Matt Cutts from Google has announced that there will be a big update to the search algorithm called Penguin 2.0, one of the biggest changes is a more sophisticated way of identifying spammy links. He said himself that by the end of the summer we should certainly see a decline in the number of websites ranking well due to spammy linking strategies.
Spammy linking applies to low quality inbound links that come from poor quality websites, in recent past this has been all you needed to do to get results for your website, the advent of Google Zoo has changed this but there are still some clever people out there ‘bucking’ the system by relying on these kinds of spammy link building strategies Well Google hope to change all this by making it more difficult for black/grey SEO strategies to be used effectively.
Should you worry about your website?
Well, hopefully not. If you have been focusing on giving visitors to your website high quality content then you shouldn’t need to worry. If you have been involved in these questionable link building schemes then you may be feeling slightly nervous now. BUT there is a way out if you do get stung (getting stung by a penguin – hmmmmmm?).
We should expect to start seeing the impact of Penguin 2.0 in the coming weeks so no doubt there will be more information and more discussion about it’s full impact. In the meantime, if you would like to see Matt Cutts announcement in full, then take a look…..
Long gone are the days when directory submissions formed the majority of link building activity, the web is saturated with directory websites that were set up purely to provide links. Most that exist aren’t really used by real people and it didn’t take very long for search engines to downgrade the importance of these kinds of links.
When we talk about directories listings we mustn’t forget that there are still directories that provide valuable links, but there aren’t too many of them. They tend to either be local directories such as Yell or Qype or niche directories which specialise in specific areas of interest.
The rest of them won’t give you valuable links from a search engines point of view but they are still worthwhile.
With the latest Google updates we have seen some more recent link building activities hit hard. We are very lucky in that we have never gone in for aggressive link building with keyword rich anchor text, those that did this found a lot of their rankings fell overnight.
The best and most successful way to build links to your website is to provide great content that others want to link to. But this can take a very long time and so link building as an SEO activity should form part of your overall strategy. The right way to do this is by making sure that over 50% of your links are not keyword rich and this is where directories come in. Directories are a great way of building ‘cloud cover’ links, those links for phrases such as ‘click here’ or ‘contact us now’ which dilute the keyword rich anchor text of your other link building activities.
So in essence, whilst directories don’t have the SEO juice of days past they can form a valuable piece in the SEO puzzle and shouldn’t be dismissed completely, but like all of these techniques you need to experiment. Find out what is working best for you, do more of that and less of what isn’t working.
Some of you may have heard about the Panda or Penguin Google Updates and are feeling a little confused. Firstly forget the names, these are simply changes that Google makes to the way it ranks websites. These changes happen on a daily basis but usually twice a year there are larger updates that can really affect where your website ranks. It is not rare for a website to simply disappear from the first page of Google overnight.
Now part of these updates is to stop SEO companies (that’s us) from ‘manipulating’ the search results. My personal view is that this is almost a contradiction in itself as many of the website that have SEO companies working on them are better constructed with greater scale and good quality content because those companies want to make sure that they are not only fitting in with the expectations of the search engines, but also making sure that any visitors to the site get the information that they want.
Many of those websites that were hit the greatest from the latest updates were those with unnatural linking activity taking place, so a large number of keyword rich incoming links from a small number of domains or too many keyword rich links in comparison to ‘cloud cover’ links such as click here, or find out more.
I won’t bore you with all of the details but I will give you a run down of the things that are incredibly important in ensuring SEO linking success.
Good content is key to the success of any online campaign, high quality relevant content is where you need to start. Once you have this content you can share it in a variety of different formats across the web to gain those all important links.
Blog networks are a good way of getting links back to your website but they have to be the right ones. You should be posting blog posts that are written well and would be just as well received by the human reader as a search engine. Links should be a good mix between keyword rich and ‘cloud cover’ as over-linking can do more damage than not linking at all.
Ask to guest blog on related websites, those of your suppliers can often be good and most people who run blogs will be more than happy to give you a link for a good quality post that will enhance their own website. Use social media to share your content and make sure you don’t just see content as words. Content comes in many formats and all are important, the split of different media will depend on your target audience.
And remember, if you start with the great content then you will find you will attract natural links too.
If you want to find out more about how we can help you navigate the SEO minefield, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Guest blogging is basically when you write for someone else’s blog on an issue that is relevant to their business and yours. So for example if I am a Kitchen Designer then writing a blog post to appear on the site of a worktop manufacturer will benefit both sides.
Boost Your Reach
Guest blogging can open up a whole new audience for you it can help you utilise the readers of other peoples blogs and generate more awareness of your business and more importantly of your expertise. People are far more likely to buy from someone they trust and you can help gain this trust by presenting a professional and helpful approach online. This is easy to do via a blog because you are providing useful information for free.
Allow people to guest blog for you and you will help increase the scale of your website. This obviously only applies where your blog is integrated into your website in the first place. Google loves new and fresh content and blog posts are a great way to do this but to get the volume you need takes a lot of work so by letting someone else write posts for you can create those all important new pages but also add a little diversity for your readers.
Anyone involved in online marketing understands the importance of links, by guest blogging you are creating links back to your website and if you are able to blog on a high ranking and highly thought of blog then this link becomes valuable.
Spreading the Word
We talked about increasing your online presence from a readership point of view but by guest blogging you are also creating a network for the search engines to see. If you ensure you are including links into your blogs then over time you can create a network of links for your business by syndicating these guest posts across the web using social networking sites.
