Link Building for Google Panda: Relevancy a Must!
Any professional internet marketer knows that Google Panda has changed the landscape of SEO forever. The massively influential algorithm update has affected everything from onsite to offsite strategies – not least of which has been link building.
As the tried and true method for growing search rankings and natural traffic, link building is an essential and widely practices SEO strategy across all website genera’s – since the beginning of SEO. The problem is, many effective link building strategies that used to get traction in Google have simply stopped working. Check out a few of the top ways you can bounce back from the Panda update, and make sure your link building efforts actually get you results.
Early rudimentary methods of black-hat link building like “link spamming” and “link farms” have long since gone by the wayside. Google became smart enough to differentiate real links from spam, and the link building methods followed accordingly. Nobody wastes their time spamming comment forums anymore, they’re all “nofollow”.
Nobody tries for links on a generic “links” page (AKA a ‘link farm’) because it doesn't get results. As link building methods shifted to more legitimate strategies like guest posting, and other forms of quality content creation – Google has began to look for more ways to identify the most worthy recipients of SEO value. Their answer was “relevancy”. “Link Relevancy” can be defined in a few different basic categories:
- 1. Site relevancy: this is how Google recognizes, and quantifies the similarity and relevancy of both websites that are linked together. Based on common keywords, and keywords from related search history – Google decides whether your site is sufficiently relevant to the site linking to it. Example: if a marine biology academia site is linking to a hamburger blog – modern Panda algorithms are not going to pass SEO value through links between these two pages. The more relevant the two sites are, the more value will be passed along.
- 2. Page Relevancy: Beyond judging the overall site relevancy, Google will then proceed to analyze the deeper relevancy of the landing pages, that are linked together. Even if the two sites are deemed relevant, there may still be more or less SEO value passed along based on how relevant the two linked web pages are. Example: if two online printing websites are linking to each other, there will be more SEO value resulting from to business card pages being linked together, than a business card and a brochure page.
- 3. Anchor Text Relevancy: this element of the relevancy equation has remained relatively constant, as Google was already docking sites pretty heavily for irrelevant anchor text links prior to Panda. However, it’s still a strong part of the relevancy equation; so it’s important to note. For those who don’t know, Anchor text is the literal text that appears as a hyperlink on a web page. The more relevant these words are to the topic, and linked site content – the more value will get passed along. This is also an extremely valuable opportunity to move rankings for a given term – this term should be the anchor text.
To remain strong in the age of Google Panda, you don’t necessarily have to change the specific link building strategies you've been practicing – you only need to make sure the sites your targeting will pass relevancy to your site. If you ignore relevancy, you’ll end up wasting a lot of time building irrelevant links that don’t increase your term rankings and natural traffic.