After Google’s latest updates to the Penguin algorithm, many webmasters can finally breathe easy. The biggest change of course is that the spam filter now operates in real time and is part of the core algorithm. Any improvements you make will start taking effect immediately, which is a big welcome from the early days of Penguin. To date, this has not had any major impact on SEO in Essex, but we are keeping a close eye on the SERPs nonetheless.
The second biggest change is that penguin is now “more granular,” which means you need not worry about your whole site getting banned for one or more pages that appear spammy to Google.
What do these changes mean then, for site owners? For one, it’s time to stop wasting time removing bad links, and instead focus on building better ones. Cleaning up a bad link profile still is necessary, but your website will not rise through the ranks just for doing this. With new links, on the other hand, you’ll start reaping the rewards soon.
How to Build Better Links
Long gone are the days of generating thousands of spammy links to cheat search engines. Only the strategies that look natural can stand the test of time. As Google points out in their article on link schemes:
The best way to get other sites to create high-quality, relevant links to yours is to create unique, relevant content that can naturally gain popularity in the Internet community. Creating good content pays off: Links are usually editorial votes given by choice, and the more useful content you have, the greater the chances someone else will find that content valuable to their readers and link to it.
That said, here are four of the most effective strategies anyone can use to build better backlinks:
Great Content + Outreach
This is about creating awesome content and then promoting it through an aggressive outreach campaign. It‘s important that the content is worthy of linking to and sharing. This often means having to improve on content that already exists (the famed Skyscraper Technique) or simply just providing lots of value for your readers with an engaging piece.
If you keep in mind that guest posting must be about helping humans, you will create useful content that will naturally also catch the attention of search engines.
Google’s algorithms are getting smarter every day; there’s not much benefit to be derived from a ton of links from numerous low quality guest posts. If done right, guest blogging can become a reliable source of traffic, while also supplying important backlinks.
Basic Link Prospecting
You can still reach out to sites you believe would link to you, but you much approach this with caution. Only prospect for links on relevant—and relatively authoritative—sites, such as the well-known directories in your niche.
Local organizations also apply here. You might be required to sponsor an organization in order to get a link on their ‘Sponsors’ page. Just make sure these links cannot be perceived as completely irrelevant by Google.
Press & PR
If you’re doing some notable things on the ground, you might get some press coverage and boost your link profile with a few more quality backlinks. However, since Google generally views links in a press release as unnatural—and therefore similar to paid links, you must do this right to avoid incurring penalties.
Proper link building now is a lot more important than removing unwanted links. You can start seeing improvements in the SERPs almost immediately. Sure, does it takes a bit of time and effort, but if you focus on adding value to the internet with quality content, your long-term reputation on the search engines can only get better.