Welcome back Rankers! How are you going? Next week I’ll be doing the show from Dubai. I hope! I’ll be in Dubai, so hopefully I can get the show out. I’m only there for a couple of days as after that we’re going to Russia, St Petersburg, for the SEMrush White Nights conference. I’m pretty humbled to be one of forty to receive an invitation. Thank you very much SEMrush. It’s going to be awesome, and this time of year is no night time. Daylight for twenty-four hours. Might end up doing a couple of shows! Should be interesting. Vodka and Russians.
Last week, there was another SMX® conference, one of Danny Sullivan’s conferences, and they had all the speakers as usual and thankfully many tweeters as well. They were sharing a lot of the stuff that was coming out. Jennifer Slegg from The SEO Post is a great tweeter. When I follow a conference and she’s there, I just follow her. There were a couple of interesting things.
One of the things discussed was that Google is looking at rebuilding the Page Speed Algorithm, specifically for mobile. Now we know that we’re going to get a mobile-first index, so it kind of makes sense that speed is looked at first with mobile and how does that affect your rankings. Last week we spoke about speed. I just want to show you this. So we did the Cloudflare thing last week and I showed you how much time that shaved off. Incidentally, we have some more data points now. You can see here, this is a Google page load time, and back on the 6th we were doing 859 for the Google, and that’s around average, but now we are doing sub-500 milliseconds for page load time. Which is awesome.
I didn’t show you last week, but this is one of Australia’s largest ISP’s, BigPond, and you can see they have a 311 millisecond load time from this one DNS server for the A Records. The A Record down the bottom is 314 milliseconds, which is really slow. Compare that to us, because we’re now on Cloudflare, and we’re a flat 3.
So right there, there are over 300 milliseconds that you could shave off, which is probably worth a few percentage points in conversions. That’s why it is so important. Forget about rankings for a second, as this is far more important for the users that are on the site right now. Help them.
The other thing that came out was from Gary Illyes from Google. Again, I was tracking the conversations via Jennifer’s tweets. Google does not have any backlink penalties anymore! Yaay! It is important that you understand the context of that statement because what they’ve said here is that yes they don’t penalise that much anymore and people get angry with them for that. However, what they’re saying is that they simply tend to ignore them now. They know what’s good and bad, but they tend to ignore the bad ones.
Gary went on to say, “If you are buying links, you are literally throwing money away.” Now, apart from the misuse of the word ‘literally’ in that statement, that’s pretty important. So Google is saying that if you are out there buying backlinks, you are throwing money away. Now if you think about it, if you’re buying links from some horrible blog network, which I was asked about recently at Retail Global when some asked, “Hey Jim, what do you think about private blog networks for backlinks?” I told him, to great surprise, that we don’t do any backlinking. It’s not SEO as far as I’m concerned. SEO is about building your audience and your brand and fixing your site up so it works properly. Do you get backlinks by doing all those things? Yeah, they come. They are there. But Google’s metric is not backlinks. Google’s metric is popularity. That’s the ranking signal. Google doesn’t say that one of the ranking signals is backlinks. They don’t say that. They say that one of their ranking signals is popularity.
Focus on building your audience. That’s more important than getting backlinks. I know that some SEO’s will espouse this way to get a backlink, or that way to get a backlink. And I see some people with their own sites, and I see this with bloggers, where they’re so fixated on getting the backlinks that they’ll go and interview all these people in their space and they’ll get a backlink from each of them as they’ve got them in their blog or whatever. You can see that they’ve done it purely to get the backlinks. It does help them rank, but the content isn’t great and there’s a focus of getting the backlink over the focus of delivering something that’s great for your audience. You read or listen to some of these things and it’s obvious that it’s been done to get the backlinks. It’s not sustainable. Whereas if you focus on doing all those things, guest posting or whatever it may be, interviewing people for your blog and the like, because you are fascinated by them and you maybe think that having them on your blog is going to increase your audience, then yeah, do that. But don’t do it purely for a backlink. That’s so 2005. It was a long time ago and we don’t do that anymore. Well, some people do. But it doesn’t work.
Here’s proof if you ever wanted it, straight from Google saying that if you buy backlinks you are throwing your money away. So please, don’t buy backlinks. Hopefully that’s helpful. We’ll see you next week from Dubai. Thanks very much. Bye.