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Google’s updates always make the SEO world a little nervous even if they are operating legitimately. Just a short time ago the latest Penguin update was released and many were expecting to be significantly jolted. Google made a statement that only about 2.3% were affected by the latest update. Overall, it does not seem to have as big of an impact on legitimate sites as was expected. There’s been some question as to how important links are and if they can negatively or positively affect a site’s ranking. Small businesses can depend on SEO strategies of which link building is an essential part. Now for the SEO specialist the question remains on how to incorporate high quality links into marketing strategies without incurring penalties.

Primary Goals of the Panda and Penguin Updates

Panda was relatively easy to understand once we all got over the initial shock. It was released by Google to penalize thin websites that were using spun or duplicate content. According to Matt Cutts Google is actually pulling back some on Panda. Penguin on the other hand was more difficult to sort through as its focus was on patterns dealing with backlinks, anchor text and various manipulative tactics which involved links. Google has recently removed thousands of websites which sell links and some sites have even received a manual spam penalty.

Where does this leave SEO?

The SEO is wondering how to respond to the latest Penguin updates, if at all. Google is majoring on these factors when it comes to legitimate and responsible website design: build a great interactive website that contains high quality user engaging content. That leaves the SEO specialist scratching their head and wondering if Google thinks that it is that simple to get visitors to appear. We all know that they do not just appear without the use of any sort of web marketing strategies or other organized promotions. Some very good websites have been dissolved simply because of the lack of promotion. Various marketing strategies are geared to increase site traffic as well as obtaining a high ROI.

Legitimate Link Building Strategies

Webmasters are left to figure out how to use link building legitimately inside solid SEO good practices. SEO and online marketing have merged and are no longer independent of one another. Originally, search engine optimization involved fine tuning a website in order for spiders to crawl it and rank it high in the SERPs. Today, SEO is all about being established through branding, recognition, social media and the use of backlinks. These new goals all revolve around producing high quality unique content. Where SEO strategies used to be rather technical and isolate they are now more strategic and ongoing. Link building can be a slow process, but a profitable one.

Integrating Link Building into SEO Strategies

There are some practical activities which an SEO specialist will need to participate in on a monthly basis in order to be successful at optimizing a site for ranking in the SERPs. Link building is a strategic part of an SEO or online marketing campaign. In order to encourage others to provide those generic links to a site it is imperative to identify and address audience demand. This is one area where keyword research is essential. Content marketing is really becoming synonymous with link building. Through content a site is recognized and spread socially. Backlinks essentially come from relevant and valuable information. It is important to use a wide variety of content media such as video, audio, and textual. Video remains a type of content marketing which is still under used by most small businesses.

SEO, Branding and Link Building

Google looks favorable on branding and branded mentions signal to the search engine that the business is legitimate. By promoting a brand there are not only many marketing benefits but it is essential for an SEO campaign and the building of relevant links. There is a place for caution here in that content marketing and link building can run dangerously close to endorsements. It is important for the SEO specialist to spread news, events, and information across the web through legitimate means. This will gradually yield important backlinks without incurring penalties.