Since the release of Google’s Penguin update; the world of SEO has changed considerably, and many commonly used practices are no longer as relevant as they used to be.

Whilst the majority of traditional on-page techniques still have some influence with regards to increasing SERP rankings; off-page SEO is moving away from link ‘building’, where links are requested by SEOs or site owners, and into link ‘sharing’ through social media platforms.

The primary idea behind this is that consumers who share your content do so because they are actually interested in it; therefore this is a ‘natural’ link according to Google. Back in the pre-penguin era; traditional style link exchanges meant that you could request a link which contained an exact match keyword that you are trying to get ranked for. Even if the link was exchanged with a relevant site; this will now be considered ‘un-natural’ as the link has not been earned in any way, and a profile full of link exchanges like this could now get you penalized by Google.

Jayson DeMers at Search Engine Journal states that “The primary method by which Penguin operates is by examining your inbound link profile metrics to detect what it deems to be ‘unnatural’ activity, and the main signal of unnatural activity appears to revolve around anchor text”.

To demonstrate this; the chart on the left shows a ‘traditional’ inbound link profile, detailing the quantity of links that use the same exact match anchor text keywords. As you can see, almost 75% is made up of the similar anchor text links so it is quite clear that these links have been mined rather than earned. The chart on the right shows a ‘healthy’ inbound link profile which illustrates a wide variety of ‘natural’ anchor text links.

two charts different colours

Of course, any content you produce can include anchor text links using chosen keywords, but it is almost pointless creating unique content if no one else is going to see it. You need to get the content shared through social media in order to develop your link profile, so take a look at our tips on how to build your Twitter following. The more you produce unique content, the more it will get shared and the healthier your link profile will be. It is also important to remember that if your site ever gets penalized by Google for old style link building; your social media profile will remain strong so it is a worthwhile investment for the future.

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