Despite the buzz from webmasters and search engine optimization specialists, Google’s Penguin update did not render link building worthless.

If you’re not familiar with Google’s Penguin update, it’s their latest algorithm update and it has turned the search results on their head. Both white and black hat SEOs are complaining about dropping search results and few have a handle on what has happened.

I do not claim to have all the answers. I’m more of a “high level look at the situation” kind of a guy. But I have been following this subject very closely, reading theories and analysis, and I have my own customer base’s results in hand as well. I DO NOT CLAIM to know exactly what to do, but based on everything I’m seeing, I’m going to give you my best advice on how to build links since Google’s Penguin update.

Start by writing amazing content on your website.

This can be a news article, a product description/application, a new page, or even a blog article. Want to rank for “Tummy Tuck surgery, Kansas City”? Write 400-600 words of great content on exactly that subject. Do not stuff the article full of keywords. Simply write about that subject in a way that engages your audience and even encourages interaction and sharing. Make sure your title tags are in order and if you can get the keywords into the URL, that’s not a bad idea either.

Spread the word via social channels.

Use twitter and facebook and other social networks to share your information. ABSOLUTELY DO NOT FORGET ABOUT Google+. By placing a link to your new content on Google+, you are cementing yourself as the original author (in case someone duplicates your content) and you are signaling the Google ‘bots to crawl your site. You’re basically saying, “Hey Google, look over here –fresh content on my site. You know you want it!” I won’t even go into how Google is favoring heavy Google+ users in the SERP.

Find related websites where you can get backlinks.

Finding sites where your customers might hang out is a good way to measure relevancy. In the “Tummy Tuck surgery, Kansas City” scenario, you’ll want to find sites related to plastic surgery, beauty, women, health, pregnancy, parenting and Kansas City.

Share your content with these websites and encourage them to link to you.

Get in touch with the webmaster via email or even twitter and help them see how linking to you creates a good user experience for their site visitors. Ask if they are open to accepting guest articles and they are, write great content for their sites. (Yes, I said great content again. Seeing a pattern?)

A word about the links…

Before Penguin, it made sense to ask for keyword specific anchor text. Today, not so much. Anchor text over optimization seems to be maybe the biggest theme in the latest algorithm update. So make sure your anchor text is diverse. In fact, it has been theorized that over half of your anchor text should be your business name, your brand or even your URL. If you’ve been using keywords as anchor text for years to tell the search engines what you want to rank for, this won’t be easy for you. You’ll be tempted to use tummy tuck surgery Kansas City as your anchor text. My advice: DON’T. Instead, make sure that the site you are getting the link on is CATEGORY RELEVANT and that the landing page is KEYWORD SPECIFIC. Google’s new Penguin should be smart enough to figure out what keywords to rank.

You may be asking, “Does this mean I need fresh new content for every keyword I want to rank for?”  To that I say two things. One, don’t end a sentence with a preposition, and two, yah, it kinda does mean that. Unless your site is already chocked full of great content on that subject, you probably need to get busy writing (or hiring an author.)

Bottom line, Google is rewarding sites that provide fresh new content, engage users and have a diverse and branded backlink profile – or at least that’s what I think. You’re welcome to disagree. This is SEO after all.

Thanks for reading,

David McBee

Anchor Text • Link Building • Penguin Algorithm Update

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