26 Google Webmaster Tools Videos Addressing Common B2B Link Building Questions

July 1, 2014: Last week we wrote a best practice guideline for a client, on how to acquire quality links in today’s SEO environment. In preparation, I wanted to review a history of changes and shifts we’ve experienced and also validate, through third party and search-specific references, why we recommend certain tactics and best practices.

Google Webmaster Videos present a great opportunity to validate perspective on why B2B marketers should be focused on acquiring high quality, relevant links, focusing on appropriate target audiences, and understanding why certain tactics can be considered “questionable”.

I wanted to share some of the most appropriate findings for B2B marketers that I discovered in this blog post. In addition to healthy dose of Matt Cutts (Head of Google’s Webspam Team), these videos cover common questions, link building tactics, and the impact of link building schemes and questionable behavior. You can use the links below and also after each video to navigate through the videos and sections.

Common B2B Link Building Questions

The Impact of Social Media on Link Building

Questions on Link Structure

Questions on Link Building Tactics

On The Impact of Link Schemes

Common B2B Link Building Questions

What Are Some Effective Techniques For Building Links?

Created: March 4, 2010

Guess what? “Building great content” is at the top of this list. Other ideas Matt Cutts talks about in this video are controversy (not recommended on a regular basis), productive community participation (like answering questions), and original research.

Will Backlinks Lose Their Importance in Ranking?

Created: May 5, 2014

Backlinks still have “many many years left in them” but Google is trying to determine the best match per search query generated. Therefore, backlinks might not always satisfy the reason a piece of content is relevant to a particular search query. Examples include conversational search and more specific brand / name-based queries.

What is a “Paid Link”?

Created: March 3, 2014

This video defines what the framework of what constitutes a paid link, including the obvious (like outright solicitation) and not so obvious examples like paid endorsements, gifts versus loans, and other questionable compensation or exchange scenarios.

Why Do Paid Links Violate Google’s Guidelines While Other Ads Don’t?

Created: November 27, 2012

Interesting question on differentiation between the use of paid links and paid advertisements that incorporate links. The key difference is that the former is intended to manipulate search engine ranking performance. “NoFollow” helps disclose that paid advertisements have goals outside of search engine ranking.

Advertorials (IMPORTANT)

Created: May 29, 2013

What are Advertorials? This video discusses Google’s stance on native advertising and editorial content, and the relationship to search engine ranking and relevance; cautioning against the abuse of this tactic for SEO purposes.

The Impact of Social Media on Link Building

Does Google Use Data From Social Sites in Ranking?

Created: December 17, 2010

In this video from 2010, Matt Cutts discusses the impact of social site activity on search rankings. Cutts indicates that activity on Twitter, Facebook, and potentially other social sources have impact in the current (at that time) search ranking landscape but primarily in certain aspects like blog search and real-time search.

Are Pages From Social Media Sites Ranked Differently?

Created: January 22, 2014

In 2014, the question on the impact of Facebook and Twitter activity was asked and answered again, in a different manner. In this video, Cutts indicated that influence of a profile (number of followers, scoring criteria, etc) was not used as a ranking signal in search results, at least at this time. Profile page information is too volatile to be trusted for ongoing rank relevance.

How Does Google Separate Popularity from Authority?

Created: April 2, 2014

Popularity versus PageRank (or reputation) are separate but related discussions that can collectively impact search results but also may not have direct influence. In this video, Cutts avoids the statement / assumption that social signals impact search relevance.

Questions on Link Structure

What Happens When One Page Has Two Links To The Same URL?

Created: May 28, 2014

When building content, if you link to the same page with different anchor text, in the same article, citing algorithm updates from 2009, Cutts indicates that Google will typically evaluate the only one reference for search relevance. However, Cutts also cautions against focusing too much on this aspect of Google’s search algorithm.

Are Links in Footers Treated Differently Than Paragraph Links?

Created: August 20, 2009

This video is older than most but provides insight into Google’s ability to interpret where links are located on a web page and be able to assume intent or importance based on that location.

Does Google Still Recommend 100 Links or Fewer Per Page?

Created: February 23, 2011

For quite some time, Google indicated that it was not recommended to have more than 100 links on a web page. This factor has changed based on technology improvements over time, but it doesn’t mean website owners should dramatically adjust their focus based on this.

How Many Links On A Page Should We Have? Is There a Limit?

Created: November 25, 2013

Prior to asking the question on 100 links per web page (above), Cutts addressed this question in late 2013, offering similar background, reasons for original limitations, and changes to guidelines. The added value in this video was Cutts information on the dispersement of “link value” based on the volume of links on a web page (and that it diminishes with a greater volume of outbound links).

