With the release of the latest Penguin update, Penguin 2.0, many SEOs began asking the question “is link building dead?”
Well a quick look at the SERPs will answer that question for you!
Penguin Goes Deeper
Its seems that the first round of penguin attacks was aimed at the root domain of a site. Penguin 2.0 “goes deeper” according to Matt Cutts. Many Seos believe that all Penguin 2.0 is doing is looking across the entire site and digging deeper into it.
We have found that, although this may be the case, Penguin 2.0 is more concerned about the use of anchor text variations in a backlink profile than anything else.
Penguin 2.0 may be an attempt by Google to fix the relevancy of the SERPs by introducing a new way of looking at EMK anchors.
Although there is no real evidence to suggest Penguin 2.0 (or any other animal) is targeting specific link types (such as forum profiles or links from pages with excessive blog comments, for example) it may be wise to avoid the use of very low quality link types that are generally viewed as spam in tier 1 links.
I know many Seos will disagree with us on this one but honestly all you have to do is look at the evidence. Many pages with forum backlinks, blog comment spam backlinks, pingbacks, trackbacks and a host of other “spam” links pointing to them are ranking very well in the SERPs.
Vary Your Anchors & Link Types
The best way to avoid Penguin altogether, or any other off-page based penalty, is to keep your backlink profile looking varied and as natural as possible.
As has been the case for a long time relevant contextual links carry much more weight than any other type.
The Rise of EMK Variations
We strongly believe (a belief backed by data) that Penguin 2.0 was designed to mostly introduce a relevancy trigger based on EMK Variations.
If you look at most of the top sites, at least 90%, you will find that they have a low percentage of EMK backlinks (typically about 6%) but use EMK Variations at least 20% of the time.
Basically sandwiching your EMK between other words is a great way for ranking these days.
So, to go back to our previous Penguin EMK example “best fishing rod”, instead of relying on backlinks with “best fishing rod” anchor text to help your site rank you would use EMK Variations such as “this best fishing rod example”, “my best fishing rod rocks”, “get the best fishing rod on the planet” etc. etc. – the more the merrier.
Try to adjust your backlink ratios so you have at least 20% varied EMK Variations (use as many different variations as you can) and watch your rankings soar. Just don’t overdo it! Stay at or below 30%.
Contextual is Best
If you can get your link embedded into a unique relevant blog post on an authority domain this link will send a lot of ranking power to your site. For this reason it is often best to use your EMK and EMK Variation anchors in these type of links and use generic and URL links in less relevant backlink sources.
Before you move forward in your link building campaigns it is important that you read the next section on Penguin recoveries and realise the importance of avoiding a Penguin penalty in the first place.
If you have already been hit by Penguin then you will no doubt be eager to learn techniques to remove this financially devastating Google punishment.