Hoorah, my fellow SEO comrades! It looks like Search Engine Academy needs to do a fairly major update on linking! One of my very favorite SEO writers, Barry Schwartz put this out onto the blogosphere – Google Webmaster guidelines has changed the advice on how to rank.

I think it’s about time. For those of you who read our blog, you’ve heard me gripe about link building, and how little return I get when trying to get new links for my clients in this brave new post-Google Penguin world. I have felt like a failure with my link building efforts. I know every SEOer has her fave things she loves to do for clients, but I have to tell you that link building is not high on my list. I like to see results and get some return for my link begging, and I have tried and I have tried and God knows, I’ve tried every strategy and tactic out there that’s white hat SEO, but my ROI is dismally low.

In the last couple months, I’ve just about thrown in the towel on link building, and have felt horribly guilty about it when explaining to my clients why I think trying to find new links is a waste of my time and their money. Well, it looks like I can relax and sleep a little better at night!

Apparently, this change was made pretty quietly in late May. From the good old Wayback Machine, here’s what the guidance used to be:

Google changed the "linking" wording

Now it reads like this:

Google Webmaster changes to content from links

It’s a good day here in the SEO world, kids! I’m gonna celebrate!

Don’t get me wrong…I’m NOT saying that inbound back links (IBLs) shouldn’t be pursued. No, like others are now saying, I understand that it’s important to have your business listings links in the reputable directories, as well as local business organization links, like your Chambers of Commerce, BNI, etc. Obviously, linking your blog posts to your site and sending followers from your social media platforms to your relevant interior pages are still good linking strategies.

You know…if Google Penguin and Google Panda caused this change, then I think it’s good.

And in keeping with what Google has said all along, a natural link profile of “follow” vs. “no follow” links is still OK. But at least now, I feel as if I’ve been let off the hook to comb the internet for reputable linking partners, crafting a very personalized email, and hoping for the best, when mostly what I get is no response or a response that is completely off target along the lines of “Google says I shouldn’t do links anymore.”

What do you think? Let us know in the comments below.

Until next time, keep it between the ditches and stay mellow and copasetic, umkay?

All the best to you,