Monday, August 3, 2015

Buy Links Now, Because You Can’t Buy Google +1’s Later

Faking Social Media Authority and Buying Google +1's

The writing is on the wall. I believe the days of buying your way to the top of organic rankings will soon come to an end. Every SEO, at least those who aren’t in denial, knows that paid links work. Unless of course you get caught by an “SEO guru” over at the NY Times.

But when you look at paid Google +1’s vs Paid links, you’ll quickly see why buying your way to the top of Google’s personalized results won’t be around for long.

First a little background on how we got here…

So what about paid links? The great thing about buying links is you can get them almost anywhere. Even your mom’s cooking blog accidentally tripped and fell onto some domain authority.

Most of us agree that you should go after quality inbound links from authority sources, and that’s a great practice over the long run. But for the sake of this post, I’ll skip the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow and stick to reality.

Inbound links from 100’s of small, relevant sites, WILL improve your rankings.

Sure a few links from obscure websites won’t do much, that’s why you get a few thousand links from a few hundred sites. This is where so many of us try to bend the system. It’s called sponsored blog posts, directory submissions, or partnership agreements.

Outliers in the linkscape still provide value

Outliers and obscure websites in the old "linkscape" still provide value in bulk

Can’t we just buy Google +1’s like we buy links?

Now consider Google+ and the new personalized results G rolled out this month. Take your mom for example again, except now she has a website AND a Google+ account with all of 14 people with her in their circles. While your dear mothers website might have a little bit of link juice, her social rank isn’t even on the map.

A Google +1 from a nobody won’t do anything, and +1’s from 100 other nobody’s won’t add up to squat.

A paid link from an obscure website won’t do much, but links from 1,000’s of obscure sites will start to add up eventually. This is not the case with Google+ and somebody who might “sell” you some paid +1’s. Social credibility just won’t be that easy to fake.

Buying social authority will never be as easy as buying links…

You can’t fake social swagger like you can fake domain authority. Don’t get me wrong I’m a huge fan of Rand Fishkin and everybody on the SEOmoz team, but give me a few months and I can still trick Open Site Explorer and Googlebot into thinking I have a beast of a website.

Social Media Authority in New Media

Social authority flows downstream, with outliers having very little (if any) influence

Here comes a brand new kind of marketing.

We are entering an age where marketing becomes a bit more challenging again, it’s a brave new world now boys and girls. It will be harder to cheat your way to the top, and for those who have the cash social promotions aren’t going to come cheap.

Then again search engine marketing wasn’t supposed to be this easy was it? As much as I hate to admit it, those of us who are in the SEO industry will need to learn forgery a little less, and how to create quality a little more going into 2012 if we want to survive.

10 thoughts on “Buy Links Now, Because You Can’t Buy Google +1’s Later

  • Chad

    Hey Keith,

    You know, in theory I’m quite pleased with this. It’s an opportunity to level the playing field again. I think there may have been a time, however brief, when everyone and their dog wasn’t trying to game search results. Perhaps even that’s naivety on my part. In any case, if this helps equalize the rankings, and forces bloggers and web authors to focus on content instead of seo minutia, I’m all for it.

    • Keith Brown Post author

      Very true Chad, this has the potential to not only equalize but tilt in favor of people with a strong social graph online. There may have been a time when people weren’t trying to game search results, but usually once people find a profit center (SEO is a huge one) they try to exploit it. It’s certainly not a technique done only by SEOs :)

  • Jeff Fidler

    As much as I hate to say it, this is definitely the direction Google is driving the bus. We’ve started incorporating Google+ profiles in our packages, but are still working out the best way to move the needle in a significant way. That being said, I look forward to a new challenge – getting clients to invest in content and getting more involved in social channels.

    Great post Mate!


    • Keith Brown Post author

      Thanks Jeff, and it will definitely be a challenge moving clients from SEO into more combined marketing efforts which include social channels. Google has always provided a fantastic ROI when done right, something I think will be difficult for many to achieve early on in social arenas. You’re right about adoption, Google isn’t asking for us to adopt Google+, they are forcing it.

  • Jonathan Jeter

    I hate to be the cynic, but doesn’t this just mean we’re going to have to learn to game the system in a different way? I mean, for years SEO has been a process of learning what the different search engines like, from directory submission with the first directories to meta tags with the early crawlers to links and content with the various iterations of Google. The game is changing again and we will all learn to adapt, but it won’t necessarily bring any real or better results.

    Love your perspective on the whole situation, though. I don’t really think that Google is asking us to play in the social space. Google is telling us to play in the social space, specifically with Google+.

  • Pingback: Marketing Day: February 1, 2012

  • Mike

    Great post Keith.

    It will be interesting to see how some seo’s and businesses will attempt to game +1 results like they have paid links. When ranking high in the SERP’s means big money, there will be no shortage of attempts to game the system. Hopefully your prediction of social signals being harder to fake will prove to be true.

    • Keith Brown Post author

      People trying to game SEO isn’t new, but the whole Google+ thing adds a new element to it. I don’t see people buying or selling +1’s with any effectiveness anytime soon…

  • rankONE

    Having a bunch of +1’s wont help with what you want to be found for in the search engines, there is no ancor text on a +1, so your site will only improve in search if your site already has a number of ancor text links coming into your site, which means paid links will be around forever, even if not advertised, to get articles written with your ancor txt that you want, the person in charge will make you pay for it in some way.

  • Diptimayee

    Even if I know that buying links from authority sites work nice in Google still am not in favor of it ever. Through efficient SEO, ranking can be achieved then why to buy links which Google doesn’t like.

    Just like you am a fan of SEOMOZ team & few weeks back I read an article about testing on re-tweeting on Twitter & its impact on SERP there. So my view is SERP can be affected only by sharing of huge links by popular profiles on social media sites. And this will be applicable in Google Plus too.


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