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John Mueller Answers What to Do About Link Building

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John Mueller Answers What to Do About Link Building

Google’s John Mueller answered a question about link building practices in an Office Hours hangout. Mueller outlined Google’s passive and proactive actions against certain links and offered suggestions for a better way to acquire links.

Is it Necessary to Spend Thousands of Dollars for Links?

The person asking the question noted that he watched many link building YouTube videos and read case studies that demonstrated that link building is necessary for best rankings.

The question asked:

“…The question is on link building practices. So we …approached many… companies… they say they will charge thousands of dollars or ten thousands of dollars to get the link… from the home page or the news sites and…

They also talk a lot… about …we should get a high authority …link and stuff like that.”

Next he explained how companies he approached showed him examples of sites that were high ranking because of their link building.

The person continued:

“…they also showcase that okay, see this is a site which is ranking high on …Google and …they have taken our service and they have paid us.

So if you pay us then your site will also rank because we are going to put …your site backlink with the good article on the home page…”

Are “Such Practices” Necessary to Rank in Google?

Next he questioned the wisdom of spending money on what he perceived as low quality link building, what he called, “such practices,” implying manipulative practices.

He seemed troubled that according to the link building claims, Google’s search rankings reward manipulative practices that cost thousands of dollars.

He continued the question:

“I don’t think that it is wise to put money in such practices or not. Like what are your opinion, like what are your final wordings?

And one more thing. …There are a lot of people over at YouTube and they’re writing a lot of blogs also like these are the best link building practices, you do this… and you do like that and they are charging a lot of money but we don’t want to engage in such stuff like that.”

The person asking the question ended by asking:

“We just want to know… what we should do now?

Screenshot of John Mueller in the Office Hours Hangout

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller answering question about links
Google’s John Mueller paused to answer the question about what to do about link building

How Google Treats Manipulative Link Building

John Mueller related how Google treats artificial links:

What should you do now

I think that’s a super complicated question because there’s no one answer for everyone.

So I think first of all, like you probably recognized, artificially building links, dropping links on other sites, buying links, all of that is against the webmaster guidelines.

And we take action on that algorithmically, we take action on that manually.

And the actions that we take include demoting the site that is buying the links, demoting the site that is selling the links.

Sometimes we also take more subtle action in that we just ignore all of those links.”

Screenshot of John Mueller Explaining How Google Handles Paid Links

Screenshot of John Mueller explaining how Google handle's links

Google: Paid Links Have No Effect

Google’s John Mueller says paid links have no effect:

“For example if we recognize that a site is regularly selling links but they also have other things around that, then we often go in and say okay, we will ignore all links on this website.

That basically means …a lot of these sites are things where people still sell links because it’s like they can sell it and they find a seller then of course they’ll try to do that.

But those links have absolutely no effect.

So that seems like a big waste of time from my point of view.”

Mueller Describes Non-Black Hat Links

Mueller ends his answer by suggesting Google-friendly link building tactics.

His first suggestion is the classic create content and tell others about it approach. It’s an oldie but a goodie but it can work.

Mueller suggests to build it and tell others about it:

“That said, I do think that there are ways that you can approach the topic of links in a way that is less black hat where you’re buying links from other sites.

But where you’re actually kind of actively creating content that you know will attract links and then going out and reaching out to other sites and saying hey, we have this interesting content, don’t you want to take a look at it.

And …kind of encouraging them to link to your site but without this kind of exchange of value, exchange of money, all of that.

And that’s something where some people are very experienced in doing that and they can really kind of guide you to find those topic areas that are interesting for other people.”

Building Links to Product Pages is Hard

Creating content and telling others about it isn’t always an appropriate strategy for an ecommerce website.  An ecommerce website offers products, not articles.

Attracting links to product pages is one of the toughest kinds of links to acquire because people generally don’t feel enthusiastic about certain products and when they do feel enthusiastic the typical ecommerce store is one store of out thousands selling the same product.

The problem with attracting links to product pages is that it’s extremely difficult to make the case that one store out of thousands is more deserving of a link than the other stores selling identical products.

The tactic of building content to help rank a product page rarely works because the links acquired for that content boosts the content and not the products.

One can internally link from the content pages to the product pages and that might help.

But I’ve rarely seen that happen, even for content pages that went viral.

There is simply no replacement for a direct link to a products page.

Here’s what John Mueller said about acquiring links:

“Where if you’re selling refrigerators then obviously a category page of refrigerators is not going to be very interesting for other people.

But if you can create a survey around refrigerators that is somehow fascinating to others that’s something that’s a lot more interesting for people where they say, oh… here’s this really cool survey about refrigerators.

Did you know that they were like this or they were invented like this or whatever.

That’s the kind of thing where you’re creating something that other people find interesting that other people want to link to.

From my point of view that’s the kind of link building that I have less of an issue with because you’re creating something that other people are linking to it because of what you’ve created.

