4 top tips to recover from Penguin 2.0
Posted by Wordtracker on 28 May 2013
So unless you’ve been living beneath a boulder for the last fortnight you will know that Google have once again stirred the search algorithm pot with the release of a major Penguin reform. And when Google acts, SEOs respond.
Matt Cutts, head of search spam at Google, has announced that the update is now live and uses a new generation of tech to better stop webspam.
So, rather than blindly panic about what all this might mean, now is the time for a good bit of link-related housekeeping. These are my top four tips for surviving Google’s Penguin 2.0 algorithm and future updates.
1: Clean Up Your link profile
The most important thing we should all be doing in light of any Penguin update is reviewing our link profile and taking out the trash. It’s likely that you’re already doing this as a result of Penguin updates to date, but now is the time to get tough with your backlink profile.
SEO is not the same business it was three years ago but it isn’t enough to simply adjust your strategy and start playing by new search engine rules. The link building activities of yesteryear have left behind scars: link profiles littered with unnatural links including everything from spammy blogroll and directory links to paid links and advertorials.
Analyze your entire backlink profile using a range of tools such as Link Builder, Webmaster Tools, Majestic SEO and Open Site Explorer Compile all the links you can find into one master spreadsheet and begin trawling through. Be ruthless: highlight any links that you think might look unnatural. Even if they’re doing no harm at the moment, the chances are that they will as Google becomes hotter at identifying rubbish links.
In particular, look for these sorts of links:
- Paid links
- Advertorials or sponsored posts
- Site-wide links including blog-roll and footer links
- Link directory submissions
- Excessive use of links with over-optimized anchor text
- Links from de-indexed sites
- Links from irrelevant sites or blogs
As a general rule of thumb, if you don’t feel that the link serves a purpose to an actual user, or that a real person would never find the link, it’s probably in a bad neighborhood. Get those links removed and prepare a disavow document for any which you can’t get taken down. At least you can then be ready if your site is affected by future Penguin updates.
2: Future-proof your link building strategy
It’s equally important to ensure that going forward you have refined your link building strategy to ensure it is future-proofed from Penguin updates. Some people argue that all “link building” is ultimately not Google compliant, as the very purpose of good quality links is that they should be completely natural. However there are a number of ways in which we can still build quality links that add value to your link profile and will stand the test of time with Google.
There are lots of different techniques you should try, but it comes down to what might work for your business. When re-vamping your link building strategy, read all the resources you can on creative and innovative link building techniques you can find and consider how you could make them work for your business. Here are a few to get you started:
3: Get social signalling
The future is almost guaranteed to bring an increased importance attached to social media usage to generate social signals for search engines. While this may or may not be addressed by a future Penguin update, it is important to consider that the value of links could decrease in favor of social signals. Be ready by posting regularly, building a following and actively engaging with customers and other users.
Here are some quick tips on social:
- Ensure your social media properties are linked to from your web pages (footer, header, sidebar or other suitable location on every page).
- Set up Google authorship linked with your Google+ account.
- Consider which are the main social media platforms to use, depending on their relevancy to your business. For example, B2B business may choose to use Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn, whereas B2C businesses will definitely want to include Facebook. Pinterest is especially useful for shopping sites.
- Post regularly to your profiles: once a day is a good rule of thumb.
- Share any offers or competitions you might be running; these are one of the best ways to create engagement and gain social shares.
4: Create genuinely shareable content … or don’t bother
Content marketing is the hot topic of today’s SEO but what does it actually mean? In reality, content only holds value if it is genuinely useful, interesting and most importantly shareable. It is one thing to float guest blog posts around the web to provide a backlink to your site, but if no-one’s reading them you’re only getting a fraction of their potential value. Instead of spending “x” amount of time and money on content that will get you one link and never be read, you should be spending twice “x” on great quality content that people find, read and share.
Think about the following and consider how they might work for your business:
- User guides
- Embeddable resources
If you haven’t got the resource to create things like this, blogging is still a good way to build “natural” links, but you must ensure the content is of a good quality and completely unique.
For more free advice Koozai put together a 24 page guide
How are you responding to the latest Penguin update? And what do you think is the future of link building?
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