Google’s Panda algorithm update has nearly obliterated countless sites, especially those based on article marketing and those containing weak content. It has really made an effort to penalize sites with duplicate, scraped and spammy content. While the update has been devastating to an incredible number of businesses, its potential lies in the evolution of organic search quality. This will improve the capabilities of organic search as a marketing platform while sandboxing sites that attempt to game search algorithm vulnerabilities.
The update has left many wondering why some sites were penalized and others were promoted. One criteria of the new algorithm is trust. Google is determining a site’s trustworthiness in part by human analysis. The analysts used specific questions regarding their comfort level with the site overall. Sites that are stuffed with excessive ads, especially above the fold, did not rate well on the trust issue. Other criteria include content value and link quality.
The only real solution for SEOs is to continue to rely on the same traditional link building methods that have always brought unique, targeted traffic to a site. Implementing the following tactics is a tried-and-true way to improve a site’s position in search results.
Networking. Compile a list of all of your business contacts. Most of these businesses have sites. Reach out and ask your associates to mention your site somewhere on their site, so you can do the same for them. Establish blog partnerships with a few very relevant sites, not with hundreds of marginally relevant ones. The important thing here is to be able to convey your own enthusiasm for your project. Enthusiasm is contagious.
Guest blogging is a great way to drive traffic to your site. To find sites in your industry that accept guest bloggers, just Google an industry-relevant keyword and “write for us.” This will lead you to the top sites that are actively posting fresh content into the blogosphere. Each guest post you can get published will get you a relevant backlink or two. If you can create highly valuable, insightful content, then you may be able to get published on a very high-ranking, high-traffic site. This will provide deeper link authority and plenty of traffic.
Blog commenting. Although this method seems to have become overrun with spammers, it can still be a very valuable backlinking method when used properly. Site owners and visitors will appreciate your comments when they are relevant and provide value to the conversation. It’s important to post your comments on sites with dofollow links. These sites exist, although they can be a bit elusive.
Pro Bono Work. If you’ve done some volunteer or charity work, or used your skills to assist an associate with a tough problem or project, then you can simply ask them to return the favor by adding a text link to your blog or website from theirs.
Host or sponsor a charity event. Send out a press release. The bigger and more established the organization or event, the more links you can expect. The great thing about these kinds of links is that they provide substantial traffic while promoting a trustworthy, respectable image of your business.
Infographics are not dead. Their creation requires resources in the form of money, time, content, data, and a competent designer. If you have the resources, they can be a very useful way to get your audience to share your content with others. Be sure to include an embed code with your infographic and a relevant keyword link to your site. Then go and post it on social media sites.
Help A Reporter. Many reporters are overworked and under quota. They are killing themselves trying to put together several articles each week, and could use some help from an industry expert such as yourself to provide them with an interesting story. You can search the listings at helpareporter.com for industry-specific requests.
Help a webmaster fix his/her site. When you’ve found a good link target site, download ScreamingFrog and do an audit of the site. If you find a broken page or outdated resource, contact the owner and let him know. Quite often this will get you a backlink as a reward, or will give you the opportunity to replace the old content with some new fresh content provided by you.
These are still the most effective methods for generating high-quality, honest backlinks. While implementing all of them can take time, they present the least amount of risk during this uncertain post-Panda era. Faithfully following the most commonly accepted best practices of SEO will get your site to where you want it in the SERPs, if you are persistent and proactive. Don’t give Google any reason to drop your site in the results or remove it entirely by resorting to questionable methods.