Link Building Post Penguin

Link Building Post Penguin

By Sadie on

Google Pneguin

If your site is in a competitive industry then it is very difficult to rely on good content gaining links, therefore link building is still necessary for some SEO campaigns.

Clients do not want to invest a lot of money in great link worthy content on the hopes that it will generate a few links, for results and return on investment, link building is still very much a large part of SEO campaigns.

Google Penguin

The Google Penguin update was a penalty on over optimisation, it is still unclear exactly what elements contribute to the Penguin update but we do know that many sites with a large proportion of links with keyword rich anchor text have been affected.Google released another update to Penguin – Penguin 1.1, this weekend and this has caused more UK websites to be affected so what can you do?

Keyword rich anchor text was a technique that implied relevance to Google as to where the link was going and the context of the site. This technique was effective and in some cases over used. By over using this technique it left a very clear footprint to Google and it would not be surprising if they have updated their algorithm to lower the relevance of this factor.

This has been widely criticised as a ‘brand’ update as big brands were not hit in the same way as their link portfolio had a lot of links with the brand as the anchor text. This meant the little companies that offer better prices and a similar/the same product or service find it harder to compete against more established brands.

Exact match domains have had a varied response, some doing very well, others dropping. With an exact match domain some keyword rich links will look to Google as being descriptive of the website or brand and therefore may be slipping through the net. However there is some thought that exact match domains that aren’t building themselves up as a brand but only used for dominance in the search engines don’t have the quality content to justify the position and are being dropped.

Since the Google Penguin update, SEO’s have to be much more careful not to be seen to be manipulating the search engines. This means avoiding certain footprints and patterns and avoiding common techniques, it means more than ever you need to get Creative SEO.

Link Building Post Penguin

As mentioned above, many clients are not prepared to create amazing content and strategies that may or may not get links. Money is tight and business owners need results quickly so in many verticals and industries link building is needed to get results.

But how do you avoid getting penalised by Google?

Google is looking out for particular signals, they are cracking down on content networks and some directory networks that are only used to build links.

Natural links can come from anywhere, they could be a mixture of relevant, non relevant, followed, no followed and various page ranks.

Top Tips on Building Links Post Penguin


  • Don’t Spam – Spammy comments on blogs and forums with links are not appropriate hold little value.
  • Don’t use link networks- Google are cracking down on these so avoid
  • Mix up your anchor text – this is a good opportunity to link build for your brand or long tail keywords, even some page or product specific anchor texts should diversify your link portfolio
  • Mix up your destination pages – Don’t just link to your home page, look at landing pages, product pages or even just blog pages if the content is relevant
  • Build social signals- Social signals act as recommendations in the same way that links do it is naive to think the Google ignores these so work on your social media campaign as part of your overall SEO Strategy
  • Create good content – Good content, information and link bait will acquire links naturally, there are no guarantees but these are the most valuable links you can get

Of course links are only a small part of your SEO campaign and we feel there are other aspects to the Google algorithm updates that are also being triggered by Penguin but we will keep you updated.

About Sadie

Sadie is the head of online marketing and SEO. She likes the colour purple & crisps (especially monster munch).

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Comments (2)
  1. Gareth Mailer

    Interesting take on exact match domains, seen similar myself i.e. some steady, some down. On the link building front, link prospecting has to hit the agenda for most in-house SEO campaigns…

    For example, rather than “relying” on the traditional link baiting models i.e. effectively hoping people will link to you, go out there and be more proactive, actively incentivise people to link to you by exchanging free services. Alternatively, utilise advanced search operators like “inurl:” to hunt down and source “links” pages in your niche, conversion rate will be low (ideally you want to avoid reciprocation), but do this on scale and you will get results.

    Additionally, go about submitting testimonials here, there and everywhere to service providers (just make sure you request a link). << people love it when you say nice things about them…

  2. Sadie

    Hi Gareth

    Thanks for taking the time to write such a detailed comment…

    We are still researching the exact Match domain stuff at the moment along with other signals to try to get a better understanding of the recent algorithm updates including Penguin.

    We agree on the link building – many ‘white hat’ SEO’s will tell you good content will create links, which is true to some extent but most websites and brands need a bit of help, this is why we almost always include seeding or outreach with link building to give content that head start.

    We have heard a lot about how links are dead however I really believe they are just changing and in some ways for the better. I still see sites doing well post penguin, even with very very spammy links (porn, gambling etc) but they are not the only links which may be why the sites have not suffered.

    Googles recent algorithms are still a work in progress as some verticals are not showing good results so I think we can expect to see more updates as they address this.

    My biggest issue with Penguin is the potential for Negative SEO, this and Google bombing has been around a while, but now it seems easier to do.

    Thanks for the tip on testimonials I’m sure our readers will love this as it is a good way to get links themselves instead of relying on PR or SEO companies.