Google sure loves its zoo animals. Last year, Panda caught a lot of attention, seeking to modify rankings and rid search engines of horrible content domains and URLs. It also went after duplicate content issues. It mainly focused on content.
This year, webmasters were paid a visit by the Penguin update. Like the Panda, the Penguin update sought to modify search rankings. This time, Google wanted to clean the Web of bad link building practices. The update targeted questionable linking practices seemingly focused on particular keywords.
Some rankings were lost and webmasters frustrated. Others learned from the experience. What can you learn from the update?
It’s easy to say and hard to do. Link building helps with business traction. But Google doesn’t want webmasters abusing the process. A link is seen as a positive vote from other sites. Incoming ‘votes’ alert Google of the importance of a site. Of course every brand wants an infinite number of incoming links. However, the process needs to be natural rather than automated. To attract a natural link, a web page must be helpful and informative, prompting others to want to share it.
This may disturb some owners. Linkable content is not always going to be focused on a brand’s services and products. It’s more likely that linkable content is focused on the reader, helping them in some way improve their present state through information. Sure, the notion of viral content exists. There is no exact recipe for knowing when a piece of content will go viral. It’s more about analyzing the target market and making a good guess on what is valued and coveted.
No Abused Anchor Text
What words or phrases are used to link to your site? You probably want them to be your most competitive keywords, the ones you care the most about. It’s understood. However, Google is watching you. It wants to see a natural link profile. It’s not likely that every outside entity will decide to link to your site with the same exact word or phrase, especially if it is a competitive one, especially if it seems like it’s a word or phrase a brand is really trying to rank for on its own pages and domain. In short, don’t abuse anchor text. Be natural.