Penguin 2.0: Organic Link Builders Have No Worries

“Penguins are so sensitive/To My Needs”

If you’re a Lyle Lovett fan, you probably know what I’m talking about. If you’re not, this should explain my otherwise unusual outburst. It’s surprisingly appropriate to this week’s Penguin update – the fourth major update (arguably the 25th overall) of the major Google algorithm that’s targeting spammy links. This update has mainly affected Adult and gambling sites, or websites that have blatantly disregarded Matt Cutt’s advice over the years. Although it’s going to affect 2.5% of English sites (which seems like a lot), it actually shouldn’t cause your site any penalties if you’ve been paying attention to current Google Values.

Current Google Values can be explained very simply – the overall confusion often comes from the fact it is constantly evolving, and people sometimes work off antiquated information (ironically, one of the issues Google will no longer value).

What Google Values Now What Google does not value anymore
Quality Content (ie. Something a reader actually needs) Links! Links everywhere!
Natural links placed organically Keyword stuffing
New and relevant content Canned or poorly developed content

Which Hat do You Wear?

Here at DAM, we’ve long championed White Hat techniques: an often-used term to describe ethical, Google friendly, above-board methods of achieving success in Search Engine Optimization. True, you once could often achieve quicker and seemingly better results through ‘dark-art’ tactics, such as buying links or using hidden text, but that was a gamble that no longer pays off. Often, sites that have incorporated questionable techniques are penalized by the constantly improving search algorithms, either by dumping their listing in search results or lessening their search ranks.

What will likely happen when you use questionable tactics

Last year, we were approached by a small business owner who had spent $10,000 on an agency that promised immediate results. It sounded so great that he didn’t think to ask the agency which methods they followed: his explanation was “They were in the top results from Google, so they have to know what they’re doing”.

Unfortunately, his site was penalized heavily by Google near the end of the engagement, and the endeavour actually cost the business owner almost three times that amount. Instead of spending $10k on promotions, he ended up spending twice his budget trying to get back on track, and also lost a significant amount of business due to the Google penalization. This is sad, but not surprising or unusual for someone who uses such techniques: Especially this week.

Why you shouldn’t have to worry

Our link-building techniques are organic in nature. Instead of stuffing your site with links and keywords, we take a more logical approach to your site’s success. The easiest way to do this is to think like a consumer. Ask yourself: what do site visitors want? Where do they want it? What do they need it for? As it stands, as long as you stay within Google’s written webmaster guidelines, you probably won’t go wrong. As for content, follow a simple rule, provided it’s pertinent, useful and of good quality, it’s good. Promote it, get others linking to it, rinse and repeat and continue building strong search rankings.

Bria Jordan

Bria Jordan is a Toronto-based Search Engine Optimization and Social Media Consultant. A published writer for the last 14 years, she began her career as a music journalist before moving into marketing and communications. She has recently written a series about Google Plus. Follow Bria on twitter @InfiniteSass.

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