Google has rules. Sometimes Parsing Google Rules is about knowing how to search, while other times parsing Google rules is about getting found. And as time goes on understanding the latter keeps getting more difficult.
Yesterday I came across a post at SERoundtable, where that site’s impresario Barry Schwartz quoted, accurately and perhaps too literally Google’s Diogo Botelho, who said, in part, that you shouldn’t so much as ask for links.
I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a case of parsing Google Rules that’s more difficult to navigate.
The very base of how Google works is that site popularity is based on links. This has morphed over the years, of course; volume and quality of social connections (umm … those are still links, thank you … ) and other factors have altered the brute-force link calculation equation. That said: it’s not just likely but obvious that when it comes to effective Search Engine Optimization having links to your site is still good.
And yet Barry Schwartz, considered a genuine SEO expert in some circles, seems to be advocating … we’re not really sure what.
The idea that links will hurt your SEO is preposterous. Links from sites that have no purpose other than to serve as link farms will catch up to you eventually, but if the idea that “links are bad” meant anything beyond that the very essence of how the Internet works would become a problem. Even something as normal and innocuous as website creators having links to themselves from the sites they’ve created would be bad.
Parsing Google Rules
The real story here isn’t about Google saying that asking for links is bad, but what a statement like that means. Push to shove, we’re going with “absolutely nothing”. Remember that Google admitted years ago that even they don’t know how Search Engine Optimization really works. Now extrapolate from there.
It also means that SEO as a stand-alone practice is dead. You still need SEO and the same practices that worked five years ago work today, if less effectively and only in conjunction with broader content techniques, but by itself “Search Engine Optimization” has slipped to a level not by any means certain to succeed.
But as a broadly-focused business manager you need to know when to stop listening to edicts from narrowly-focused entities like Google (“we’ll catch you if you try to game our system!“) and Barry Schwartz (“I’m a search engine optimization expert!”).