So Penguin has come and gone, and you are still wondering what do I do. You may be unsure where to target your link building efforts, as you are afraid that any links you may build can make your situation worse. I’ll be honest, I had a client see a drop on two of their sites, and while it was not my fault (BAD LINKBUILDER!), it requires immediate attention. So I started at the top, working through our link builders years of work to see just how far off of google’s mark we were. Here are 10 of the maxims for her to use in future link-building efforts, and I hope they are of use to you and your webmaster!
- Stick with link building targets in the TARGET niche – This is important because penguin seeks to maintain relevancy within a community of pages. If you think about the SERP for a given search like [watermelon] they are all related to one topic – the green, fleshy fruit (although one site lists it as a veggie!) It is important to get quality indicators from within your niche now, it doesn’t matter if the people who make farm tools link to you, the people who deal with watermelons is now where you want to focus.
- Focus on quality links over quantity – I’m prepared to take some flack for this; It’s not about how many links you have any more. It’s about how the number of links directly influence your site as a whole. I’ve had this theory for a while, and Penguin all but confirmed it. If we have a hypothetical site with 60k links, and only attain a page rank 3, what will a PR 10 link do for us on link 60,001? Now it’s not about getting 60k links to rank – it may only take a handful of links to rank now in this penguinified playing field. Make those links count
- Submit to far less directories and far less social bookmarking sites – If it’s Automated, don’t do it. That’s what we are seeing more and more in the Link Value World. (This one should really go without saying…)
- Go after surrounding text/link placement rather then focusing on anchor text – We’ve seen it time and time again Rapid Link Building + Exact Match Anchor’s = Spammy/Questionable Links on a link graph. Penguin really seemed to ratchet up the quick sand, but it is the same premise: BUILD A NATURAL LINK GRAPH! If you don’t, or simply could not see the writing on the wall, you deserve the criticism you will get.
- Use manual link building techniques – broken link building, webmaster out reach, guest blogging, etc. These should all be your jargon as a link builder now. If you say directory, blog commenting, social bookmarking, or link network – just go home.
- Research how organic links are naturally linked and link THAT way – You are going to use more “read more” or “click here” links then you previously ever have, and that is good. That is how normal people link to content on the web. Be prepared to look for those links. Also remember to link using your url every once in a while.
- Use tools to create synthesis between our link graph’s dofollow and nofollow links – Use a tool, analyze your (non-hit) competition, try to match or mirror their dofollow to nofollow ratio.
- Utilize click here and read more links rather than exact match anchor texts – See #6.
- Look for more authoritative links rather than what is easiest – You want to remember what a link essentially is in google – a link is a VOTE, you are not entitled to it. You want to get “votes” from authorities, not just anybody. Go after links from Niche commanders – that site that always ranks in the top 5 in your niche – do a guest blog entry or something to get on their radar.
- Look for sites that we can provide users value on rather than page rank based link building – Building on #9, it is important to remember that in the new link building field, you have to provide the sites that give you links a value to pass on to their users. If you don’t, you are bound to fail. Whether it be through little referral traffic, a buried guest blog article, or simply a nofollow link (See #7) your future is up to you.
Well, there they are. I truly hope they help you in your link building going forward. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask them in the comments or mention me on twitter! Don’t be afraid of black and white animals, just remember what Google rewards and keep (or start) building it!