8 Post-Penguin Link-building Tactics

linkbuildingIn many ways, the Google Penguin update really tossed up a lot of what the internet marketing world thought they knew about SEO. Many old link-building tactics, such as buying .edu links, mass blog comment posting or article directory submissions not only lost value, but could actually come back and hurt your rankings.

Today, the search engine game has more and more become about getting real, genuine backlinks back to your website. Low quality backlinks have lost massive value, while high quality backlinks are gaining more weight.

In addition, Google is placing more emphasis on person to person relationships. In other words, social media relationships are beginning to play more of a part in search engine rankings.

It’s safe to assume that Google Penguin won’t be Google’s last big tossup. As search engine technology and especially the AI technology that was developed for Panda evolve, we can expect more big changes to roll out. More likely than not, these changes will further deemphasize low quality linking and prop up high quality linking even more.

So in the post-panda world, what can you do to build more backlinks and build your rankings? Read on.

1) Guest Blogging

One fantastic way to build links to any website is to write guest blogs. What’s amazing about guest blogging is that not only do you get high quality links back to your website, but you also get to put your content right in front of real people in your industry.

There are a few different ways to write guest blogs. The easiest way is to head over to MyBlogGuest.com and find other blogs in your industry who want your content.

This is fantastic for links, but most high quality, high traffic blogs won’t be advertising for guest posts this way.

Instead, you need to approach them directly. Try to build a relationship with them by commenting on their blogs and interacting with them over Twitter. Build high quality content on your own website.

Then, when you think you can provide something of value to their audience, send them a message directly with your proposal.


2) Help a Reporter Out

One of the best ways to get in contact with reporters who need stories is Help a Reporter Out (HARO.) This is a free site where reporters who need sources go to post what they need.

Sign up for their newsletter. Anytime a reporter requests a source in your area of expertise, contact them. Get in touch and let them pick your brains about the topic.

This benefits you in a few ways. First, they’ll often link to your website right then and there. Make sure you ask them to make the link active, as often newspapers will just write your site in text without linking.

Second however, you build a relationship with that journalist. If you keep doing this, you’ll soon have a small rolodex of press people who’re in your debt. When you next launch a creative or edgy product, you can get in touch with them and manufacture your own press blitz.

3) Contact Your Commenters

If you run a blog, discussion board or website that has any kind of social interaction, chances are other people who also have websites are going to contact you.

Whenever you receive a comment from someone who says they love your site, get in touch with them. See if you can arrange some sort of backlink deal with them.

These people already love your content. Getting them to agree to have you write a guest post or even give a free link back to you on a relevant page shouldn’t be too difficult.

Nicole speaking4) Build Real Relationships

Go to conferences and cultivate real, genuine relationships. Meet people face to face and engender goodwill.

A lot of people will link to you if they like you and you ask. In fact, for many high profile individuals that’s the only way you can get them to link back to you.

People with massive twitter followings or blog followings are very rarely going to link to you if you just ask them out of the blue. They don’t know you and receive a dozen such requests every day.

On the other hand, if you meet them in person, have a good conversation and develop a rapport, there’s a very good chance they’ll do you that favor. That’s how you get the PR5 and PR6 backlinks – Through real personal relationships.

5) Social Bookmarking Websites

Getting your content to the front of a social bookmarking website like Reddit, Digg or StumbleUpon is a fantastic way to drive tons and tons of traffic your way. If you’re making this a genuine goal of yours, make sure your server is setup to handle the traffic.

If you do manage to get your post ranked highly on a social bookmarking site, you’ll see tens of thousands of people flooding into your website. Don’t be alarmed if the bounce rate is much higher than usual or the time on site much lower. The quality of traffic from these sites tends to be lower, as people on these sites click many links in a short period of time.

The real value you’ll get from getting on the front of a social bookmarking site is through the links you’ll build. If you land on the front of reddit, you’re going to get dozens or even hundreds of backlinks in a matter of hours or days. These will help your rankings for the rest of your site’s life.

6) Build a Strong Social Media Presence

Google is paying more and more attention to social media. Already Google +1s carry a ton of weight. If someone +1s any of your content, there’s a great chance that your site will be popping up very often in the search results.

