What You Need To Know About Google’s Panda & Penguin Update
Google Panda Update (aka Farmer Update) was an algorithm update by Google to filter low quality websites and spam. It was a site wide penalty to remove poor quality content from Google search engine results pages (SERPs) and to provide higher rankings for high quality websites – sites with original content, in-depth analysis etc. The first Google Panda Update was on February 24, 2011 which targeted content farms (sites with poor content)
Google Penguin Update (or Over Optimization Penalty) targeted websites that engaged in webspam tactics (Black Hat SEO) to manipulate search engine rankings. Those sites were ‘overly optimized’ with keyword stuffing (refers to the practice of loading a webpage with keywords to manipulate a site’s search engine rankings) and aggressive usage of keywords in anchor texts.
Link Building Strategies To Avoid – Post Panda & Penguin Update
1. Avoid Excessive Internal Linking
When you interlink your own web pages it passes Google PageRank juice and it can affect the rankings of those pages. So, interlink your web pages only if it’s relevant and adds value to your readers.
2. Avoid External Footer Links
External footer links are unnatural especially when it is pointing to irrelevant sites which is entirely different from your niche.
3. Avoid Site Wide Links
Site wide links (like footer links) are those which appear on all or nearly all the pages of your website. It can be related or not at all related to your website. If you still want to add a site wide link then add a nofollow attribute to those links so that it tells the search engines not to follow them.
4. Avoid Exact Match Anchor Texts
When you build backlinks diversify your anchor texts and don’t use your keywords alone as your anchor texts.
5. Avoid Blog Networks
You should never use those Blog Networks to build backlinks as those blogs are exclusively created for the sake of cross-linking and manipulating PageRank. Google has de-indexed several blog networks so sooner or later all those blog networks will be adversely affected.
6. Avoid Link Spikes (Link Velocity)
Of course backlinks plays an important role in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) but you must be careful about the rate at which you acquire those backlinks. You should build your backlinks only gradually (unless you receive tons of backlinks from a viral marketing campaign) so that it looks natural to search engines.
What Else Should You Avoid?
- Mass Directory Submissions
- Article Spinning & Article Marketing Spam
- Forum Profile Link Spam
- Excessive Reciprocal Links (Link Exchanges)
- Blog Comment Spam
- Profile Link Spam
- Low Quality Press Release Submissions
- Low Quality Social Bookmarking Sites
- Link Farms (any group of websites that links to each other)
- Paid Links (it’s impossible to detect all those paid links but you should still avoid it)
Link Building Tips – Post Panda & Penguin Update
1. It’s All About Quality, Not Quantity
SEO is never the same after the Panda and Penguin Update but it is not going to die or fade away. In fact, it’s going to be challenging and at the same time fun as well as you no longer need that massive Article Submission, Directory Submission, Article Spinning, Blog Comments etc.
If you have tons of backlinks (with keywords in anchors) from low quality websites then Google will surely penalize you sooner or later for over-optimization. Now, ONE backlink from an authority blog in your niche is equal to say 100 backlinks from low quality sites.
You can still consider directory submission and article submission as long as they are authority domains. While submitting your article to directories make sure that you submit unique articles with no duplicates or spinning. (Check out some of the Top Article Directories here)
2. Diversify Your Anchor Texts
When link building, you should diversify your anchor texts so that it looks natural to search engines. Instead of using your keywords as anchors you can use your Brand Name, Naked URL (http://www.minterest.org/, http://minterest.com/), Long Tail Keywords or by using general anchors like “Click Here”, “Learn More”, “Read More”, “here”, “My Website”, “My Site”, “Your Name” etc. as they look more natural.
3. Link To Your Inner Pages (Deep Linking)
While building backlinks instead of linking to your home page you have to link to your inner pages. Of course, the home page is the face of your website but where is your real content? On home page or inner pages? Check out some of the Deep Linking Tactics.
4. Leverage Social Media
Both Google and Bing have added Social features and is using “Social Signals” to rank websites. You can leverage your social media profiles by sharing your content on all your social media profiles – Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, StumbleUpon, Google+, Reddit, Delicious, Digg, YouTube, Flickr etc. I used to update most of my social networking profiles whenever I post fresh content to my blog. Also, make sure it’s super easy to share your content by adding social media sharing buttons to your blogposts!
5. Press Release Distribution
Press Releases are great if you have got something news worth. Submit your press release to some of the high quality press release distribution services but make sure that it’s written for the users and not for search engines. Ideally, you should submit an unique article to each press release website. (Check out some of the Top Press Release Distribution Sites here)
6. Guest Blogging
Guest blogging refers to a blogpost/article which you write for another blog/website in your niche. It helps you to build high quality backlinks to your website from authority websites in your niche which in turn will boost your ranking on SERPs. Guest blogging increases your credibility and will position yourself as an expert in your niche. And, it will increase your traffic and subscribers almost instantly. Read the ultimate guide to Guest Blogging by ViperChill & KISSmetrics.
7. Create Great & Original Content
After all, Google wants you to:
- “Create a useful, information-rich site, and write pages that clearly and accurately describe your content.”
- “Think about the words users would type to find your pages, and make sure that your site actually includes those words within it.”
- “Make pages primarily for users, not for search engines.”