How I Use Edgar to Increase The Effectiveness of My Social Media Strategy

Do you ever feel that all the work that you put into maintaining an interesting and useful social media stream is not getting the results it deserves?

I do!

I spend hours every week working on our social accounts. Finding great links to share, thinking about the wording of the updates, selecting or creating great images to go with them and then scheduling them.

The problem is that minutes after the tweet go out or an hour or so after the Facebook update goes out they cease to be useful and all that work stops paying off.

Today I want to show you a tool that I’ve been using this year that extends the pay off and makes the work you put into your social media much more worthwhile!

Meet my friend…. Edgar

This time last year after creating a video on how I approached social media I had a number of ProBlogger readers suggest that I check Edgar – out a tool that is great for managing social media updates.

The fact that I heard the recommendation several times within a couple of days made me curious, so early this year I decided to sign up and give it a go.

I was immediately struck by how powerful the tool was.

How Edgar Works

I’ve created a video below that walks you through exactly how I use Edgar – here it is.

For those of you who prefer to read…. in short here’s how Edgar works:

Note: Laura Roeder the founder of Edgar has a special offer for you below that you’ll want to check out if considering Edgar.

You set up two things before Edgar goes to work (and starts saving you a lot of time!):

Firstly – Edgar allows you to create a library of social media updates for Twitter, Facebook (pages, profiles and groups) and LinkedIn.

You save each update as a certain ‘category’ of content.

For example you might have categories for ‘evergreen blog posts’, ‘quotes’, ‘promotions’ etc. This takes no longer than scheduling a normal social media update.

Here’s a screenshot of some of the newly added updates that I’ve put into the ‘ProBlogger Evergreen Blog Posts’ category for my ProBlogger Twitter Account.

Edgar library

Secondly – You then set up a schedule for when you want updates to go out from each category and choose which social accounts they should go out to.

For example you might choose to have your ‘evergreen blog posts’ to go out on your Twitter account at 9am and 9pm every day and for them to go on your Facebook page at noon every weekday. Then your ‘quotes’ might go out on Twitter at 3pm and 3am and your ‘promotions’ might go on Twitter every Wednesday at 7pm.

Here’s a screenshot of part of the schedule of tweets for the ProBlogger twitter account:

Edgar schedule

You can set up as few or as many slots in your schedule as you like.

Then… Edgar goes to work and uses the updates you have put into your library to create a queue of updates that he’ll then start posting at the times and on the accounts you’ve set up in your schedule. The queue never runs out – it keeps repeating for as long as you leave it set up.

Here’s the next few updates that are scheduled in the queue for the ProBlogger Twitter account.

Edgar queue

Once updates go out, Edgar gives you analytics on how they perform in terms of how many likes, comments and shares they got – so you can see what updates work and what you might want to improve or remove from your library.

How I Use Edgar

Edgar works on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

I’ve chosen to use it mostly on my Twitter accounts at ProBlogger and Digital Photography School and it has completely changed the way that those accounts operate and the results have been fantastic.

Before Edgar both of those Twitter accounts were pretty embarrassing.


I used them largely to:

  • have automated tweets go out every time a blog post or a job on the Job Board went live (the tweets had no images and were simply a blog title and a link)
  • the occasional personal tweet (when I remembered to put one out)
  • promotional tweets every time we launched anything

Both tweet streams had very little in the way of visual content and didn’t have much personality to them. I knew I could so much better and that the result was that we were not getting the traffic or engagement with readers on those accounts that we could potentially have received.

When I came across Edgar I decided that Twitter would be my first testing ground for the tool and began to create my library of tweets an to construct my schedule.

At first I only had a schedule with a handful of slots in it and my library only had 20 or so updates in it (mainly evergreen blog posts). I didn’t want my followers seeing the same tweets all day every day so I started slow.

Gradually over the last 10 months I’ve added more and more content to my library which has enabled me to add more slots to the schedule.

Today I have over 2400 updates in my library and Edgar posts hundreds of updates to different social media accounts for me each week.

I’m still careful to keep adding fresh content into Edgar every week to mix things up and do add extra content in each week manually (more timely tweets, community questions, polls etc) to mix things up – but I’m happy to say that I’m now proud of my Twitter accounts and the resulting extra traffic and engagement that the accounts have had makes the effort of setting Edgar up worthwhile.

