In our third and final (for now) installment of the blog post series on link building, we focus on some of the more complex and volatile aspects of this endeavor. If you’ve been following us, by now you should be familiar with several basics, such as anchor text, competitive analysis, and the importance of understanding WordPress, to name but a few. Today, we talk more shop about Google and how to make sense of its apparent shifting nature.
- You can make sense of Google updates
While Google doesn’t immediately come out and explain their updates in great detail, it’s not that difficult to figure out whether they have made any significant changes to the algorithm. However, as with a weight management plan, it’s best not to ‘weigh in’ too often; in other words, yes, Google will continue to be unpredictable when it comes their search algorithm, but keeping close watch over it will make no difference whatsoever. If you want to understand what has changed historically, you can head on down to the Webmaster Central Blog at Google and read about the subject at great length. And if anything seems particularly suspicious about your stats one morning, just search the web – if the change is real, chances are someone else has noticed it, too, and has probably even blogged about it already.
- Think analytics, but beyond Google
The Google Analytics tool is a great resource, especially for beginner SEO professionals. However, selecting the right analytics instrument from the plethora currently available is no easy task, especially since many of them are more competitive than Google’s in certain respects. For what it’s worth, though, not doing in-depth analytics research and relying on nothing more than page rankings is not acceptable if you’re serious about building a solid back link profile.
- Consider Google Alerts
This is one of Google’s lesser known tools, which is surprising, given the fact that it’s free and incredibly efficient. Through the same account you use for monitoring, say, Analytics, you can set up an Alerts profile, which will help you track a wide range of search results, while also monitoring for whatever you ask it to monitor. Via Google Alerts, you can literally check out what Google has indexed lately, from your competitors, to your very own URL and brand name, or keywords that you are looking to include next in your strategy. Alerts can be set up to email you each time an item you’re following gets indexed, thereby providing you with a quick and timely way to stay forever in the loop.
- Got Webmaster Tools?
SEO experts find it hard to agree on whether or not Google Analytics are still as relevant to all webmasters as they once were. For the sake of this conversation on link building, it is true that Analytics is not a must. However, Google provides yet another tool, which you can use as a one-stop shop toward figuring out precisely what is not operating properly within your website’s architecture, link profile, etc.. The Webmaster Tools can crawl check your site, present a list of incoming queries, and generally do a lot of things you might want to do for better optimization.
- Google… who?
Finally, you might want to look into what other search engines have to offer – and, at the moment, the list to choose from is ample. There are the alternative, yet just as canonical Bing and Yahoo available out there, but there are also smaller, lesser known, yet up-and-coming ones, such as DuckDuckGo, or Dogpile. The key takeaway in this respect is that, whatever engine you choose, chances are each of them is going to reveal other aspects regarding optimization.