Create a popular fan page. Be active on Twitter. Get Google +1s. If you’re not already active on social media, now is the time. The time for webmasters to “wait and see if it matters” is over.

Experts have said it. Web stats have said it. Users have said it and now the search engines are saying it: Social media matters. Today, not only will it drive visitors, but it’ll drive rankings as well.

Social media links might not matter in the traditional PageRank passing sense, but having a strong social media presence will still certainly help your rankings.

Business Rockstars Ken Rutkowski and Nicole Munoz
Business Rockstars Ken Rutkowski and Nicole Munoz

7) Do an Interview

Find experts in your niche and interview them about the subject.

When you do this, the expert will often link to you. Other people will link to you. It’ll be fantastic for search rankings, for Twitter, for Facebook, for your email list and for building traction all around.

Again, the key to getting people to agree to be interviewed is to build personal relationships. Either that, or build relationships with key networkers who can introduce you to other influential people.

8) Start a Video Series

Videos are a fantastic way to both get new visitors and improve your relationship with your old ones.

Start a video series and publish it regularly. Get people in the habit of receiving content from you. People who love your content will watch and share your videos regularly. Keyword optimize your videos and there’s a great chance that you’ll rank highly on Google or YouTube.

These are nine linkbuilding tactics you can use today to generate real, genuine links that post-penguin Google will love. What’s more is that these linkbuilding tactics will almost definitely survive the next Google update, and the one after that. These links aren’t built on quick-fix solutions, but actually get you real endorsements from real people.

I lost my rankings, now what?

If you are like a whole lot of business owners in 2012, you have lost your rankings and are trying to figure out what your next move is.  Here are some steps you can take to help pull your site up out from page 97!


1. Run a toxic links report.  You need to check out your back link profile to find out if you have spammy backlinks.  If yes, then you need to get rid of them immediately.  This is not the time to be thinking about all of the hard time and money you invested in creating them.  Hopefully you already earned a ROI from that activity.


2. Check your site for duplicate content.  The Panda penalty is all about duplicate content.  Head on over to copyscape.com and run a report.  There you can see if you have any duplicate content on your site. Fix any duplicate content immediately!


3. Fix any over optimization.  One thing we have seen cause a penalty is being too focused on link building for a small set of keywords.  If your anchor text optimization percentage is too tight, you need to either delete links, or build more without using any of the same anchor texts so that you can dilute the anchor text density.


4. Check Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics for any warnings or errors.  If you have duplicate title tags, duplicate meta description tags, now is the time to fix them.


5. Connect your site to your Google+ account.  One of the main methods going forward that Google is going to be using to rank sites is based partly on what is called “author rank”.  You want to make sure that you are on Google+, that you are using Google+, and that your blog is connected to your personal Google+ account.  2013 is seeing even a bigger shift towards transparency.


6. Start producing high quality content and putting it first on your hub (your blog), and then promoting that content throughout all of the social media sites.  The goal of social media is to drive traffic to your blog.  The goal of your blog is to capture leads.  If you aren’t getting traffic or leads, then figure out where on your pipeline you need to do the most work and start fixing things!


7. Focus on real media opportunities.  Real media opportunities can be things like radio interviews, guest blog posts on high traffic blogs, sponsorships, and more.  You need to learn to think like a marketer and start to figure out creative ways that you can make your story or your product be a good match for others so that they can cross-promote you.


There is a lot more that you can do and need to do to get top rankings, but those seven things will get you off on the right start!


Ready to grow your business to the next level?  Check out innercircle.nicolemunoz.com for our 12 month coaching programs!

45 Fast Traffic Strategies You Can Do in 30 Minutes or Less

Blogging Fast Traffic Strategies

Fast Traffic Strategy #1

Get Blogging. Make your blog your hub for all content you publish.

Fast Traffic Strategy #2

Link Up with Other Bloggers!  Register on BloggerLinkUp.com and MyBlogGuest.com to connect with other bloggers to do guest blog posts.

Fast Traffic Strategy #3

Invite Guests! Allow other popular bloggers to do a guest blog post on YOUR site.  (They will promote it and send your site traffic!)


