In the wake of the Google Penguin update, link building has gotten a lot harder for many SEOs. You definitely want to be more careful about the types and quality of websites linking to your site, the use of anchor text in your links, and what form of links those are.
Some people are in fear to actively seek links after the fallout from blog network de-indexing and Penguin or have bailed on actively building links altogether. Meanwhile, others and are still reassessing their link building strategies going forward or have shifted to a more inbound strategy.
Keep the Faith and Stay Balanced
Good links may be tough to get, but there are some proven tactics to get a lot of them, which doesn’t involve being a popular brand or creating the ever-elusive viral content. It’s really important to stay positive and when adjustments are needed, change your strategy and adapt. Rome wasn’t built or rebuilt in a day and neither is your website’s success.
However, I don’t want to burn the readers of this blog and mislead anyone with this post. Unfortunately, these tips largely apply more to well-known companies, but there may be some opportunities in here even for the little guy.
Below are 5 surefire ways to get an avalanche of Penguin-proof links:
1. Publicly Report Large Earnings, Get Millions of Dollars in Funding, or Get Acquired.
Particularly if its in the billions of dollars (i.e. “Facebook buys online Polaroid maker for $1 billion”). And who doesn’t love the way Dr. Evil says it. People love hearing about money, and a lot of it. While being bought out or merged is a great way to get links, for maximum value, it works better if you keep the website intact.
Also, reporting large revenues and receiving millions in venture capital fundraising will get you attention. Even if you aren’t making billions of dollars, create the appearance that your website is bigger than it is and may well be on its way to getting there, or at least getting some links.
A more simple tip is to heavily promote when you are hiring, even it if is for an intern. People love hearing about job opportunities since after all it is largely about money.
2. Be an Early Adopter and Leader in a New Social Network.
Recently Cadbury, best know for their chocolate eggs, passed 1,000,000 Google+ “circlers”. This is an impressive accomplishment, especially when it was done in under a year. Clearly the company has made it a point to heavily promote their Google+ page and it has paid dividends in terms of exposure and building up their brand.
While I never knew chocolate could be so interesting, they are clearly doing something right, and Cadbury received a lot of media attention and many links as a result.
When new social networks emerge that fit with company goals and customers, jump in and create an environment that attracts users. They can be a great platform from which to attract customers. Social networks can also be a great way to target certain demographics. For example, over 80% of Pinterest users are women.
3. Do Something Humorous and Interesting That Involves a Public Figure.
People like to read about people and companies they know about and are interested in. When one SEO got SEOMoz, with its well-known CEO Rand Fishkin, a disciple of inbound marketing, to rank for “snuggie dog bed”, it generated a ton of buzz. Their post about their experience had the added bonus of reflecting poorly upon the almighty Google.
4. Receive Press About Dubious Business Practices.
As the old adage says, “there is no such thing as bad publicity.” This is partially true. You definitely don’t want negative attention or poor business practices to harm a brand. But there are practices, even if they are just honest mistakes or being misguided, that can benefit a company’s link profile in the long run.
A recent example was when Home Depot sent out a letter to over 2,000 of their service providers requesting links to their site with recommended anchor text. This letter was publicly released. Home Depot subsequently attempted to correct the “errors” in the letter and apologized. While this does reflect a bit negatively on the brand, Home Depot did also receive some benefit from this press. Just be sure you have a contact inside Google.
5. Suffer Great Misfortune But Recover (Preferably Quickly)
Many people enjoy reading about the troubles of others. Perhaps it is fascinating but if there’s no happy ending, it can be a downer. We all love a good comeback story. It can be very inspiring, educational, and uplifting. In a more benign example, Wil Reynolds’ SEO/SEM Company SEER Interactive recently was banned from Google, as it did not rank in Google for its own company name.
SEER received a lot of attention when word got out about this. Fortunately, for them, the ban only lasted 12 hours. Wil’s post “7 lessons I learned while being banned in Google for 12 hours“ became very popular and generated a lot of attention and links for the company. He had a great story to tell that people could learn from. It is a great example of how to turn a negative into a positive.
The Penguin update puts a greater emphasis on creativity and innovation on the Web. In the long run, this is a good thing. There are still plenty of opportunities to get quality links out there. It may just take more time, effort, energy, and creativity to get them.