Digital Marketing Insights

for SMEs…

26 Pro-Google Penguin Effective Link Building Tips

Effective Link Building Tips are hard to come by, and many of the established and effective link building techniques have recently come to an end with Google’s new link algorithm, code named Penguin.

As online marketers and businesses struggle to come to terms with the impact of the new linking  algorithm, ClickZ Academy Webinars in conjunction  with Page One Power, a relevancy first link building agency, delivered  an insightful and useful link building webinar explaining how to build your websites authority with techniques that Google will reward your site for. Jon Ball from Page One Power was the main webinar presenter and he went through 26 link building techniques that I wanted to share with a wider audience.

Penguin Proof Link Building Strategies

Before the webinar started proper, Jon described some stories from the front and outlined some components of a toxic link profile:

  • if 50% of your site anchor text is for specific terms, in all likelyhood you will be penalized by Google (anchor text being the text in a link to your site). If this text is too keyword focused it looks artificial,  manipulated  - not good!
  • 50% directory links – again, if too many of your links are coming from directory, not that you will be penalized, more that you may not receive as much link juice as if it were coming from regular website, i.e editorial links
  • Again emphasis was put on heavy anchor text (text too keyword rich), links to your site that are irrelevant, purchased links, (pills, porn, poker links)
  • Remove links was also talked about, so if your site has a link profile that is not what it should be post Penguin, you can ask Google to reevaluate with a link reconsideration from Google - allow several weeks to receive a reply though

What Google’s Penguin has done

  • Spam days over
  • If you have spam in your past – get rid of it – see above for Google reconsideration
  • Unnatural anchor text very dangerous – work on building a natural link profile
  • Link velocity – quantity vs competitors  - be aware that if you suddenly start out performing your natural link competitors, you site will draw attention from Google
  • Social metrics very important – ensure you’re engaging on Social , Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn…etc

7 Penguin Proof Link Building Philosophies

1. In a world without Google

If Google did not exist where would you want to put your links? This is simply the same as, think of people first and search engines second. If Matt Cutts (head of Google Web Spam) was standing over your shoulder, you should be thinking, would I get this link?

2. Relevancy first!

This is linked to point one and core to pro penguin link building. Put relevancy first – domain authority and page rank second. Does it make sense to get a link from this site, is it relevant to what my site is about? Remember also that every niche is different and it’s worth building a relevancy tree for link building. Jon gave a great example of a relevancy tree which is below:

Effective Link Building Relevancy Tree

Relevancy Tree

Jon described how to start of the top with your niche and brain storm the different categories that are below your top target category. He used the example of someone targeting ‘dell inkjet cartridges’ and how this breaks down into ‘computers’, printers’ and office supplies’ and how this breaks down again into laptops, desktops…etc.

This is a very effective techniques to start think about your wider target audience and for the purpose of this article, your wider link building targets. The technique helps up break down into managed chunks  your SEO link building strategy.

3.  Website Owners are people and people link to people

The best links come from people – call and talk to people, build a relationship.

4. The most powerful link building tool is your brain

Use your brain! Think about everyone that is assocaited with your business, not just online, but out in the world, in print media, on TV, in your local business networking group…etc.

5. Link building is a team sport

Link building alone is: Torturous, Impossible, Dreadful, Terrible, Ineffective – A fire with one log…The point here is, the more you have involved, the easier and more effective your link building will be.

6.Forget viral – if it goes viral – Great!

The point on this one is, do not try to build something to go viral – this really is a hit a miss – if it goes viral great, but trying to develop for viral is rarely going to happen.


For the Betterment of ManKind – this simply means – think about others fist, helping others will have many tangible benefits (i.e.links). If you’re just promoting yourself, it’s going to be really hard to get links. Anything you do in your link building needs to be FTBOM.

26 Penguin Proof Link Building Strategies

1. Blogging  – vital for realisitic link building strategy

Gives you a voice and presence on line.

  • 1st Decide who audience is
  • 2nd Determine categories
  • 3rd Brainstorm blog post titles from categories

When brain storming blog titles you can put a negative emotion spin on it, e.g. The Top 10 Worst Places to ….

Blogging is tough and to help keep you on track you need to prepare an editorial calendar – what are you going to blog about, when and who will do the writing? key also is to promote the blog, e.g. blog directories, guest blogging, blog commenting, PPC

2. Give Love

As hard as you are trying to attract links, it’s also important to give links – people notice!

3. Interview Experts and others

How many people in your industry and in a related industry? Getting in touch with your niche industry experts at conferences, or over the phone can yield great link worthy content and give great insights/info to your audience.

4.Crow sourcing

Three questions: Four people, twelve answers, four links?

5. Blog Commenting

Big caveat here is it has to be real blogs, with real people and relevant sites. Don’t send this oversees, it needs to be authentic people and ignore nofollow.