But it’s not that other people are linking to your content because you’re giving them money to do that or because you have kind of these back door relationships with the other site.

So that’s kind of the direction I would take there.”

Mueller Warns Against Link Building Shortcuts

Next Mueller turns away from offering constructive suggestions for building links and returns to discouraging short term solutions because they can get you banned, don’t go for short term rewards at the expense of long term success. That’s pretty much what he advised (you can watch the video below if you’re interested).

Links More Important than Popularity?

Some sites have built-in advantages that help them acquire links.

For example, a wildly popular store cannot rank for their key terms, forcing them to pay to rank for those terms. Their popularity is driven through social media.

A keyword phrase that the popular store should rank has a search result that has in fourth place a regional brick and mortar with stores in a handful of rural states.

Site A is the wildly popular store and Site B is the regional store.

Google Trends Showing Search Popularity of Two Online Stores

Google Trends of Popular Clothing Store Versus Less Popular Store

Site A is wildly popular online with tens of millions of followers on social media.

Site B has social media followers in the low six figures.

The Google Trends graph makes it clear that there is enormous search traffic for Site A’s brand name but Google ranks a relatively unpopular website as #4 for a highly coveted two word keyword phrase.

The relatively unpopular Site B is a regional site that acquires many links from regional news media sites. They also have live links (with coupon codes) from “influencers” which seems to indicate an active promotional campaign.

How Popular is Site A?

Here is a Google Trends graph showing how Site A is nearly as popular as McDonald’s:

Google Trends Graph Comparison with McDonald’s

Screenshot of Google Search Trends for McDonalds

As you can see, site A is nearly as popular as McDonald’s but it can’t outrank a regional store that happens to have decent links…

Circling back to the person who asked John Mueller the question, one can understand the frustration that is inherent in the question that was asked:

“We just want to know… what we should do now?

Citation

Watch John Mueller answer discuss link building at 1 minute mark:

Searchenginejournal.com

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Exploring the Evolution of Language Translation: A Comparative Analysis of AI Chatbots and Google Translate

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A Comparative Analysis of AI Chatbots and Google Translate

According to an article on PCMag, while Google Translate makes translating sentences into over 100 languages easy, regular users acknowledge that there’s still room for improvement.

In theory, large language models (LLMs) such as ChatGPT are expected to bring about a new era in language translation. These models consume vast amounts of text-based training data and real-time feedback from users worldwide, enabling them to quickly learn to generate coherent, human-like sentences in a wide range of languages.

However, despite the anticipation that ChatGPT would revolutionize translation, previous experiences have shown that such expectations are often inaccurate, posing challenges for translation accuracy. To put these claims to the test, PCMag conducted a blind test, asking fluent speakers of eight non-English languages to evaluate the translation results from various AI services.

The test compared ChatGPT (both the free and paid versions) to Google Translate, as well as to other competing chatbots such as Microsoft Copilot and Google Gemini. The evaluation involved comparing the translation quality for two test paragraphs across different languages, including Polish, French, Korean, Spanish, Arabic, Tagalog, and Amharic.

In the first test conducted in June 2023, participants consistently favored AI chatbots over Google Translate. ChatGPT, Google Bard (now Gemini), and Microsoft Bing outperformed Google Translate, with ChatGPT receiving the highest praise. ChatGPT demonstrated superior performance in converting colloquialisms, while Google Translate often provided literal translations that lacked cultural nuance.

For instance, ChatGPT accurately translated colloquial expressions like “blow off steam,” whereas Google Translate produced more literal translations that failed to resonate across cultures. Participants appreciated ChatGPT’s ability to maintain consistent levels of formality and its consideration of gender options in translations.

The success of AI chatbots like ChatGPT can be attributed to reinforcement learning with human feedback (RLHF), which allows these models to learn from human preferences and produce culturally appropriate translations, particularly for non-native speakers. However, it’s essential to note that while AI chatbots outperformed Google Translate, they still had limitations and occasional inaccuracies.

In a subsequent test, PCMag evaluated different versions of ChatGPT, including the free and paid versions, as well as language-specific AI agents from OpenAI’s GPTStore. The paid version of ChatGPT, known as ChatGPT Plus, consistently delivered the best translations across various languages. However, Google Translate also showed improvement, performing surprisingly well compared to previous tests.

Overall, while ChatGPT Plus emerged as the preferred choice for translation, Google Translate demonstrated notable improvement, challenging the notion that AI chatbots are always superior to traditional translation tools.


Source: https://www.pcmag.com/articles/google-translate-vs-chatgpt-which-is-the-best-language-translator

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Google Implements Stricter Guidelines for Mass Email Senders to Gmail Users

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Beginning in April, Gmail senders bombarding users with unwanted mass emails will encounter a surge in message rejections unless they comply with the freshly minted Gmail email sender protocols, Google cautions.

