Pushing Back on Google Penguin: How to Improve SEO with Video Links

Google’s at it again. The search giant’s recent Penguin algorithm update has thrown a big monkey wrench into website owners’ strategies for improving page ranking and increasing their visibility online.

There’s been a lot of confusion around what Google was trying to accomplish with this most recent update, which is intended to quantify the value of backlinks, among other things – causing some backlinks to be labeled as “bad links.”

Google’s own quality guidelines warn against participating in link schemes and using hidden links – but the Penguin update appears to be penalizing website owners for legitimate offsite links as well. While Penguin didn’t change any of Google’s rules on backlinks, the update does seem to have created a tighter definition of these rules, which is what’s causing consternation among site owners.

Instead of frantically trying to figure out which links are good and which links are banishing you to Google purgatory, there’s an easier way to build back your ranking and regain organic traffic: by indexing video links that won’t compete with HTML pages for top spaces in the rankings.

With video links, you can quickly boost your page traffic and SEO rankings in 24 hours – without worrying about butting heads with Penguin.

Getting video links indexed by Google is the equivalent of taking the SEO carpool lane, and blowing past all the other traffic. Here’s a step-by-step guide to getting videos indexed to help restore an “injured” site ranking.

1) Get videos indexed directly to your domain
Since the majority of web traffic passes through Google, you want to take advantage of that traffic, but competing for placement based on page ranking with HTML pages takes a very long time. You can do this by submitting a video sitemap to Google – video links get indexed instantly and will receive “above the fold,” page-one placement in search results most of the time.

Click here for Google’s instructions on creating a video sitemap. In fact, you can double up your video indexing efforts by adding your sitemap to Bing as well – Bing is now accepting a broader range of video feeds and sitemaps, including the Google XML video protocol. Click here for Bing’s instructions on submitting video sitemaps.

2) Get backlinks to your domain by uploading videos to YouTube and other video sharing portals
If you’re trying to replace offsite links that may be causing your site ranking to drop under the new algorithm, links from YouTube and the like can have a very positive impact on your site rank.

However, it’s important to note that the page rank your site gets from YouTube is determined by the strength and popularity or authority of your YouTube channel, so work hard to build up an active following with great content.

YouTube is the second-largest social network on the web, so make sure you network: post videos that encourage comment, attract subscribers, and generate many “thumbs up.”

Keep in mind that in the profile section of your YouTube channel, the “Website” link that you can add is the only backlink that can help improve SEO (in other words, it’s a “dofollow” link). You can add links elsewhere in your profile and channel, such as in the “about” section and in video descriptions, which will help direct traffic to your site — but these other links are “nofollow” links that don’t contribute to SEO.

Finally, spend some time commenting on other YouTube channels with a high page rank. This will increase the page rank of your channel, which will pass page rank to your own website.

3) Create “good links” by giving visitors more content to share with their social networks
Social networks create “pure,” natural links that always juice up your SEO efforts – and these are the links that Google loves. The Penguin algorithm update (as well as the earlier Panda update) have ushered in an era where social sharing has become a key component of search engine ranking power.

Quality content is the only way to encourage such sharing – and video ratchets up this engagement, since people are more likely to share video than product descriptions or static images.

Make sure your videos offer sharing options to all the major social networks. Also, there is a NEW tool that allows you to use Google Analytics to see how well your social backlinks are doing. Once you find out which content is shared most often, you can replicate your success by adding more of that content.

Of the websites that have been adversely affected by the Penguin update, one common trait appears to be the lack of natural links back to their sites. By following the steps above, you can use video to quickly regain organic traffic while increasing the number of natural links to your site, and put your SEO efforts back on the fast track.

Dr. Melody King is vice president of marketing at Treepodia.