Google's recent Penguin 2.0 update really hit a lot of sites. I lost rank for some keyword phrases that I'd ranked well for (on the first three pages of Google) – for years. I haven't fretted about it too much, cuz what'ya gonna do? I'd go mad if I tried to readjust how I run my online businesses every time Google made an algorithm change.

But I have taken notice. And, one thing I knew I had to do was diversify how I drove traffic to my sites.

If there's one lesson we can all take away from Penguin 2.0, it's that we need to build a community around our content/sites.

What Exactly Does It Mean to "Build a Community" Around Your Website/Content?

In simple terms, it's getting a lot of different mediums talking about you, linking to you, mentioning you, etc.

In the past, I focused a lot on SEO writing – using properly keyworded, informative copy to drive traffic and sales. Now, this is no longer enough? It's just one piece of the "get more website traffic" puzzle that must be paid attention to.

Now there's social media, infographics, video marketing, podcasts, etc. And Google – and other search engines use all of these online signals, if you will, as part of their ranking metrics. Proof? Discussing the relevancy of social media to site rankings, SEO expert Jill Whalen wrote in the post, What Does Social Media Have to Do With SEO?:
Even before Panda and Penguin, how Google determined the relevancy of any given web page was changing. . . . If you're marketing a business, having a strong social media presence is no longer optional. It is essential.
With this in mind, following are four things I've started doing post-Penguin 2.0 to drive traffic to my sites.

I. Stepped up guest blogging efforts: Of course, I guest blog here twice a month. But, I've stepped my guest blogging efforts up. I started contributing to Business2Community.com (which has a page rank of 5).

This site gets good traffic (over 2 million visits from June to July 2013*) – and is a highly reputable source. It feels good to be among many of the highly regarded professionals who contribute there.

*Source: TrafficEstimate.com

II. Guest Posters for My Blog: On the other side of the guest posting coin, I recruited regular guest contributors for my blog. They contribute two posts per month each.

This not only balances out the blog by giving other voices a chance to be heard, it exposes my blog to their readers and vice versa; a win-win for all.

III. Became more active on social media: I got my first social media account in 2008 (Twitter). It's the one I'm most active on. I also have Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Google+ accounts.

I rarely interact on LinkedIn and hadn't pinned one thing on Pinterest until mid-July (2013), even though I've had the account for probably close to a year now. These days, I actively follow people on Twitter every day; have created boards on Pinterest and post there regularly now; and make sure to post to Google+ and Facebook every day.

I've got to get on the LinkedIn bandwagon more but the point is, I've stepped up my social media marketing efforts -- big time.

IV. More Frequent Posting: I used to update my primary site, InkwellEditorial.com, once a week; sometimes twice. Well, I went back to the drawing board and fine-tuned my blog marketing plan. I now update it at least four times per week – sometimes more.

All the Work Is Paying Off

I measure progress is sign-ups and sales. I've gone from getting a 2-3 new subscribers per day to 5-6 or more, on average.

While this may not seem like a lot, I've seen the uptick in ebook and seminar sales – the REAL measuring sticks. And, this is the slowest time of the year for my freelance business. I can't wait for fall – the busy editorial season – to arrive!

Getting More Website Traffic Post Penguin 2.0: Conclusion

All of this has been a lot of work, with a lot more on tap, eg, video marketing, infographics, podcasts, etc. But, it's a long-term strategy I'm invested in – one that will allow me to rely less on search engine traffic, and more on traffic that comes from a community – a community of followers I'm consistently building now.

This is why running an online business can seem like a never-ending job – because it is. But, if you enjoy what you do, it's quite fun too!

Author Bio
Yuwanda Black is the publisher of InkwellEditorial.com, an authority site on how to start a successful freelance writing career. Yuwanda is famous for saying, "Online writing is one of the easiest home-based businesses to start because if you have a computer and an internet connection, you can literally get started today!" Don't know where to start? Take Inkwell Editorial's in-depth online writing eCourse. You'll not only learn how to help clients drive traffic to their sites via your SEO writing skill, but how to make money promoting your own products and services online as well. 

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