With the release of Google Panda and Penguin, we thought we’d seen the last of link building as we knew it. Naysayers were quick to spread rumors about how traditional link building tactics were dead.
They couldn’t be further from the truth.
We’ve seen how Google’s recent updates, dubbed Panda and Penguin, shook the SEO world and shattered certain long held beliefs about link building. However, let’s be clear about this: Traditional link building tactics still work. Just stay away from “black hat” stuff.
The truth is, these days have become even more exciting for link building, as there are now even more ways to build links. Social media has provided us with even more great ways to get some sort of lucrative exposure for our site by way of what we now call Social SEO, or the process of optimizing a website for search by way of social media.
You might be wondering, if traditional link building strategies still work, then what’s new?
The ever increasing importance of quality
In the past, Google stressed the importance of quality. Quality is still at the heart of every SEO campaign. However, after Panda & Penguin, quality is more strictly scrutinized and plays even more heavily into a site’s ranking.
The focus has shifted from building links in quantity and speed to quality, backed by strict compliance with current best practices for linking. New-age link building should be observed on at least two major fronts; content and backlinks.
Basic linking tactics you can always count on
As previously mentioned, traditional linking tactics still work, but what I’ll outline here are five basic back linking tactics that are still worth your time. These tactics are proven to help increase organic search rankings and garner highly targeted search traffic for your site.
Later, we’ll also briefly discuss some ways to create anchor text links that are in-line with Google Penguin’s guidelines.
#1 Article marketing
Contrary to popular opinion, article marketing is not dead. In fact, text articles are the easiest and quickest (and, as such, favored) form of content that Google spiders can follow and index.
But you have to be careful when executing article marketing campaigns for your online business. Below are some recommendations when promoting content with articles:
- Each of the articles that you promote on every site or property must be original. Remember that when Google Panda rolled out in early 2011, many sites containing duplicate content where either devalued or taken out of Google’s index.
- Articles should be useful and informative. One of Google Panda’s goals was to ensure that only the best and most informative content end up in Google’s SERPs. Pages with “thin” content were given severe penalties.
- Each article must be extremely relevant to the keywords they are being optimized for.
- Avoid keyword stuffing.
There are many ways to promote an article. Each article marketing tactic has the potential to bring in that much needed traffic and boost in ranking. However, when distributing an article, try to submit articles to sites that have at least the same pagerank as yours or higher, so that if you have a pagerank 2 site, aim for publishers that at least have a PR 2 ranking.
Below are some of the best ways to promote your articles:
- Guest posting. Guest posting is the hottest tactic in link building. Guest posting allows you to position yourself as an expert in your industry and to reach a new audience, and website visitors.
- Web 2.0 properties. Setting up web 2.0 properties to promote your content is also a great way to improve your ranking. The great thing about web 2.0 sites such as Blogger.com, Squidoo.com and Tumblr is that Google seems to favor these sites, as these sites are what Google considers to be authority sites. So if you’re just starting out, it’s a great idea to piggyback your content on these authority sites.
- Article syndication. Most article directories are dead or took a slide in value post Google Panda, but a few such as EzineArticles.com are hard at work to ensure that each article published on their site is of high quality and value. The main benefit of posting articles on top-tier article directories is referral traffic, since article directories are visited by thousands of highly targeted visitors daily.
#2 Creating social media pages around your site
Social media is a force you shouldn’t ignore. Content posted on social networking sites such as Twitter, Google+, YouTube and LinkedIn are now also being indexed by Google and Bing.
By creating social media brand pages on Facebook, Google+ and YouTube, among others, you’ll open the door to pursuing your social media initiative. Social media pages also allow you to engage your audience with various media such as photos, videos and other people’s content that are relevant to yours.
To take advantage of social media pages for your website/business, each time you have a new offering or a new blog post, you can use your social media pages as channels where you can announce the new offering, post, etc.
But be careful not to be overly promotional.
To get the most out of your social media pages, for every five posts, only one should be promotional in nature.
Also, be active with your social media pages. Actively use them on a daily basis to engage your audience with useful content and to promote your business. Many business owners find it difficult to find the time to do this; in this case, I recommend outsourcing the work. If that’s something you need, we can take care of it for you.
#3 Submitting links to social bookmarking sites
Social bookmarking sites are awesome tools for link building and traffic generation. Two of the best social bookmarking sites are Reddit and StumbleUpon.
While social bookmarking links themselves won’t do much (if anything) for your rankings, submitting just one link to awesome content from your website to either of these two social bookmarking sites can bring in hundreds of visitors in a matter of hours.
In fact, here at AudienceBloom we submit every post to both, and we’ve seen immense traffic benefits. This can also help you get more inbound links; the more people who know of your content, the more who can (and will) link to it.
When posting links to social bookmarking sites, don’t just drop links. Be sure to leave a comment on why people should check out the link. Tell them why the post is interesting or how it can be useful to them.
#4 Adding social sharing buttons to each piece of content
When search engines began realizing the importance of social signals and including it as one of the factors for determining a site’s ranking, it became imperative to add social sharing buttons to specific areas of a site, especially to each blog post.
Facebook likes, tweets, +1’s and LinkedIn shares are now being used to measure social signals and social media engagement. It’s clear that social signals have huge influence over a site’s ranking.
Some of the most important buttons you should have up on your content are Facebook Like, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, StumbleUpon and Pinterest. Look at this post and you’ll see how we’ve implemented the share buttons.
If you’re a WordPress user, there are myriad plugins that will automatically place these buttons on each of your posts. If you’re not a WordPress user, then you should be
The WordPress plugin we use is called “Twitter Facebook Social Share” and can be downloaded here.
#5 Submitting your site to authority directories
Submitting your site to directories such as DMoz, Yahoo! Directory, local business directories and blog directories can still provide your site with that much needed boost in ranking and traffic.
- DMoz directory: http://www.dmoz.org/
- Yahoo! Directory: http://dir.yahoo.com/
- For a list of local business directories, check out http://www.yext.com/products.html.
- For a list of blog directories, check this out.
Some quick guidelines to proper link building
With the arrival of Google Penguin, Google now looks at the quality of links more strictly. The goal of Google’s Penguin update is to rid its index of webspam that attempts to influence the SERPs with what the search engines consider as manipulative link building strategies. One of these strategies is over optimizing your inbound link profile with exact match anchor text.
Using exact match keywords for anchor text used to be so effective, that it was regularly recommended and used by SEO gurus and novices alike. These days, it’s a different story.
It’s now necessary to diversify your anchor text/links to make them appear more natural.
If the keyword you are optimizing for is “Florida Homes”, for example, over optimizing with anchor text using those exact words even 40% of the time could get you into trouble with a Penguin penalty. Instead, diversify your anchors using related terms such as “Homes in Florida”, “Florida houses”, “Houses in Florida”, etc. As Google now moves to a more semantic way of delivering information online, it has now become smarter at figuring out what a particular piece of content or text snippet is about.
There you have it; quick and simple ways to create quality links for your business. If you want to find out more about how to properly create links for your business or site without triggering any flags from the search engines, get in touch and we’ll be happy to help.