Have you noticed your search rankings stalling as of late?  You may be utterly confused at this turn of events, especially if you continue to publish high quality content.  Of course, Google Panda was the algorithm update that struck back at low quality content sites.  The newest update, Google Penguin, still ongoing now, is actually more concerned with links than with content quality.  (Though a lack of quality may still lead to a penalty)

Remember that Google bases your popularity (and thus your higher rankings in SERPs) on the number of links that go back to your site.  Years ago, article directories helped tremendously; as they would help you create hundreds of backlinks to your site, since you could literally republish the same article at dozens of non-discriminating directories.

However, Penguin’s new practice of rewarding (or not rewarding) sites with low quality links has changed the game.  Now, websites have to be extra careful about including too many “low quality links” as well as “site wide links.”  The former is fairly easy to understand.  If you are creating dozens or hundreds of links at sites that have very little traffic, or that are associated with low caliber writing or content, then you can see why Google would have to reward another website rather than you.  It’s not a penalty per say, but it is a discriminating evaluative process.

Besides low quality links, the search engine will now investigate the quality of your site-wide internal-external links.  For instance, site wide links (often found on headers or footers of websites and on every single page) might count against you in total SERPs.  In essence, Google considers any untrustworthy links a cause for concern—perhaps even a drop in your rankings.  Not to worry, most of these bad link practices can be fixed in “live time” and Google will reevaluate your site in due time.

The answer to this dilemma is not in intensifying your efforts to create more poor to average links—Google will squash you.  The answer is in diversifying your links, namely by looking into blogging, guest blogging and magazine article writing, as opposed to just dumping articles off at popular directory sites.  Guest blogging allows you a quality link because the context is correct; you are writing an article of interest to a niche-targeted audience.

Yes, guest blogging does require some research.  You (or the SEO firm you hire) must find relevant guest blogs for your subject matter and then write a request letter, and or follow submission guidelines.  However, these quality links will go a long way in establishing your mainstream popularity.  It will be a real success story, given your new followers, and not just a manufactured success made that way thanks to hundreds of easy links.  Talk to an SEO firm for more details!