Page One Power Head of Research and Development Nicholas Chimonas joined SEMrush as special guest for a webinar panel, “If I Build It, Who Will Come? Purpose-Driven Content Marketing Strategies for 2015.” Nicholas responded to some additional questions about link building, TLDs and top strategies for “domainers.”
Question: Will link building continue to reign supreme as an SEO factor for Google in 2015 and beyond?
A: I wouldn't necessarily say that "link building" is an SEO factor in and of itself, but I do think links will continue to remain a powerful signal. The question is which links? Not all links are created equal.
Search engines have invested heavily in the development of machine learning spam detection algorithms. If links were going away, we wouldn't see continuous reiterations of Penguin.
Attracting links from authoritative and relevant sources will always aid in increasing your online presence. The links that send you the best click through traffic because they exist on domains that are highly relevant to your audience are the links that will help you rank well.
Q: Will the skyscraper strategy continue to earn links in 2015?
A: The skyscraper tactic is strong because it is built upon a base truth. Better content typically earns better links. When you can find content, which has already performed well, and you know your target audience has linked to similar content in the past, your chances will always be improved by creating something similar and better.
Q: Will the old TLDs (top-level domains) such as .GOV, .EDU continue to be attractive link sources, and if so, for whom?
A: I think a bit of a myth persists that links from .gov and .edu domains are super powered full metal jacket links, simply because of their TLD extension. Sure, they are typically authoritative domains that have accrued a large quantity of links from all around the web, and thus have high domain authorities, PageRank, etc.
However, I see a lot of links built on pages deep within these labyrinthine sites, pages that have zero internal or external links pointing to them. They all have a PA of 1 (to use the Moz metric), which limits the power of that link. When is a crawler going to visit this page next? A smart strategy involves building links to these kinds of PA 1 pages on high DA and authoritative domains. However, just getting a link on any .edu/.gov site isn't going to guarantee you all of that fresh link juice you're after. It is important that the page (and/or domain) you acquire the link from is relevant to your vertical.
Q: Will new TLDs, such as .NINJA, have any genuine value as link sources in 2015?
A: As much as any other TLD, according to Mr. Cutts. However, seeing as how these domains are all relatively new, most of them have likely not accrued much link equity. If any of these unique TLDs DO become very popular, and acquire plenty of link equity, they should be as valuable of a link source as a .com.
Q: What will "domainers" need to know about backlinks to make the most effective assessment of website value in 2015?
A: Everything about Penguin, Panda and Google manual penalties. Before even considering buying a domain, an informed domainer will learn everything there is to know about the Penguin algorithm, and how to audit the backlink profile of a site. They'll need to know the history of any other sites that domain has been associated with, too.
View Nicholas' portion of the panel below or click through to listen to the entire panel discussion.