You must have heard about this notorious angry bird of the Google search quality team that specifically targets spam in Google search results!
Google keeps on rolling out several new algorithm updates to improve the quality of its search results. First came the panda, then penguin and perhaps there will be more animals to follow…
The truth is…building your online business solely around Google is very risky these days. You never know how your entire web presence might get wiped out by these crazy algo updates overnight ! This is what exactly happened to my photography blog in the last week of April when its organic traffic took a huge plunge from 300 visitors a day to mere 50 visitors a day. Penguin hit my site for poor back-linking profile and the website is still struggling to get back the lost traffic !
Having myself suffered this damage, I will share with you what mistakes I did and some tips on how not to get hit by this crazy arctic bird !!
1. Moderate your links
Part A) Inbound Links
These are the links from other websites pointing to your website. Backlinks are still the backbone of SEO industry, but what matters is the quality NOT the quantity.
The important point here is – a single backlink from a reputed and authoritative website in your niche is thousand times worthy than hundreds of backlinks coming from random and irrelevant niches.
Avoid these types of link building campaigns:
Directory/article submission – Abstain from building backlinks with random web and article directories. You can’t control what types of links these editors are approving in the category you have applied for. The presence of even a single spammy/malicious link in your category can seriously damage your website’s reputation and this can invite penguin penalties.
So its better to stay away from link directories rather than risking your website’s reputation just for the sake of an easy backlink.
The only exceptions are top renowned directories including DMOZ and Yahoo! web directory. But unfortunately their approval rates are close to negligible !
So in my opinion, directory submission is a huge waste of time.
Reciprocal Links – This is perhaps the easiest way to build quick backlinks. The approach is – “you link to my site and I will link to your site”
Stay away from this form of link building or get ready to face penguin penalties in future !
Paid links – Some webmasters find it easy to obtain a link of their own desired anchor text in exchange for a few bucks. While this seems to be a win-win situation but the truth is that this type of link building can invite heavy penalty from Google. Remember how Google penalized its own web browser for paid links ?
Healthy and safe approach to build backlinks:
Guest Post – It is the most powerful method of building high quality backlinks to your website. Not only you earn a great backlink but this also does improves your relations with fellow webmasters in your niche.
Again remember : You should only submit your guest posts to popular and authoritative blogs in your niche and NOT to random and low quality blogs outside your niche !
Write great content – If you are writing useful and interesting content on your blog then your blog will have the ability to attract backlinks naturally. Don’t worry about building backlinks…just write great content from your heart !
Part B) Outbound Links
A strict moderation on all your outbound links is equally important as inbound links.
Never ever link to any suspicious/questionable link from your blog post. As a matter of fact, webmasters accepting guest posts are most vulnerable to outbound link quality.
2. Avoid duplicate content
Everyone hates to see duplicate content and so do the search engines like Google. You should avoid any duplicate content with your domain or outside your domain.
Within your domain – avoid archives from being indexed by web crawlers and make sure that your robots.txt file disallows search results from indexing on your site.
Outside your domain – regularly check for duplicate content. Once detected, get rid of all content scrapers/thieves by filing DMCA complaints against them.
3. Avoid keyword stuffing and hidden texts/links
Occurrence of a specific keyword or phrase again and again in an article is called keyword stuffing. The ideal keyword density in an article should be around 2 to 3 percent. Anything above that can raise red flags and is considered as over optimization.
Secondly using texts and links of same colour as the background colour of the page is a purely black hat SEO technique. Unless one is literally a spammer no one really cares about using such a clever method to get high SERPs for a specific keyword. The good news is…Penguin updates have crushed these black hat and unethical optimization techniques!
4. Avoid bombing your site with too many advertisements
Everyone likes to make money on the internet. But that doesn’t mean to compromise your main content just for the sake of a few cents or dollars ! Make your website an enjoyable place for your visitors, focus primarily on user interaction with your site and make them stay longer happily 🙂
If you primarily focus on creating great content then money will start flowing in naturally !
If there are too many ads on your website especially above the fold (often in an annoying way) then get ready to face the penguin penalty.
5. Closely follow all webmasters’ quality guidelines
Last but not the least is to stay updated with all the quality guidelines given by Google. Adhere to these quality guidelines and your blog will be in a healthy relation with Google search team! Good luck 😉