In April of 2012, Google achieved the impossible. They made the word “Penguin” scary. See, you read that word and you shuddered, ever so briefly. If you had read “penguin” in March, you would have smiled and imagined an awkward, flightless bird tripping over snow, maybe even trying to dance. Now you just picture your website plummeting through the search engine rankings pages (SERP)s.

But that’s not how it has to be. In fact, it may be hard to believe, but fear of Penguin is kind of a “the sky is falling” type of hysteria. The truth is, Google’s Penguin algorithm update is not penalizing any methods that really benefitted you anyway. What it does do is strive to get rid of a lot of the spam that is cluttering up the internet.

Still, with all of the companies out there looking to make a buck any way possible, it can be difficult to know which Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tactics are good and what will hurt rather than help. Well here are three steps you can take to implement a penguin-friendly link building campaign.

Step 1. Keep it Relevant

Relevancy is first and foremost. If you skip this step, you might as well just ignore this whole post. If your links are placed on random sites, they are potentially harmful. Both the website and content that each link is attached to should be relevant to your website. Google is looking to provide users with a great experience which means they want to promote sites that will be useful to searchers. For this reason, placing your site on sites that make sense will make a world of difference.

Your best bet is to view link-building from your target audience’s eyes. This is how Google tries to view it. Every link that you place should make sense. If it is a reference link, it should be on a site that has authority to recommend you. If an automotive website is promoting your online cupcake business, that does not hold much value.

If you are writing guest posts, you should make sure that both the sites you are posting on and the content you are producing are relevant to your website. The link should make sense in the article and the article should make sense on the page. You want to add quality to the site you are posting on. If it’s a cat blog, their readers aren’t going to want to read about construction companies.
By making your links relevant to the users, you are not only appealing to Google, but your SEO is doubling as marketing. Randomly placing links was always a hopeful shot in the dark that people would find your site. By targeting people who are actually interested in your site, you are making it more likely that Google will help them find you.

Step 2. Optimize Your Anchor Text

Once you find good homes for your links, you have to think about those links as more than a backlink number. Really analyze how useful that link will be. By ensuring that it is on a quality site and is relevant to your industry, you have already made it more valuable. The next step is to focus on the link itself.

Make sure that the anchor text for your links are not just unsightly URLs or a vague “click here.” Google’s bots record what the anchor text for all your links. This means a couple of things.

The first step is to make sure that you’re using your target keywords as your anchor text. It makes sense that your links would be relevant to your content, which will be relevant to your keywords. So make the most out of each link by making the anchor text a keyword you are trying to rank for.

The second step is to ensure a wide variety of anchor text. Google is looking for natural links. It’s not very natural for every link to have the exact same anchor text. That means that you are twisting your words to make that exact phrase fit into context every time. Also, your website probably focuses on more than just one very specific word or phrase.

Making sure that your link profile boasts a variety of keywords as anchor text will be much more beneficial to you and appear more natural to Google.

 

Step 3. Link to Your Content

You have made sure that your links are on good sites. That they are natural and effective. That they properly link back to your website. Now it’s time to make sure you’re deep linking as well.

It may be tempting to link to your home page and call it good, but that is not always the best option. If your link is as specific as it should be, it probably references information or services that you provide. This information is mostly not on your home page. Home Pages are important; they draw people in and help establish your identity. But they’re not notorious for having a ton of content. Linking straight to your content will be more helpful to people, and be deemed as more relevant by Google.

And finally the most important thing to remember when building links is that the number of links doesn’t matter. Poor quality links actually count negatively against you, so worrying about getting twenty links a week is only going to move you backwards.

Google is constantly updating their algorithm to be more and more refined at detecting unnatural link placement. Do yourself a favor and don’t wait for the next set of penalties to come out to start placing natural, Penguin-Friendly links. Focus on quality and remember that instead of counting your links, you should be making your links count.

[author] [author_info]Author Bio: Jeriann Watkins is a recent graduate of Concordia University-Portland, majoring in English and Procrastination. She enjoys adventures, especially the kind involving books or food. She enjoys writing about a variety of subjects and loves to put a creative spin on even the most technical content.[/author_info] [/author]