The effects of Google's Penguin Update have been felt by many webmasters and digital marketers over the past six weeks. Not surprisingly, a large percentage of sites impacted by the update were penalized due to their link profiles. Before April 24th, paid links were prevalent throughout the Internet, but many link farming companies were reeling from the effects of Google's Panda. In fact, BuildMyRank.com was even de-indexed for its link building practices and was forced to shut down entirely. Penguin's debut effectively finished the job that Panda started by specifically targeting black and gray hat link building techniques, amongst other things.
Rebuilding Through Relevancy
Why does Google dislike link schemes? Quite simply, they "cheat" known aspects of the search engine's algorithm. SEOs have been aware for quite some time that links affect organic rankings. More links equate to higher authority in the SERPs. However, Penguin was designed to carefully monitor those links for their relevancy and today, quality has become far more important than quantity. Sites that were hit by Penguin for their irrelevant, low-quality backlinks must now focus on eliminating those and creating a stronger link profile.
Staying in the SERPs
After building relevant, high-quality links through blogs, social media and proactive outreach efforts, it is important for webmasters to retain those links while simultaneously striving to gain new ones, as well. Backlinks have always been a significant ranking factor and will continue to be crucial in the future. However, Penguin has shifted the balance and indefinitely changed link building strategies. Going forward, an emphasis on quality links isn't merely optional; it is an absolute necessity.