Penguin Changed Everything for Link Builders
With the advent of of Google Penguin algorithm update things changed for link builders around the world. Just for those reading this who no not know: A link builder is a person that through different means build links to websites they wish to promote with the the purpose of making search engines rank them higher in search results.
However, with the recent change, not only black hat spammish strategies such as automated forum and blog commenting should considered risky for link building. (You should never have been doing these techniques anyhow though since they can be a massive hassle for website owners to deal with.) Now, you will also have to be careful doing even basic things such as directory and article submissions. If you fail in taking care to do things the right way, Google may deem your website backlinks and/or backlink anchor text unnatural and punish your website quite fiercely.
In this article, we will discuss how to best pursue different white hat strategies for promoting your website and building quality links.
General Considerations to Make When Building Links
Vary your anchor text. Vary it a lot. This has become increasingly important through the latter years, but with Penguin it has become vital. If too high a percentage of your backlinks contain money phrases in their anchor text, you can very well risk being punished by automated algorithms such as Google Penguin.
As a solution to the above problem, you can start using a higher number of branded links such as mISVBlog.com and general links like click here to make sure your backlinks stay natural in the eyes of Google. This, however, is of course next to impossible for products that contain money keywords in their names. In such cases, you will just have to vary whenever it appears feasible from a natural content point of view.
Press Releases Still Work
If you have newsworthy content, you should start thinking about press releases. If you write a good press release that reaches the correct people, the effect will go much beyond just the links built. Indeed, you are likely not just to receive writeups in magazines and blog posts, but you may also attract further attention down the line by blog writers and journalists as you release new versions.
Depending on your niche, you may resort to different solutions for press releases. PRWeb.com is one, but chances are you can also find services tailored specificly for your line of business. For instance when it comes to releasing software, I have used Al Harbergs’ DP Directory press release service in the past. The advantage of using a specialized service for writing and submitting press releases lies in the the business knowledge and contacts your press release gains access to.
Just remember: If you are developing a product (or service for that matter) with some unique selling points, it is especially important that you plan for making a press release in combination with your product launch. Just make sure your product can stand up to the increased scrutiny you may receive from it 🙂
Guest Posting on Quality Websites
If you can find websites related to your niche that are prominent and frequented by readers who are active on social media, you should consider offering to do a guest post. These kinds of deals give benefits to all parties involved. The site owner gets to post an unique quality article without any work, and you, the guest poster, get both links, branding effect and some direct visitors from it. If you are still establishing yourself as an authority in a specific niche, this can be a quick path to be known as the expert in your field of expertise.
Careful Directory and Article Submission
Starting from the Penguin Google algorithm update, you should change how you submit your websites and articles to such sites.
If you insist on doing automated submissions, make sure to drip your submission very slowly + massively spin all content, anchor text and anchor URLs. However, at the same time, your spinning should still read as superb quality easily passing human inspection. Sounds impossible? Well, it probably is. Thus, not recommended as a link building strategy 🙂
A better option is to submit your sites or articles to only the very top article sites like EZineArticles.com and directory sites like DMoz.org. However, when it comes to posting articles, it will often be a much better idea to pursue guest posting on niche-relevant websites. Submitting articles to article networks is nearing to be a thing of the past, Penguin or no Penguin Google update 🙂
As discussed and demonstrated in various post-Penguin discussions, even e.g. footer attribution links may put your website at risk. This means it may no longer be safe to promote your website through creating services that insert phrases like “service created using XYZ”, even if logic dictates such links should be fully valued. However, with post-Penguin you may also risk trigger flags inside search and ranking algorithms because of the anchor text similarity across many attribution links.
How to best deal with this can only be a guess at best, but using branded URL links mISVBlog.com instead of keyword rich anchor text appears to be an advisable first step based on the (limited) 3rd party research done so far. Depending on how voluntary the attribution link is, you could also consider adding no-follow to those links although you (undeservedly in some cases) would loose the link juice.
One thing to take out from all this is that as search engine algorithms become increasingly aggressive in weeding out spam, the list of innocent victims is also likely to grow. (Not to talk about the possibility of negative SEO where competitors build tons of low quality links with poor anchor text to competitors with the intent of hurting them.)
A way out of being too reliant on search engines like Google and Bing is to start focusing on connecting with people, in particular those in your industry that have followers that engage in discussions. Using a combination of press releases, guest posting and social accounts like Google+, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, you can open up for a new source of revenue which over time will also increase the amount of natural backlinks to your websites.