Google has been updating and changing its algorithms for a few years now and webmasters need to keep up with the changes in order to climb the ranks of the Search Engine Ratings Pages (SERPS). Google is constantly (it seems) seeking to provide relevant, high quality content to its users in order to maintain its market share in the search engine scene. For more than ten years, links and anchor text were integral to SEO, but this is no longer the case. Now webmasters should not solicit links, and any links should be relevant to high quality content, which is crucial to a site's success, or lack of it, in rising up the SERPS. The key words these days are repute and trust. There are two new words in SEO which Google introduced in 2013; these are co-concurrence and co-citation. Let's take a look at what they mean and what they imply for webmasters. Co-concurrence Keywords, those all-important means of finding the article or site you are specifically looking for should not just be listed at the foot of an article, but they should lie within, or very close to, a link. Articles should never be over-stuffed with key words, as the emphasis is on making the content read fluently. If keywords play too much of a role in a text, the fluency is often lost. Co-citation This term refers to being mentioned in the same sentence, or at least on the same page as a website which has a very good reputation, and authority on the topic or brand, for example, that you are writing about. In the past Google has penalized people who have actively sought inbound links from other website; now you have to cite a reputed site, for instance, instead of using a link. It isn't simply that quality content is king, but that articles and other texts have references to others with a solid reputation in the same field. Bad Links a Problem? Webmasters have been plagued with the fear of having bad links which Google has said it will penalize for some time. Google has been sending out mixed messages about these, as it has, on the one hand, given webmasters the Disavow Links Tool, which serves to allow webmasters to tell Google which links they believe it should ignore. However, on the other hand, Google has been telling webmasters that it would be best if they didn't actually use the tool, but fixed those pesky bad links and removed them. However, links are not bad in themselves and 'good' links are acceptable - Google hasn't outlawed all links. It is simply trying to make certain that all links are relevant to content. You may want to watch a video on YouTube by Mark Cutts of Google about good and bad links, although his responses to questions put by Eric Enge are not always as clear cut as webmasters would like. He points out that hacking blogs is illegal, and so should be penalized, and he also states that having a strong social media presence (followers on Google+, Twitter and Facebook, for example) is a good way to build links. You engage your followers and then produce content which is relevant to them, this gets you more visibility and helps get your content ranked more highly (in theory at least). Google has promised to supply webmasters with examples of bad links, but so far has not done so. That means that everyone is at least a little in the dark. However what we understand now, is that all links are not inherently bad, and so will not be penalized. The basic message is to work harder to ensure your quality is high, and don't use what Google considers underhand methods of SEO. Try to go through your website and weed out any links which are not explicitly relevant to your content, or use the Google Disavow Links Tool. What you can also do is visit the Webmaster Forum every once in a while to discover what is going on in this area. Also subscribe (it's free), to Web Pro News to keep up to date with new developments. After all, you don't want to be left out in the cold. Keeping up with all Google's changes has become a bit of a nightmare, but stay with it and hopefully your site will rise to the top 10 in the SERPS.
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