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We take algorithms, analytics, and spreadsheets off your plate so you can focus on storytelling, branding, friendship, absolutely anything else.
In this issue:
- The case for pursuing backlinks is getting weaker
- Google is changing your page titles
- Gravy, privacy, dubious advice
🛰️ Goodbye backlinks, hello inferred links
Most people in our marketing community have probably, at one time or another, deliberately pursued backlinks – usually by emailing other sites and asking for them. Google says it doesn’t like this, but it’s probably fine, unless you’re pursuing a link scheme. (Cue the dramatic hamster.)
For certain sites, backlinks still have a place. Probably. We would never tell you not to pursue backlinking.
But we will tell you not to prioritize backlinking. There are so many reasons, including the huge amount of time it takes to get even a small number of relevant, high-quality links – time you could be spending creating excellent content. And another argument is becoming increasingly strong for deprioritizing backlink strategy – inferred links.
Inferred links are, basically, mentions of a brand or page in the text of other sites – no hyperlink required. The hope is that this is a more accurate measurement of a page’s usefulness. Google is placing more and more emphasis on these, as the eminent Rand Fishkin noted earlier this year.
🏄 What you can do
There’s no hack for inferred links (yet). The way to start building inferred links is by investing in a useful, authentic, content program:
- Focus on PR, not backlink acquisition
- Be generous, not transactional (i.e. be part of a community)
- Create more truly useful content, not clickbait
- Distribute your own content, don’t guest post
You can keep spending time on backlinks, but it’s going to be diminishing returns. An investment that results in inferred links is really just an investment in better marketing.
🙊 Google is changing your page titles on SERPs
Does your page title look different in search results than it used to? You’re not imagining it. Google has started amending HTML titles as it sees fit, the same way it started amending meta descriptions a while back.
Google released this statement about its new policy and this gist is this: if your title tag isn’t optimized, Google’s going to take a crack at it.
“HTML title tags don’t always describe a page well,” according to Google’s statement. Specifically, they’re altering title tags that are:
- Too long
- Lacking descriptive language
- Empty (no title tag used)
🏄 What you can do
While they claim that the title change isn’t going to affect ranking, it might affect conversion – Google’s improvised titles are a bit clunky.
In order to stay in control over how your page is presented in search, try this:
- Search a few of your pages right now. How are your titles looking?
- Inventory your site – is every page using a title tag?
- Revise: short, concise, specific, direct
- Consult Google’s best practices for titles
🐝 Gravy, privacy, dubious advice
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