You are reading the article The Coming Penguin Update: Should You Reevaluate Your Link Building Strategy? updated in December 2023 on the website Achiashop.com. We hope that the information we have shared is helpful to you. If you find the content interesting and meaningful, please share it with your friends and continue to follow and support us for the latest updates. Suggested January 2024 The Coming Penguin Update: Should You Reevaluate Your Link Building Strategy?
A couple weeks back, Google’s head of web spam Matt Cutts said that there will be a massive update to Penguin sometime this year, and that he expects it to be one of the most talked-about updates this year. So strap in and buckle up, if you haven’t been adjusting your strategy, there’s a good chance you’ll be in for a bumpy ride.What Can We Expect From the Update?
I don’t want to play fortune teller here, so I’m not going to speculate too much about individual aspects of the coming update. Instead, I’ll remind you of the things that Penguin has targeted in the past:
Too many exact match anchor text links
Too much focus on anchor text in general
Anything that could be considered “black hat”
Links from “low quality” sources
Links that are “unnatural” (They were created manually or algorithmically, not editorially.)
Any participation in link schemes like link trading, buying, and so on
Links created using duplicate content
Links designed to manipulate PageRank
Links from automated content, and content that doesn’t serve the end user
I have a hunch that if I just state these examples without any explanation, that a lot of you are going to get hung up on the details. So, to be clear, Penguin is designed to target manipulative links. It’s not so much a question of what type of link you’re acquiring as how you’re acquiring it.
There are three tiers of links, and, if the new Penguin update accomplishes what it’s supposed to, these are the results you can expect from them.
Editorial links: links that you had little or no direct influence over, that were created simply because your content, tools, and community are worth talking about. These links are air-tight and will almost certainly never lose their value.
Spam/manipulative links: links you have full control over and that exist strictly to boost search engine rankings. These links are high risk and are very likely to lose their value. In some circumstances they will actually count against you.Evaluating Link Opportunities With Penguin in Mind
The most important question to ask yourself whenever you build a link is “would I build this link if it was no-follow?” If it fails that test, than you should be aware that your link is at risk of losing value in the future. If there’s only one thing you do to future-proof your strategy, this should be it.
Some might call that overkill, but it’s the only way to be honest about the future of link building. A link that you wouldn’t pursue if it were no-follow is a link that’s worth earning, but it’s not really a link that’s worth building. Understand that search engines are interested in links because they indicate popularity, shareability, and authority. If the links you build don’t send that message, they will not be sending the right messages in the long haul.
We have reason to believe that the major Penguin update Cutts is talking about will either expand beyond spam, or broaden the definition of spam. This has been the trend with every Google update designed to improve search quality. It’s not safe to presume that the next update will merely target what has been targeted before.
Why do I choose “would I build this link if it was no-follow?” as my primary test? Besides the fact that it fits Google’s Terms of Service perfectly, it is a sound marketing strategy. I believe the focus of SEO should be on growing your online presence even in the absence of search engine benefits. This is the foolproof strategy for growth and the only one worth pursuing if you are serious about being visible to your audience. Excessive reliance on Google’s algorithm is unsafe, and sends the wrong message to clients.
The second question to ask is “how easily could a newcomer copy my link building strategy?” Yes, anything can be copied, but how easily, and by who? No content strategy should be easy to copy without at least a year of serious writing experience. No outreach strategy should be simple without at least a year of experience contacting people online for marketing purposes.
It’s not that “easy” or “simple” are bad. Sometimes it’s important to strip away the complexity and focus on mastering the most effective skills, which are often the basics. No, it’s that “mechanical” and “linear” are bad. They are bad because even somebody who hasn’t learned the basics can handle something that’s mechanical and linear. And Google doesn’t want amateurs at the top of its search results.
What do you expect from the coming Penguin update?
You're reading The Coming Penguin Update: Should You Reevaluate Your Link Building Strategy?
Google’s John Mueller answered a question about natural links and mentioned that outreach link building is okay as long as certain lines were not crossed.Build Quality Content and Get Links to It
He framed it in the context of quality content.
“Like, we have to create the quality content, naturally people will give us link. That’s only natural or something because…”Mueller Validates Link Building Outreach… to a Point
John Mueller did not use the words link building or outreach.
However the substance of what he said was about the process of outreaching to publishers to let them know about content. This is generally known as outreach link building.
The strategy is to create content that publishers would be interested in linking to and then promoting it to publishers who tend to link to that kind of content.
