Google Penguin UpdateWhile we can’t predict what the new Google Penguin update is going to bring, we can provide some helpful tools and strategies to keep your website afloat. The first Penguin update rolled out in April 2012 and a lot of sites saw a decrease in rankings.  Matt Cutts recently said that the Penguin 2.0 update will be big, so it’s important to be prepared.

What We Know

We know that Penguin is based on low quality links, over optimized anchor text and keyword stuffing.  Penguin is basically a linking filter that runs every once in a while and is designed to reduce the rankings of websites that are using webspam techniques.  Now that Google knows what bad links look like, it is important to be careful when creating and reaching out for new links.

Google notices trusted links. Linking quality is one thing, but the calculated distance between a given page and a trusted source is a whole other story.  Getting links from high trusted sites such as universities and government institutions can improve your websites trust factor.

A great way to find those trustworthy webpages is by using MozTrust.  It’s SEOmoz’s link trust metric. To find MozTrust, you can use the Open Site Explorer or if you are a Pro member of SEOmoz you can use the SEO toolbar.

If you use the Open Site Explorer you can compare MozTrust between different domains.  It’s great for researching other metrics such as backlinks, top pages, and more. If you are using the SEO toolbar, you must be logged into SEOmoz in order to select MozTrust. Once you are logged in, click on settings, hover over show metrics and select MozTrust (mT).

Open Site Explorer is also a good way to view your backlink profile (along with data from Google Webmaster Tools). If low quality or suspicious websites are linking to you, you may want to take action by contacting those sites directly or using Google’s Disavow Tool.

Ways to Get Links

There are numerous ways to get links.  A great place to start is reaching out to bloggers.  Like you, bloggers are looking for ways to gain links as well or become a guest blogger to their blog. In addition to linking within blogs, develop a social media partnership. Share new articles and posts via Facebook and Twitter a certain amount each month.

Second, give universities good press. They are always looking for positive press that highlights something about their school.  Hosting a seminar for students or offering student specials and deals is a great tactic depending on your services.

Third, provide great content.  Providing quality content your audience likes to read is more likely to be shared.  Becoming the “Go To” resource can get you valuable links without having to ask.

Understanding where your links are coming from, the quality of those links, and building relationships with those in your niche are key components of attaining relevant links. The goal is to gain quality and trusted links organically.

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