Google: Improve Your Site's Rank by Building High-Quality Sites, Not Links

focus-on-qualityFor years webmasters have been following one of SEO’s golden rules: get lots of quality backlinks in order to help your site get top rankings on Google. And over the past couple years this is become a lot more tricky as Google began penalizing sites with poor quality backlinks.

As a result, many webmasters have shifted a lot of their work from link building to creating quality content that visitors want to share, and now Google has updated their Ranking help article to reflect exactly this.

First spotted by Erik Baemlisberger, the article now states:

In general, webmasters can improve the rank of their sites by creating high-quality sites that users will want to use and share.

Previously, the article stated:

In general, webmasters can improve the rank of their sites by increasing the number of high-quality sites that link to their pages.

For those who despise link building, and the negative SEO aspect of competitors pointing bad links to websites, the fact that Google is putting greater emphasis on sites that users want to use and share will be good news to many webmasters.

It also isn't surprising that Google wants to put that emphasis on the sharing aspect as well, particularly with Google+ and how it interacts with searchers who are logged into their Google account. I believe aspects of this will be given greater weight in the search algorithm, at least until the spammers figure out how to exploit it on a large scale.

Google's Matt Cutts not long ago signalled this shift, when he mentioned that putting too great of an emphasis on link building is one of the top 5 basic SEO mistakes.

"I wouldn't put too much of a tunnel vision focus on just links," Cutts said. "I would try to think instead about what I can do to market my website to make it more well known within my community, or more broadly, without only thinking about search engines."

About the author

Jennifer Slegg began as a freelance writer, and turned to search engine optimization and writing content for the web in 1998. She has created numerous content-rich sites in niche markets and works with many clients on content creation, strategy, and monetization. She writes about many search industry and social media topics on her blog, and is a frequent speaker at search industry conferences on SEO, content marketing and content monetization. Acknowledged as the leading expert on the Google AdSense contextual advertising program, she runs JenSense, a blog dealing exclusively with contextual advertising. She is also the founder and editor of The SEM Post. She is known by many as her handle Jenstar on various webmaster forums.