What are quality links in SEO today? Up until recently, quality links were just website pages that had good content, or at least coherently written content. That alone meant that the page was of high quality and so the link was counted. Unfortunately, this led to a proliferation of low quality article directories, with literally hundreds or even thousands of pages of rehashed information. Webmasters and some SEO firms deduced that they could just buy links and thus increase their rankings by sheer production schedule.

They were wrong, or so suggested the latest Google algorithm update. With Penguin, the latest major change, the search engine site let it be known that lower quality links were not going to cut it anymore. Not only did the company speak out against content mills, but they also cited over-optimization as a new no-no. Suddenly, major article directory sites were being blasted down into oblivion in search engine page rankings, and magazines, news sites and even company blogs were scoring higher traffic.

This does not necessarily mean that the age of the article directory is over. It’s just that Google is not doing any favors for article directories based on their popularity alone. It’s really up to webmasters to keep their pages relevant and professionally written, and to stop assuming that a popular directory is going to carry them along for the ride to the top.

The plan is actually working too well, considering that some fairly good pages are now being knocked down a few notches solely because Google doesn’t like the reputation of the article directory. This has pointed many SEO firms and webmasters towards guest blogging. With blogging, as well as online magazines, editors can maintain control over the reputation of the site. This means less content mill-style work or SPAM will be published as legitimate articles, and thus Google Search might be more generous in awarding higher search rankings to quality pages at these sites.

Guest blogging is a smart idea, but only if you find popular websites within your industry that are relevant and that match you in terms of professionalism. For more information, contact an SEO firm and ask for a consultation!