Being involved in SEO for a long time has meant that I’ve met a lot of people, some of whom I would consider good friends. Part of that friendship is hearing about the latest successes and “failures”, offering advice and generally saying “there, there” when something horrific happens.

This year we’ve had two fairly large updates that have hit most people I know in some small or large way.

Back in April, we had an unnamed core update, and then in August we had the “Medic” core update.

These were algorithmic core updates meaning that they will affect how every web page ranks. This isn’t a penalty, and this is something I think a few people struggle to quite grasp about algorithmic updates…

It’s not targeting YOU specifically.

While no single core update to the algorithm is going to focus on any one thing, it’s fair to say that most of them at their very basic deal with your content. I’ve seen a number of winners and losers come out of these updates, and I’ve seen plenty of sites not recover thus far.

In the case where recovery has not come about, these cases have ignored their site and instead focused on expensive link building campaigns which have done nothing…

Why? It’s like asking why a patient with an infection hasn’t been cured with an ointment for scalp itchiness.
Link building is situational, and expecting more links to pull your site out of a slump it’s suffered from a core algo update is bordering on insane. But I get it. It’s peoples livelihoods, their businesses, their clients sites. Panic sets in.

If you try to treat the symptom and not the cause, you’re in big trouble.

Building more links at a time when your site has been algo slapped is fine in some situations… However if it’s the primary strategy you’re taking to try and recover your positions I believe you’ll be bitterly disappointed. I’ve never been a fan of forcing web pages to rank with excessive links, and more often than not peoples websites and on-page optimization isn’t nearly as good as they think it is.

In the case of sites where the owner decides to try and force rankings with links during an algorithmic slump they’re most likely going to destroy that website.

– Price of links
– Extended time not ranking
– Potential for an actual penalty due to link building in a panic (mistakes will happen)

I just can’t imagine a good scenario for business owners who continue to not apply situational awareness to their link building either in the short-term or long-term.

Posted in SEO

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