The Disavow Tool
Yes, I think this tool will continue to be heavily used, simply because it works. I do think Google will come out with an official statement that makes it clear that the tool works and put an end to the crazy amount of link removals that are happening. Going to blog on Branded3 early next year about link removals and why they are a bad idea. Let’s keep this simple, continue to disavow your bad links, even if you have no manual penalty, and keep things clean. It will prevent as well as recovery.
The little left field in this one, but I think link tools will go through a drastic change. A lot of link analysis is now dead, you simply don’t know what your competitors have disavowed, or what may be penalizing them, so mining their links is a waste of time. However, understanding what links are harmful is key, so tools that help you audit and disavow nasty links will become more popular. Tools like Linkrisk and LinkDetox already exist and I expect to see a few new competitors pop up.
(I would always manually audit your links as well as use these tools, if Google can’t create an algo to detect all the bad links, I doubt anyone else is close.) Even though technical link information is going to be less popular, competitor strategies are still going to be important to understand. What is the campaign, who is talking about it, how popular is it on platform x, and where did the conversation start these are all questions Online Marketers and SEOs are going to be interested in.
Time up I’m afraid, it’s been overdone and I think Google is going to be all over this in 2014, penalizing blogs with follow links on posts marked as ‘guest posts’ and sites that have lots of links coming from such posts. Yes, if you are an expert looking for brand exposure, and the posts have an authorship box that links back to your Google plus profile, and you only post on the best quality, high-traffic blogs, etc…. then yes, it is still worth doing, otherwise, I would simply leave it alone.
So Where Does this Leave SEO?
Well, it leaves it exactly where it has always been, going strong. SEO has never been about link spam, anchor text, high PR links, sidebar links, keyword stuffing, etc it’s always been about driving relevant search traffic to your web property, those were simply tactics to artificially increase rankings. Search traffic is still there, it’s still extremely profitable, and you will still need to enlist the help of a search expert to help you get at it.
You will absolutely need collaboration between different teams and skill sets, but the objective remains the same, more relevant search traffic. I could go on, but I’ve covered the things I want to discuss, yes social will continue to be important, more so as an activation tool in my opinion, but nevertheless important, and yes mobile, we all know it is huge, and having your site in order is a priority, Google has already fired the warning shot.