The Link Building Mantra after Google’s Rank Algorithm Update

Google Penguin Google officially announced a rank algorithm update on 24th April, 2012 which is popularly known as Google Penguin Update. Though I have not found any official reference about the name “Penguin” but anyway, the name not sounds too bad :-). The algorithm change has affected approx 3% of the English searched results as declared in their blog. However this is just a smarter version of their previous update called Panda and the effect of both these update has changed approx 15% of the search results.  Now that’s a dramatic change.

Based on my research and analysis over the time, I have seen that the update mainly affected following 5 kind of SEO practices –

  1. Continuous practice of using exact targeted keywords to generate incoming links.
  2. Too many links from the same websites or same categorized sites.
  3. Practice of building poor quality or off-the-topic links mainly through the stereotype blog comments (includes username spam), forum post signature etc. specifically just to generate a link for your website.
  4. Building irrelevant contextual links or content spam as demonstrated in their official post (I was really not aware about such kind of spam technique).
  5. Links from a website with minimum to no unique and useful content and specifically created for link building or more specifically 3-way link building purposes.

We have heard couple of questions from our clients recently like –

Should we not use article submission or press release distribution anymore as Google appears to penalize mainly these content aggregators?

Should we do only contextual link building?

Should we remove all previous links that we have generated from all article and press release sites etc. and etc?

Well, let me first specify that I have no intention to promote any of our services through that post. I would be just happy to guide about the safe link building strategies after that update. The mantra is “Diversify, Diversify and Diversify”.

Domain Diversification:

Lots of links from the similar categorized sites always appear suspicious to the search engines. That was applicable even before the effects of that update – the difference is that now Google is smart enough to detect them easily. For example, if there are say 3000 links pointing to your websites and more than 80% links are coming from the article directories that’s unnatural and your website likely to be penalized. Your website should have links from all possible resources like social media websites, blogs, business listing sites, directories, press release sites, article sites to name a few. You must not use or prioritise a single method and just forget about all other techniques.

Second thing is that needs to be keeping in mind that diversification among the same category link building sources. For example – are you submitting your articles to the same list of article directories over and over? Well, consider not doing that anymore and instead pick a list of top quality aggregators and vary the site list you use on weekly or monthly basis for a particular project.

Keyword Diversification:

Exact targeted keywords as anchor text was useful to get on top about some months ago but now that can be the main reason of penalty. That always sounds unnatural and you know Google always loves natural links ;-). So tweak your keywords by using synonyms, singular-plural forms, by including prefix or suffix with your keyword, preposition/articles if that makes sense or by changing the keyword order and even use common misspelling as anchor text. Also consider to have some links using the URL itself i.e. without any anchor text.

Content Diversification:

Write content for users; create value etc. that what Google says. Well, what you really need to do is that use quality unique articles to build contextual links. Though it’s natural that the same article can be traversed among several content aggregators but it is safer to use an article version once only. Article spinner can be useful to save your time; however I must suggest checking each spun version manually to ensure those are upto the mark or acceptable by the human editors.

Link Type Diversification:

Now you also need to build non SEO friendly links for the sake of SEO! Yes, you can’t have all “dofollow” links, that’s unnatural. The natural look link structure should have incoming links from the images, nofollow text links etc. from the relevant sources.

URL Diversification:

You must not build links particularly for the Homepage or only for some of the priority inner pages always. Your site should have several other pages which may not be useful for SEO but for visitors. So there must be some balance so that it looks natural.

I hope that post will help somehow to conceptualize what you need to do next. Let me know your thoughts here.

Statutory note – “no comment” is better than posting stereotype comment to get a link 😉