Don’t believe the naysayers. SEO is still alive; it’s just evolved into something better.
By better, I mean search results are now more reliable. Spam and other noise is getting a firm boot from Panda and Penguin.
Backlinking, one of the cornerstones of SEO, has received much of the spotlight since the release of Google Penguin. It remains as one of the most valuable tactics for gaining not only high rankings in search, but also driving significant amounts of traffic.
But since the rollout of Google Penguin, what has changed?
While backlinking is not the be-all and end-all of SEO, it’s still very important. It became the subject of abuse because of many black hatters, but there’s nothing in the SEO manual that says backlinking has diminished in value and importance.
The rule for backlinking today
A lot of backlinking strategies before the advent of Penguin seemed too manufactured. Online marketers competed ruthlessly for Google’s precious first page despite Google’s guidelines on quality.
When Google Penguin stepped in and flexed its fearsome authority, that got everyone’s attention. Sites that had natural linking profiles were rewarded while those that had been deliberately over-optimized experienced a significant drop in search rankings.
Now, Google and other major search engines are keeping a closer watch on who’s paying attention to the new SEO game. The search engines look for both the quality and variety of backlinks that point to a site.
Directories and high PR backlinks
Links from high PR sites are still awarded value by the search engines. High PR sites continue to play a vital role in search ranking. But when Google Panda sought to penalize content farms, a lot of directories got hit as well and witnessed their PR decrease in rank.
This forced webmasters to think twice about distributing their material to content and article directories. The fact is that, while a lot of directories such as EzineArticles.com were hit hard, they still offer viable opportunities for backlinking and traffic.
If done properly, submitting your site to directories, and syndicating articles and other material to content directories, will give your site a significant number of backlinks that could boost your ranking.
However, here’s something worth mentioning before you fall into a fatal trap that could render your efforts meaningless: Avoid using software that automates your backlinking processes. Automating is bound to hurt your rankings over time.
In the past, using software to submit tons of content automatically to directories tended to save webmasters a large amount of time. These days, however, as search engines focus more on quality than on quantity, it’s better to submit high-quality links manually in smaller quantities.
So how do you create high PR backlinks?
First, The Main Content
Choosing a topic
When deciding on a topic, choose according to the following criteria:
Topics you are very highly passionate about
Topics about which you have considerable knowledgeable
Topics around certain keywords that attract a substantial number of global searches per month
Topics that are trending (you can use Google Trends to identify a good trending topic)
Write several articles around the topic you’ve chosen and be sure to write no fewer than 500 words. These days, search engines tend to prefer articles that consist of 500 or more words.
A note on including links to your main site: Include a resource section at the end of your article that includes an anchor text pointing to your site. But when you insert anchor texts, avoid using exact-match keywords. Vary the keywords that you use as anchor texts by using related keyphrases: brand your copy, and junk anchor texts such as “additional info,” “click here,” “check it out,” etc.
Now that you’ve written several main articles around a topic, it’s time to spin them to create additional versions of each of them.
By spinning, I am not advocating the use of article spinning software that spits out low-quality spun content. I mean taking a point from an article and expanding on it to create a different side of the story.
Submitting to directories
Naysayers will have you believe that submitting to article directories is no longer a viable backlinking tactic. The fact is, many of the article directories where publishers used to submit their content heavily still carry some good SEO weight.
It’s worthwhile to submit articles to directories as long as you submit unique, high-quality, and useful articles on a consistent basis. If you can manage to submit at least 10 unique articles per month on at least 5 high PR directories, imagine the volume of links that will point to your site after a few months have passed.
You can use software to submit your articles to directories, but make sure you avoid raising red flags by feeding the articles over a period of several days.
Here are some of the top article directories where you can send your content regularly:
Remember: Be sure to submit unique and useful articles to each article directory. Do not submit the same article more than once or you’ll run the risk of having your site devalued.
Don’t assume that articles are all there is to high-quality backlinking. A good way to spread your links across a vast range of directories is to repurpose your articles and even blog posts into other formats such as video, slide presentations, and infographics.
Take one of your most popular articles or blog posts and create several videos using either PowerPoint or Keynote. Submit the results to several video-sharing sites such as YouTube, Vimeo, DailyMotion, Facebook, and even MySpace. Be sure to include a naked URL link to your site.
Take the same articles and blog posts and convert them into a slide presentation and submit that to SlideShare.net. Or you can convert those same articles into infographics to be submitted to infographic directories such as InfographicsOnline.com.
By spreading links to your site far and wide, and using a variety of link-building tactics on a consistent basis, you will create a vast network of high-quality links that point to your site over time. Just be sure to follow Google’s new guidelines on link building to a tee and you will be fine.
For more information on Google Penguin’s link building guidelines, contact us and we’ll check out your site.