As part of our ongoing series into the Google Penguin update we wanted to share some insight into what MIGHT have changed and some actionable tips to help you understand how we should all be approaching our digital marketing differently.
The underlying theme is that something significant has now changed in the way Google now grades site's from a link profiling perspective and the industry is frantically peering at data to work out what that could be.
We know for certain that Google 'turned off a link signal' in February this year and that was quickly followed by a number of major algorithm updates, specifically around link profiles.
Data collated by several sources since, has suggested that it is sites with both 'overly aggressive anchor text' and lots of links from 'non relevant sites' that have been hit hardest (often in the case of the latter those links were blog network links).
Taken in context with the link signal announcement it could be suggested that the link signal was indeed anchor text, as many have suggested, and that it has been replaced with something else. After all, Google's core algo is too important to simply remove something without iterating and improving.
So, what could that be? Our theory is that that RELEVANCY is now a key component and data that we have collated would back that up.
Links from relevant blogs have certainly protected those sites that also have a certain proportion of questionable links too (we've done a LOT of snooping to check this out), even in cases where they had some 'bad ones' in there also.
So What Does This Mean?
The key question, of course, is: 'What does this mean for my marketing strategy now?'. The answer lies in the creation of AMAZING content and the marketing of that content.
It also means that businesses should begin to think more clearly and carefully about WHERE their traffic, and business, comes from. Relying solely on Google seems now more dangerous than ever as no one can live with constantly shifting goal posts.
Instead, your internal teams or agency should be working to a new world order that involves working hard to grow your audience and authority across all marketing channels but specifically in social and search. With a powerful social following you win not just from having a clear route to your best customers, your brand evangelists, but also within search itself.
The most recent PageRank update (yesterday) taught us that social signals ALONE can now earn you authority (we saw two test sites earn PR from signals alone) and we already know they help improve your organic positions.
From a link building perspective the emphasis should now be on ADDING VALUE via content and creating strategic relationships with people and businesses in your space so that you become a key thought leader and influencer in your own right. Get that right and the rest will follow.
The New Process:
In a nutshell then you'll be relying on your ability to create and curate GREAT content and market it in a way that earns shares from the right influencers, visibility on the right blogs and links from the right RELEVANT places.
Your social channels will clearly play a huge role in that as will content planning and execution. Get it right though and you will LONG TERM, on all fronts.
Some other great Google Penguin Resources
If you want to learn more about Penguin below are some recommended posts for you to delve into - and don't be afraid to ask any questions via our live chat facility, should you have any:
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