An Investment Worth Considering

As I speak about in the video above Edgar does have a monthly fee (starting at $49 a month). When I first saw this it did make me think carefully about if I should sign up for it. That kind of monthly fee is not to be taken lightly. However as I thought about the amount of time Edgar could potentially save me and the increased traffic and engagement that it could drive, I realised it was an investment I needed to make.

In many ways I see Edgar as doing the work that I could have otherwise outsourced to a virtual assistant. But at $49 a month I suspect that Edgar is achieving more each month than I could expect to get from a person that I paid that much.

Edgar will not suit every budget and is probably more suited to some types of blogs than others. My blogs are largely full of evergreen content and so my social media accounts can likewise focus upon sharing that kind of content. If your blog is more news focused or needs to mainly be sharing timely content then it may not be as effective for you.

It’s also worth noting that while Edgar will in the long run save you significant time if you use it to the extent that I have – it does take some work to set up.

I’ve taken the approach to add in a 4-8 updates every day of the year so far. That’s about 10-20 minutes work per day for me to set it up. This has enabled me to get almost all of my evergreen content from my archives into Edgar.

Once I’m finished putting in that archived content I will be able to reduce my daily work in Edgar to less than 5 minutes a day (just adding in new fresh content). So it takes some work to set up – but has some serious long term benefits of doing so.

I would highly recommend Edgar. It is something I’ve been paying for all year and a tool I’ll continue to use going forward as a key part of my social media strategy.

A Cyber Monday Offer from Laura Roeder

Laura Roeder is the founder of Edgar and is someone that I’ve long admired both in her drive and ability to get Edgar developed, launched and used by so many – but also in her own use of social media.

Laura has developed a fantastic guide for effective social media marketing for entrepreneurs which I think makes a brilliant companion to Edgar. It’s called Social Brilliant and it’s all about how to carve out your niche and build a great business using social media.

For the next 5 days you can pick up Social Brilliant training course for $199 and you’ll also get 6 months of Edgar for free (normally $49 a month). That’s $294 worth of Edgar for free when you pick up Social Brilliant for the next 5 days only.

Get the deal on Edgar here.

Disclaimer: I am not an affiliate for Edgar or Social Brilliant but Edgar is a sponsor of the ProBlogger Podcast. I want to be perfectly clear that I do have a sponsorship arrangement with Edgar for transparency’s sake but also want it to be clear that I’m a paid up user of Edgar and have been using it (and will continue to use it) every day since January of 2015.

5 Reasons Batching Your Blog Content Can Improve Your Productivity

5 Reasons Batching Your Blog Content Can Improve Your Productivity

This is a guest contribution from Christian Karasiewicz.

Do you ever find you’re always rushing to compose a blog post?

Or maybe you meant to write a blog post, but life happened and you forgot?

What if you could relieve the pressure of constant blogging and have content ready-to-go on a weekly basis?

Would it help you be more active on your social media channels?

At the same time, would you feel less stressed and more accomplished knowing you’ve written your articles for the week or even the month and all you have left to do is hit the publish button?

In this article, you’ll learn why you should batch your blog content to do just that.

Let’s take a look at how batching your content can help!

What Is Batching?

Rather than rush to create new content on certain days of the week, the art of batching involves writing everything on one day or in one sitting.

This way you don’t have to worry if you completed your post for the day in case things get too hectic.

Here are some ways that batching your content can help you.

5 Reasons to batch your blog content

1. It saves time

We’re all well-intentioned to write a blog or article. Except life can get in the way.

That hour you thought you had free became a meeting or last-minute project. When that happens, you scramble to get your corner written, and in turn, you put out a mediocre article or you just don’t write one at all.

By batching your blog content, it helps save you time because you plan out and write it ahead of time.

2. Reduces stress

When we don’t write our content ahead of time, it can add unwanted stress because it’s constantly on our mind or on our to-do list.

Couple that with the fact that we might be too busy, and you have a recipe for disaster.

Not only do you not grow your business, you also lose any momentum you’ve built up because you didn’t complete a task you set out to do.

By batching your content, you won’t have to worry if a post is done since you’ll be planning them out and writing them ahead of time.

3. Keeps you on schedule

At the beginning of every month, you should create your editorial calendar. This is what you plan to work on for the month. It includes projects and content you need to create.

Once you’ve come up with the ideas, it’s time to put them into action. Often times, we get part of the equation right – we do the planning but don’t execute the content.

To solve this dilemma, spend a day planning out what you need to create and the spend a day writing it all.

Not only will this lower your stress levels because it will be done, you’ll also be making progress and building momentum as you move from month-to-month.