“That’s essentially the idea behind kind of natural linking.
From our point of view it’s fine to contact people and tell them it’s like by the way, I have this great content and… maybe it’s something that you would appreciate for your website.
That’s generally fine.”When Outreach Link Building Violates Google’s Guidelines
Outreach link building can also go against Google’s guidelines.
There are many forms of outreach link building. For example, soliciting a publisher to offer them money to place links on their site is also called outreach link building.
That kind of link building is usually misrepresented to clients as outreach link building when in reality it’s a paid link that was arranged through an outreach.
True outreach link building is publishing interesting content and telling others about it.
“But anything beyond that where you’re saying like, well… you must link to me like this or you must pay me money or I will pay you money for this link or I will exchange something for this link…
That’s all something that from our point of view would make this an unnatural link.
So providing it to people and promoting it and saying like here’s great content and they link to you that’s perfectly fine.
Um… providing it and saying like I will do an exchange if you give me a link, that’s something we would consider unnatural.”
Related: Reciprocal Links: Do They Help or Hurt Your SEO?Is Outreach Link Building Outdated?
Getting a publisher to link to a site is difficult and near impossible for some sites, regardless of how high quality their content is.
What makes the process even harder is that people have more options for expressing themselves today than back in the heyday of blogging.
Unfortunately these platforms that people express themselves on, like social media and YouTube, do not provide links that can help a site rank better.
The world that PageRank was created for no longer exists.
Yet publishers are still under pressure to obtain links from an online ecosystem where links increasingly do not exist.
The idea of building great content and asking someone to link to it is seemingly an outdated concept because people today express themselves in contexts that do not support links.Citation
Watch Google’s John Mueller discuss link outreach from about the 11 minute mark.
There’s something I do every month or so that helps remind me that making a fool of myself in public is acceptable. I do improv comedy, we get up in front of “crowds”, and I use that word loosely, and we play improv games to make people laugh. Well, on a good night anyway. We all draw from our histories and other parts of our lives to do our day to day jobs. Now, I’m not saying link building is anything like doing short form comedy, but I do think some of the tenants of improv make sense when applied to getting links.Take Suggestions From the Crowd
One of the biggest parts of any improv show is taking suggestions from the crowd. We can apply that to link building in all sorts of ways. First, look internally. No matter who you have on staff dedicated to working on your website or promoting it, don’t ever assume that they are the only ones that may have web insights. We all live in the digital world, by keeping the door open for anyone on staff to contribute ideas you may get all kinds of interesting feedback.
People on the front lines, the sales reps, the customer service department, the product development specialists, all have different perspectives on your industry. It helps immensely when everyone contributes ideas, news tidbits and problems or successes they’ve had. All kinds of inspiration can be synthesized and in some way applied to the website. Whether it’s content creation for links, new contacts or ideas that may improve conversions, you never know where the best innovations will come from.
The other crowd to look to is of course the millions of other people on the web. Their suggestions may not come in through a “Brainstorming” meeting but if you pay attention, the crowd is shouting suggestions left and right. Whether it’s through trending topics on search engines, Twitter or other news driven publications, if you want to know what people are jonesing for, they’re telling you. You can find it by looking at what posts are most popular on highly trafficked blogs. You can find it by discovering what pages are most popular on your competitor’s websites. You can find it by noticing what kinds of content goes viral. When you listen to all of those voices and try to figure out how you can make your topic fit in with those popular topics, formats and themes you can replicate them, or even better, re-invent them to become fierce link assets of your own.Accept and Amplify
You’ll run into a lot of rejection in link building, at least you will if you talk to people on an individual basis. People will shoot down your link requests, guest posts, and proposals. Turning a no into a yes, is no easy feat and some people won’t even engage in conversation, but when you can the take the “yes, and” approach. As in, Yes I understand why you don’t want to link to this page, AND I have another suggestion for something you might like”. Or “Yes, you make a good point AND I’d love you know what would interest you”.
You can also accept and amplify by analyzing each link you do get. You accept the link as it is and you try to get another one the same way by amplifying the factors that were successful in procuring the original. It may be the angle of approach, the subject or style of the content, or even a new contact that can be built into a stronger relationship. By accepting each success and studying it for clues on amplifying it, your link building strategy becomes stronger by building upon itself.Know When the Game is Over
One of the biggest things new people in the troupe struggle with is ending a skit. With no pre-set ending you have to read the situation and know when to wrap it up. Of course ideally you wanna go out on a big laugh, but some nights with some games, it just ain’t happening. So you just move forward into the next one, hoping that it goes well enough for the audience to forget the debacle they just witnessed. Sometimes we link builders need to learn to give up too. Not all together of course, but sometimes the best we can do is chalk something up to a learning experience and try something new.