Fresh Guidelines for Dispatching Mass Emails to Gmail Inboxes In an elucidative piece featured on Forbes, it was highlighted that novel regulations are being ushered in to shield Gmail users from the deluge of unsolicited mass emails. Initially, there were reports surfacing about certain marketers receiving error notifications pertaining to messages dispatched to Gmail accounts. Nonetheless, a Google representative clarified that these specific errors, denoted as 550-5.7.56, weren’t novel but rather stemmed from existing authentication prerequisites.

Moreover, Google has verified that commencing from April, they will initiate “the rejection of a portion of non-compliant email traffic, progressively escalating the rejection rate over time.” Google elaborates that, for instance, if 75% of the traffic adheres to the new email sender authentication criteria, then a portion of the remaining non-conforming 25% will face rejection. The exact proportion remains undisclosed. Google does assert that the implementation of the new regulations will be executed in a “step-by-step fashion.”

This cautious and methodical strategy seems to have already kicked off, with transient errors affecting a “fraction of their non-compliant email traffic” coming into play this month. Additionally, Google stipulates that bulk senders will be granted until June 1 to integrate “one-click unsubscribe” in all commercial or promotional correspondence.

Exclusively Personal Gmail Accounts Subject to Rejection These alterations exclusively affect bulk emails dispatched to personal Gmail accounts. Entities sending out mass emails, specifically those transmitting a minimum of 5,000 messages daily to Gmail accounts, will be mandated to authenticate outgoing emails and “refrain from dispatching unsolicited emails.” The 5,000 message threshold is tabulated based on emails transmitted from the same principal domain, irrespective of the employment of subdomains. Once the threshold is met, the domain is categorized as a permanent bulk sender.

These guidelines do not extend to communications directed at Google Workspace accounts, although all senders, including those utilizing Google Workspace, are required to adhere to the updated criteria.

Augmented Security and Enhanced Oversight for Gmail Users A Google spokesperson emphasized that these requisites are being rolled out to “fortify sender-side security and augment user control over inbox contents even further.” For the recipient, this translates to heightened trust in the authenticity of the email sender, thus mitigating the risk of falling prey to phishing attempts, a tactic frequently exploited by malevolent entities capitalizing on authentication vulnerabilities. “If anything,” the spokesperson concludes, “meeting these stipulations should facilitate senders in reaching their intended recipients more efficiently, with reduced risks of spoofing and hijacking by malicious actors.”

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Google’s Next-Gen AI Chatbot, Gemini, Faces Delays: What to Expect When It Finally Launches

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Google AI Chatbot Gemini

In an unexpected turn of events, Google has chosen to postpone the much-anticipated debut of its revolutionary generative AI model, Gemini. Initially poised to make waves this week, the unveiling has now been rescheduled for early next year, specifically in January.

Gemini is set to redefine the landscape of conversational AI, representing Google’s most potent endeavor in this domain to date. Positioned as a multimodal AI chatbot, Gemini boasts the capability to process diverse data types. This includes a unique proficiency in comprehending and generating text, images, and various content formats, even going so far as to create an entire website based on a combination of sketches and written descriptions.

Originally, Google had planned an elaborate series of launch events spanning California, New York, and Washington. Regrettably, these events have been canceled due to concerns about Gemini’s responsiveness to non-English prompts. According to anonymous sources cited by The Information, Google’s Chief Executive, Sundar Pichai, personally decided to postpone the launch, acknowledging the importance of global support as a key feature of Gemini’s capabilities.

Gemini is expected to surpass the renowned ChatGPT, powered by OpenAI’s GPT-4 model, and preliminary private tests have shown promising results. Fueled by significantly enhanced computing power, Gemini has outperformed GPT-4, particularly in FLOPS (Floating Point Operations Per Second), owing to its access to a multitude of high-end AI accelerators through the Google Cloud platform.

SemiAnalysis, a research firm affiliated with Substack Inc., expressed in an August blog post that Gemini appears poised to “blow OpenAI’s model out of the water.” The extensive compute power at Google’s disposal has evidently contributed to Gemini’s superior performance.

Google’s Vice President and Manager of Bard and Google Assistant, Sissie Hsiao, offered insights into Gemini’s capabilities, citing examples like generating novel images in response to specific requests, such as illustrating the steps to ice a three-layer cake.

While Google’s current generative AI offering, Bard, has showcased noteworthy accomplishments, it has struggled to achieve the same level of consumer awareness as ChatGPT. Gemini, with its unparalleled capabilities, is expected to be a game-changer, demonstrating impressive multimodal functionalities never seen before.

During the initial announcement at Google’s I/O developer conference in May, the company emphasized Gemini’s multimodal prowess and its developer-friendly nature. An application programming interface (API) is under development, allowing developers to seamlessly integrate Gemini into third-party applications.

As the world awaits the delayed unveiling of Gemini, the stakes are high, with Google aiming to revolutionize the AI landscape and solidify its position as a leader in generative artificial intelligence. The postponed launch only adds to the anticipation surrounding Gemini’s eventual debut in the coming year.

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