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Don’t Feed the Penguin: Link Earning Vs. Link Building

Posted on the 03 July 2013 by Marketingtango @marketingtango

Google Penguin search algorithm updates are near-monthly software changes meant to root out and penalize shady techniques, like sketchy backlink-building, that unnaturally generate web traffic–aka Black Hat SEO.

As integrated marketers know, backlinks are “external” connections from other sites that point back to yours–off-page elements, in SEO vernacular. They contrast with on-page elements also familiar to marketers, such as Page Titles, Meta Tags and optimized copy.

Backlinks from relevant, high quality sites tells Google that your site is probably equally legit. But questionable connections can elicit the Penguin’s wrath, warns MarketingProfs’, Anna Moseva. “If you have a large number of links from untrustworthy sites, Google will penalize you.”  Consequences can range from lower search rankings to banishment from its index (inventory of the entire world’s web pages).

Stay in Google’s Good Graces
“This has been an incredibly active year for Google’s Webspam team,” observes Rand Fishkin, CEO and co-founder of Moz, a fast-growing marketing-software startup. “I think what Google is trying to say is ‘Stop link building and start link earning.’”

Three Effective Link Earning Tips
Provide link-worthy content. Creating relevant, useful information that people want to share, link to, blog about and quote is the quickest path to better backlinks and higher search rankings. “Go for quality,” advises Moseva. “Even a small number of [good] links will work in your favor.”

#2: Participate in active, authentic online communities. Group members will notice when your insights, opinions and content, and naturally want to link to them and share with others.

#3: Explore cross promotion and social sharing. There’s nothing wrong or manipulative with backlinking to customers and strategic partners. Many would argue that it’s just good business. Sharing across social networks and platforms can also boost your link-earning potential.

Google’s Penguin has an insatiable appetite for unscrupulous search practices, and will bite hard if it thinks you’re gaming the system.  If your search rankings have tumbled lately or your link strategy’s getting long in the tooth, contact your web developer and schedule a content review. Might also be a good time to discuss Responsive Web Design.

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