Imagine waking up one day and finding out that Donald Trump is your president. There are three immediate choices you can make; you can file an immigrant application and move to a country like Canada, you can wait for the coming 4 or 5 years to cast your vote again and make a difference or better yet, you can decide not to accept this negative development and organize protests for a change of government immediately. As always, the best option is to do something meaningful so that things can change in your favor as quickly as possible.
Google has just announced an update on the Penguin Penalty and the algorithm is almost upon us. Google’s Gary Ilyes said that the next Penguin update is in the ‘foreseeable future’, adding “I hope” by the end of the year, and it will be the real-time version of the algorithm.”
It is expected that many websites will lose their ranking in search engines (those who were outranking their competitors by using spammy link tactics). At one end, it’s great because with this real time penguin update, there will be less to no chances for people to rank in search engine who use spammy link tactics to rank for money making key phrases. But, in the real world, most small businesses hire agencies to perform link building for their websites and in most cases they have no idea how these agencies are building links for them.
Because of this negligence, small businesses face big losses and even run out of business.
Real Time Penguin Update
Real-time means that the identifying and penalizing process will continue from time to time and sites will be charged and set free on a continuous basis. Real time penguin update is great because if businesses will keep a good eye on their rankings, they can accurately guess in days and weeks about the kind of links their agencies are building for their business website.
But, what if the damage has been done?
If it happens due to the latest penguin update, it’s the best time as the penguin is real time which means every right step will have an almost immediate result unlike last time where you had to wait for the next update that could take anywhere between a couple of months to a year or even more.
Here are a few things you can do to turn things in your favor as quickly as possible:
- Link Profile Audit
The worst time to conduct a link audit is when you ‘really have to’. Don’t wait for the Penguin update to wipe out your rankings in the SERPS and move you back a bunch of months. The best time for link audit is always right now. Any digital marketing plan is going to be incomplete without a comprehensive link audit. Link building is still the best way to build traffic to your site and boost your rankings. Google wouldn’t be spending so much time sorting backlinks and doing audits if link building wasn’t a big deal.
- Link Removal campaign for spammy links
When a site is hit by Penguin there is no sugar coating it. Anything under suspicion has to be removed if further progress needs to be made. Link removal has to be done and without link removal, Google will catch you and penalize you for misusing the SERPs for your means. Decide on your inbound marketing strategy before you begin acquiring and building links. Even better, contact an agency who does it for you and keeps your link history clean from day 1.
- Disavow File
In general, any link from your site is considered as one vote for the credibility of your site. PageRank by Google is the ranking of a page by Google to determine it’s position on a search engine. In this regard, any incoming links for a certain site may change Google’s opinion about your website. That is why it is recommended to clear any spammy and untrusted links from your site.
In the cases that you have done whatever you could to remove any spammy links from your site, and still there is some remainder, you can disavow the remaining links. In other words, you are asking Google to not pay attention to certain links when evaluating your site.
This is a two-step process. First you download a copy of all the links you want to disavow, and make a file of these links. Next, you upload the file to Google. If you have trouble, you can take help from any agency that can disavow links for you.
- Identification of link worthy content pieces (create some if not already available)
Earning links through branded content is a big challenge faced by SEOs because many webmasters won’t associate to every content on the web. They have some standards that determine if they want to link to a certain type of content on the interwebs.
However, your focus shouldn’t be on the acquisition of these links. You should focus on linking to content that makes a difference in your industry. This focus will make your link acquisition and promotion of content easier. Content will be the king at the end of the day, so create excellent content which is link-worthy. It is the value that you give to your customer which will make him link people to your content.
People share your content when you are relevant, and that is when you can be attributed for entertainment, and for marketing.
- Build quality links that point back to the website
Mostly after every Penguin update, people ask their SEO’s what backlinks to create to get quality returns on their site. In these hard times, many experts give advice on how to get good backlinks, but they just end up confusing the already scared clients.
There are some links that will end up hurting your reputation, so it is better you trust no one and keep a clear head. Even if someone found the key to ranking first on Google, why would they tell you?
You need to make those links so that relevant audience follows your site. Forbes won’t ask for your link so stop imagining that will happen unless you have something really good to offer.
