While Google’s stance on delivering quality to its customers has never wavered, the latest round of updates (in particular theirPanda and Penguin algorithms) have left many marketers realising that they can no longer manipulate the system with dodgy link building strategies and other questionable methods of Search engine optimisation. Now it’s all about delivering real value and any website that does this is more likely to be positioned higher in the search engines than one that uses ‘less than fair’ optimisation techniques.

According to Google this update was ‘designed to specifically wheedle out those sites that have low-quality content. By this we mean sites that copy other content, are simply not readable or offer little in the way of value. On the contrary, we will provide better rankings for those sites that offer original content, thoughtful or insightful analysis, reports and information.’ Undoubtedly the most affected sites were low calibre article network sites that are basically advert driven. However not all sites that have lost out are down to poor quality. Many have dropped in the rankings or worse still have had their sites taken down because they placed links on a panda affected site.

Bearing in mind that link building is still important, how do you go about utilising good SEO practices without jeopardising your rankings? In other words, how do you panda-proof your site?

Link Building is all about the quality

In reality, there’s only one way to panda proof your link building strategies and that’s to make sure that the content you are creating is high quality content that people love to read and will happily link to. This will naturally generate quality links that will always win in the link building battle.

Keep it relevant

One of the key things that has come out of these changes is something called relevancy. Your content needs to be relevant to the search term that a reader puts in. For example, if your keyword is ‘bright green gas barbecues’ it’s no good talking about gas barbecues in general or bright green charcoal barbecues. The bottom line is to keep your content relevant.

Article submission to top authority sites

It used to be the case of creating an article and submitting it to a thousand different sites many of which had little or no authority. Now post panda, if you are going to use article directories for link building (and there’s nothing to say that you shouldn’t) then submit them to high PR ranked sites such as Webpro News, Sitepro News, Search Engine Journal and PromotionWorld. This will see that you create strong backlinks to an authority site and this is really the key here.

Look at your site as a whole entity

If you have several pages on your site then it could be that poor optimisation on one or two pages may well be dragging your site down the rankings. Instead monitor the pages that are under performing and adjust the link building strategies forthwith. You may need to block or remove that page in the short term if you simply aren’t getting the traffic you should be.

Write for humans

Finally, the best piece of advice would be to always write with the person in mind and don’t write for the search engines. If your site is appealing to ‘real’ people then it goes without saying that it will also appeal to Google. So again, if you have to remove low quality material from your site, revise pages that get little or no traffic, or re-direct them to somewhere else on your site with more relevant information, then do so.

Link building strategies and search engine optimisation doesn’t have to be difficult as long as you bear in mind that anything you do should always ‘add value’ to your potential reader. If you can do this, then in these days of ‘post panda’, you have absolutely nothing to fear.