Recognizing a failing game in link building can mean a lot of things. It could be realizing that all the links in the world won’t make your website palatable to visitors and it’s time to re-focus your energy on usability. Sometimes it’s accepting that your link building strategy isn’t producing results or maybe it is, but the links aren’t working. Sometimes your content keeps getting ignored or rejected and it’s time to own up to the fact that it just isn’t all that good. When these things are happening, deep down we know it.
We have this sense of treading water, but we think just a little more, just a little longer and it will work out. But what if there is no pay off? It’s not easy to call something a bust, but it’s a reality that everyone has to deal with at one time or another. The good news is, when it’s a link building program, you can learn from your mistakes, keep the lessons of your success and blaze a new path. But the first step is to admit that you need one.
It’s been 7 years since I started doing improv and it still makes my pulse race every time, because there’s nothing easy about it. And there’s nothing easy about getting links either. Both are pursuits that involve commitment and risk taking. But what we can take with us from any good improv show is that listening to suggestions, accepting and amplifying and knowing when to call it quits are vital to making well, anything, work. Oh, and a sense of humor doesn’t hurt either. Learning to laugh at your mistakes and keeping your head up in the face of disaster will make you a better link builder and probably, a better person too.
An integrated marketing strategy means every element of your marketing plan must contribute towards your vision for the business, or be cut out of the day to day workload
Lack of integration between strategic vision and the tactics needed to get there is a problem I often find when reviewing marketing strategies. That’s why I created the RACE Framework as a simple one-page summary to unify your marketing strategy through goals, objectives, and KPIs.
This is true whether I’m reviewing student assignments or mentoring marketers creating real-world marketing strategies. More often than not, I find myself reading about different aspects of marketing objectives and tactics that just don’t line up with each other – and leave you questioning why.Marketing strategy definitions:
Investopedia defines marketing strategy as: Referring to a business’s overall game plan for reaching prospective consumers and turning them into customers of their products or services.
Market Business News defines marketing strategy as: A company’s marketing goals and objectives combined into a single comprehensive plan.
Pestle Analysis defines marketing strategy as: An analysis of all aspects of your sales activity and combines it in a way so that all departments know what is going on.
These 3 definitions highlight the strengths of a concise marketing strategy to align your objectives with your vision, and the benefits for your team. That’s why we recommend the RACE framework.What is digital marketing?
Digital marketing, also called online marketing or internet marketing, is defined by Dr. Dave Chaffey as:
“Achieving marketing objectives through applying digital media, data and technology”.
If you’re using digital marketing techniques to achieve your marketing strategy goals, check out Dr. Dave’s digital marketing explainer to stay up to date on all things digital marketing 2023.The RACE framework
RACE is a practical framework to help manage and improve results from your digital marketing strategy. Ultimately, it’s about using a data-driven approach, applying web analytics and recommended best practices to get more commercial value from your investments in digital marketing.
Integrating your omnichannel strategy will support your goals of channeling customers through the funnel of PLAN, REACH to ENGAGE, by measuring and tracking the most important touchpoints for your business right now.
If you’re looking for a new marketing plan structure that helps you integrate your marketing activities and prioritize channels that generate growth, why not download our free digital marketing plan template?
Free digital marketing plan template
Our popular marketing planning template is structured across the Smart Insights RACE Framework. Join Smart Insights as a Free Member to download our digital marketing plan template today
Access the Free digital marketing plan templateMarketing strategy example
The chart below is an example marketing strategy using the RACE framework to integrate objectives, substantiation, strategies, and KPIs.
1. SMARTER objectives are not a new concept in marketing. This means committing to quantified objectives that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. Likely, grouped around customer acquisition, conversion, or retention. You can use our set digital marketing goals and objectives module to improve your goal/objective setting technique.
2. Substantiation i.e. Evidence proving your goals are realistic based on situational analysis or creating conversion models.
3. Strategies to achieve objectives. Outline the main ways you will reach your objectives. You may wish to follow the strategy, tactics, action, and control format from PR Smith’s SOSTAC® structure. It’s also worth thinking about the full range of goals indicated by the 5Ss.
