If your website’s organic traffic has been suffering since April 24th, there is a very high chance that the main cause of this was your over-optimized backlink profile. In fact, Penguin has been cracking down on offsite link spam and over-optimization link no other Google update did before.
If you believe that your website was legit and deserves a second chance, there is always a way for redemption! Your main goal at this point should be to get “algorithmically reconsidered” by cleaning up your link profile. Cleaning up means to either remove spammy/over-optimized links or edit the anchor text of links pointing to your site. If you chose to focus mainly on the latter option, you should know that using your brand name is always the safest bet when it comes to anchor text. This tells Google that you are not trying to force it to rank you for a specific keyword.
Here are four tips to help you start an effective link cleanup campaign and be on your way to redemption…
Use Ahrefs or MajesticSEO for Deep Link Analysis
Before taking any action it is important to take a deep look at your site’s inbound link profile and identify the trouble makers. Tools like Ahrefs or MajesticSEO are a MUST for any webmaster (regardless if you have been hit by Penguin or not). Ahrefs can provide you with a detailed overview for your site (or your competitors’ sites!) that includes:
Detailed Inbound Link Analysis: who’s linking to you? Using what anchor text?
Organic Rankings Analysis: which keywords is this website ranking for organically?
PPC Keywords: which keywords is this website bidding on?
Using Ahrefs or MajesticSEO you can clearly see what your inbound link profile looks like in Google’s eyes. You can also export all your inbound links to a CSV file, which should help you make a list of all websites you wish to contact to request a removal or a link edit.
When to Remove and When to Edit Links?
When reviewing the list of sites linking to your site, the first thing to do is to ask yourself: is this website valuable and relevant to my industry? If the answer is yes, then you can leave it as is or you can request that the webmaster changes your link’s anchor text for your brand name instead of one of your “money keywords”. If the answer is no, request a removal directly. It’s really that simple. You don’t want to be linked from irrelevant or spammy sites. If you are still unsure whether a link is worth keeping or not, consider the following points:
Is the website indexed on Google?
Does the website rank for its brand name or for any other keywords organically?
Does the website have good MozRank and Alexa rankings?
Answering the 3 above questions will help you determine whether having a link on that website is providing value or not. If you have answered no to any of the above questions, that would be a sign that the website linking to you is also under some sort of penalty, so it’s better to request a removal of your link.
Balance Your Porfolio By Engaging in Branded Link Building
Contrary to what many people think, link building is not dead. If you have been hit by Penguin, you want to focus on acquiring quality branded links from authority sites in your industry to balance out your link portfolio. The best way to achieve this is through guest posting.
If you don’t know where to find guest posting opportunities within your industry, Google is your best friend. If you were in Finance for instance, you would want to type queries such as:
“Guest Posting” Finance
“Guest Post” Finance
Submit Guest Post Finance
“Write for us” Finance
“Submit Article” Finance
You get the idea? Replace “finance” with your own niche. These queries will help you find a list of websites that accept guest posts within your industry.
Another great way to find guest posting opportunities is to use MyBlogGuest. This online tool puts you in contact with thousands of webmasters that can publish your article on their site. They even have a live gallery where you can submit your article. Webmasters can see a preview of your article in the gallery and send you an offer if they are interested in publishing it on their site. Great tool!
Create More Great Content
This is one thing that you always need to keep doing regardless of which update Google launches. With every new update, whether it be Panda, Penguin or any other seemingly innocent and cute animal, Google’s #1 goal is to reward websites that provide great content. A website with 3-5 pages of content will almost always be more prone to a penalty than one with hundreds of pages of rich, unique & relevant content, especially in competitive niches.
If you have a blog, increase the blogging frequency and make sure you are sharing your content on all your social accounts to increase exposure and traffic. If you are not blogging… where have you been the last 5 years? 🙂 Get started as soon as possible. Check out this post we published a few months ago to make sure you are blogging the right way and avoid the common mistakes.
Remember, the more quality and useful content you create the more natural links you’ll get!