The Internet has become the most powerful communication medium humanity has ever seen. With the ability to reach millions of people across the globe, the market potential is enough to melt the mind. When Penguin was unleashed on April 24th, 2012, those involved in the world of online business were frantically glued to their analytics account, anxiously awaiting to see if their traffic was going to take a serious hit.
Panda was Google’s previous algorithm update and its consequences were severe for many bloggers, internet marketers and webmasters. Panda indiscriminately attempted to clear the junk from Google’s search results, crippling many affiliate articles, blogs and low quality websites. So when Google released another algorithm update named after an adorable creature, the collective heart of the SEO industry began to race.
… and Backlinking Was Changed Forever
Prior to the release of Penguin, Google had already made it clear that paid backlinking networks and services would not be tolerated. It did this by effectively crippling one of the most popular and financially successful of these services. For years buildmyrank.com was the go to place when it came to buying backlinks. The owners made immense amounts of money by being paid to effectively exploit Google’s algorithm. Shortly before the release of Penguin, the de-indexing of this site put everyone profiting from paid backlink schemes on notice. The crackdown sent a powerful message to the SEO community, making it painfully obvious that relying on purchased backlinks for page rank is a recipe for disaster.
The Demise of Exact Match Anchor Text
Using the search term you want as anchor text for your backlinks has long been thought of as smart, acceptable SEO strategy. Penguin has effectively put a stop to this once vital SEO tactic. In attempts to make their search results less vulnerable to manipulation, Google has started to put more emphasis on relevance of links instead of more easy to exploit methods like anchor text. Sites who had exact match anchor text for less than 50% of their total backlinks suffered little from the Penguin update. Diversity is key to online longevity and this is especially true when building your backlink profile.
Evolve Your Backlinking Strategy
Instead of building an army of low quality backlinks that will prove to be disastrous for SEO efforts, focus on gaining a diverse, healthy amount of high quality backlinks from trusted and authoritative domains in your niche. Relevance of backlinks is now more important to Google’s spiders than easy to manipulate factors like anchor text.
Despite popular belief, article marketing still remains an effective way to both increase traffic and page rank. However, it’s essential that the articles you publish are on respected websites that require content to be checked by an editor. If an article directory doesn’t have a system quality control, view it as a waste of time. Guest blogging on legitimate and niche relevant blogs is a great white hat SEO method that will prove beneficial, offering both exposure and quality backlinks.
The quality of your content is not the only thing you have to worry about for search engine success. The condition of domains pointing to your site directly affect your image in Google’s eyes. Consistently monitor your backlink profile and protect the quality of your links.
SEO will never be an exact science. While it’s tempting to sit back and relax while paid SEO specialists do all the dirty work, keep in mind that relying almost entirely on search based traffic will forever put your business at Google’s mercy. Diversify traffic sources by finding creative ways to bring your content to the masses, such as social media marketing and viral videos.