Did you know that, according to Google, one of its latest algorithm updates, Hummingbird, will affect an estimated 90% of all search queries? Marketers are understandably concerned, re-evaluating SEO tactics, and trying to determine how exactly Hummingbird will impact business. A staggering number of marketers within the SEO community are throwing in the towel, and proclaiming strategies like link building dead. What are some of the most basic principles of link building, and is link building truly dead?
What is Link Building?
Simply put, link building uses href tags, href tag syntax, and href title tags, to increase traffic to specific pages. Marketers take a number of different things into consideration:
First and foremost, a href tag may contain keywords, or key phrases, in the link itself, and among anchor text. Using related key terms in links tends to make them more searchable, and increases search rankings.
Popularity and Authority
Generally speaking, the pages with the most links leading back to them will get the most traffic. A number of different sites from all over the world, for example, cite and link back to Wikipedia. Authority is another top consideration. Links from The New York Times, BBC, and The Washington Post will appear much more credible than links from less reputable sources. Links from government sites (typically ending in .gov), educational institutions, and organizations, such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are also strong, quality links, and they are much more likely to improve rankings. Popularity and authority often go hand-in-hand, but that is not always the case.
Did Hummingbird Put an End to Link Building?
How exactly does Hummingbird influence the search formula? Google released Hummingbird to improve user experience. Google aims to account for the ways average users search. For example, searches now look at phrases, concepts, and overall questions, rather than individual keywords.
This did not put an end to link building. It did, however, significantly change it. Marketers need to link back to quality pages, and companies can expect to earn the most effective links the hard way, i.e. naturally.
Hummingbird is putting forth a lot of changes. Link building, including the use of href tags and anchor text, is not dead. It is, however, making a crucial shift. The most effective links, following Hummingbird’s release, are also likely to be organic links.