4. Boosts your productivity

By writing all of your content ahead of time, it helps you build momentum.

The momentum can propel you forward and give you confidence to tackle other tasks you’ve been meaning to get to but haven’t because they seemed too challenging.

5. Free up time for other tasks

One of the single best reasons to batch your blog content is because it helps you get more done. And we’re not just talking writing more content.

By focusing your energy for one day, you can complete your blog posts for the entire month.

This would give you with even more time to work on other areas of your business. For example, maybe you needed to complete a website redeisn you started or put together more videos.

By batching your blog content, now you have more time and the confidence to help move you forward.

Your Turn

As you can see, batching your blog content can have tremendous benefits for your sanity and your business.

It can also help you build lasting habits that carryover into other aspects of your business.

While these are just some of the benefits to batching your blog content, can you think of any other reasons batching your blog content would help you?

If so, please share them with me on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or in the comments below. I would love to hear them!

Christian Karasiewicz is the CEO and Founder of Social Chefs, a digital training site that teaches you how to create winning recipes for success in social media marketing and business. Follow him @ckroks.

Reading Roundup: What’s New in Blogging Lately?

Reading Roundup: What's new in blogging this week /

Coming to you live from ProBlogger HQ, the interesting things we’ve found on the internet this week. May they help you blog better!

Is Blogging Finally Dead? // Blog Tyrant

I know. We’ve even talked about it too. And Dooce said she was over it. And then Mia Freedman jumped in. But there is no denying the landscape is changing. Ramsay gives us some stats that might get you thinking… and possibly Tumblr-ing…

Google Releases the Full Version of Their Search Quality Rating Guidelines // Search Engine Land

And it’s a behemoth. 160 pages packed with SEO goodness! If you’ve ever wanted to know the lowdown, now’s the time.

How Many Outbound Links Per Word or Page? [Original Study] // Northcutt

Is it however many are most useful for readers? Less than 100? None? Heaps? Carter Bowles tells us what his research has shown is optimal.

Click Here: 16 Hacks That’ll Get Your Call-to-Action Buttons Clicked // Neil Patel

With dowloadable cheat-sheet! You guyst know how much I love that.

Image source: Moz

Announcing Moz’s New Beginner’s Guide to Content Marketing // Moz

Are you part of the 70% of content marketers who are now making double the amount of content you were a year ago? Or are you keen to get stuck into the nut and bolts of content marketing? Moz has just released a huge guide (nine chapters worth!) to get you moving. With added Carl the Content Cat, of which I am a fan.

4 Ways Anand Sanwal Captures More than 1000 Signups a Month // Entrepreneur

That’s a number not to be sneezed at. The founder of analytics platform CB Insights gives us an insight into how he keeps on rolling in those potential-customer numbers.

6 Holiday Instagram Marketing tips for Businesses // Social Media Examiner

It’s that time of year again, trying to be seen among the consumerist din. How do you stand out? Try these tips and see!

Disappearing Act: Twitter Pulls Share Counts from Tweet Buttons // Marketing Land

I did not know they announced this in October, but I noticed the other day the count had disappeared here, and thought it was something wrong from our end. Twitter says it’s because the wanted to consolidate and simplify their platform… I’m not sure how I feel about this. My poor Tweet button looks empty and sad next to its other populated friends.

Of course there’s backlash, and with backlash comes a hashtag: #SaveOurShareCounts. If you’re annoyed, let ’em know!

How to Take Good Photos with Your Phone: 17 Tips and Tricks to Try // HubSpot

Taking a great photo on your smartphone is not as simple as pointing and shooting – as we’ve all learned the hard way. Simple tips will help you look like a pro in no time.

Meet the Director of Social Media Who Doubled Pitchfork’s Instagram Following // Hootsuite

All the Instagram secrets from Pitchfork’s manager of day to day social output across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Vine, and Tumblr, their quarterly print publication, and music festivals, and email marketing – a huge job where she’s learned a lot.

So what are your thoughts? Upset with Twitter? Think blogging’s not dead? How many outbound links are you comfortable with?

Stacey Roberts is the Managing Editor of a writer, blogger, and full-time word nerd balancing it all with being a stay-at-home mum. She writes about all this and more at Veggie Mama. Chat with her on Twitter @veggie_mama or be entertained on Facebook.

How to Work Out What To Focus Your Time On

How to Choose What to Focus Your Time onDo you ever feel like you don’t have enough time to fit everything in?

Like there’s an opportunity  staring you in the face to start something new but to take it on would mean everything else you’re already doing would suffer?

