Google Penguin still seems to be a big obstacle for affiliates. Of course, the Google Penguin update of early 2011 really crushed many affiliates, especially those who solely relied on traffic and links from the so-called “content farms” like huge article directories. Just when all seemed to be safe, Google unleashed their latest update for 2012 in the form of a penguin!
The 2012 Google Penguin update, which is still rolling out these days, has the assignment of reducing web spam by targeting websites that are using what seems to be blackhat (back)link strategies to manipulate the search results, or sites that developed an overly unnatural link profile.
The question is still out as to whether Google Penguin has actually improved the search results for users at all – many big SEO voices (and the “grassroots” Google users) have enough of anecdotal proof to suggest that sites using many spammy links are actually ranking much higher now than they were before the Google Penguin update. It also seems that many legitimate sites, which have worked very hard to build their high rankings over the years, have suffered very badly on Penguin. Another well-known complaint about the Google’s Penguin update is that it resulted in e-commerce shopping sites ranking ridiculous high for massive numbers of different search terms.
However, this discussion is neither here nor there – the algorithm update has already occurred, and the effects must now be positively dealt with by us, the humble affiliates. In this article, we are going to look at how affiliate sites can overcome the Google’s Penguin update using ethical and reliable link building techniques and traffic generation methods.
THE 2013 DO’S AND DON’TS OF SEO FOR AFFILIATES
What you really need to understand is that Google Penguin is not saying that you should stop building links! Instead, they are encouraging all webmasters (and therefore also affiliates) to focus on the quality of their sites’ content before any link building activities.
The most important thing you can do to “beat” the Google’s Penguin update is to make sure that your website is jam-packed with unique and quality content. You will also need to be adding more content on an consistent and ongoing basis. It seems unlikely that Google will ever penalize a site for having too much content, provided it delivers good value to readers.
If you are looking for a way to overcome Penguin then create your content using the following guidelines:
- Do not use any “filler” content – this is best examplained as writing articles that have a good amount of words, but no real meaning or value at all. Compare it to talking without saying anything just to make sounds. Filler content might read well and it looks great, but it will not leave a good impression on your readers (and could have a adverse effects like a much high bounce rate). Most often, this type of content is outsourced and always highly targeted to long-tail keywords. Make sure that all of the articles or blog posts you publish actually offers something useful to your readers, rather than writing words for the sake of words.
- Avoiding spun content must be something you are always aware of, at least on your main site. Although spun content does also have its uses on Web 2.0 websites, low ranking article directories, etc., you should really avoid it on your main website. It simply is not as good as creating unique articles from hand, even if you are a spinning pro and are able to create perfectly readable articles using a random spinning tool, at the end of the day you are not delivering any marginal quality or value for your readers by adding multiple spun articles to your site.
- Above anything else, when you are creating content, ask yourself if you would actually subscribe to your site because you want to know more, or whether it has the ability to actually teach someone something. If the answer would be no, you really need to increase the quality of your content immediately.
Now that you have good insights in the importance of quality content for beating the infamous Google Penguin update, what can you do to improve your link building?
This following link building techniques will give you the greatest advantage in the current search engine rankings game:
[alert type=”green”]Optimizing your internal links. Okay, this is not strictly “linking” per se, as this is actually on-site. However, really pimping up your internal linking structure will strengthen your site, yielding both for more traffic and a higher search engine rank. You should always be linking together relevant and related pages on your site, your newest pages and posts to the older ones, and vice versa. This will help PageRank to diffuse naturally through out your whole site and helps to index newer posts faster. Do not make the mistake of linking back only to your homepage or affiliate pre-sell pages.[/alert]
[alert type=”green”]Publish Guest posts regularly. Guest posting on blogs was probably the most effective link building method of 2012. Because virtually every single niche has a stable of very popular blogs, this is a big (and often untapped) source of very powerful links. Reaching out to other bloggers in your niche and offering them quality and free content in exchange for some anchor text links back to your own site is now one of the most effective SEO methods. One do-follow backlink from a reputable high PR blog is probably worth more then hundreds, if not thousands of context irrelevant links from online article directories. The referral traffic elements of guest posts are also pretty impressive, especially if you also add a good call-to-action into your posts. The secret here is to continuously write outstanding blog posts that really enhance the website you are writing for.[/alert]
[alert type=”green”]Creating link bait. This can loosely be explained as any content that naturally attracts links from other online and offline sources over time (as opposed to actively seeking links for a site or piece of content). Central to the very mysterious art of link baiting, is creating extremely informative, entertaining or engaging content that people love to share with others in their network. Social networking, such as Facebook and Twitter always plays a huge role in propagating link bait, as do social bookmarking websites such as Twitter and Reddit. Although there are no real hard and fast methods for making link bait, and it can be a bit of a shot in the dark at times if you are trying to build links this way, you can increase your opportunities better by researching what people in your niche are looking for. Then it is just a case of fulfilling this desire with your awesome content (it could be something like an article, infographic, video or even a podcast) and then promoting them via social bookmarking and social (sharing) networks.[/alert]
Although the Google’s Penguin update has hurt many affiliates in every niche, it is not an insurmountable problem. What you always need to remember is that Google Penguin was released to combat spam, especially from those sites which are trying to artificially manipulate the Google’s search results using blackhat linking techniques.
But if you fully focused on creating quality content first (as well as building more “discerning” links using techniques such as guest posting) then you may find yourself in a far better position to counter the Google Penguin update. Not only that, but you are also safeguarding yourself from future massive algorithm changes, as Google is looking for more ways to continue rewarding quality over quantity.