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Monday, June 23, 2014

Links Should Only Be a Surprise? Nonsense!

Google's Matt Cutts is the superhero of combating webspam. Certainly he doesn't work alone at the offices of Google; he has what is known as the webspam team. But this isn't "The Avengers"; Cutts is the star of his own movie.

Of course, there are more people fighting webspam. Duane Forrester is one of those people; he's the Cutts of Bing.

Forrester's name recognition is much less widespread than Cutts'. This is simply due to the fact that Google hoards such an inordinately large share of the search market. This also might be due to the fact that Cutts releases an average of two to three videos per week, videos in which he takes the time to answer burning SEO questions. Even though he is a regular at conferences and is hardly averse to doing interviews, Forrester simply doesn't have Cutts' visibility.

A lot of what Forrester says can get lost in the shuffle, but every now and again he will make a bold pronouncement that pricks our ears.

What he said on May 9 of this year is as good an example of that as any. Let me draw your attention to myth number seven in particular.

Links are all I need

While important as a vote of confidence for the content they point to, there is simply so much link spam these days that it’s tough to know where to turn. Obviously buying links is a dead end, and it doesn’t matter how you split this hair: sharing, encouraging, incentivizing, buying – it’s all the same. You want links to surprise you. You should never know in advance a link is coming, or where it’s coming from. If you do, that’s the wrong path. Links are part of the bigger picture. You want them, but you want them to be natural. If an engine sees you growing tem naturally, you’re rewarded with rankings. If they see you growing them unnaturally, you’re rewarded with penalties.

First off, let me say that I concur that "links are all I need" is a ludicrous myth. I myself am a link builder, and I certainly can't overemphasize enough the value that link equity provides in attaining visibility in the SERPs, but they are far from the only ranking factor. There are some 200

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