8 Safe Link Building Strategies That Work in the Penguin 2.0 Era

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Estimated reading time: 4 minutes, 28 seconds

With Penguin 2.1 now live, we are officially smack dab in the middle of SEO’s Penguin 2.0 era.

If you’re like most site owners, you have one burning question on your mind: “How can I safely build links to my site without getting slapped by Google Penguin?”.

Even though low-quality link building strategies — like mass web directory submissions, article marketing and blog commenting — are now worthless (and perhaps even dangerous), there are still a number of safe and effective link building strategies that you can use to build a natural link profile.

#1 High Quality Guest Blogging

Although Google now warns webmasters against “large-scale” guest posting, targeted guest posting on quality sites remains one of the most scalable and powerful link building — and traffic generating — strategies out there.

Here are some strategies you can use to make your guest posting campaigns safe from the wrath of Penguin 2.0:

  • Focus on quality, not quantity. Publishing 25 guest posts per month just doesn’t look natural. Allocate the resources you’d typically use to publish on dozens of sites towards getting content published on a handful of high-quality domains.
  • Use natural anchor text when linking back to your site. Don’t link to your site with anchor text like: “Defense Lawyer Sacramento”. Instead, link using your brand name or domain, like “SacramentoDefenseTeam.com”.
  • Aim for relevancy. A backlink profile full of links from unrelated sites is a giant red flag for the Penguin 2.0 filter. While you can get away with the occasional irrelevant link (after all, it’s natural to have a few of these in your link profile), you want the majority of your links coming from relevant sites.

#2 PR Mentions

Imagine getting links from sites like CNN.com and The Huffington Post. Well, with a well-executed PR campaign, you can.

Like any facet of marketing, PR takes skill, experience and a lot of work.

If you’re new to the PR world, you can get your feet wet by signing up for the free journalist mailing list, Help a Reporter Out. When you do, you’ll get three daily emails that list journalists in need of sources. If you can swoop in and provide some value to that journalist — boom! — you’ve got yourself a powerful (and Penguin-safe) backlink.

#3 Infographic Marketing

When done right, infographics are one of the most powerful content marketing and link building strategies on the planet.

However, like with your guest post bio links, you want to avoid exact match anchor text in your infographic’s embed code. That way, if your infographic does go viral, you don’t have hundreds of backlinks with exact match anchor text that put you in the Penguin penalty box.

#4 Broken Link Building

Looking for a scalable, white hat link building technique that’s also Penguin 2.0 safe?

Then look no further than broken link building!

Here’s how this strategy works in a nutshell:

  1. Find pages in your industry with lots of outbound links (resource ages are perfect for this)
  2. Check to see if there are any broken links on the page using a tool like ScreamingFrog.
  3. Keep track of the broken links in a .txt file or in Excel
  4. Email the site owner to let them know about your broken links (and offer a link to your site as a replacement for the broken link)
  5. Rinse and repeat!

Here’s a great overview of the broken link building process by Ken at Linking Matters.

#5 Blogger Outreach

Blogger outreach is an old school SEO strategy that still works like gangbusters.

What you’re basically doing is a) finding bloggers in your niche that may be interested in your content and b) giving them a heads up about it via email.

Email outreach link building may sound really simple and straightforward, but when done effectively, it can work exceptionally well.

So the next time you publish something awesome on your site, send out 50-100 emails to let other bloggers know about it. If it’s truly something special, a handful of them will either link to it in a future blog post or link to it via a resource page (if they have one).

#6: High Quality Web Directories

The days of “Submit your website to 10,000 directories for $25” are long gone. But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a place for web directories in a link builder’s arsenal.

To make your web directory link building Penguin-safe, make sure that you’re targeting high-quality directories that have a stringent editorial process. These are the types of directories that Google values, because — by only accepting quality sites — they actually provide a service to the web community.

#7: Interviews

Interviews — whether as the interviewer or interviewee — is an awesome way to establish yourself as an expert while also generating high-quality links to your site.

Do build links with interview, reach out to site owners and offer yourself to get interviewed or interview some of the movers and shakers in your niche (or both!).

#8: Link Bait

Although hard to get right 100% of the time, the fact remains that link bait often works well.

Simply create something that will catch the attention of the influencers in your industry. It can be a piece of controversial content, an industry study or a thorough guide that leaves them saying “wow”.

After it’s finished, follow-up using strategy #5 so that you can get as many eyeballs as possible on your link bait content.

Penguin 2.1 at SEW

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