Announced earlier this week, Matt Cutts of Google, via a newly released video chat from him, indicated that a big penguin update, he dubbed penguin 2.0, is coming out in the next two weeks. Earlier this year he warned of this penguin update coming before the end of the year. Well, it appears that Google feels that bad link building is enough of a problem that they are launching the new algorithm change before year-end.
According to Cutts, “Penguin is a webspam change that’s dedicated to try to find blackhat webspam and try to target and address that. So this one is a little more comprehensive than Penguin 1.0 and we expect it to go a little bit deeper and have a little bit more of an impact than the original version of Penguin”
In Google’s Webmaster Tools Help section they identify link schemes as “Any links intended to manipulate a site’s ranking in Google search results. This includes any behavior that manipulates links to your site, or outgoing links from your site. Manipulating these links may affect the quality of our search results, and as such is a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.”
They then give a number of examples of link schemes:
- Buying or selling links that pass Pagerank. This includes exchanging money for links, or posts that contain links; exchanging goods or services for links; or sending someone a “free” product in exchange for them writing about it and including a link.
- Excessive link exchanging (“Link to me and I’ll link to you”)
- Linking to web spammers or unrelated sites with the intent to manipulate PageRank.
- Building partner pages exclusively for the sake of cross-linking.
- Using automated programs or services to create links to your site.
Some additional examples that Google list’s as link schemes are:
- Text advertisements that pass PageRank.
- Links that are inserted into articles with little coherence.
- Low-quality directory or bookmark site links.
- Links embedded in widgets that are distributed across various sites.
- Widely distributed links in the footers of various sites.
- Forum comments with optimized links in the post or signature.
As stated in their help section, Google encourages you to get other sites to create relevant links to your website “by creating unique, relevant content that can quickly gain popularity in the Internet community. The more useful content you have, the greater the chances someone else will find that content valuable to their readers and link to it.”
Another form of a link building scheme is creating doorway-type-pages that are specifically set up to rank for a certain type of traffic, like localized pages that funnel that traffic to a single destination. Some examples of that would be having multiple domain names targeted at specific regions or cities that funnel users to one page. Another example would be multiple pages on your site with similar content designed to rank for specific queries like city or state names.
Having quality, relevant links from other websites is really the goal, not necessarily the quantity of the links.
Google continues to emphasize that websites, and website linking strategies, should be created for users and not search engines. In theory, as you create good relevant, quality sites for users, they will frequent the site and link to the site to share with others.