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A Diverse Link Profile – Essential in the Post-Penguin Era

March 12, 2013 · 8 comments

in SEO

Remember the days when SEO used to be so easy? All you had to do was get some directory links, some forum links, write a few guest blogs (the low hanging fruit) and then Poof! – You’re on the first page of Google. And then Panda and Penguin came along and made these link-building efforts practically obsolete right? Well not entirely.

In the wake of these Google updates, SEO’s have put more emphasis on content creation, social media engagement, and community building – you’ve probably seen a lot more info-graphics, more whiteboard videos, and more guest blog inquiries lately.

This strategy isn’t anything new, as quality content has always been the foundation of SEO. But to suggest that the “old link-building” ways don’t work anymore is simply not true. Having a diverse link profile is crucial with SEO and the “low hanging fruit” such as directory links, forum links, and Web 2.0 links still play a role.

Directory Links

These types of links have been overly abused over the years and low quality directories have been identified as “link farms” by Google. Steer clear of any general directories that look like ghost towns and seem to attract a lot of spam. Stick to directories relevant to your niche and that are actually getting traffic. SEOmoz keeps a list of quality directories and constantly filters them, this is a great resource for SEO’s and does require subscribing to their toolset.

Forum Links

Adding links in forum signatures is another tactic that got abused over the years and Google was quick to devalue these links. However, there are thousands of active forum communities out there for all kinds of niches and you can still get quality links and traffic to your site by joining the conversion. As long as the links are natural and add value to the forum users, forum administrators will allow the links and you’ll get SEO value from them. Links within forum signatures hardly provide any SEO value, but can still send traffic to your sites. Just like directories, stick to forums that are relevant to your site and appear to be of high quality. For example, if you produce software that integrates with QuickBooks, then contributing to the Intuit forums adds value to that community.

Web 2.0 Links

WordPress, Tumblr, Squidoo, Hubpages, and Blogger are the more popular members of this list. You’d need to create content for all of these as just adding links provides no value. These links don’t provide much link-juice to your site, but act more to add diversity to your profile from trusted domains. These are also good for building “2nd tier” backlinks to increase your depth – basically building links to your links. 

All Things in Moderation

SEO is not dead like many doomsday advocates are saying – Google will always need signals to rank content within its search engine. If you put all your links in one basket (getting the same kind of links), then that basket most likely got crushed by the recent Google updates. A natural and relevant link-profile is the key to success in the post-Penguin era. If you don’t already have an audience, then the “build it and they will come” methodology won’t work for you, you need to expand your outreach by getting links. Nothing will replace producing quality content as the backbone of SEO, but forum, directory, and Web 2.0 links should not be ignored. They have their place and like everything else – should be used in moderation.

*Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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I’m an internet marketer and entrepreneur. I enjoy writing about Internet Marketing, SEO, and Social Media. I have a lovely wife and am the father of a beautiful little girl. My wife loves going out, but I’m a home body. I enjoy relaxing and watching football or basketball (in the summer I suffer from withdrawals) and hanging out with my little family. Late at night you’ll find me on my laptop pursuing my online ventures and trying to take over the world (still in progress).

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Klaus March 17, 2013 at 4:56 pm

Forum links – “by joining the conversion”, don’t you mean “conversation”?

I wonder how SEO would look if Google were able to “index” Facebook… imagine all the links, likes etc… without having thought it through, I think it would be kinda cool if links on facebook, depending on the amount of likes they had, would have some kind of SEO value.
Klaus recently posted..SimCity: Crashed & Burned! Also, Mac compatiblity, server issues, bugs and more…My Profile

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George March 24, 2013 at 2:23 am

Yes, *conversation is the correct word, good catch. It definitely would be nice to see how Google really counts Facebook links. Similar to other sites, each Facebook profile has it’s own PageRank/Page Authority. The more friends you have, the more “links” you have back to your Facebook profile page, as they would have you in their friends list. Aside from being no-follow, I would assume Google treats these links the same as other links.

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Philip March 18, 2013 at 6:52 pm

Hi George,

Yeah I think having a diverse linking profile is key for Google to like your website. In my opinion guest posting is the most high value link building strategy, and not only for the powerful backlinks you get but also a lot of exposure to new readers which drives a lot of referral traffic.
Thanks for mentioning the Seomoz directory list, I’m definitely gonna check it.

Have a great day George and thanks for sharing these tips.

~Philip
Philip recently posted..Mastering the Art of Keyword Optimization and On-Page SEOMy Profile

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George March 24, 2013 at 2:38 am

Guest blogging has definitely risen in popularity over the past 2 years. It will probably get spammed more and more; Google will eventually devalue “guest blog farms”, while rewarding blogs with quality content.

I love guest blogging links for the same reasons you mentioned – you get the referral traffic as well as the SEO value if it’s a relevant and high quality blog. Getting links from authority sites such as The Huffington Post, Forbes, Inc., etc also do a great deal for SEO.

You have a great site/blog yourself, I’ll be sure to check it out. Thanks Philip!

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MsDsMiller April 4, 2013 at 1:57 am

Great article George,

I think you have to first look at your linking priorities from the prospective of “where is the best place to engage with your target audience ?” (forums, directories, other blogs ?) and make link juice a second priority, which forums, directories or other blogs have the highest page rank, and make sure you diversify your link profile.
MsDsMiller recently posted..Affiliate Marketing Training – How To Make Money Online For BeginnersMy Profile

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George Nielsen April 11, 2013 at 5:24 pm

@MsDsMiller – Thanks for your comment, I agree. It’s easy for us SEO’s to only have “link-vision” and focus on the link, but since we’re marketer’s first – engaging with our target market is the main goal.

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Richard Eaves May 23, 2013 at 11:51 am

Thanks for sharing these tips George. I agree that link diversification is a good SEO practice.

Cheers,
Richard Eaves

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Khushboo June 21, 2013 at 1:27 pm

Hi George,
It’s absolutely true, in this Penguin Era, I agree that link diversification is of great help.
Thanks for sharing these tips.

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