Does PageRank Flow Through Image Links?

Created: April 11, 2012

Answer: Yes! (12 second video)

Will Google Be Evaluating the Use of rel=”author” Moving Forward?

Created: June 5, 2013

This question is interesting based on recent changes to Authorship visibility in search engine results. In this video, Cutts talks about the value of authorship for relevance and potentially ranking understanding.

Questions on Link Building Tactics

What is Google’s View on Guest Blogging for Links?

October 9, 2012

Before Matt Cutts got upset about guest blogging he answered this video on guest blogging and objectives. It’s worth reviewing because Google’s stance really hasn’t changed in the past couple years.

What Should I Be Aware Of If I’m Considering Guest Blogging?

Created: December 10, 2013

A year later, Matt Cutts addresses the topic of guest blogging and it’s impact on link building performance. Assumptions on quality haven’t changed, when it pertains to what Google will and will not evaluate for search and site quality relevance.

How Can I Guest Blog Without It Appearing As If I Paid for Links?

Created: October 16, 2013

This question presents a blatant scenario of SEO misuse where a site owner is paying for guest blogging opportunities to acquire links. In this case, Matt Cutts addresses specific factors of guest blogging that will provide clues on paid links versus more traditional partnerships and relationships.

What Is Google’s Thinking About Links From Article Marketing, Widgets, etc?

Created: October 17, 2012

This video addresses two tactics commonly used for link building. Matt Cutts discusses factors involved in why the link was established, where it is usually located, and how Google can go about defining link objectives and the relationship to search ranking relevance.

What Role Does Being in DMOZ Play in Rankings?

Created: August 17, 2011

DMOZ had traditionally been a trusted web directory that many online marketers would submit to, in order to gain a quality inbound link. Matt Cutts discusses the relationship between DMOZ and Google and why it has / had been important (keep in mind this video is from 2011). Cutts also cautions that Google will often know about links that sites have which might not be disclosed in many third party link research tools.

Are Paid Directories Held To The Same Standards As Paid Links?

Created: August 8, 2011

This video identifies that paid links and paid directories, once discovered, are treated the same, in terms of search ranking relevance, assuming the latter are of low quality. Note that more trusted, editorial reviewed directories (like The Yahoo Directory), might be considered exceptions.

Should I Build Links Using Article Directories?

Created: January 29, 2014

At one point, article directories were a popular resource for SEO-based link building and widespread content development. Google generally considers these directories of lower quality and cautions against them.

Are All Comments With Links Spam?

Created: November 13, 2013

Link building by comments is also a common tactic for link building. Cutts discusses the difference between higher quality commenting objectives and comments left primarily for link building, and the factors involved in identifying some of the differences and red flags.

Can “nofollow” Links Hurt My Site’s Ranking?

Created: September 9, 2013

The short answer is “no” but keep in mind the objectives for why you’re acquiring links, such as adding blog comments (typically nofollowed) on a massive scale that offer little to know value or demonstrate significant abuse.

On The Impact of Link Schemes

If I Haven’t Been Participating In Link Schemes, Do I Need To Worry About My Links?

Created: October 18, 2012

The general answer is no but check into Google Webmaster Tools to determine if any messages have been sent with regards so you can correct any issues present.

Should I Be Worried If A Couple Of Sites That I Don’t Want To Be Associated With Are Linking To Me?

Created: August 7, 2013

In this case, Matt Cutts recommends contacting appropriate site owners to get links removed. If that isn’t successful you can use the disavow tool in Webmaster Tools to flag questionable links.

If A Site Linking To Mine Gets Caught Selling Links, What Happens To My Site?

Created: April 2, 2013

Suppose a site linking to you ends up getting penalized for questionable tactics, link selling links to others? Matt Cutts discusses the impact on other sites that have received links from them, which usually just involves simply losing value for that link.

What Google Webmaster videos related to link building are we missing that you feel are critical to your SEO efforts? I’d love to read your feedback via comments below.

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Jodi Coverly

"I worked with KoMarketing during my time at Pongo in a variety of roles. At first, they were doing the work for us, but in the end, they trained my growing team on Search Engine Marketing (SEM). Their education of the importance of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) led to us launching a job search blog, over 30 learning center articles, and a social media campaign. I would not hesitate to recommend the KoMarketing team for any size project you may have." - Jodi Coverly, Marketing Manager, Pongo LLC

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