Search engine optimisation after Google’s Panda

Many search engine optimisation (SEO) advisers for the last few years have been working hard on inbound links.  This work for many has often been a numbers game and more links has usually been seen as a good thing, people often relying on very poor quality “link farms” to get the numbers up.

That was where Panda came in – to right the wrongs of the spammy inbound links.  So how do websites that have suffered the wrath of the mighty Panda, bounce back?

Google has of course never liked these spammy back links, but it took a significant change to the algorithm (or several changes), the so called Panda updates, to make significant headway on tackling them.  Many sites have seen huge drops in ranking and are now carrying out work to recover.

What are the downsides of a spammy approach to SEO

As we have seen recently, many websites have been penalised for “black hat” SEO, such as paying for links or using automatically generated links from irrelevant sites.  The upside of this is short term success with search engine ranking.  The downside of this is that of the dramatic re-alignment that may well occur as Google gets better at whittling out spammy sites.  If your business becomes used to sales that high ranking drives, then when the fall comes, the impact on the business is frightening.

So what does Google want to see in your links?

Put simply, quality not quantity.  Natural, not forced.  So what does that mean?

  • Try to foster links to your website from websites that are on topic. e.g. a travel agency will benefit from links from travel blogs.
  • Seek links from individual pages that are on topic rather than links from home pages that are general.
  • Rather than seeking links with your target search term as the “linked from” text, a more natural and therefore more beneficial link text (or anchor text as it is called) might be “more information here” rather than “holiday Algarve” – the complete reverse of the old approach!
  • As it has always been, you are after links to your site from high authority sites.  Read this to mean: Links from Wikipedia beat those from Fred’s hardware store.

Other beneficial links

  • Google wants to know that your business is real.  A link from a reputable directory such as the Yellow Pages will help to make this clear.
  • It is clear that any link that drives you valuable targeted traffic is probably a good link.  All we are after is good traffic!
  • Links from business associations will help Google clarify which is your area of business.

What should you do now?

Links are essential to a SEO campaign and it is unlikely that you will rank well for competitive terms without them.  Before you can create a link to your site you need to have some good content on your site, so create that first.  Then, identify an authoritative and on-topic web page(s) to link to your site.

More on how to create the links here.

If you have any questions regarding this article, please feel free to contact me.

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Karen King
I have been working in website promotion for the last 15 years and am now a Website Marketer at web2market. I am a qualified Google Adwords professional and can help advise on getting the most out of your digital campaigns. My experience includes both sponsored and unsponsored website marketing, Google Maps and link building.