Social Media Fast Traffic Strategies

Fast Traffic Strategy #4

Socialize.  Use tools like Hootsuite and Ifttt.com to spread your message with one click. Setup as many distribution channels to cast a wide net.

Fast Traffic Strategy #5

Branch Out.  Publish your bio and links on sites like LinkedIn, Twitter, and About.me. Talk about the benefits of choosing you and always include a call to action.

Fast Traffic Strategy #6

Be Shareable.  Make sure people can share your posts by putting social share buttons on all your blog posts and pages.

Fast Traffic Strategy #7

Be Followable. Link to your social networks so they can subscribe on their favorite social site.  Don’t restrict access to you on just one network.

Fast Traffic Strategy #8

Pin it.  Grab some traffic from the fastest growing social media site by pinning and re-pinning pics.  Interact with the Pinterest.com community talking about your niche.

Fast Traffic Strategy #9

Get LinkedIn.  Join a group and make some connections fast!  Look for groups that are having discussions and not just involved in self-promotion.

Fast Traffic Strategy #10

Share This.  Get others to share your stuff for you.  Use tools like SocialBuzzClub.com to connect with others that will promote you.


Video Fast Traffic Strategies

Fast Traffic Strategy #11

Show Your Face.  Make short videos and post them to Youtube.  Use keywords in the title of the videos and include your link in the description area.

Fast Traffic Strategy #12

Introduce Yourself. Put a video on your home page explaining how why they should buy from you now!  Be real and communicate trust and likability.


Content Marketing Fast Traffic Strategies

Fast Traffic Strategy #13

Just Share It.  You know that presentation sitting on your computer that you spent hours making and showed to one prospect? Put it on SlideShare.com and put it to work for you.

Fast Traffic Strategy #14

Repurpose with a Purpose.  Take each piece of content you have and repurpose it. Turn a video into a book.  Turn a book into a podcast.  Turn a podcast into tip sheets.


Content Sharing Fast Traffic Strategies

Fast Traffic Strategy #15

Start Stumbling.  Share your content on StumbleUpon.com, Digg.com, Delicious.com, and Reddit.com.  Share your content but also like and favorite other people’s content also.

Fast Traffic Strategy #16

Use stumbli.com to shorten your urls and automatically add your content to StumbleUpon.com!  Bit.ly is another url shortener that will help track your clicks.

Fast Traffic Strategy #17

Get Tumbling! Post short Tumbrl posts, add quality images, tag them with keywords.


Media Opportunities Fast Traffic Strategies

Fast Traffic Strategy #18

Get Placed in Real Media.  Use sites like Haro.net, ReporterConnect.com, and PitchRate.com to connect with reporters.

Fast Traffic Strategy #19

Be Newsworthy.  Use press releases to get the media aware of your achievements.  Once picked up on a media outlet, make a 2nd press release about that!


Podcasting Fast Traffic Strategies

Fast Traffic Strategy #20

Start Casting!  Cool sites like Spreaker.com make starting your own radio show easy.  Share your podcast on itunes and promote it everywhere.

Infographic/Photo Sharing Fast Traffic Strategies

Fast Traffic Strategy #21

Show It.  If a picture is worth a thousand words an Infographic is worth a million.  Almost all information can be represented graphically.  (News Media loves Infographics btw)

Fast Traffic Strategy #22

Get Smart Photos.  Use your smartphone to take pics and upload them instantly to your social media sharing platforms.  Use Instagram everywhere you go!

Fast Traffic Strategy #23

Picture This.  If Pinterest has shown us anything is that people love pictures.  Use picture sharing sites such as Flickr.com to promote your business and interact with prospects.


Books, eBooks, and Apps Fast Traffic Strategies

Fast Traffic Strategy #24

Go where the buyers are. Itunes is the world’s largest search engine that has a credit card attached to it.  Create an app or digital product to sell on Itunes.

Fast Traffic Strategy #25

Kindle and Amazon.  You don’t need to be in Barnes and Noble to be a published author.  Get your book where the traffic is.  Give your book away for free if all you want is traffic!


Paid Fast Traffic Strategies

Fast Traffic Strategy #26

Buy Traffic. Drive ultra targeted traffic to your site with Facebook Ads, Google Ads, Bing Ads, and LinkedIn Ads.