6. Write Testimonials

Write unsolicited testimonials (including pictures). This is a very simple strategy to employ on ongoing basis and will (on the law of averages) result in those companies and individuals linking back to your testimonial.

7. Review

Again a very simple (but potentially very time consuming strategy) is to write review of products/services. These can be:

  • Textual reviews
  • Photographic reviews
  • Video reviews

Key to this strategy is to promote your reviews so that you gain as much visibility as possible  - more visibility equals more links.

8. Reseach your local universe

Whatever niche you’re in, check out everything connected to that niche and leverage this ‘local universe’. Replace the text ‘keyword’ in the examples below with your niche keywords and start researching, e.g. if your niche was ‘model trains’, search on Google for ‘model trains news’, and ‘model trains experts’ …etc. You get the idea, you should be all over your niche and reaching out to make offline and online connections.

‘keyword’ news
‘keyword’ experts
‘keyword’ forums
‘keyword’ blogs
‘keyword’ trade shows
‘keyword’ events

9. Use Infographics

Infographics are great way to show complex information in an easy to understand format. Strategy to use for using Infographics should be along line…

  • Decide your audience  -how will benefit from your infographic?
  • Agonize over title as this really sells it – a memorable title does really make a difference
  • Has to be FTBOM  - remember – benefit of mankind!
  • Do a series, not just one – they can complement each other
  • Give it to another site and ask for a link back

10. Guest Posting – very very difficult

  • Find your targets sites
  • Submit your offer
  • Promote it
  • Prepare to ascend

Use your relevany tree
Don’t get fixated with ‘write for us’ blogs, they are very small in comparison with total blogasphere and you will end up limiting your target websites. The key to targeting any blog is to make the initial approach very professional and tempting.

Submit your offer

  • Personalize the initial email and include the proposed title of article, or even better include the actual article
  • Send pictures that will be included in the article
  • Do the work for them – i.e. make it easy for the blog owner to make a yes decision
  • Always ask for a content link – most will say no but they won’t say yes if you don’t ask.  (A content link is generally more valuable than footnote link.

Promote it!!

  • Once your guest post is live you need to promote it as much as possible . Pushing the post through your social channels is a great way to do this. Push the post out through Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook…etc
  • Sponsored tweets – for even broader reach use PPC on Google and the other social sites to send as much traffic as possible.

11. Trade articles

Self explanatory this one. Find trade articles relevant to your niche and look to get your articles included, again both offline and online.

12. Build a museum

Research the history of a particular product, gather images and promote the history, you will get traffic and links.

13. Make a glossary

Only one caveat here – make it good. Page One Power have a great example of a link building glossary on their site.

14. Complete guide

A bit like the glossary this one, again ensure that you’ve put the time and effort into researching the article to make it as useful and as accurate as possible. The title of these guides can also play a part in enticing people and getting them to share the content. Some good examples here of a complete guide to Google.

15. Study/Survey

Run a survey and publish the results. Very easy these days to run a survey online, e.g. on LinkedIn and publish/promote the results.

16. Resource page – Outreach

Again, bringing a lot of info together for a particular niche and having it easily accessible on one page is always going to get a lot of attention.

17. 404 reclamation

If a competitor has abondoned an old domain and did not 301 the old links to a new site you have a big opportunity.
18. DIY

DIY sites are always hungry for content, example would be Just type in ‘how to’ and your keyword  and you’ll see plenty of examples.

19. Forums

Be careful, go slow and actually care. If you rush in and start making comments all over the place, either you’ll be chucked out completely or, users will start giving you the wrong sort of links!

20. Give stuff

Again, an obvious one here, giving stuff away for free will always put you in good light and garner you links.

  • Content
  • Givewaways
  • Scholorships

21. Pinterest

Pinterest is based on images. If you want to get shared, you need great photos – hire a phtotgrapher to make you look good!


I have to admit that I didn’t really get this. I guess it depends on what type of content your sharing on the webcam.

23. ebook directories

Lots of great opportunities for links on e-book directories, but don’t just write an ebook for links, make it part of your overall marketing strategy and ensure you put the time and effort into making it a worth while and valuable read.

24. Badging 

  • Find sub categories to badge
  • Top 10 lists – make lists of the top 10 sites in your chosen sub categories
  • Reward best customers
  • Recognize experts

25.Sponsor non profits

Non profits are always looking for free expert help – getting links from these sites can carry a lot of link juice.

26. And finally – go crazy

Brain storm different ideas, ask your self will it blend with what we do. An example that was given was a company looking at creating the the worlds largest periodic table of elements – definitely something newsworthy and perhaps viral enough to be worth the effort.

So that’s about it. When it come to SEO and link building, there are many ways to improve your sites authority and increase your visibility  in a way that won’t get your site penalized by Google’s new link algorithm.

What about you? Have your link building methods changed as a result of Penguin? Have you dropped some techniques from your toolkit and added some new effective link building techniques?

Posted under: SEO Link Building

Tagged as: , ,