I recommend this table layout for aligning your strategies with your objectives since it provides a simple one to two-page summary of your marketing strategy. Much more effective than a long report your colleagues or clients won’t read…
RACE has been widely adopted by marketing professionals since it helps simplify your approach to reviewing the performance of your online marketing and taking actions to improve its effectiveness.Marketing strategy alignment in 2023
Did you know, nearly half of companies don’t have a clearly defined digital marketing strategy? But of those who do, the majority have integrated it into the marketing strategy.
Currently, about 12% are still using a separate digital document, which is the first step in the process towards a fully integrated strategy.
In 2023, the stakes are higher than ever – those without a digital marketing strategy, and those using separate digital strategies, risk losing customers to competitors whose marketing is aligned.
Now’s the time to streamline and prioritize your marketing strategy for business growth. We’ve got marketing tools, templates and training to support marketers, managers, and business owners to align their strategies in 2023. Don’t wait until tomorrow to start optimizing your marketing funnel, start today.
If you’re ready to sell your old iPad, you should ensure that you wipe all personal data from the device before you sell it. This guide will make your transition to a new iPad smooth by erasing all content from your old iPad before you sell it or give it away.1. Ready To Sell Your Old iPad? Back Up Now
This checklist is the same for all models of the iPad, such as the iPad mini, iPad Air, or iPad Pro. You should first back up all your essential data. You can consider using iCloud for an online backup or Finder or iTunes for a local backup.
Table of Contents
Note that Apple stores iCloud backups on its servers only for 180 days. So, if you’re planning to switch to a new iPad more than six months after backing up the old one, you could lose all your data on iCloud. That’s why a local backup on your computer is better for those who don’t immediately plan to switch to a new iPad.
First, let’s learn how to back up your Apple device to iCloud using a built-in backup feature on iPadOS.
When the process is complete, you’ll see a message below the Back Up Now button telling you that the last backup was completed a short while ago.
If you don’t want to use iCloud, use your Mac or Windows PC to take a full backup of the iPad. If you have a Mac, connect the iPad to your Mac using the USB cable. Next, open Finder on your Mac, and you’ll see your iPad under the Locations section in the sidebar. Select the name of your iPad in the Finder sidebar.
ITunes backup is the best method for anyone using an older Mac or a Windows PC.
You can also protect the backup with a password if you wish to add an extra layer of security, but be sure to use a password manager or an equally reliable tool to save this password. If you forget the iPad backup password, you won’t be able to access the data or use it to restore to a new iPad.2. Sign Out of iCloud, App Store, and iMessage
The next step requires you to sign out of iCloud and other Apple services. This will ensure that the new owner of your old device can sign in to their Apple ID successfully and use the iPad without trouble. iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 have an anti-theft feature that doesn’t allow people to sign in and use the Apple device if the previous owner hasn’t erased it.
First, you should check if you need to continue using iMessage. This service works on all Apple devices, including your iPhone, iPad, and Mac. If you plan to use any other Apple device, you don’t need to deregister iMessage, but if you don’t use any Apple device, you should disable it.
Apple will ask you to confirm if you want to log out. Tap Sign Out again.3. Unpair Bluetooth Accessories
Be sure to unpair accessories such as AirPods, gaming controllers, Bluetooth keyboards, etc. Open the Settings app on your iPad and go to Bluetooth to check which accessories are paired. Tap the i button next to each accessory and select Forget This Device.
Remember that you cannot pair your Apple Watch with any device other than the iPhone, so there’s no need to worry about unpairing it from your iPad.4. Erase Your iPad 5. Remove the SIM card
Once your iPad is restored to factory settings, don’t forget to remove the SIM card in the device. This applies only to the cellular version of the iPad, so if you’re using a Wi-Fi only iPad, there is nothing to worry about.6. Remove Your iPad From the List of Trusted Devices
If you’ve enabled two-factor authentication on your Apple ID, your iPadOS or iOS device receives two-factor authentication codes. So, when selling or giving away your iPad, you should remove it from the list of trusted devices that receive these authentication codes too.7. Find All Accessories and the Box
With all the basics covered, it’s time to hunt for the accessories shipped with the iPad and the box it came in. This includes the USB cable, charger, earphones, and manuals. Depending on the model of your iPad, some accessories may not have come with the device.
