One of the most important aspects of your post Panda SEO campaign is the inoculation of your site against what could be considered spammy links and even negative SEO. Today, the SERPs are full of sites ranking in the top positions of Google with less links than their competition and this is a direct result of failing to inoculate their site with the proper authority links and social media signals.
What is Website Inoculation and Why do you Need it?
Website inoculation is performed by getting authority citations and links as well as getting mentioned on social media platforms. All of which, solidifies the legitimacy of your online presence. This is needed because Googlebot is getting better and better at detecting link schemes and unnatural link building techniques by looking at your backlink profile and measure the authority of the sites mentioning and linking to you.
In other words; “If a site is popular enough to attract thousands of of links then why is it not mentioned in Wikipedia or other high authority websites and furthermore, why is no one talking about it on the social media platforms?”
How to Inoculate Your Site
One of the best ways is to get a company page created in Wikipedia. While this may be one of the strongest signals to send Google its requires work to gain or create the notability. You can also protect your site by getting mentioned in and linked to from educational journals, news aggregates like CNN, BBC and AP or by getting links from any of the top authority sites of your industry including .gov sites. This will all vary depending on the niche of your website.
Inoculation Via Social Media
As I mentioned before, if your site is such hot stuff then why is no one talking about you?!? We know that Google takes social media very seriously and is increasingly starting to use social media signals in their ranking logarithms therefore, it is imperative that you get mentioned on Facebook, Twitter, Digg and more. A site that has thousands of links but is not mentioned in social media is definitely going to raise some red flags.
Where do I Get the Links?
Start by identifying the top authority sites that are the most relevant to your niche. For example if your site is about muscle supplements, you might want to get listed on Men.webmd.com or in an educational journal from Duke Medical University or any other .edu website. Other techniques can be by doing press releases and getting mentioned in the sports section of a large news aggregate. In addition, if your site is a brand (which it should be because Google loves brands) then you should be listed in several business directories, Google Places and of course Wikipedia.
Getting Social Media Signals
Manually create and manage your social media accounts. You should have a Facebook page, a Google Plus page, at least 1 Twitter account. Even Linkedin and Myspace are social networking sites that will add creditability to your online reputation. You will want to create updates and network with like minded individuals on these platforms. Offer updates, information, promotions and even humor to get your following to stay engaged. I suggest daily activity on these accounts at least until your presence is established. In addition, bookmarking sites like Digg, StumbleUpon and Reddit not only give you great SM signals but they can also bring lots of clickthroughs.
Building citations to your website is a rather new SEO technique that involves just mentioning your company, brand or website along with keywords to describe it. Googlebot has gotten smarter and can now read the proximity of keywords and attribute them to the mention or “citation” of a company without having to follow a link. When done correctly citation building can be just as effective as link building. For more read this post I did on Building Citations for SEO.
The good news is once you have successfully secured high authority links, branded your company and got people talking about you online, you will not only see an immediate boost in the search engines but this also opens the door to allow you to conduct less-than-scrupulous link building campaigns and get away with it. Yes, you read right… once your site is properly inoculated, you can actually get away with having a spammy backlink profile to an extent. Here’s Matt Cutts talking about it in this video.
High Quality Links can Protect Your Site
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