Email Marketing Fast Traffic Strategies

Fast Traffic Strategy #27

Just mail it.  Email your list and send them to a video or blog post.  Send a short email that gets them just interested enough to click through to your site!


Local Marketing Fast Traffic Strategies

Fast Traffic Strategy #28

Go Local.  Create a Google+ Pages Listing.  Add in a description with benefits and a call to action.  Include 10 pictures of your location and a video.

Fast Traffic Strategy #29

Coupons! Everyone likes a deal.  Post a discount offer on Google Places.  Set an expiration date and try a new offer at least every 30 days.


Community Interaction Fast Traffic Strategies

Fast Traffic Strategy #30

Answer Questions.  Answer questions about your topic on sites like Yahoo Answers and LinkedIn Groups.  Fast way to become the authority!

Fast Traffic Strategy #31

Ask for Testimonials from Current or Past Clients.  Post them.  Then tell your clients where their testimonial can be found.  Teach them how to promote their own testimonials.

Fast Traffic Strategy #32

Hang out on Google +, Record It, Create a Video and Share It!  With up to 10 people on a Google Hangout you can all answer three questions and then cross promote each other.

Fast Traffic Strategy #33

Get Reviewed.  Send your physical products or Info Product to industry leaders and ask for a review on their blog. Be sure to ask before shipping anything.

Fast Traffic Strategy #34

Get Reviewing. Offer reviews and testimonials of the products and services you use to run your business and ask the companies to post your review on their site with a link back to yours.


Mobile Marketing Fast Traffic Strategies

Fast Traffic Strategy #35

Get Mobilized!  Be sure your site can be seen on smart phones.  More and more people are searching for what the need while they are mobile and not waiting till they get back home and are sitting in front of a computer.

Fast Traffic Strategy #36

App Time.  If you were waiting for the time to create an app, that time is now.  App versions of your blog are much easier for mobile users to consume.


Direct Mail Fast Traffic Strategies

Fast Traffic Strategy #37

Send a New Offer To Old Customers.  Amazingmail.com and SendOutCards.com can help you send out postcards fast and cost effectively.  Send a Thank You, offer, new service announcement, or info about your upcoming event.


Virtual and Live Event Marketing Fast Traffic Strategies

Fast Traffic Strategy #38

Create an Event. Use Facebook Events and EventBrite.com to Promote.

Fast Traffic Strategy #39

Meet up with Others. Use Meetup.com to find groups of your target market and go hang out with them or create your own group!


Giveaway Fast Traffic Strategies

Fast Traffic Strategy #40

Give Something Away. Everybody loves free stuff.  Have a giveaway on your blog and require likes and links for each entry into the giveaway.  Bonus Tip: Give Away Your BEST STUFF.

Fast Traffic Strategy #41

Lead Magnet. Make sure your site has an offer for a free book, cd, audio, quote, consultation, or demo to capture email leads then promote your offer.

Fast Traffic Strategy #42

Webinars and Teleseminars.  Create and promote a webinar that will pre-sell your offer.


On Site SEO Fast Traffic Strategies

Fast Traffic Strategy #43

Be Searchable. Make sure you are using the keywords that best describe your services in your tags and metatags on your site!

Fast Traffic Strategy #44

Title it Right.  Use Borrowed Credibility in your title tag to improve the click through rate on the search results.  (For Example: As Seen On…)

Fast Traffic Strategy #45

Faster is Better. Page Load Speed Affects Your Search Rankings.  Work on improving your page load speed.

How to Determine if Your Site Has Been Penalized by Panda or Penguin

Lately we have been getting a lot of emails and phone calls from frantic website owners and even other SEO companies telling us that their sites have all of a sudden lost a lot of rankings and traffic and what can they do about it. Before doing anything, the absolute first step is to determine if your site was penalized, and if it was, if it was penalized due to the Panda update, the Penguin update, or both.

If you have Google Analytics and Google Webmaster tools installed this is an easy step. Login to your account and change the search parameters to be from January 1, 2012 to the present date. Look at the traffic graph and determine which dates you had significant drops in traffic. Then compare those dates with the known Panda and Penguin updates and see if any match up.

