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Google Affirms the Value of Outreach Link Building via @sejournal, @martinibuster

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Google’s John Mueller answered a question about natural links and mentioned that outreach link building is okay as long as certain lines were not crossed.

Build Quality Content and Get Links to It

The person asking the question had just had his question about link exchanges answered. So now he was commenting about the nature of a natural link, what it is.

He framed it in the context of quality content.

The comment:

“Like, we have to create the quality content, naturally people will give us link. That’s only natural or something because…”

Mueller Validates Link Building Outreach… to a Point

John Mueller did not use the words link building or outreach.

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However the substance of what he said was about the process of outreaching to publishers to let them know about content. This is generally known as outreach link building.

The strategy is to create content that publishers would be interested in linking to and then promoting it to publishers who tend to link to that kind of content.

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John Mueller commented on outreach for link building:

“That’s essentially the idea behind kind of natural linking.

From our point of view it’s fine to contact people and tell them it’s like by the way, I have this great content and… maybe it’s something that you would appreciate for your website.

That’s generally fine.”

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When Outreach Link Building Violates Google’s Guidelines

Outreach link building can also go against Google’s guidelines.

There are many forms of outreach link building. For example, soliciting a publisher to offer them money to place links on their site is also called outreach link building.

That kind of link building is usually misrepresented to clients as outreach link building when in reality it’s a paid link that was arranged through an outreach.

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True outreach link building is publishing interesting content and telling others about it.

John Mueller comments on how outreach link building can go bad:

“But anything beyond that where you’re saying like, well… you must link to me like this or you must pay me money or I will pay you money for this link or I will exchange something for this link…

That’s all something that from our point of view would make this an unnatural link.

So providing it to people and promoting it and saying like here’s great content and they link to you that’s perfectly fine.

Um… providing it and saying like I will do an exchange if you give me a link, that’s something we would consider unnatural.”

Related: Reciprocal Links: Do They Help or Hurt Your SEO?

Is Outreach Link Building Outdated?

Getting a publisher to link to a site is difficult and near impossible for some sites, regardless of how high quality their content is.

What makes the process even harder is that people have more options for expressing themselves today than back in the heyday of blogging.

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Unfortunately these platforms that people express themselves on, like social media and YouTube, do not provide links that can help a site rank better.

The world that PageRank was created for no longer exists.

Yet publishers are still under pressure to obtain links from an online ecosystem where links increasingly do not exist.

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The idea of building great content and asking someone to link to it is seemingly an outdated concept because people today express themselves in contexts that do not support links.

Citation

Watch Google’s John Mueller discuss link outreach from about the 11 minute mark.

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NEWS

Google December Product Reviews Update Affects More Than English Language Sites? via @sejournal, @martinibuster

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Google’s Product Reviews update was announced to be rolling out to the English language. No mention was made as to if or when it would roll out to other languages. Mueller answered a question as to whether it is rolling out to other languages.

Google December 2021 Product Reviews Update

On December 1, 2021, Google announced on Twitter that a Product Review update would be rolling out that would focus on English language web pages.

The focus of the update was for improving the quality of reviews shown in Google search, specifically targeting review sites.

A Googler tweeted a description of the kinds of sites that would be targeted for demotion in the search rankings:

“Mainly relevant to sites that post articles reviewing products.

Think of sites like “best TVs under $200″.com.

Goal is to improve the quality and usefulness of reviews we show users.”

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Google also published a blog post with more guidance on the product review update that introduced two new best practices that Google’s algorithm would be looking for.

The first best practice was a requirement of evidence that a product was actually handled and reviewed.

The second best practice was to provide links to more than one place that a user could purchase the product.

The Twitter announcement stated that it was rolling out to English language websites. The blog post did not mention what languages it was rolling out to nor did the blog post specify that the product review update was limited to the English language.

Google’s Mueller Thinking About Product Reviews Update

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller trying to recall if December Product Review Update affects more than the English language

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller trying to recall if December Product Review Update affects more than the English language

Product Review Update Targets More Languages?

The person asking the question was rightly under the impression that the product review update only affected English language search results.

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But he asserted that he was seeing search volatility in the German language that appears to be related to Google’s December 2021 Product Review Update.

This is his question:

“I was seeing some movements in German search as well.

So I was wondering if there could also be an effect on websites in other languages by this product reviews update… because we had lots of movement and volatility in the last weeks.

…My question is, is it possible that the product reviews update affects other sites as well?”

John Mueller answered:

“I don’t know… like other languages?

My assumption was this was global and and across all languages.

But I don’t know what we announced in the blog post specifically.

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But usually we try to push the engineering team to make a decision on that so that we can document it properly in the blog post.

I don’t know if that happened with the product reviews update. I don’t recall the complete blog post.

But it’s… from my point of view it seems like something that we could be doing in multiple languages and wouldn’t be tied to English.

And even if it were English initially, it feels like something that is relevant across the board, and we should try to find ways to roll that out to other languages over time as well.

So I’m not particularly surprised that you see changes in Germany.

But I also don’t know what we actually announced with regards to the locations and languages that are involved.”

Does Product Reviews Update Affect More Languages?

While the tweeted announcement specified that the product reviews update was limited to the English language the official blog post did not mention any such limitations.

Google’s John Mueller offered his opinion that the product reviews update is something that Google could do in multiple languages.

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One must wonder if the tweet was meant to communicate that the update was rolling out first in English and subsequently to other languages.

It’s unclear if the product reviews update was rolled out globally to more languages. Hopefully Google will clarify this soon.

Citations

Google Blog Post About Product Reviews Update

Product reviews update and your site

Google’s New Product Reviews Guidelines

Write high quality product reviews

John Mueller Discusses If Product Reviews Update Is Global

Watch Mueller answer the question at the 14:00 Minute Mark

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