What changes you should make to your Backlinking Strategies after Google’s Penguin Update
The Internet has become the most powerful and fastest expanding communication medium humanity has ever seen. With the ability to reach billions of people across the globe, the market potential is truly mind blowing.
When the Google Penguin update was released on April 24th, 2012, those with investment in the world of online business were intensely glued to their Google Analytics account, anxiously awaiting to see if their traffic was going to take a serious hit. Panda was Google’s previous algorithm update and its consequences were severe for many internet marketers, bloggers, affiliate site owners and webmasters.
The global unleashing of Googles Panda update in April 2011 was the largest search engine’s attempt to clear “low-quality sites” from Google’s search results, crippling many affiliate article sites, blogs and thin websites. So, understandably, when Google released another major algorithm update more recently code named after another animal, those of us involved in SEO began to realise that certain strategies would never be the same again.
Backlinking has changed, but it’s as important as ever
Prior to the release of Penguin, Google had already made it clear that paid backlinking networks and services would not be tolerated. It did this by effectively paralysing one of the most popular and financially successful of these services. For years buildmyrank.com was one of the most popular sites to visit when it came to buying backlinks. The owners made huge profits by being paid to effectively engineer Google’s algorithm. Shortly before the release of Penguin, the de-indexing of this site put everyone using paid backlink schemes on notice. The crackdown sent a powerful message to the SEO community, making it painfully obvious that relying on purchased backlinks for page rank is a recipe for disaster.
The Fate of Exact Match Anchor Text
Using the search term you target as anchor text for your backlinks has long been thought of as acceptable, smart SEO strategy. Penguin has effectively put a stop to this once recognised SEO tactic. In attempts to make their search results less vulnerable to manipulation, Google has started to put more emphasis on relevance of links instead of easy to exploit methods like anchor text. Sites who had exact match anchor text for less than 50% of their total backlinks profile suffered little from the Penguin update. Diversity is key to online longevity and sustainability in the ranks and this is especially true when building your backlink profile.
Modify Your Backlinking Strategy
Instead of building an army of low quality backlinks that will prove to be disastrous for SEO efforts, focus on gaining a diverse, healthy amount of high quality backlinks from trusted and authoritative domains in your niche. Relevance of backlinks is now more important to Google’s spiders than easy to manipulate factors like anchor text.
Outreach article marketing still remains an effective way to both increase traffic and domain authority. However, it’s essential that the articles you publish are on respected websites that require content to be checked by an editor. If an article directory doesn’t have a system quality control, obtaining links from them may harm your SEO efforts. Guest blogging on legitimate and niche relevant blogs is a great white hat SEO method that will prove beneficial, offering both exposure and quality backlinks.
The quality of your content is not the only thing you have to maintain for search engine success. The relevancy and authority of domains pointing to your site directly affect your image in Google’s eyes. Consistently monitor your backlink profile and protect the quality of your links.
SEO will never be an exact science. While it’s tempting to sit back and relax when you pay for SEO services from certain providers of on-line marketing services, keep in mind that relying almost entirely on search based traffic will forever put your business at Google’s mercy. Diversify your traffic sources by finding creative ways to bring your content to the masses, such as social media marketing and viral videos.
Here at Webtistic we undertake monthly reviews of traffic activity and vital indicators for our clients. This allows us to suggest exactly how to adjust our strategies on a case by case basis to plan for diversification, sustainability and longevity.
Written by Simon Griffin – Head of Digital Marketing, Webtistic – Follow me on twitter @WebtisticSi