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Best Practices of Building a Natural Backlink Portfolio

Building a Natural Backlinks PortfolioBuilding links to your webpages is the powerful method and highly sought after services for search engine optimization (SEO). Because of the immense potential behind link building, the practices of many SEO's has become a bit sketchy and unethical. As a result, Google has implemented measures (Penguin update) in its search engine to target websites over optimized backlinks. That is, Google may penalize a website with too many backlinks that are clearly built for keyword targeting and SEO.

Optimized backlinks are links that have anchor text with a keyword target. A natural backlink would be a URL or domain (.com or .org). There are even semi optimized backlinks which have a portion of the keyword target, however it may not be in exact phrase match form. The sites that are being penalized are those with too great a ratio of optimized backlinks, thus deeming them "over optimized."

The Google Penguin Update has shaken the world of SEO. As a result, it is now more important than ever to build a natural backlink portfolio when optimizing your website. The most mind set to have while doing this is to ensure the links pointing to your pages have a blend of natural and optimized anchor text. In essence, you must create diversity in your backlink portfolio.

Diversifying Your Backlinks

To maximize the natural appearance of your site's backlink portfolio, there should be diversity in the anchor text profile. Before Penguin, most SEO's would use exact phrase match anchor text. However now, this needs to be mixed up with various other forms of anchor text, such as your product name, your company name, and other branded keywords as well as naked links (such as your URL). Other good strategies for using semi-optimized anchor text is using broad-match keywords that have additional, non-targeted keywords, synonymous (such as "attorney" instead of "lawyer," and action words such as "click here" and "learn more."

It is also important to diversify where you build your backlinks. It is essential that your links have contextual relevancy. That is, the content in which the link is built must have some relevancy to that of the link. So a link with the anchor text website optimization should be in a blog post, article, or on a page about website optimization. Search engine spiders are smart, and they'll will recognize the contextual relevancy of your backlinks. Not relevant backlinks can discredit their value.

Site's can further naturalize their backlink portfolio by having a have a blend of link sources. This includes a combination of contextual links (backlinks in the copy of an article/blog post), blogroll links, images links, footer links, and so on. Additionally, having backlinks that come for a wide range of (topically related) website also contributes to a natural backlink portfolio. This includes a blend of high and low authority pages (based on Google PageRank) as well as articles, blog posts, blog comments, forum posts, tweets, and other content sources.

Diversifying your backlinks is a lot of work in terms of off-page optimization, but it can really pay off. Again, link building is the most important practices for SEO's and website optimizers, so conduct your efforts wisely.

Naturalizing Your Backlinks

By now you should know the common nature of backlinks and how they impact SEO and website optimization. Below we offer some techniques to naturalizing your backlink portfolio. These ideas are to help you start thinking outside the box when it comes to link building.

1) Guest Blogging: If you can produce quality content that offers value to a select reader-base, then guest blogging can be a momentous opportunity for link building. With guest blogging, you must seek blogs that pertain to your topic and ask the webmaster or blog owner if you can contribute content to the blog. You'll want to define the terms in regards to the backlinks you are able to build. If you can get your link-infused content published on a high authority blog, then you can rock your SEO efforts.

2) Google+: Google+ is Google’s own social networking site and it therefore goes without saying that creating a Google+ profile will help your SEO campaign. This can be very advantageous for inbound marketing and SEO for ecommerce sites. Encourages social interaction to attain more +1s and shares since they will increase the value of your links. Try posting links with short descriptions of your new content or articles in your Google+ profile.

3) Blogrolls: If you have a nice arsenal of blogs that you use for content marketing and link building, use your blogrolls or sidebars to build links. Use this to build natural links, not only to your money pages, but also to your articles and other web properties that might contain link juice. The idea is pass authority to these web properties by spreading PageRank power (or PR.)

4) Blog commenting: Leave comments on high authority blogs with industry or contextual relevancy can help naturalize your backlink portfolio. Most people think this is a waste of time, however this only makes the entire backlink portfolio look natural. Keep in mind that a website or blog that has a high PageRank offers a lot more link weight.

5) Directory listing: Seek for listing in quality directories such as social media directories, government directories like the local offices, general business directories, trade organizations, and local online and offline directories.

6) Link exchanges: Link exchanges should only be done with quality websites that are highly trusted. They could be with your suppliers, customers, or resellers. You could even have dedicated Web pages on your product/brand on their sites. You could ask customers who have blogs to write on your brand.

7) Resource links: Identify industry websites that are related to what you offer and that have resource links listing resources that are similar to your resources. Contact the Webmasters of these websites and ask for links. Give a reason why your site should be listed.

