The 3 Fundamental Post-Penguin Link Building Principles
The other week, Google released their second major penguin update; Google Penguin 2.0.
Just like the first update, it was supposed to impact about 1% of search results. The forums and blogs of SEOs said something very different.
Just like penguin 1.0; this update has a major impact on most SEOs websites. SEO is no longer one of my primary marketing strategies. I’m more involved in paid traffic now.
However, throughout all of these updates my sites have never been affected or taken a hit. It’s all because of a few link building principles I follow. If you follow these principles, your site will not be hit and you will be able to rely on SEO for months or years to come.
Linking Principle 1: Frequency
Site’s that build backlinks every other day or every other week do not look natural. If you setup a site & blast 1000 links at it; it may well reach page 1 of Google the very next week. But if you stop building links right there; Google will see that its unnatural link building and may even penalize your site.
If you built 1000 links/week every Sunday, it would look unnatural. If you built 142 links/day, it would look natural. The frequency or rate at which you build links is critical.
Rule number 1: never abruptly stop building links. Once you start building links, you can never really stop or your rankings will eventually fall. However more importantly and an easier rule to stick to: never abruptly stop building links.
You have to start slowly and work your way up to more and more links per day & week. Starting at as little as 5-10 links/day, then increasing up to 100+/day (you really don’t need to build more than 100 links/day in any niche).
When you get up to a high rate of link building; you must slowly decrease it if you want to stop building links. After a year or three of link building and you’ve built up a powerful authority site; its rankings should stay safe for a very long time; with or without new link building.
So if you are going to stop building links once you’ve attained all the rankings you desire, slowly decrease the number of links per day, 100/day down to 80/day, down to 60/day and so on until you’re at none. The cool thing is most sites will automatically get new links every now and then so the linking never really stops. A good link progression/plan to follow is:
- Monday: 10 Web2.0s
- Tuesday: 10 Articles + 10 PDF (Save each article as PDF/embed link and upload to document sharing sites)
- Wednesday: 20 Wikis
- Thursday: 20 Relevant Blog Comments
- Friday: 20 Social Bookmarks
- Saturday: 10 Web2.0s
- Sunday: Bookmarks + 2.0 profiles to all of the other backlinks. Best to use software like Senuke XCR or Ultimate Demon to do this. (not worth doing manually with manual content)
If you follow that plan, you will keep your link profile looking natural and healthy. If you add 2-5 high PR links per week it will balance out the profile and sky-rocket rankings.
Linking Principle 2: Anchor Text
This is the second most important link building principle. If you do this one wrong, you will get penalized every time; period. Ever since the Google Penguin update, Google has been watching anchor text like a hawk. Your anchor text is the text you use to link to a website.
In SEO, we use our target keywords as anchor text to get the biggest boost for them. If however, we use an unnatural percentage of exact keyword anchor text (i.e. the exact keyword we want to rank for); the hammer will come down on us. Think about it… When you link to a website normally, or you see people reference websites on popular blogs, what words do they use to link to sites & pages?
- Click here, link, website, this page, site
- Naked URL i.e. http://domain.com/the-page-url/
- Brand name i.e. Work With David Wood
- Relevant anchor text (if our keyword is ‘google penguin 2.0’, and we have a great blog post, other people in the SEO niche might link to the page using anchor text like ‘seo article, article on penguin, penguin 2.0 guide, penguin 2.0 info’. 99% of people are not going to use ‘google penguin 2.0’ as the exact anchor text)
So clearly, if we used ‘google penguin 2.0’ as the anchor text in 30, 40 or 50%+ of the time in our backlinks; Google will KNOW with absolute certainty that we are building those backlinks ourselves.
Of course, miraculous things happen and very occasionally people might naturally link to a page with 30-40% anchor text. So Google is very careful not to penalize sites too easily with a high amount of exact keyword anchor text. Google owns the keyword tool, they know what keywords people are searching, and what keywords us ‘SEOs’ want to rank for.
Those are what they call ‘exact match keywords’. So in all of your link building, it’s best to stick to this anchor text variation:
- 10% exact match keywords.
- 30% relevant keywords.
- 30% synonyms/niche relevant BROAD keywords.
- 30% miscellaneous keywords/Naked URL/Brand Name
Here’s an example. Let’s say our keyword is ‘dog training’ and we’re going to build 100 backlinks. What I’d do is create a list of 20 keywords.
Exact match 10%:
- dog training
- dog training
Relevant keywords 30%:
- dog training guide
- best dog training
- dog training site
- dog training information
- how to train a dog
- best way to train dogs.
Synonyms/niche relevant BROAD keywords 30%:
- animal training
- pet training
- training dogs
- training a pet
- how to train an animal
Misc/Naked URL/Brand Name keywords 30%:
- click here
- Best dog training
- Best dog training
If you built 100 links with those 20 anchors; your link profile would look VERY natural. No anchor text would be used more than 10% of the time. The key is to MASSIVELY diversify your anchor text profile with the cheap/easy to create backlinks. Then use your high PR/powerful links for exact match keywords ONLY.
After a month of building these kinds of links, I would be a little looser using my exact keywords as anchor text 20-25% of the time. Here’s an example of why this is so important.
In order to rank for a keyword (i.e. dog training), you might need 500 ‘normal backlinks’ with exact match anchor text ‘dog training’. To build 500 exact match anchor text links with conventional backlinks (wikis/2.0s/bookmarks/etc); you’d need to build at least 2500 of them with 2000 with other anchor text links to make the link profile natural.
That’s a ton of work! Instead, you could create 5 high PR backlinks (checkout this guide) that use your exact keyword as anchor text, and 45 conventional backlinks with other anchor text according to the recommendations above. Much easier, and faster!
The 5 high Page Rank backlinks would generate 80% of the results by using your exact keyword as anchor text. While the other 45 conventional ‘easy to build’ links would diversify the link profile. This is the ultimate way to keep your anchor text profile looking natural without needing to build 1000s upon 1000s of links.
Linking Principle 3: Quality
This is common sense to me. Strive to create high quality backlinks at all times. The web is filled with crappy content, try not to add to it. Google is more likely to target sites with lots of low quality content backlinks than high quality content backlinks.
Right now using spun content is fine, Google cannot detect well spun content. Which means you can turn 1 article into thousands of backlinks with an automation tool like Senuke. How much longer this lasts, I don’t know. One thing we know is that Google is getting better and better at identifying spun content.
So submitting badly spun content via software to build your links isn’t a good idea in the long run. This principle is especially important when it comes to building high PR sites and submitting to high PR backlink sources. Create quality links. T
Other than content quality; you have to be careful with link source quality (where your links are coming from). Google assigns a Page Rank to every page and domain on the web. Page Rank is a great indicator of quality in Google’s eyes. If a site is PR0 or N/a Google hates it.
Nearly all sites that are safe with Google and haven’t done any blatant black hat linking will be PR1. So in order to avoid creating low quality backlinks to your site, only post to sites that are PR1 and above.
These 3 simple principles will keep you safe from Google penalties and will only help boost your site’s rankings update after update.
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