If you have the box and all accessories, the resale value of your iPad may go up on sites such as eBay or Amazon. In case the device is under warranty, you should look for the original invoice to help out the new owner of the iPad. It may come in handy if they have any warranty claims. The paper invoice is useful, and so is a soft copy that arrives in your email.8. Trade In Your iPad or Sell It
You should also check the Apple Trade In site to check if you can get a better price from Apple.9. Transfer Data to Your New iPad
Finally, if you bought yourself a new iPad, you can pick up where you left off by transferring your data to the new device. There are three main ways to do this.
If you have both your iPad and the new device with you, switch on the new iPad and bring it close to your old iPad (before erasing the old one). You’ll see a prompt on the old iPad asking if you want to transfer data to the new one. You can follow the on-screen prompts, and all data will be transferred to the new device.
Alternatively, you can restore from an iCloud or a computer backup during the setup process for the new iPad.
Your business can experience bottlenecks for a variety of reasons. It is essential that you identify and fix these issues so that your workflow levels improve.
One example of how to eliminate bottlenecks in your workflow would be to use data warehouse solutions to help organize and streamline your data using by using one central platform for greater efficiency.
Let’s take a look at some typical workflow bottlenecks and how to fix them.Understanding What a Bottleneck is and What Type It is
Your first task is to identify what type of bottleneck your business is experiencing. It is imperative to pinpoint whether you have created a temporary issue that needs resolving or you have a more long-term systemic problem.
The best type of bottleneck, if there is one, is a short-term bottleneck. A temporary problem such as when a key team member becomes unavailable, for whatever reason, could create a backlog and delays because there is no one else available who has the same skills and knowledge to fill their role.
This short-term backlog is the easiest to fix as you can easily identify why you are experiencing delays and know that the problem will be resolved when the key worker returns to their desk.
Long-term bottlenecks are obviously much more of a problem. If you find the same delays to your process each month there is clearly an issue that needs to be fixed so that your workflow improves.
You should not accept these bottlenecks as something you simply have to contend with as part of your workflow. These inefficiencies can cause lost revenue, cause customer dissatisfaction, and unnecessary stress amongst your workforce.
How to Calculate Your Body Temperature with an iPhone Using Smart ThermometerIdentifying a Bottleneck
Bottlenecks can occur across a range of different tasks and scenarios. A good example would be to look at what a performer-based bottleneck looks like.
It is relatively easy to spot if you have a problem with one of your processes. If a task is taking much longer than anticipated every time you need to break down the process and try to identify what it is that is taking longer than it should.
Setting up a new customer on your database, for example, should take a limited amount of time to input their details and check all of the information is correct.
If you take the time to create a workflow document that shows each stage of the process you might be able to spot some points in the process that could be improved or eliminated altogether.
Trying to identify whether you are suffering from a system-based bottleneck requires you to check whether a process is being delayed as a result of a technology issue.
It could be an uploading error, or it may be possible that your system is slower than it should be in processing data.
A good way of spotting that you might have a system-based bottleneck that needs identifying is when the same complaints from users keep surfacing about either certain elements of the program, or the system itself.
Long wait times to get the information and reporting data you want are a surefire sign that your business is experiencing a system-based bottleneck.
There are also some other ways to find bottlenecks. A good way of achieving this aim would be to use process mapping.
Process mapping is a great way to analyze your entire workflow so that you can see if every aspect of the process is compliant and working in the right way. You will need to create a suitable flowchart and it may also be necessary to carry out a workflow audit.
Fixing The Problems
Once you have identified where the bottleneck in your process is you will obviously want to apply a fix to get things running more smoothly and efficiently.
There are two fundamental ways to unblock the bottlenecks.
The first of those would be to find a way to increase the efficiency of the bottlenecked step that you identified. It depends on what the specific issue is as to what level and type of fix you apply.
A good example of a system-based fix would be to upgrade your software or consider whether using a data warehouse solution might give you a more streamlined and increased level of computing power.
Another way of approaching the problem could be to look at how you can decrease input to the bottlenecked step. You might be able to identify a way to reduce the volume of tasks that lead up to this point in the workflow or it might be feasible to find a way of eliminating the step in the process altogether.
If you are able to do this, it would obviously resolve the bottleneck and that should deliver an instant improvement in productivity and efficiency.
Another consideration would be to try and work out of your bottleneck is happening as a result of relying on manual input. It could be that you find a way to remove human intervention in a part of the process that is suffering blockages by finding a way to fix the problem with automation.
Eliminating bottlenecks in your workflow can sometimes be easy to identify and fix. Some challenges are more complex, but with the help of workflow audits and by mapping out your processes you should be able to identify and resolve any workflow bottlenecks in your business.
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