You know the feeling – you’re

  • working away on your blog
  • creating content
  • updating your FB, Pinterest, Twitter accounts each day
  • responding to comments and emails
  • reading and commenting upon other blogs
  • creating the occasional eBook
  • updating your advertiser page

And then all of a sudden, the game changes. We’re meant to be across live streaming, have a podcast on the go, speak at events, guest post on relevant niche blogs, and be carrying out consistent brand work.

FOMO starts creeping in… you feel overwhelmed… and afraid to say “no” to any one opportunity because what if it’s the next big thing? Your next big break?

I get asked by readers all the time how to work out what to focus upon, and I also get asked all the time – ‘how do you fit it all in?’

In today’s episode of the ProBlogger podcast, I want to tell you the truth. How I manage to write, blog, podcast, tweet, live-stream, speak at events, and publish books. What my strategies are, how I’ve learned to resourcefully use my time, and what I choose to say “no” to, so I can say “yes” to something else.

If you’ve got any questions or feedback about how your spending your time, or how I juggle all the responsibilities of being an online entrepreneur, I’d love to hear it!

The show notes for episode 65 can be found here.

Further Reading:


Three Basic Elements to Help You Create the Perfect Video

Three Basic Elements to Help You Create the Perfect VideoThis is a guest contribution from James Tew.

Many bloggers are now considering the use of video to increase their reach, inform their audience about an upcoming product launch, or just as a new way of leveraging one of the fastest growing mediums on the internet. In fact, according to, by 2019 80 per cent of the world’s internet traffic will be made up of video.

We work incredibly hard to build our reputations and would do anything to protect it because in the end, it makes up a large part of our business. One thing that I believe can be incredibly detrimental to that brand is terrible video production. However, more often than not now, we don’t have the time or patience to dedicate time to the technical aspects of video. In addition, for some of us, video is purely a marketing tool and we’re not aspiring to be the next JJ Abrams.

A lot of bloggers may already have a DSLR and I think it is safe to say that the majority of us have a smartphone. In fact, the smartphone you have can record incredible looking video without having to make any expensive purchases.

In this article, I want to touch on a few hacks that will help you dramatically increase the quality of your video, maintain your reputation and help you stand out from the rest.

Shaky Video

I get incredibly sea sick so it doesn’t help when I watch a video that makes me feel like I’m sailing through a cyclone. Shaky video is terrible and really screams “amateur”. Now I’m not saying that you need to go out and pick up the most expensive Manfrotto tripod but these couple of suggestions will increase your quality.

  • Use a stack of books to balance your camera or smartphone. Grace Helbig has over 2 million subscribers to her YouTube channel and in the documentary Please Subscribe, she proves that you don’t need expensive equipment. Grace simply sat in front of a window and rested her camera on a stack of books. This will immediately remove the shaking out of your video.
  • Grab a Selfie Stick or cheap tripod from eBay. You may be thinking: “a selfie stick? really?” – Well in fact, a selfie stick will decrease the amount of shake in your footage. This is because you have greater surface area to hold providing greater stability. Another option is to pick up a small tripod from eBay such as a gorillapod. My personal recommendation is a small tripod as it eliminates any contact with your camera.

Three Basic Elements to Help You Create the Perfect Video

Hollow Audio

Have you ever tried recording yourself with a DSLR and noticed that you sound like you’re talking into a tin can? The cameras aren’t built for amazing audio as well as image quality so using an external audio source will increase your quality tenfold. There is definitely not a lack of options when it comes to audio. Tools like the Zoom H4n or Rode Videomic Pro are industry standard for video marketers. Instead of spending hundreds of dollars on this expensive equipment, here are three ways you could dramatically increase your audio quality.

  1. The Rode Smartlav+ is a great lapel mic for smartphone users. This inexpensive tool will dramatically increase the quality of your audio and allow you to use your smartphone as an audio recorder. Extremely simple to use, accompanied by the Rode app, you’ll look and sound like a pro in no time.
  2. Use your smartphone voice recorder app. If you’re using a DSLR, hiding your smartphone out of frame and recording via the audio recorder will see a dramatic improvement in comparison to camera audio. While it is not the best, it will suffice for the majority of bloggers looking to harness video.
  3. Use a podcasting microphone. If you’ve made the investment of purchasing a podcasting microphone, you can set that to record your audio and sync in editing. A simple clap on when recording will provide a spike in both camera audio and recorded audio enough for your to sync it up.


