As Google continues its crusade in ridding the internet of unnatural spam links, it is becoming increasingly more difficult to both maintain and improve a sites link profile without risking a dreaded Google penalty. Now the first thing to remember is that having a link penalty on your site is not the end of the world. Many sites have reported at least a ‘partial recovery’ following a link penalty with many sites also reporting a ‘full recovery’ after having a manual penalty lifted by Google.
Which penalty is best for my site?
Now I know this sounds like a very strange question to ask but there are very good reasons for this question. A site that has been the victim of a ‘manual action penalty’ from Google is at a distinct advantage to a site that has been targeted by Google’s Penguin algorithm; simply due to the fact that you will have an open line of communication established with Google. This comes via the manual action notification you can find with Webmaster Tools:
Many people would panic if they saw this message with their Webmaster Tools but these people should count their blessings that this has happened in favour of been hit by the Penguin update. This message allows you to fix the mistakes that you have previously made and communicate with Google about the problems within your link profile (this discussion may be limited but the information obtained can be priceless for having the penalty removed and seeing the error in your ways). If you systematically work through your link profile removing and repairing such links which violate Google’s Quality Guidelines then this penalty will eventually be lifted. Just remember that patience and persistence is needed throughout this process.
Been hit by the Penguin?
Now Google’s Penguin update is a much more serious problem to those whose link profile violates Google’s Quality Guidelines, The Penguin algorithm update is dangerous for a number of reasons such as:
You are not aware that the update has hit you until it is too late – Google does not notify you about this penalisation, you only know your site has been hit once it is too late.
There is no communication with Google over this subject – you cannot ask Google why you were hit by the penalty, you can only enter a reconsideration request and hope it aids the Penguin algorithm in seeing that you longer have a link profile in violation.
There is no set time period – the hardest and most frustrating aspect of this penalty is there is no allotted time period between updates, meaning you could be waiting quite some time for the algorithm to pick up your newly cleaned link profile.
The most effective way of dealing with this algorithm is to scrutinise your link profile as much as you can leaving no grey area in the links that can stay and the links that can go. Understanding what constitutes as a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ link is imperative – It’s not always wise going back to the 3rd party source for advice if it was they who got you there in the first place. A professional link penalty removal service may be required. Also, regular monitoring of your rankings can show when your clean-up work is starting to take effect, this can be a real morale boost seeing a ranking reappear following all your hard work. Constant monitoring of your link profile is also required.
How to build upon a clean link profile and keep it clean
There are still a number of methods to attract safe, natural links which will have a positive effect on your site as a whole. Creating unique content is currently the number one way of doing this. The key to remember with creating unique content is that no matter how unique the content is if it is not relevant then it will not have much success in improving your link profile and meeting the ultimate goal of bringing potential customers to your site. The idea is to build unique and valuable content that websites and influencers within your target market will want to talk about, write about, discuss and share.
Making my unique content relevant
The question that you have to ask yourself is ‘who is my audience?’ and ‘what do my audience want’. Answering these two questions will 9 times out of 10 will lead you to producing a unique piece of content which will engage with your desired audience.
Another great way to ensure ‘unique content’ is by using your own expertise in your chosen field. No one knows your products and services as well as you so utilising that expertise to create fantastic unique content is a great way of capturing a new audience whilst engaging your current one.
What types of content are there?
There are many types of content that can be used to engage your audience and promote both your products and services and your business as a whole. Content can be anything from articles to infographics and from images to interactive games. Any content which will engage a visitor to your site is the type of content you are looking for.
The many types of content that are available will work differently for each individual type of business. For example, a flower shop would gain more from visual content like image portfolios and infographics showing how to assemble a bouquet of flowers than a 900 word article on how the process of a flower blossoming happens. The key aspect is to create the type of content that you feel your audience will engage with and share the most. A great type of content is helpful content e.g. ‘how to’ articles and ‘demonstration’ videos. Basically content that answers the questions your audience is asking and searching for.
Sharing your content
More important than creating great content is putting the content you have created in front of your audience. The first thing you should ask yourself is ‘where do my audience spend their days on the internet?’ Now different audiences will be viewing different areas of the internet. For example, your industry may have a site or company which are deemed the authority of your industry. For SEO this could be www.moz.com so having your content featured on this site would place your content in front of a huge chunk of your target audience.
A very similar tactic is using ‘influential people’ within your industry on social media to either endorse or share your content. You then place your content again in front of your target audience whilst also gaining an ‘authority’ as it’s been endorsed by an extremely influential figure within your industry.
As you can see from the image above Rand Fishkin has 169,000 followers on twitter so for the SEO industry, if he shares or endorses your content then a huge amount of your target audience is going to have the opportunity presented to them to view your content, with the added persuasion of an industry guru suggesting that your audience view this content.
Now this is not as simple as I make it sound as above, but with the proper research and the correct approach you can use the techniques I have mentioned above to both create and share fantastic content which will provide you with the ‘natural links’ needed to future proof your link profile and keep the nasty penguin algorithm and manual actions penalties away from your site. This will also allow your business to grow into a trusted and respected member of your industry which can only have a positive effect on both your brand and business as a whole.