Ensuring that your SEO expert is putting links in the right places

Link building is seen as one of the most rewarding ways of increasing the PageRank of your page and increasing the number of views that your page / site gets. Hence, for the past many years, getting links has been one of the most prominent ways that Search Engine experts would go about their business, and it was a fairly successful business. To a large extent, you would have people wanting their rankings to rise, they would hire a SEO expert, and the expert would start adding the same blog / site to many different web directories, to other sites that have a higher PageRank, and so on.
However, this was too good to last. Google (and many other search engines) are forever in a fight with SEO experts about gaming of search engine results. The idea behind search engine rankings using incoming links (refers to the site getting linked from other sites) is that if other people are linking to this site, it has some value in terms of content, and hence deserves to have a higher rank. This increases if you are linked to from well respected sites such as Wikipedia, sites belonging to major organizations (for example, a link from sites such as CNN, Washington Post or Nytimes is valued very highly), and so on. But, the quest of search engines is to stay ahead of those trying to game the system, and hence search engines keep on changing their logic. The basic parameter on which a search engine would like to define high rankings is that the site has earned its high value, with other sites having linked to your site on the basis of respecting the value that the site provides, not because somebody was trying to game the system through artificially getting links.
Over the past year, there have been updates that Google has brought to its logic to try and figure out whether the incoming links that are coming to your site are genuine or not. If you are getting links from web directories that are easy to add links to and which had some great PR rank in the past, that is also now in the past, and such links might be harmful. If you had multiple sites linking to you using the same words (called anchor text in the terminology), that is an indicator that there was an effort to get these links rather than these being genuine links, and hence need to be penalized. Another area which has seen huge misuse in the past is about putting a comment in a site that is higher than you, hoping that some link love will flow your way from that link. That has been reduced to a high degree now, with tags being modified to prevent the beneficial value of such links coming to your site. In fact, if you have a link pointing to your site at some site that has no business being there, that is also an indicator that this was done artificially.
And this is where I come to the SEO expert. If you have a SEO expert who is living in the past, then they would be doing all these mistakes. I know, I had hired an SEO expert who really was not tracking these changes, and from time to time, I keep on seeing a link to my sites from some random location; no connection to the subject matter at all, and making no sense as to why there would be a link from that site to mine. And the structure is also in the nature of a few generic words followed by a separate link, and the only way to get that off is to write to the site owner requesting that comment or link to be removed. This is a painful process, and once I was able to see these kind of links occurring, I had a clear discussion with my SEO expert, which led to him and me parting ways :-). But the damage has been done.
So, if you are reading this, and are using an SEO expert, be more careful about what the SEO expert is doing on your behalf, spend more time learning about what is going on in your SEO promotion campaign.

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