Another important aspect of filming is lighting. When I started making videos for YouTube, lights were one of the first things I purchased because I wanted to stand out and look the part. If purchasing lights is not in your budget, you can certainly take a leaf out of Grace Helbig’s book and sit in front of a window.

Much like with photography, we want to avoid overly saturated images. One hack that I have used in the past was to sticky tape baking paper over the window. This will diffuse the light enough to make the image less saturated.

Finally, avoid ‘yellow’ coloured down lights. If you’re using the downlights in your home, purchase a daylight bulb and position yourself approximately one to two metres away from the bulb. If you can, set your camera higher than your face and look up on a slight angle. This will help eliminate any harsh shadows on your face.

These are just three basic elements of what makes a good video from the production side. Of course as with anything we create, good content will always win however, implementing these three recommendations will help ensure that people don’t switch off in the first 10 seconds of your video.

Have you had much success with video? What has worked for you?

James is a 27-year-old dad of four girls who helps entrepreneurs build relationships and grow the strength, courage and confidence to build their brand with video.

Top Takeaways for Bloggers from the International Food Blogger Conference 2015


This is a guest contribution from Thei Zervaki.

Each year, the International Food Blogger Conference brings together USA-based and foreign food bloggers under the same roof. During the three-day event, participants taste food, improve their food writing skills, and learn more about the latest trends in photography and technology. As a participant myself in this year’s conference held in Seattle, I share the highlights:

FOOD –the center of all activities

Food was the main event of the conference, so to speak! The opening night reception and gift suite, the wine reception on Saturday followed by the culinary fair, and two breakfast sessions hosted by two sponsors, it was indeed a show for those who are in the food business.


The Takeaways:

  1. Be observant, curious, open-minded and spot upcoming food trends. IFBC is rather small compared to massive food trade shows like the Fancy Food Show for example, but trends are there in terms of recipe making, propping and decorating. You can reinterpret these trends on your blog for a unique twist on everyone’s new favourite.

The trends I saw were:

  • The avocado cupcakes served may well be an indication of a cupcake comeback – this time savory.
  • Yogurt got an upgrade by being served in martini glasses. Is this the new way of serving, daily, modest foods and dishes?
  • Cocktails were made with tea, spices and herbs, marking a soft passing to the fall and winter months.
  • Street-food inspired dishes as well comfort food dishes with a twist had a bold presence.

WRITING: are food bloggers moving towards to more conventional food writing?

There were several sessions with the topic of food writing. From a New York Times writer to Seattle-based bloggers to published cookbook authors, all shared their personal writing and blogging stories, and made suggestions on how to improve our writing skills.

The Takeaways:

  1. Find your writing voice. Bloggers can have different voices for different blogs or outlets. One may require you to reveal yourself, a second to play a bit more of a character. Whatever you decide to go for, you have to be consistent to the outlet you contribute because consistency will bring readers back.
  2. Decide who you want to be as a blogger/writer. Are you a recipe tester? A mom trying to make better and healthier meals everyday? Or a professional who wants to succeed in everything including cooking? That will define your surroundings and it will be essential to find your voice.
  3. Do exercises to improve your writing skills like try to create a scene with your words. Don’t forget the famous Ws: when, where, what, why and who.
  4. Make three changes after the final post is written to delve even deeper: why the pie is so good? Who made it? Where is now? Can you improve on your writing?
  5. Keep an eye on the food trends for updated, fresh and interesting content that can be seasonal or holiday-related. It will help you establish yourself as a blogger who has their finger on the pulse.
  6. Watch out with those freebies. Bloggers should respect the FTC regulations that demand from all bloggers to disclose in their postings any free products or services they receive in order to write it. Postings can be sponsored by brands very often and this also has to be disclosed. What bloggers should build first to bring and keep readers to their sites is trust, so ethics is an important piece of food blogging.
  7. The well-worn path is often the most fruitful – if you want to become a published cookbook author, you have to follow the traditional path of getting an agent, sending a proposal and working with a mainstream publisher. In come cases, a publisher may ask you to find a photographer and a food stylist for the images of the book and this is an additional cost to you. There are self-publishing options of course but in this case writers are in charge of everything.


Trends in Technology

Write more, and write well

Sara Rosso, Marketing Director at Automattic ( gave a presentation that focused on the Jetpack plugin for the self-hosted WordPress sites. The presentation was packed with all the features that Jetpack offers from the stats to contacts and the extra side bar widgets to security backups (through vaultpress).

