Last year we have seen a lot of changes in how organic search works and how the algorithms treat different websites. Google alone has come up with Personalised search, Real Time search and Caffeinated search during the year. We have seen the birth of Bing; we have seen Yahoo losing out on the search war completely. Overall 2009 has been a pretty eventful year in organic search front.
However, even with all these changes some of the basic criteria of search ranking has remained the same – search engines still love good content and good links and so link building is something that will still go strong in 2010. Of course with so many changes happening all around us we might just see some new trends in link building or the way links are treated by the engines.
Here are some points that outline how links and link building might change in 2010.
- TrustRank has been the buzzword in 2009 and it would continue to be the key focus for link builders in 2010. The previous emphasis on Page Rank will tend to shift towards Trust rank.
- Link builders would hunt for links from authority websites and websites with higher traffic potentials more than focusing on websites with high Page Rank
- Social Media will establish its position as major link building source. Link building process through social media is likely to evolve beyond the practice of just throwing in some URLs to various social media platforms.
- Quality of Content would still be one of the key link pullers, however, link builders would focus more on engaging content with the realization that audience engagement is the key to gaining organic links
- The old school tactic of emailing fellow webmasters for links would still work though the effectiveness might reduce. Here again value that your content can deliver would play a key role on whether webmasters link back to you or not.
- Link buying would still be a standard practice under the hood. The hullabaloo with Google trying to curb down on all such paid links would relatively calm down.
- Easily available links like article directories would have lesser significance. Also, site-wide links from footer, blogroll etc would be getting lesser importance compared to in content links.
- Websites that also advertise offline would gain additional organic link as part of earned media
- Yahoo would do away with Site Explorer. This would lead to a new opportunity for companies to build/ sell link explorer / competitive intelligence tools for link building.
- Google would likely start using link data from Social media platforms now that it has access to live data from Twitter and Facebook. Google has also launched their own URL shortning service which would give them additional data as to how a link travels through social networks and platforms and this might be considered while evaluating a link or even in the overall algorithm.
Overall it seems that 2010 would be a year of developing links not just for search rankings but more for users and brand building. While it might sound like an extreme comparison, we are probably headed way back to the initial days of WWW, where link builders didn’t exist and people would link to a website purely on its merit and relevance. This year is probably going to experience a drastic shift in mindset among link builders when they would not see a link as just a link but more in terms of the exposure it can give to the website and its content. Content would remain the key driver for links and it would be a major part of a link builder’s job to see how well he can get the content noticed and syndicated.
15 Internet Marketing predictions for 2010