In April 2012 Google released an algorithm update that would change the face of SEO forever. Links were no longer guaranteed to work – in fact, many links actually became harmful rather than good for websites. A large number of sites suffered huge penalties – either seeing their rankings drop or lose any visibility they had built up for themselves altogether.
Following Penguin, SEO’s have had to rethink their tactics for getting their/their clients’ websites ranking. There are a number of things that they now need to consider to ensure that they stay on the best side of Google.
Natural Link Profile
It’s now important that a website’s backlink profile appears natural – in other words if you are going to do SEO then don’t make it obvious that link building work is actually being done. You can no longer just build links to specific anchor-text terms. A high proportion of these within a site’s backlink profile is likely to get you an ‘unnatural’ link warning on your Webmaster Tools account. Most who have had this dreaded message find that in just a few days, their rankings start to drop considerably.
Once there was link building – now there’s link removal. It may seem strange, but webmasters/SEO’s are now having to go through their backlink profiles to discover the links that may be doing them harm and then actively contacting site owners to get them removed.
Unfortunately a number of sites have realised that they can make money from taking down your links, but generally this is nothing compared to the potential cost to your business if they aren’t removed.
Branded Link Building
SEO’s now need to consider ways to build up branded links for their websites. Brand links are a good way to help the site’s backlink profile appear natural to Google, and therefore a link audit should be carried out to assess the proportion of brand to non-brand activity before any more work is completed. Branded links can be built in a number of ways, such as press release distribution, quality blogger outreach work and appearing in suitable, high-traffic web directories for your industry or niche.
It’s now more important than ever that you consider the quality of sites you are link building to. Although you need a proportion of lower-end links, you must ensure that these are complemented with ones from high quality sites too. Whether that be by getting your press releases picked up by news sites, or attracting links by writing interesting content on your own website, you will need to consider how to to ensure you are getting links from sites with high metrics such as domain authority (DA) and Google’s own Pagerank.
About the author
Ella Connolly is a freelance SEO consultant who loves blogging in her spare time. She has found that she has needed to do a fair bit of link removal for her clients since Google’s Penguin algorithm update last year