With all the dramatic changes brought about by the release of a series of Google Pandas and Penguins, the past few months have been tremendously unsettling for the SEO world.
Today, SEO seems like an entirely different arena.
The roll-out of Google Penguin left thousands of SEOs and site owners little choice but to give up on their online marketing goals. That’s no exaggeration. The Penguin update has cost many people thousands of dollars and killed hundreds of hours they spent building their online business from the ground up.
While the search results have gotten rid of spammy, low-quality sites that used to dominate the first few pages of Google, many people have been put out of business.
On the other hand, this has opened up a great deal of opportunities, especially for newbie marketers. With reduced spammy results in the index, many businesses find they have fewer ostensible competitors to have to swim through.
Seen in its best light, Google’s Penguin update has leveled the SEO playing field.
Keep in mind, however, that many of the strategies that used to work wonders will no longer do the job. The Penguin is an effective killing machine — so effective, in fact, that few if any black hat strategies escape its radar.
One of the biggest black hat and spam strategies that used to fool the search engines was heavy spinning of low-quality articles. SEOs were taught to spin content with the help of automated article spinners, then submit to as many directories as possible to create massive backlinks at an amazing rate.
Now that Panda and Penguin are policing the fiber-optic freeways, this strategy no longer works. The focus has shifted to spending more time on developing high-quality content.
Quality indeed trumps quantity, at least for now.
In the past, Google and other search engines steadily advocated production of high-quality content that users would find worthwhile. But it was only recently that Google flexed its muscles and proved who’s boss, ridding the Internet of low-quality, thin content.
So how do you build links these days that will pass muster with both Panda and Penguin? Below are a few recommendations.
1. Create Web 2.0 properties
Building web 2.0 properties for backlinking purposes still works. But beware. Don’t create web 2.0 sites with the use of automated tools; build them manually.
If you are a newbie looking to create links from authority sites, it’s highly recommended to piggyback on sites that Google has officially recognized as authority sites — such as Tumblr, Blogger (a Google property, as it happens), WordPress.com, and Squidoo.com.
Creating links to your sites from these web 2.0 properties appears to be a foolproof strategy, provided that your content is not thin, and link-building follows Google’s guidelines.
Keep things natural by striving to produce one or two articles per week for these web 2.0 properties. Post your articles on them manually to avoid raising red flags.
2. Use article directories wisely
Perhaps you think that after Panda, article directories are done for. While it’s true that most article directories and content farms have been heavily penalized by Google Panda, many others have been left alone and still carry some authority.
Post-Panda, directories have mended their ways so they primarily allow articles that are meaty, original, and of high quality.
You can still blast articles to some of the top article directories like ArticleBase, EzineArticles.com, and Buzzle.com. However, when I say “blast,” I don’t mean you should spin loads of content out of one article and submit an array of pieces that have been generated with automated tools.
What you want to do is to write one high-quality, original piece of content for each of the top article directories. Submit one to each them at least once a week.
And when you produce an article, always keep the reader in mind. Always strive to write in a way that you’re writing for people, not for search engines.
Follow this tactic on a consistent basis and you will inevitably generate a significant amount of quality links to your site. In addition, you will have an opportunity to attract massive amounts of traffic, because directories are visited by millions of users every month.
3. Take full advantage of blog commenting opportunities
Blog commenting is a traditional link-building tactic, and it still works extremely well these days. However, be sure to post comments (including links to your site) on blogs that have high page rank, high authority, and high traffic.
Pick blogs that are highly relevant to your industry, and strive to leave comments on posts that relate closely to your content.
A note on leaving comments: Don’t leave comments just for the sake of it. Make comments that genuinely reflect your thoughts and provide value to users. Your remarks should contribute to the discussion in a meaningful manner, and point users toward valuable resources other than your own whenever possible.
4. Create videos
Videos are among the most engaging forms of content. If you haven’t explored video distribution yet, it’s high time you did so.
Everyone’s appetite for images and videos has greatly increased. They are effective tools for SEO, too. Even more important, Google and other search engines are placing great value on videos. That’s why for most types of searches, video results regularly show up at the top of search page results.
YouTube has become an essential SEO tool, because it allows users to include links to their websites in the description area of YouTube video pages. Viewers can easily follow those links and get to know your business a little better.
With YouTube’s massive authority and two billion daily views, you have a tremendous link-building and traffic opportunity for your business.
Other link-building tactics you can take advantage of include social bookmarking and creating social media pages around your site. Act upon these link-building recommendations and you will be astonished by the results the strategy delivers.
But remember: don’t rush things. What truly counts is the quality of the links you construct over time. That will trump quantity accumulated in a brief amount of time.
I hope today’s post on link building has given you a few ideas. If you need help devising high-quality link-building strategies for your business, drop us a line and we will introduce you to some great options.