For those who follow SEO news or are involved in the business of SEO, you have undoubtedly heard of the Farmer and Panda Updates by Google. In a nutshell, we know that the updates are penalizing sites for ‘thin content’ that is, a handful of paragraphs stuffed with keywords – and they are penalizing sites for bad links.
What is a bad link: Links that typically can be traced back to some sort of link farm.
The problem with this is that almost all sites have links that are probably tied to some type of link farm as it was only a handful of years back that we discovered that Google favored the number of links to one’s site along with keyword rich anchor text. They favored it so much that one would see their site jump to the top based on links alone. JC Penney’s discovered this secret and of course went all out to buy, steal and beg for as many links as possible. This is what pushed them to the top for almost every category one could possibly shop for, therefore angering their competition and raising red flags.
Then came the Farmers Update and boom – JC Penney’s website was severely penalized as was numerous other popular websites. People saw their traffic numbers plummet overnight. Others discovered their website no longer was showing on Google, it had been penalized right off the map.
Building Quality Links to Your Website
So the question left on everybody’s tongue was, well, if we can’t buy links, then how do we find them otherwise? The answer is slowly and surely.
First of all, there is no quick fix to this problem. I still see people looking for link builders online for a penny a link – really? This person obviously doesn’t know all the work it takes to just obtain one link nowadays.
So how are SEO experts putting together link profiles for their clients? It is done with a bit of a shotgun effect in that a large handful of strategies are applied and hoped to stick. These strategies are then monitored for effectiveness.
These linking strategies include:
- Writing quality content that the reader would want to share with others through Facebook, Twitter, or a link from their own site.
- Writing a press release with keywords and links to your site.
- Writing guest posts for other blog sites or articles. This requires being very knowledgeable about a particular topic and having built a relationship with the blog owner of the site you want to post your content on.
- Searching for sites that allow you to just submit your URL or suggest a site.
- Building social profiles and using them to link back to your content.
- Internal links from pages within your site.
- Offering something for free or hosting a contest.
- Going after competitor’s links – if they are linked to a particular site, maybe that site will allow you to link as well.
- Participation in forums.
- Leaving reviews for products.
- Commenting on blog entries that you have an interest in.
- Sponsoring an event, especially if that event is for a local nonprofit.
- Check sites for broken links to types of content you also offer and ask site owner to use your content instead.
- Offer commissions to those who promote your product much like an affiliate would.
- Promote content through paid sources such as sponsored Tweets, Facebook Ads and Stumbleupon ads.
The list goes on and on. As you can see it is no easy task to create links and every connection you make to another website doesn’t always end with a link. A lot of time has to be invested up front for the hopes of building one’s link profile
But the fact of the matter is, it has to be done. You can bet the person showing up at the top of search engines has a killer link profile that they have built over the years and that is what is keeping them ahead.