Penguin 2.0 Fallout: Are Relevancy and Branding the “New Page Rank”?

May 30, 2013

Now that Penguin 2.0 is live, a natural linking strategy is more important than ever. Building a link profile that’s natural compared to your competition and in the eyes of the crawlers is key now that Google’s algorithm has evolved yet again. Linking campaigns that are more aggressive are more likely to be hit harder–and see bigger drops in their rankings–meaning it’s best to avoid overdoing money keywords, and necessary to avoid link networks as well as the buying or renting of links that are against Google’s guidelines.

Thanks to Penguin, the need to generate high quality links has overtaken the desire to simply build lots of links to sites all over the web–despite their quality. In SEO today, low-quality links like these, no matter how many–especially if there’s an unusually high volume of them–are often consider risky by SEOs and can be seen as spammy by search engines, making quality over quantity the new rule of the game.

But how do you generate quality links? And what should be used to measure that quality?

Page rank used to be one of the most important factors to consider when generating links, and it still is today. But something else has risen in the ranks and is becoming increasingly key to a successful link building strategy as well: relevancy.

A site with a higher Page Rank is usually a good indication that a link will be seen as more valuable and more sustainable than those on sites with a lower PR. Page rank, which is intended to measure a sights “importance” based, for the most part, on the number of links leading towards them, was one of the main indicators of where links should be shared.

However, with Google’s algorithm’s increasing focus on usefulness and relevancy for users–the relevancy of the sites your links are coming from is now equally as important as the rank of those sites, especially when it comes to overcoming the latest Penguin update.

Page rank is no longer a full-proof system of measuring link value. Now, the question you also need to be asking yourself as you go about building a natural link profile is: how relevant is this site to my audience? Is it marked by useful, fresh, pertinent content? If your site is collecting links from a variety of sites that have nothing whatsoever to do with your industry… they’re going to hurt you, and if not, at the very least they’re certainly not going to help you.

So what’s the takeaway? Which is more important in determining the value of a link in a post-Penguin world: link relevancy or page rank?

While link relevancy has certainly gained ground as an essential factor in the weight, and value, of a link–one cannot exist without the other. Getting links from sites that are both relevant, and reputable, is the real solution and the safest way to keep your site at the top of the rankings.

There’s no way around it, the latest Penguin has hit different sites differently, and despite the intelligence of Google’s algorithm, there are still some rankings that feel less logical then others. But if you work to create reputable and relative links like these, from a diversity of sources around the web, and linked to deep pages on your site, you’ll have the foundation you need to get yourself back to the top of the search results.

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