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Google Releases Penguin 3.0 Update

Google Penguin 3Google recently announced its release of its search engine algorithm Penguin 3.0. The new algorithm change is intended at further tightening the spamming loopholes for search engine ranking. The algorithm seeks to penalize websites and publishers who use search engine optimization (SEO) tactics that are in violation of Google Publisher rules.

History of Penguin Algorithm

The first release of the Google Penguin algorithm was introduced in April 2012. The release impacted about 3% of Google’s search engine ranking. The websites that got penalized and thereby losing on better search engine results page (SERP) ranking were sites that had back-links that were deemed as spam and unnatural.

According to search reviewers, most of the websites that got hit were those that had similar or duplicate links that looked automated. However, given the complexity of getting an algorithm that sorts spammers while mitigating on collateral damage, the Penguin update has happened progressively over time and so far, Google has released 6 more updated to the Penguin algorithm impacting about 7% of search ranking. More at SearchEngineLand.com

Targeted Links

In all the Google Penguin algorithm updates including the most recent 3.0 update, Google has sort to reduce the number of websites that enjoy ranking advantage by having spam links that are generated purely to cheat the search system. Some of this spammy back-links include;

  • Spam Blog Comments and Forum Posts – usually, these posts and comments are automatically imputed by a computer system and will usually have no connection to the discussion forum or blog post. Usually, Google will also penalize simplistic comments such as “nice post”, “great video”, “I agree” and such like comments especially if such comments are repetitive and carry back-links.
  • Duplicate Links – Another set of SEO links penalized by the Penguin algorithm include links from duplicate content. One of the ways that links get duplicated is when the same article is posted in multiple article engines or websites.
  • Content Quality – Google ranking software has also developed in intelligence over time and is able to spot poorly generated content such as computer generated articles that are unreadable. Links from such content that is posted not for human readability but for search ranking are also getting penalized by the Penguin updates.

Avoiding Penguin Penalty

In order to avoid being penalized by these penguin updates, it is advisable that publishers avoid spam-like links and especially automated linking. Seeking ranking links is not prohibited by Google. However, according to Google, such links need to come from quality content intended at adding value to the reader.

Recovering From Penguin Penalty

Websites that have been affected adversely by past Penguin updates but that have adjusted their linking procedure to meet Google Publisher rules are now getting relief as more recent updates remove the prior penalty on such websites. Therefore, if your website has fallen victim to this new Penguin 3.0 release, take time and isolate the linking technique that is getting your website penalized and make appropriate adjustments. Once you do this, the Penguin penalty can be lifted in due time and you will again enjoy the good ranking that your website lost.

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The Future of Keyword Optimization for SEO in 2015

Website Optimization CompanySearch engines like Google are still punishing websites for the obvious overuse of keywords, and this does not seem to be ceasing. The future of the SEO, in turn, appears to continuously be moving toward punishing sites that sacrifice exceptional content for redundant keyword usage (still thinking keyword stuffing will yield better rankings.)

Over the past decades, SEO has become an increasingly popular form of Internet marketing, but the tide seems to be turning towards incredible content being a better marketing tool in the upcoming year.

Signs that Keywords are Losing Significance

Google’s one two punch that has been delivered by Panda and Penguin updates has brought some changes to SEO. Panda, in particular, has “cracked down” on low quality content as well as “content farms”. Whereas Penguin waged war on keyword stuffing, scheme links and other tactics. This is forcing marketers to provide valuable and useful content instead of a visual vegetable soup of keywords.

The in-depth article search has also chipped away at SEO. This type of search is geared towards bringing longer-form, high quality content to the surface of search engines. This has been around since 2013 and has yet to go away. Higher quality content has its place, and it appears to be grower as the New Year approaches.

Also released in 2013 was Hummingbird, which essentially made Google searches more human. No longer were inquiries based on single [keywords] but by sentences. Just as a human would ask a question and require its answer, Google could search based on that as well. No longer did a person have to rely on the luck of choosing the right word query to find what they were looking for.

Google itself has also decided to hide keyword data from its Analytics. Even Google knows that keywords are not that important in order to determine keyword content for clients.

Search Intent

Through the years, Google has made adjustments to its search engines due to the habits and wants of the public. That is why, currently, Google tries to match the intent of the search instead of keywords. This doesn’t necessarily mean the end of SEO, but it does indicate a decrease in the need of heavy keyword usage.

Until search engines can read minds, there will be a place for keywords, but only when combined with quality content. Moving forward into the New Year, SEO marketers should shift their focus to creating better content. Now better content does not mean that a keyword or two cannot be added, it just means that keywords do not have to be the only thing that consumers read. The focal point is changing from thin content to meaty and worthwhile.

Be prepared for the upcoming changes in the world of SEO. It’s not important to have one word listed 8-10 times, it is now important to give people something worth taking time out of their day to read.

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