business, you’ll show up on the right side of a Google search like the image above.

Or better yet, when someone searches for a product or service you’ll offer, you’ll show up in the local pack.

acai bowl

What’s interesting, though, is Google has been making changes to it, which means it just got easier to generate leads and sales for you.

Best of all, very few marketers are even leveraging these features.

Welcome Offers

What’s one of the easiest ways to generate more sales?

By offering discounts and coupons, right? Just think of it this way, if it didn’t work, Cyber Monday wouldn’t bring in $7.8 billion in sales.

Google knows that people are looking for ways to save money and find good deals. With this new feature, businesses can reward their customers by giving them welcome offers.

By following your business, they can get first-time deals and always keep in touch to see when new deals are posted.

offers

Not only will this bring you new customers but also repeat customers because people will be notified every time you have new deals.

To set up a welcome offer, open your Google My Business app and tap on your profile. Under “Turn followers into customers,” click on ‘Create Welcome Offer’ and hit ‘Create.’

You can enter the following information in your offer:

  • Title (30% off oil changes)
  • Description
  • Coupon Code (Optional)
  • Terms and Conditions (Optional)
  • Website (Optional)

Once finished, you can preview your message and publish. For notifications on new followers, and editing or deleting offers, you can read more on Google Support.

Generate leads in just a few clicks

Google is now adding a “Request a Quote” button in your business listing which was discovered by Joy Hawkins and can also be seen on mobile when searching branded terms.

request quote

This is happening with businesses that have the Google My Business messaging feature on.

To enable messaging, open the Google My Business app and go to your listing.

mobile 2

Navigate to Customers -> Messages and turn on!

moble 1

People will now be able to ask for quotes on cars, insurance, and pretty much any service out there.

You can even review these quotes and reply to them within the Google My Business App and connect with your customers easily for a quick sale.

Make sure you claim your URL

Businesses can now claim a Short Name and URL for their listing.

If you haven’t claimed your URL, make sure you do so before it gets taken by someone else.

Don’t get too crazy though as you can only change your short name three times per year. You can enable this by navigating to your locations page, click “Info” on the left-hand side, and see “add short name”.

short name

You may not think this is a big deal, but if you have used Google My Business before, then you know it’s not easy to share your profile on business cards, emails, and text messages without posting a huge URL.

With short names, your landing page will show as g.page/businessname and can be easily shared.

A business can choose a name between 5 and 32 characters and it can contain the business name, location, and more. People can still flag a name for impersonating another business or if the name is offensive, fake, spammy, or contains inappropriate terms.

So, remember not to violate any policies with your name.

I recommend doing this as it will make it easier for your customers to refer back to your profile where they can read updates, post, make reservations, read/write reviews, and more!

And eventually, people will be able to search short names in Google Maps to find the businesses they love.

Google Assistant

Google is now letting customers order food from restaurants and stores via Google Assistant, which is delivered through DoorDash, Postmates, Delivery.com, Slice, ChowNow, and Zuppler, with other partners possibly coming soon.

naab med

Users can click on Order Now on the listing and can choose pick-up or delivery and if they want to order ASAP or schedule for later. Payment happens through the default payment on Google Pay. If they do not have one, they will be able to add credit card information through this too.

Additionally, customers can order food by using Google Assistant by saying “Okay Google, order food from [restaurant].” If the user has ordered before, it will let them see past orders.

naab

Updating your menu online, as well as delivery service carriers and their apps will help get you started on this.

You’ll want to make sure your menus are consistent through all your service carriers to get the best orders to your hungry customers.

And of course, I know there is a good chance you don’t have a restaurant or aren’t in the food delivery business, but expect to see more ways Google My Business gets integrated with Google Assistant.

It’s better to be early than late.

And speaking of food, Google has also added the popular dish tab on your menu which features images and menu items that people love the most.

pop dish

This scans reviews and images on your Google My Business profile to find the most commonly mentioned dish and adds it to your popular dish tab. Of course, if anything is wrong, you can suggest edits to these.

This helps if there are dishes without names, wrong names, or typos can be fixed.

Auto-generated posts based on reviews

Look, you are busy, but you have no choice but to create content.

Google has given you easier ways to generate posts… in essence, they are now creating auto-generated posts for you.

These recommended posts are suggested through customer reviews on your Google My Business profile and are similar to their Small Thanks program, which tried to get you to highlight reviews given by previous customers on social media and even being able to print it out and display it on your business walls.

You are probably wondering why should you use it, right?

This helps keep people engaged in your profile if you haven’t posted on Google My Business in a while and gives you fast and easy publishing. It even gives you options to customize backgrounds with images and colors.

suggest post

This will pop up on your Google My Business dashboard and all you have to do is hit “Create this post”.

There’s no real way to pick other reviews for Suggested Posts, but you are always welcome to create your own. This is just a simple feature created to help engage your audience more.

Boost your conversions by controlling your images

Businesses can now set a preferred profile cover photo in your image carousel and have a place for logos at the top-right of your profile next to the business name.

This is an additional feature to the regular NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number) as well as business hours and will be prominently featured.

images

You can easily create offline material

Google is launching a website where businesses can order and get custom promotional items such as stickers and posters to advertise their business. This is in hopes that it will entice customers to follow places on your profile, add reviews, and create bookings.

You can even order signs like ‘follow us on Google’ and more for free (one shipment per location).

stickers

For posters, you can use the editor to create your own type of poster that can be downloaded and easily printed by yourself or a local printing company. If posters aren’t your cup of tea, you can even share these on social media.

posters

This is currently free as it is a downloadable offer, but you may want to pay to have someone print this out in poster size or as stickers to put on your business windows.

Just think of it this way, people put Yelp signage everywhere because it works. Chances are, it will work on Google as well.

Place Topics

Google launched Place Topics which uses data based on reviews to help give information on what previous customers think about your business.

place top reviews

This can help users see themes of reviews at a glance for businesses and it’s all automated.

It’s kind of like a tag cloud.

This does mean that you cannot generate these yourselves or edit them. So, if you don’t have one, you may not have enough reviews.

Also, if you have a negative one, there’s potentially no way of removing this unless you get the review removed. So, make sure your happy customers are leaving reviews is very important.

Possibly entice them with a 10% discount the next time they come… assuming you aren’t breaking any policy guidelines.

Q&A Auto-Suggest Answers

This feature that Google updated uses previous answers to questions and Google My Business Reviews to answer new questions on the spot. As you start writing the question, different answers start to pop up to give you the best match.

instant qa

So how can you make sure people get the most accurate answer?

Similar to place topics, encouraging your customers to leave detailed reviews of their experience really helps. The more detailed the review is, the better the question gets answered.

Of course, people who are searching for answers can potentially see negative reviews such as prices are too high, service takes long, very long waits on weekends, and more.

In other words, always encourage positive reviews from your loyal customers.

Conclusion

If you haven’t used Google My Business before, you should check it out. With their updates and new features, it is now easier to generate sales and collect leads.

In the future, you’ll see a much deeper integration between Google My Business and Google Assistant. This is going to be important as 50% of the searches will soon by voice searches according to ComScore.

Make sure you are leveraging all of these features and releases Google is launching because it doesn’t cost you money and if you get in early enough, you’ll have an advantage over your competition.

So are you using Google My Business to it’s fullest extent?

The post How to Generate More Traffic with Google’s New Features appeared first on Neil Patel.

Thank you for reading.