Are you intimidated by the thought of building links post-Penguin? It’s certainly clear that link-building as it has existed for years no longer cuts it anymore and Google is working harder than ever to make these strategies obsolete, but clean, credible linking still does have SEO power when implemented properly.

The main idea is to build links that serve more of a purpose than gaming the search engines. Makes sense, right? More than ever, Google is finding ways to award sites and the structures that support them if they provide a legitimate and quality user-experience.

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Source: flickr.com/photos/rmgimages

 

Here are some questions you might ask yourself before building yet another link to your site.

1. Am I Linking From a Quality Site?

You probably know the Panda algorithm was based on demoting sites that had thin, weak content. Well, a good way to describe the Penguin update is that it punishes links from these sites with thin, weak content – knowing full well that these sites often exist for no other reason but SEO purposes.

2. Is This Link Relevant?

Another consideration besides the quality of the site is the relevancy. As you might imagine, natural link – or a link built for a purpose other than SEO – typically come from sites or pages within the same niche or a related niche.

3. Will This Link Diversify My Anchor Text Distribution?

Remember when the most common strategy was to use the same anchor text over and over again in hopes to rank for that very keyword string? Google has been on to that for a long time and seems to finally have figured out a way to counteract these efforts.

Uniform anchor text across the entire link profile is a big red flag. You can use anchor text, but mixing it up with variations is more important than ever.

4. Is This Link Going to Get Activity?

Think about it for a second. Google wants to reward links that exist for a purpose, right? They want natural links, right? And what purpose do natural links serve?

The obvious answer is that natural links are meant to be a pathway someone can take to read related content. And the link has to make sense enough to get activity.

Thus, if your link actually gets clicks, it’s obviously more likely to be legit.

5. Does This Link Provide Value to Users?

This is the most important question of all if you really want to know whether you should lay that link down or not. Are you doing it for SEO? Sure you are – at least to an extent, most of us are still trying to find ways to rank artificially.

But your job becomes much easier if you focus on what Google wants, and that’s a quality user experience.

In the case of a link, you have to think of the user that hasn’t yet arrived at your site – the person who will find it on the website where you mean to have it placed. Will it be of value to them there? Will they be happy they clicked it, or instantly regret it and backtrack?

Start thinking of how the user experience measures up every step of the way. Make sure it is logical, streamlined, and worthwhile.

Now you’re starting to think like Google.