Quality Link Building in the Era of Penguin 2.0Just as always, when Google speaks, everyone listens. So what is all this buzz going around in the world of web design and content marketing anyway? According to Google engineer, Matt Cutts, the change to be released in the next few weeks will be “significant” and will be one of the most talked about Google updates of the year. Before we get into the speculation about Penguin 2.0, lets take a brief look at the Google updates over the past two years.
A Brief History Of Google’s Major Algorithm Changes
In February 2011, Google announced the release of its first Panda algorithm change. Panda began with subtle changes, but shortly afterward an improvement to Panda was released which had a very noticeable impact throughout the World Wide Web. The update began slowly reducing search rankings for websites that were of low-value and did not contain relevant, current, and original content. The plus side is that it did improve rankings for high-quality sites with original content that provided thoughtful research and useful information.
In April 2012, Google released an update known as Penguin. This update targeted irrelevant links which Google considered as spamming search results. The days of buying links or obtaining links through link networks for the purpose of boosting search rankings were over. There have been two additional updates to Penguin since its release. One came in May 2012, and the other in October 2012.
Penguin 2.0 Will Be “Significant” – Just What Does That Mean?
Obviously, every web site owner and marketer is speculating about the upcoming changes and when Mr. Cutts refers to the change as “significant”, what does that really mean? In a video available on You Tube, Matt Cutts indicates that Penguin 2.0 will go deeper and have more of an impact than the first version. (Just a side note – pay close attention to the T-shirt he’s wearing) Penguin 2.0 will have two distinct capabilities:
1. Provide a more defined definition of link spam
2. More easily discover irrelevant links between web pages that are only designed to get better search rankings
In order to prepare for Penguin 2.0, there are three major things you can do right now to hopefully reduce the collateral damage:
- Review your link profile and remove irrelevant links and links from low-value sites
- Establish relationships with reputable web sites to get relevant and important links
- Focus on high quality web content to attract the right kind of links
Just as Panda and the first two updates of Penguin devalued websites, when Penguin 2.0 is finally released, web sites that do not comply with Google’s expected link profiles will suffer more loss in search engine placement.
Google Wants To Reward Blogs And Websites With Quality Content
Google’s philosophy has been to reward high-quality sites and to encourage a healthy web ecosystem. Google depends on the high-quality content created by the many amazing websites and blogs around the world. Many web site owners affected by these updates believe they were really doing nothing wrong. But the ever-changing algorithms have certainly sent waves of panic throughout the web. So, just what are we to expect from the release of Penguin 2.0? How will it change content marketing overall?
Quality Link Building Boils Down To Quality Content
Link building is quite a popular topic of interest in the field of content marketing. We are not only concerned about acquiring quality links on our websites and blogs, but we are beginning to understand just how acquiring friends, likes, and connections in social media marketing must be more selective. One of the best ways to avoid suffering a loss of traffic from Penguin 2.0 is to focus more effort on link building. According to Entrepreneur, you should avoid linking to sites that fit the following profiles:
- Sites built exclusively for SEO
- Sites that are overly-optimized (keyword stuffing, link spam, etc.)
- Sites with adult or offensive content
- Sites that are not relevant to your own business or industry
Penguin 2.0 will prove that one high quality backlink that is relevant to your business or industry is worth more than a hundred links from low value spam sites. The only way to get quality links from other sites is to ensure that yours contains great content.
Penguin 2.0 And Guest Blogging
How will Penguin 2.0 affect backlinks obtained through guest blogging? The content of your guest blog post will become more important. If Google doesn’t like your content, it probably won’t promote your links. Also, if you don’t promote your own posts in your social networks, Google probably won’t promote them either. It seems that even though Penguin 2.0 will target links, everything comes back to the quality of the web content.
Is Google Trying To Tell Us To Become Better Bloggers?
When we describe web content in terms like, relevant, current and original – aren’t we describing that perfect blog? Search engines like to promote current content and by posting regularly to our blogs, we are always current. It is much more difficult to update a traditional web site every month or so. Google wants content that is relevant and informative just like we design our blog content. It seems that if we continue to write quality blog content with a relevant link profile, we will be right on target with Google’s slowly evolving algorithm changes. Since we’re only speculating anyway, it’s certainly something to consider.
The Battle To Retain First Place In Search Engine Marketing
There’s no doubt, the world of search engine marketing is changing. Even though it might appear that Google is trying to make the Internet a more level playing field, is that the real reason for all the changes? The definition of quality content is being changed by social media. The consumer, through recommendations and other behaviors, is becoming more involved in determining quality. It appears that Google may be feeling a little pressure from other search engines, like Bing. Even though Bing’s share of search traffic is about half of Google’s share, things are changing due to Bing’s alignment with Facebook. Facebook Graph Search has been released as a means of more closely defining the search based on links. Is it just a coincidence that Google would now release a “significant” change targeting link profiles?
Google is something like the 6’oclock news – we hear the story in the way they want us to hear it. Whatever the reason and whatever the effects, Penguin 2.0 is on its way. When the googlebot crawls our sites or blogs, will it find anything it likes? One thing is for sure; we had better start our housekeeping now, because our guest will be arriving very soon.
image credit: bandrat/freedigitalphotos.net
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