Guest Blogging (if the website is high quality and relevant to your business… it still works)
Guest blogging is the easiest way to get all that relevant traffic. It works easily: You offer expertise to a website in a niche that your site works in. The guest post that goes up on any popular site will get a link or two back to your site and will boost your rankings. It is advisable not to blindly follow sites that have a ‘write for us’ page. Find sites that operate without this page and have a good following. Relevant niche sites are best. When you write for a site, make sure you write more than once so people know that it is not just for building links.
Outreach to likeminded people for link request
If a link is easy to get, it is not a natural link. Getting links is not easy. If you know influential people in your niche, reach out to them to get links. Many of you must have spent hours researching good people who are doing the same work as you. So you track down the Webmaster information and make a powerful link pitch. You email them the pitch and then? Wait for months but get no response.
Take a different approach this time. Try channeling the pitch so it is addressed directly to one person and talks to them. Mass emails are past. Try interacting with like-minded people WEEKS before you send them a link request.
Send them your articles and opinion pieces that received accolades so that there is a trusted relationship between you two. It can even be a like-minded person you met at a book club! Bonding over the same hobbies have earned people links in professional life. Penguin penalty is all about eradicating wrong practices, and some of it should be applied to general life too.
Partnerships and Certification Links
This is a good advertising and marketing strategy. Partner with professionals and agents who work around the same niche and help each other build powerful and healthy links. You can try getting a Google partner, which is a company trained by Google in trusted Adwords usage. Look for the Google partner badge that shows they’ve earned it. The links you can get from these places and people will benefit your SEO and rankings more than you can think!
Broken Link Building
As a link-building tactic, broken link building is very effective. It is also a white hat tactic so you know that it is real. You will succeed when you replace good and healthy content with lost or abandoned content that still redirects to you via webmasters.
According to Moz:
“This is the type of strategy that marries so many of the competing interests our industry: content vs. links, link earning vs. link building, inbound vs. outbound, etc.”
Moz has a step-by-step guide on broken link building that you can benefit from.
Turn Mentions into links
This is also a fair and white hat link managing trick that can get you good numbers when Penguin is upon you. If your website is popular in its field and people talk about it, you can execute this advanced strategy to build a ton of links and that too very quickly.
This method involves finding unlinked mentions about your site and then turning them into powerful links. Google search and Google alerts will do that for you by notifying you when you are mentioned somewhere. Find that link and insert a link about you in there.
One pro tip from Evan Pryce of Suso Digital:
“Understand that in the search results, there’ll also be pages that DO link to your site or internal page. To ensure that you don’t waste your time manually opening and checking out ALL pages, you can right click on the search result itself and click on ‘view source’ or equivalent in your browser and do a quick find (ctrl + f) for your brand/keyword. If it’s already linked, close the page source down and move on to the next SERP result.”
Reverse Image search to build links
When you pay attention to content for all those links, you should know that images are also up on that content list. Especially for bloggers, images can be a goldmine that can get them so many links. One good tip for this is to add links to the main body of the article. When you add an image on a guest post, add an image from your own site and associate a link to it. Reverse image search is a very fair method in which you approach sites that use your copyright owned images and ask those sites to get you a link. If you published lots of photos, you are sitting on a treasure of potential links.
These are some of the methods to elevate your image in the eyes of a Google crawler. There are more but the above are a few to start with. Recovering from a Penguin Penalty is still a potential retreat, but if you build a reputation from the beginning, you can fare well.
Changing your business to a new domain is not really an ideal choice as this can hurt your business branding, waiting for the magic to happen and praying every night before bed never works either! So you have to implement the above-mentioned tactics to change things in your favor.
Obviously, you should cast your vote wisely so that no crazy man becomes your president. But even if things get worse, waiting for the next 4 to 5 years is not the solution. Try to do things that can prevent wrongful situations from the beginning. Take action now!
The same applies to your website. By taking action right now through the above-mentioned tactics you can completely sidetrack Google’s live penguin penalties. Like anything else in life, preplanning, and preemptive measures are better than cure. This is the same reason why you should use your right to vote wisely because it has the power to make a difference. Use your SEO strategy fairly too, because the future of your business depends on it.