It’s official now. Google announced this week that Penguin is part of the core search engine algorithm and will affect real-time searches.
This all started on 3 September when we saw a lot of fluctuations in search results, bloggers complaining about drop in traffic mostly and now it’s announced officially so we all know it was this update.
So is this a good news?
Well it is actually a good news because it’s real time so you don’t need to wait for the next penguin update to get your blog back get out of penguin penalty.
Here is what you need to do next after this announcement.
If you see a traffic and ranking drop, start the recovery process straight away. Which will be, doing a link audit, and either remove or disavow spam links.
After that outline your SEO strategy for the next 12 months in which content marketing should be your top priority.
What should be your content marketing strategy for next 12 months?
Without a doubt SEO is or already has moved towards content marketing so to get backlinks your top priority should be writing top quality content and then marketing the content to get backlinks.
Here is what you need to do to get it right.
Find the topics bloggers are interested in linking
This is the first step and what you do next will depend on how well you do this. The basic concept is to find topics which will generate links and social shares.
Social signals are as important as backlinks now a days because this tells google what type of content people like to share so this is one of 200 factors google use to rank a page.
Anyway here is an easy way to look for the topic which people like to share or link to.
Create a list of top 10 blogs in your niche.
Next find top most linked or shared content on each blog. Go to Ahrefs, type the blog address, click Explore and the click on Pages -> Best by links or Best by shares.
This will give you the list of top pages of the blog so just make a list again and at the end of 10 blogs you would have a list of 100 pages which have done well in getting links or shares.
Next you really need to choose from this list what you want to write on. Here is an excellent post by Neil Patel on content writing tips.
Write a top quality blog post
Now that you have chosen the topic, next step is to write a top quality blog post. About 2 million blog posts are written every day and yours will be one of 2 million so make sure it stands out otherwise, it will get lost.
Ask yourself why would people want to link to your content? The answer is if they see any value in linking to it.
The value can be in anything. You can write a case study, provide actionable tips, a how-to article, discuss a common problem in your niche, or improve an existing article using Brian Dean’s famous skyscraper technique.
Outreach, outreach and outreach
Once you have finished your article, you need to start the outreach process. Outreach means to contact bloggers and influencers who will be interested in linking to your article.
Why would they link to your article?
Because they are in the same niche or in a broader niche and have already written on the topic. For example, if I like politics, I would love to talk about it or read about it or have a discussion about it with other people.
Similarly if I am a blogger and I write about politics and someone contact me asking to have a look at an article written on a recent political event, I would be very interested to look at it and if I like the content I would definitely link to it or the very least share it.
How to find these bloggers?
So you choose a topic, write an excellent article which you know will get bloggers attention. Now what? Well first step is to find these bloggers.
Let’s take this article as an example, I have written “Your Content Marketing Strategy after Real Time Google Penguin Update”.
So I know this topic will interest people who like “content marketing strategy” or “google penguin” or “how to get out of penguin” etc. There can be many variations of this topic and I will know more about these variations once I start finding bloggers and look at what they have written on it.
Go to google type “content marketing strategy” and search. Looking at this keyword, most likely I am going to get blog posts in the search results. Whatever topic you have written on, you are most likely to get blog posts in the search results anyway because the topic you choose in the first place was from a list of blogs.
Go to the first result, in my case its http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/developing-a-strategy/.
No go to Ahrefs, and “Explore” this URL. You can see there are 325 domains linking to it which is a lot of domains. These people are your prospects to whom you want to outreach and tell about your article. Because they have linked to a topic related to content marketing strategy, they would be interested in looking at your article and if it’s good enough share it or link to it.
Now this is only the first result, you can find 1000s of prospects by going to each URL in the search result and finding the links pointing to it. And you can do this for each keyword related to your topic.
How to outreach?
This is the most difficult part of this campaign but don’t worry I have some tips and tricks which can help.
One of the main problem of outreaching is managing everything. You can imagine how difficult would it be to contact 100 people by email, social media or filling out contact forms on their website, then following up to people who haven’t replied, or have replied, then how do you know how many people have seen the email but not replied, how many people replied etc.
All these stats are important because this will tell you if you are doing everything right or need to change your script or you are contacting to the right people etc.
Luckily there are few tools which can help, I normally use YourOutreach. This is a nice little tool which will help speed up the outreach process a lot. You will be saving a lot of time and contacting more people in less time, resulting in more links.
Normally you should get at least 2 to 5 links per 100 prospects depending on your niche. There are lot of bloggers who are only interested in money and offer sponsored posts so just avoid contacting them in the first place.
While contacting them, make sure to go on their blog and look at what they have been talking about recently and mention that in the email you sent to them so they know you have looked at their website and not just contacted out of blue.
Big blogs would normally get hundreds of email a day plus a lot of spam emails so this step is very important.
In your email, tell them you have been following them for a while and then talk about the recent topic they have written about in one sentence, then in one sentence tell them about what you have written and ask them to have a look at it.
Once they reply back then ask them to share it if they like it and if you have written a good article they will share it and may link to it in future.
If you are able to continue on this content strategy for the next 12 months, you are likely to generate 100s of links as once the blog post gets older and start to rank after initial outreach, people will find it automatically and link to it without even telling you, so it’s really the initial hard work then it’s all on autopilot.
All these links are pure white hat links which google love so forget penguin or any other penalty because you will never receive one.