Here is a list of the updates:

Panda 3.9 — July 24, 2012
Panda 3.8 — June 25, 2012
Panda 3.7 — June 8, 2012
Penguin 1.1 — May 25, 2012
Panda 3.6 — April 27, 2012
Penguin — April 24, 2012
Panda 3.5 — April 19, 2012
Panda 3.4 — March 23, 2012
Panda 3.3 — February 27, 2012
Panda 3.2 — January 15/18, 2012
Panda 3.1 — November 18, 2011
Panda 2.5.3 on October 19/20th
Panda 2.5.2 on October 13th
Panda 2.5.1 on October 9th
Panda 2.5 — September 28, 2011
Panda Goes Global (2.4) — August 12, 2011
Panda 2.3 — July 22/23, 2011
Panda 2.2 — June 18/21, 2011
Panda 2.1 — May 9, 2011
Panda 2.0 — April 11, 2011
Panda 1.0 on February 24th

If for example, there was a Panda update on February the 27th and your site dropped in traffic on February the 28th you can determine that your site has a Panda penalty.

If however your site has not dropped in traffic on a date that matches with one of the updates, you can breathe easily and know your site has not been penalized… yet. 🙂

The next step is to create a course of action depending on which type of penalty your site has. If your site has a Panda penalty, then the issues with your site are more on site. You need to add new content, eliminate duplicate content, update your title and meta tags, and make your site more authoritative. If your site has a Penguin penalty, it is more complex. You will need to take a look at your backlinks profile and the backlinks profile of the top 10 competitors. The jury is still out on how to overcome a Penguin penalty and even some SEO experts are going as far as to say it is better to just start afresh.

If you would like the team at StartRankingNow.com to take a look at you to help you to determine if your site has a penalty or not, give us a call!

How to Get Ethical Paid High Quality Links!

If you say “paid” links too loudly in a room at a marketing conference you are almost guaranteed to get some of the looks! You know the one’s! Where they look at you with a shocked look on their face because you dared to mention what some to consider a grey or black hat link building strategy in a day where Google has made it clear that their goal is to devalue any type of link building activity under the guise of eliminating spam!

What most fail to admit is that there are plenty of ways to get legitimate paid links. In fact, I just purchased one today. 🙂 And I did it without crossing the line into any grey or black hat strategies! How?

Professional Associations and Memberships.

When you join a professional organization you are asked to pay a yearly fee and as part of your membership you are usually listed in their online members directory… with a link back to your site! This is an easy way to build up some ethical and legitimate high quality links to your site.

Two examples of professional associations are the BBB and the Chamber of Commerce.

Other examples of ethical paid links are sponsorships. For example if someone is having a fundraiser and you promise to support them for $10 per mile they bike… and there is a website listing the donors.. technically that would be a paid link as well.. yet an ethical paid link.

You can find opportunities for sponsorships by searching for “sponsor + 2011” and our keyword or city. You want to search for the word “sponsor” plus an earlier year because you want your sponsorship link to last and if they have left up the links to their sponsors for the previous years, they will most likely leave up the link to your site for years to come as well.

What do you think? Can you think of any other ways to find ethical paid high quality links?

How to get .edu backlinks

As I was reading this awesome blog post by my friends at Portent …

7 Strategies for Getting .edu links

I was reminded of a link building strategy that is quite effective for getting .edu links.

Step 1: Create a discount program that is available only to students or teachers of universities. Most universities are glad to let their students and staff know about an extra free perk for being a part of their university. Your offer can be something like 10% off for all those with a valid student id from a university. If you can come up with a cool and memorable name for your discount program, even better!

Step 2: Create a landing page on your site with the terms and conditions of the discount program. Spell it out how the discount is an educational discount and how students or teachers can accept the offer.

Step 3: Call universities to tell them about your new discount program. After your initial call, be sure to send follow up information to the university by email. Send them the link to the page where the discount is located and provide them with the exact code they will need to link to your page correctly.

That is it! After you have the landing page setup, you can contact different universities in your area and share with them about the promotion.. soon you will have natural .edu links to your site!