Backlinks are a major part of any websites SEO campaign and although many SEOs are well versed in various methods and techniques, the game has changed quite a bit since the last algorithm updates by Google. Also, the merger of Yahoo and Bing should provide some serious revamping of their own website valuation algorithms and tactics, we are not sure if it will follow Panda closely, but you can assume that they will also be looking to improve SERP quality and eliminate spam/junk sites throughout the net.
Panda has shown us very quickly that duplicate content will be devalued first, we have seen this happen to thousands of websites across thousands of niches, if you have duplicate or scraped content you’ve probably seen your rankings drop a lot. If you haven’t had it happen yet, be sure, Panda is coming and they are uploading new data sets almost monthly now to re-evaluate the web and search engine results, you’ll be de-indexed before you know it.
But what about backlinks? Google has announced that their Panda algorithm is critically evaluating the quality of inbound links for a given website and will be harsher on those who have heavily manipulated their backlinks or have a lot of low quality/spam linking.
Often we have not attributed this new calculation of inbound links to the decrease in rank of many websites as we see that many of the low quality/spammed backlink websites also have duplicate and scraped content. But what about the millions of websites that need backlinks to be built on a steady basis today, to help them climb the search engine rankings and receive organic traffic. You’ve got to be smart about how you build links now, especially with Google tightening their ability to read and find poor manipulation techniques for inbound links.
Future SEOs must create intelligent and diverse backlink footprints that will not be penalized by Panda and future algorithm updates.
What is required for the BEST SEO Backlink footprint today?
- Relevance vs. Quality
- Content Syndication
- blog comments
- profile links
- forum signatures
- article marketing
- guest blogging
- advertising (Manta/Yp/etc)
- press releases
There are still hundreds of more ways to get backlinks for a website, but this general overview would quickly keep your inbound link footprint safe from Panda. As you can see this would offer 7 different sources for inbound links that should have various anchor text that are targeted at your keywords but not spammed/exact match. Never over use and abuse one specific linking method, make sure to not allow one specific keyword technique to get over 25% of your inbound linking. Panda will start to penalize your backlinks if it sees that a vast majority of links are coming from a very similar method, this is pretty easy to identify for manipulation, especially since you are probably using an automated SEO tool like Scrapebox, Xrumer, or others.
Relevance vs. Quality – Now I know that we are constantly preaching RELEVANCE in backlinking, while that is absolutely true and very important to your link-building efforts it is not always required. When we talk about many of the automated or simple backlinking methods such as blog comments and profile linking, we definitely want to keep it relevant because the quality of links and the PR/authority of these pages is pretty low. But, if we are gaining backlinks from high PR and trusted authority pages, the relevance is not as important because Google is already trusting and putting a lot of weight into the quality of those pages.
As the quality of a backlink increases, the relevance required to successfully pass on PageRank and other weighting factors for your SERP rankings decreases.
PR O blog comments = low quality, high relevance needed to gain weight for SERPs
PR 7 authority guest blogging = extremely high quality, relevance a much smaller factor in receiving weight for SERPs
So as you build links throughout the internet remember that the lower quality source, the higher relevance is needed to obtain the highest weight toward your websites backlink footprint and search engine rankings. This is a general rule that has become more and more prudent since the Panda update and if you stick by this you’ll see that the links you are creating will generally be successful in passing on page rank and other weight factors for your rankings. You’ll also be more effective in your link building and recognize what opportunities are worth your time and which ones are not.
Content Syndication – the final rule to ensuring the backlinks you are creating will be successful and a positive contribution toward your overall rankings, is that you’ll want to establish links with quality content. Also, try and stay away from gaining backlinks from websites that are already penalized or devalued by Google, especially those with scraped/duplicate content such as autoblogs and other sites. Those backlinks will end up being devalued and removed anyways, plus your starting to associate your website with “bad neighborhoods”, this can hurt your SEO campaign if it becomes a majority of the inbound links to a site.
- do not backlink from websites that have duped/scraped content
- focus on adding content that is unique and relevant with your backlinks, i.e. make quality blog comments, web 2.0s and such
- backlink content should be keyword targeted
- mix anchor text but keep them focus on primariy keyword goals
- spell check and use correct grammar, its a quick step and you ensure the best results
Hopefully these backlinking tips will help you stay clear of various methodology which could end up hurting your overall campaign to climb the search engine rankings and gain the ever important organic traffic you’ve been looking for. Panda has eliminated a lot of previous SEO tactics, both white hat and black hat, from here on out we are going to need to be much more careful about how we approach our link-building and what kind of footprints we leave behind. There is no doubt that Google is increasing their own efforts which in turn, are making our jobs more difficult and time consuming. So step up and put in the time and effort to create well diversified link wheels and footprints that will not be devalued in the post-panda world.