There are lots of places that accept guest blogs and so it is relatively easy to get started but why not ask some of your suppliers and customers if you can guest blog for them, it can be really valuable and help you grow your relationships as well as aid your online marketing activities. Click here if you want some more blogging tips
I blogged recently about creating quality content. Once you’ve gone to the trouble of creating great content, that people actually want to read, it makes sense to get the most out of it, so here are some suggestions for how to do that.
Syndicate your content
It seems obvious, but it’s surprising how often it gets forgotten in the rush to move onto the next item on your to do list. Whether it’s a blog post or a new page on your website make sure you share it with as many different people as possible. Tools like Networked Blogs make this easier by automatically sending your blog posts out to your Twitter and Facebook feeds and save you having to remember.
Social bookmarking is another good way to get your content out there. Sites like Delicious, Digg and StumbleUpon are all useful, as well as niche bookmarking sites that relate to your industry. Just make sure you follow the guidelines and don’t only bookmark your own content.
If you write an email newsletter then you can also use this to point subscribers towards content that they might find useful too.
Make it easy for others to share
Getting others to share your content is even more effective than doing it yourself as it will then be read by people out of your network too. Hopefully you’ve already got social media buttons added to each of your web pages and blog posts to make it easy for others to share them on their favourite social networking sites. An occasional little nudge or reminder asking people to share a particular article if they find it useful won’t do any harm either.
If you’re referring to a topic already covered in a previous blog post or on another website page then link directly to it to make it easy for people to find other relevant content. Internal linking is important within your website and blog and helps both search engines and readers to find more of your content.
If you’ve written a good article or blog post it won’t take you long to rewrite it (to avoid duplicate content which the search engines frown on) so that it’s suitable for use on another website or blog. Writing guest posts on another blog or articles for another website is a great way to get more exposure for your own website as well as a link back. Using existing content and rewriting it saves you from having to come up with another idea or having do any additional research for a brand new article.
Do you know of any other great ways to get the most out of your content? Please add a comment to share your suggestions.
Linking is a technique that has been around for some years. Originally it was focussed around submitting your business to a large number of directories, some of these directories were thought of more highly than others. This depended on the popularity and scale of each individual directory. But things have come a long way, most people don’t like directories very much, when they search for something they are looking for the individual websites of relevant businesses to appear in the search results, so the search engines took notice and now it’s very rare you will see a directory in the search results at all. In fact if you do see one, it’s normally because there aren’t many other websites that are relevant enough to be displayed. Whilst directory submission haven’t disappeared all together they aren’t really where the focus is any more.
Social media came along and kind of changed linking completely. The thing to remember is that on the whole Search Engine Optimisation is driven by great content, the key is then to create those links by using your content in lots of different places across the internet. The reason social media has become so important is that a search engine is going to see a review or recommendation as much more important and trustworthy than a business talking about how fantastic they are. So whilst it can take time, building up organic links through writing about your business and industry in an engaging way is the best way to go.
Unfortunately, this can take time and so many businesses are speeding up this process using social media to ‘explode’ their message across the internet in the hope that people will share, converse and comment on the content that they have provided. Oh and remember that this content doesn’t have to be words, it can be images, video, podcasts pretty much anything really.
One of the other ways to build links is through article marketing, this is the process of posting your great content on several article sites, within these articles you will place links back to your website, thus helping to create your own links and giving readers a way of finding out more about the subject matter. Article took a bit of a hit earlier this year when Google changed it’s algorithm, but like directory submissions there is still value in this form of marketing. More recently we have seen the use of blogs to build these links.
So in summary, if you have a campaign where you are partaking in all of these things then you are very likely to be building those links that you need.
Internal links are incredibly important, so how do you know if your internal linking strategy is working properly. If you have broken links then not only is a search engine spider going to struggle, but visitors to your website won’t have a great time if they can’t get to the content that they want to read because a link is taking them to a page that doesn’t exist.
Make sure you check your links on a regular basis to ensure that they are still taking people where they should be and if you are doing some work on the content on your site then be really wary of changing the url of existing pages. It can be quite tricky to suss our where you have broken links so it’s always a good idea to try and minimise them in the first place. If you do make url changes then remember that this will impact on inbound links as well. As a rule of thumb, don’t change url names as it is really difficult to track all inbound links and almost impossible to change them. You don’t want to waste months of work for the sake of a name change.
Internal links are really important for SEO as well as inbound links, they help a search engine work out where it needs to go next on your website and can help stress the importance of certain pages and keywords. Make sure your links are keyword rich and don’t forget that if you don’t link to a page then no one can get to it, sounds simple but it does happen.
Find out more about link building
Link building is vitally important in having a successful SEO campaign. There are two different types of links, external links which is when other websites link to yours and secondly, internal links which are links between pages on your website. To have a strong linking strategy you need to be doing both.
Link building should form an integral part of your internet marketing strategy, it has an enormous positive effect on your SEO efforts. But getting those all important links can be hard work. Links are someones way of giving you a mini referral, it’s like someone saying, “hey go check these people out, they know what they’re talking about”.
The best kind of links to get are organic links, where websites or blogs link to you because they have found something they genuinely feel is of interest to their own audience, if it is a popular site in itself with a good page rank then the link is what we call a ‘quality link’.