Link building hasn’t be easy for years. The search engines learned long ago that ranking websites based solely on the number of links that pointed to them resulted in poor search results. So, they evolved. And they continue to do so, tweaking their algorithms to improve their indexes. If you’re using online press release distribution to build inbound links to your site, this has a direct effect on your efforts.
With the most recent updates to Google’s algorithms, including the latest version of the Panda update, effective link building has become more complex than ever. It requires a refined approach, for which we’ll provide a crash course below.
Why Mixing Up Your Anchor Text Is Valuable
As you know, anchor text represents the text used to link to your website. It should contain your target keywords. For example, if your site specializes in high-end baby clothes, your anchor text might contain the words “designer baby clothes.” The problem is, a lot of business owners use the same keywords for their anchor text in every press release they distribute.
This appears unnatural to Google and the other search engines. This keyword saturation makes it seem as if you’re trying to “game” the algorithms. This is a dangerous path to tread since Google may penalize your site in their listings!
A more effective approach is to vary your anchor text with several target keywords (you should already have compiled a list). Not only does this seem more natural, but it will also draw more traffic to your site.
Link To Multiple Pages On Your Site
This is another common mistake. A lot of press release directories will allow you to include multiple links in your PRs. This gives you an opportunity to improve the ranking authority of more than one page on your website. Don’t waste it by pointing all of the links to the same page.
Suppose you’re able to include three links in your press release. Using our earlier example, point one link to a page about “designer baby clothes,” another to a page about “baby onesies,” and a third link to a page about “baby jackets.” Not only does this direct targeted traffic to specific pages, but it also expands your keyword coverage.
Broaden Your List Of Inbound Link Sources
When the Panda update arrived, many people discovered that relying on one or two sources for links was a poor strategic decision. More than one high-profile article directory suffered a major hit in ranking authority and traffic. This is a good reason to diversify the sources of your inbound links.
Submitting your online press releases to the same two or three PR directories may help improve your search rankings. But realize this will be less the case down the road. Use other web properties to expand your link profile. Look for press release distribution sites (like Online PR Media) that syndicate your press releases and content to quality outside sites like Docstoc, HubPages, and other sites. The more domains that point to your website, the better.
Should Your Press Releases Be Targeted To Low-Quality Sites?
One thing that Panda made clear is that Google has publicly shifted their ranking algorithms to focus on links coming from high-quality sites. This has been the suspicion of search experts for the last few years. But it has now been confirmed. A lot of people have responded to this update by ignoring low-quality PR sites, and instead focusing solely on those that Google considers authoritative.
This is likely a poorly-thought approach. To be sure, your press releases and other content should be distributed to high-quality sites, such as Google News, Yahoo!, Forbes, and AOL. But it’s also important to make your search engine optimization efforts appear natural to Google. That means that having your press releases show up on lower quality sites is important too.
Here’s an example: back in 2005, the nofollow tag was created. Its purpose was to tell the search engines that a given link should not constitute a ranking vote for the linked page. That is, the link should be given no ranking value. Many webmasters responded by ignoring all sites that used the nofollow attribute. Unfortunately, their link profiles began to appear unnatural, resulting in ranking penalties.
Don’t ignore low-quality sites. While the boost they provide to your ranking may be small, they help to balance your link profile.
Note how link building via online press release distribution has become an exercise in mirroring Google’s original intent. By valuing links from sites others consider valuable, the search engine can provide their users with a more positive experience. Write your PRs to accommodate this goal, and you’ll see your rankings improve.
Have you changed your linking strategy in the last year thanks to Google’s changes? What have you done that’s working well?
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