Penguin and the importance of good linkbuilding
Back in 2012, Google unleashed its Penguin algorithm, to the dismay of thousands of website owners and SEO companies. The Penguin update punished websites that had ‘unnatural’ or clearly paid for links, and as this kind of linkbuilding activity was very common at the time, many websites found themselves plummeting down the Google rankings.
Google have promised a Penguin update in early 2016, but as the months continue on, the update is still yet to be announced.
Google have also promised that this will be the last official Penguin update, as all further updates will happen in ‘real time’ – meaning that the algorithm will be updated and adapted constantly. This is therefore the last time we’ll be hanging around for Google to announce the update, and also means that websites will be able to recover from being penalised much more quickly than they could previously, as they’ll no longer have to wait for the next update to revoke any penalties.
What exactly these ‘real time’ updates means for website owners still remains to be seen. If mistakes and poor linkbuilding are easily rectified and not punished for long, this should mean that it is easier to experiment with different linkbuilding strategies. This might sound like a good thing, but it could also mean that spammers or poor quality linkbuilders may be able to find ways to manipulate the algorithm to their advantage, though of course, this is purely speculative thinking until the update is announced.
The perils of old-school SEO
Pre-Penguin, it was fairly common practice for site owners to contact other website owners and ask to ‘swap links’. This, as well as other frowned upon SEO practice, was known as link farming, and sites that were clearly operating on an ‘I’ll link to you if you link to me’ basis were hit hard by Penguin.
Other link farming activity involved paying for links, and having lots of poor quality inbound links from sources such as low quality directories. These days, you can’t get away with link farming. Not only is it bad web manners; it’ll also punish your site.
Is linkbuilding still relevant in 2016?
However scary the Penguin update may seem, it’s absolutely no reason to be put off linkbuilding altogether. In fact, this algorithm should be seen as a positive thing, because it rewards those who put time and effort into creating good quality links, and these links do still pay off in a big way.
Quality links help direct quality traffic to your website, increase your Google ranking and are a good way for you to establish and foster relationships with other website owners. You just have to remember that on the flip side, bad quality links can damage your site to the same extent; so choosing your links carefully is key.
The importance of shareable content
A linkbuilding campaign isn’t just about good linkbuilding practice, it’s also about having engaging, relevant content for others to link to. The most successful linkbuilding campaigns are focused on websites containing content that others might naturally want to share, and then targeting those who might naturally want to share it.
If you’re still unsure about linkbuilding, Strategy can help. Get in touch and let us do the work for you.
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