Link building and Google updates: importance and coherence

Google Dance and Core updates

Link building and Google updates: importance and coherence

Every webmaster knows that by now link building is vital for making a website discoverable. Once, around the turn of the century, that importance was much smaller. It was the pre-Google era and searching for online content was drastically different from today. Link building has become a profession in its own right over the years. The rules of that trade are written by Google and are implemented during major Google updates, which used to be called Google Dances.

From Google Dance to Core Update

A gigantic platform like Google distinguishes itself in countless ways from average systems and programs. One of the main differences with other systems is that downtime cannot be accepted, not even for one minute. While many computer systems can be taken offline for major maintenance, a search engine such as Google must always remain online. Updates are therefore rolled out while the service is available.

Until 2004, these moments of updates were known as the Google Dance. During such a Dance, Google's algorithms were rewritten, while people could just use the search engine. For example, it could happen that search results changed drastically if you repeated a certain search term a few minutes later.

Since January 2004 there is no dancing anymore, but the updates from Google are smaller and more frequent. Small changes are made to the search engine's algorithms almost on a daily basis. However, relatively large updates are still made from time to time. The Panda update became known because about six to nine percent of all websites lost their place in the ranking during that update. In March 2019 there was one of the largest updates in years, by Google itself afterwards March Core Update mentioned.

Eternal conflict

Link building

In fact, the Google Updates – and subsequently the way in which webmasters respond to them – can be regarded as an eternal struggle. People are trying to understand how Google works and are trying to make clever use - or in some cases abuse - of that operation. Because Google mainly looks at the connection between your website and other websites, link building has become a real sport in recent years.

By frequently having a website link to other websites that Google finds valuable, Google will also value your website as valuable. Google itself advises that frequent linking - link building - is done in a completely legitimate way. Google's only advice if it appears after an update that your website has fallen in the rankings is: provide better content. See this explanation from Google's Head of Web Spam, Matt Cutts:

On the other side of the coin, we find websites that are full of hidden links – invisible to visitors but effective for Google – or even spam links. In subsequent updates, Google will try to build in intelligence that recognizes and eliminates such shortcuts, so that search results remain 'clean'.

Effective link building do you do with content

Link building with content

If the past few years of Google updates have taught us anything, it is that as a webmaster you can best invest your time and energy in actually providing a website full of good content. content. Shortcuts, hidden links, spam links, it's all nice and nice, but in the end Google will find an antidote to it during a major update. And once your Google ranking has plummeted, it's hard to regain it.

You therefore do effective link building by asking your customers for reviews, by working together with colleagues from the field through guest blogging, by blogging actively and interestingly and by being visible online. That may cost you the necessary time and effort, but Google will appreciate it much better. Now and in the future.

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2 Responses
  • Hey Frank, thanks for your response. Google recently released an interesting paper on Q-learning, see, and it may well be that this step backwards was necessary in order to be able to take two steps forward with machine learning.

  • Frank Krepel says:

    Hi Thomas, It seems that the last update from Google has caused websites with overly aggressive link building to revert to their old positions. The Matt Cuts penalties are completely gone. I think that eventually Google can't do without links, no matter how good the algorithm is, links will remain an important part.

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