Good news! Link building’s easy as pie. The bad news… there’s a lot of fluff out there.

There’s a great opportunity to get the results you want simply by harnessing the content ninja within you. That’s right, no major learning required, just a chance to grab a nice coffee, and get a load of the content in this article – and you’re off!

Read on if you want to learn more, get better or become great at link building and SEO.

Not all penguins are good – as you’re about to find out.

Google HATES un-natural links. You don’t have to take our word for it, you just have to have an interest in penguins… well, *A* penguin, and a very specific penguin at that – say hello to Google’s Penguin algorithm update.

About the Google Penguin Algo – and why you need to think carefully about that next link.

Penguin was introduced by Google as a standalone algorithm update in 2012. It is designed to devalue pages which engage in spammy link building practices for the purposes of ranking higher in search.

It spots fancy softwares a mile off (easier to spot than you think), and whilst it might not quite put your website in the bin, it is unlikely to help you win.

Find out more about what Google thinks about un-natural, software-led link building here.

Any links intended to manipulate PageRank or a site’s ranking in Google search results may be considered part of a link scheme and a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.

The worst best thing about Google is that no one-thing will help you win. So you don’t need to become fixated on link building alone.

Follow the ol’ Google advice: “Do right by the user and all else will follow” There are 200+ ranking factors, and, in our experience (consistent content growers since Jesus was born), you can cover most of them with an injection of “How can we create a great website experience for our users?”

You see?

We told you – you-just-do-you – go get ’em, tiger.

And now, for the main event – our PRO TIPS Link building skool for content ninjas:

Fastest, easiest ways NEVER to worry about getting yourself a Penguin Punishment:

1. Understand that links are about adding value to your website’s visitors.

The ONLY real reason you need a link is to provide more value to the current user, reading the current page you created.  You’re offering MORE, not building a network.

  • The more you understand your users, the more obvious it will be to you, what a good set of links will be.
  • If you imagine what your user might want to do next, or what further information might give them a great experience, then you will become a living, linking, legend.
  • If your users click your links and then immediately hit the back button – you’re in deep shit. You just sent Google the heads up, that your links suck. Period.

Good links, good times.

  • Your users will stay longer and increase time on site.
  • You’ll boss your bounce-rate.
  • You’ll dominate dwell time.


What about you? Have you ever clicked a link that wasn’t what you thought it would be? What did you do?

2. Don’t do anything with your links that’s about ‘ranking’.

Natural links are really easy for Google to monitor and measure – because they have a real life user evaluating the quality of your website’s experience.

It’s easy for Google to follow your users it’s users through your website experience (using Google Analytics).

So a sure-fire way of getting a good shot at it, is imagining your user as they navigate between the links you provide.  Are they having a good journey, or are they getting ready to take a hike?

3. Google uses anchor text to get more understanding of how your website is put together.

What is anchor text? – spoiler alert, it’s the answer is in the question.

Google uses the phrases in the links to get more of an idea as to how your website is constructed – *probably* matching these phrases to searches that people in the target market are already using to search google for information like yours.

So when your anchor text is poor or non-descript, you’re just not helping yourself – and more importantly, your users.

4. Don’t put a link on your articles unless you would fight to defend the honour of the value that the link itself provides to the reader.

There’s an urban legend that Google counts the number of links in the body of your article and uses it to understand some kind of fancy ratio of usefulness.

Is it true? Who cares? Isn’t it just common sense that it would be a good signal to Google that you don’t quite have this page mastered if you have 10 links, and in the last 6 months, only 2-3 get clicked and the others ignored…

5. Recognise that Google is actually just a common-sense engine.

Doing the Google dance is a lot easier that the brightest minds in SEO will have you believe. Google makes most (not quite all), of its decisions with a good hearty dose of common sense.

What does that mean to content creators? Why does it help to know it?

It makes it much easier to think about what-links-you-need-where.

  • Ask: “Does the text in my link say where this user is going and what they will find when they land?” i.e. See the Latest Used Ford Fiestas in Stock for under £9,000
  • Ask: “Will the link make the readers life easier?”
  • Ask: “Does the link expand on the subject that are interested in, or similar subjects?”
  • Ask others: “Does link take you to where you thought it would?”
  • Tell everyone: “One word links belong in your websites navigation.”

One final pro-tip before we leave you here with your un-earthed, previously hidden ninja-like link building prowess.

Pro Tip: Review other people’s content from fresh, and make recommendations for:

  • Anchor text change.
  • Link removals.
  • New, additional links.

Google loves a good update. God loves a try-er. What more reason do we need, eh?

Go get ’em tiger.

Bedtime reading – Google’s 200 Ranking Factors: The Complete List (2019)