There are two reasons that many SEOs hated the Penguin updates for Google. The standard automated practices used for link-building were killed and the necessity for creativity and hard work became of utmost importance. In essence, SEO got harder. This is a good thing for those of us who have been pushing for quality over quantity for a long time.

Inbound links, despite protests to the contrary, are still extremely important. Google has acknowledged this outright. The difference between now and a couple of years ago is that you can no longer really “build” links. You have to earn them. That requires high-quality content, promotions of that content through social media, and several other steps that weren’t necessary in the past. Today, Google and Bing want to see inbound links that were earned. That’s why it’s so important to focus on content creation and promotion over just about every other aspect of search engine optimization.

For automotive SEO, this can be challenging. There’s a gap between what people want to see on a dealer’s website and what other websites are willing to link to or share. As a result, there’s a new need that wasn’t present before for car dealers. You need sharable content. You need more than just inventory and specials. You need content that has a chance of “going viral” on social media and that people would like to link to as a reference.

This requires work. It’s not the type of work that most companies are willing to do, but it’s necessary.

Here’s a short and fun infographic by SEOGroup that breaks down the differences between link earning and link building in layman’s terms. Click to enlarge.

Link Earning Infographic

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