Gord Hotchkiss did an interesting interview of Matt Cutts a while back, which I posted about here on Search Engine Watch. One of the major points in this interview was that increased personalization of search will make life much more difficult for black hat SEOs and link spamming schemes.
With that in mind, webmasters everywhere need to think about who they should target for link marketing campaigns and web marketing campaigns. This type of marketing is still going to be a critical component of a web marketing strategy, and it's important to focus your efforts in the best manner possible.
The key point to keep in mind is that sites that bring you relevant traffic are going to be the best sites to get links from. Relevance will mean more than ever. In addition to using algorithmic means to figure out what your site is about, search engines may also begin to measue user interactions with your site. These interactions will be driven by a few factors:
- Relevance of your site to what they are looking for
- How easy it is for them to determine that your site is relevant
- How quickly they can get comfortable that you are legitimate
- How easy it is for them to find what they want
Master these 4 things and the coming moves toward personalization will most likely not be a threat to you. That said, as you focus your web marketing strategy, you need to start to think about your web marketing itself.
Getting authoritative links has long been a critical component of a link building strategy. Now, they are more important than ever. Here are 3 reasons why:
- Authoritative links offer value in terms of branding (speaks to point 3 above)
- Traffic that comes to your site from a relevant authoritative site will be far more likely to convert
- Search engine algorithms will still consider links as part of a ranking algorithm
Authoritative sites will be even easier for search engines to identify too. They will have user interactions that reflect the quality of their content. Their links may gain even more weight. So where can you find authoritative sites? It clearly depends on the nature of your business you are in. But here are the places to start your search:
- Major media sites relevant to your area
- Government sites that cover the topic of your area
- School sites that have pages related to your topic
- Whomever ranks highly in the engines for terms related to your topic
- Lastly, blogs. Blogs with a high number of users who interact regularly with the site may be considered authoritative
Fitting into one of the 5 categories above does not mean the site is authoritative. It means it MAY be authoritative. There also maybe other ways of identifying such sites. But these are the folks you should be seeking promotional partnerships with.