The Takeaways:

  1. Write often and well
  2. Develop quality content
  3. Adopt descriptive titles (in recipes and all content)
  4. Add text to images, and add links to their content.

Photography is King

But if food, writing and technology were the themes, photography actually under-staged them all. High-profile photographers talked on how to make your food look better in photos, how to prepare the food, prop styles for cookbooks and how to shoot excellent photos for major culinary magazines as well as your blog. Those well-planned and staged shots manipulate any plate of food in such detail that it looks delicious, so delicious that your desire of having it is immediate. The recipe on how to make your Thanksgiving turkey look brown and mouthwatering includes some dish soap. You’re better off not eating it afterward!

The Takeaways:

  1. Create the setting for your image: think about time, season, weather, indoors/outdoors, people, emotions…
  2. Develop your personal style to really stand out from the crowd: consider colors, props, decoration
  3. Tell a story through food: what do you want to portray?
  4. Develop recipes from different angles so they can be photographed in different ways: give a twist to classic dishes, think outside the box.
  5. Prop styling is as important as writing and photography: Invest in surfaces, linens, flatware, etc that you can use again, but also diversify. Scout for little treasures in antique and vintage shops, eBay and boutique stores in your area. You can also rent them instead of buying them.
  6. Have a budget for gear, workshops and travel in order to learn to take better photos but think where you will use these photos first

Next year the IFBC is moving to Sacramento for the much needed change of scenery. The choice is not coincidental – Sacramento is the heart of California’s farming and agricultural industry. Next year’s content will include some key issues facing the world’s food community, including drought, food-insecurity, urban farming, sustainability and agricultural innovations. It seems that food bloggers are moving to food writing with a larger scope.

Are you a food blogger? Have you seen similar trends emerging in your space?

This is a guest contribution from food writer and columnist Thei Zervaki. You can read her culinary adventures on and at the Huffington Post

Content Marketing – Secrets From an Entrepreneur Who Has Used It to Build a Successful Business

Content Marketing – Secrets From an Entrepreneur Who Has Used It to Build a Successful BusinessI’m really excited about this episode of the ProBlogger Podcast, as today I am sharing my interview with Dan Norris: serial entrepreneur and founder of WP Curve (which gives bloggers access to WordPress developers for unlimited small jobs). Dan recently spoke at the Australian ProBlogger event as part of the Small Business Bootcamp, which we ran in partnership with Telstra Business, and his session was one of the highest-rated of the whole weekend.

In today’s episode, we talk about content marketing, how to differentiate yourself from millions of others doing the same thing as you are, and how to scale your business. Dan also gives insight into how he came to start WPCurve and what they offer to bloggers who need quick WordPress tweaks and peace of mind.

We also discuss what exactly is content marketing (and why bloggers need to care about it), examples of people doing it just right, and how you at home can do it too. We talk about what mistakes Dan sees bloggers making, how he tracks metrics, niches, storytelling, monetization, and his top tips to get eyeballs on your content.

You can find the show notes to episode 64 of the ProBlogger podcast here – we’d love to hear your feedback on our chat!

Further Reading:


5 Sure-fire Ways to Avoid a Google Penguin Penalty

5 Sure-fire Ways to Avoid a Google Penguin Penalty (Which you REALLY don't want!) on ProBlogger.This is a guest contribution from Steve Ceaton.

So recently Gary Illyes from Google announced that hopefully by the end of 2015, Penguin updates will be carried out in real-time. Waiting for the next Penguin update has been the bane of many a website owners’ life, and getting hit with a penalty can cost thousands in lost revenue.

For those unaware, Google has two major algorithms that can penalize websites, and they’ve named them after two cute animals. Penguin and Panda. Far from being cute, these animals have put a countless number of websites out of business, and if you’re going to be a blogger you should acquaint yourself with them very carefully.

The Penguin algorithm is all about links pointing to your website from other websites. If the links are over optimised, from bad neighbourhoods, or just don’t ‘look’ right, then you could find yourself with a Penguin penalty. A penalty that will kill your positions on Google. To get out of a penalty you need to fix whatever’s triggered it, then wait up to 6 months or more for the next update to see if your website is now ‘Penguin free’. If not, then you have to try again and wait another 6 months, and so on and so on.

But, if Gary Illyes is true to his word, there could be hope on the horizon to recover much quicker. With real-time updates there’ll be no more waiting around for a refresh and we can see the results of fixes almost as soon as we apply them.

This is great news for website owners, but what can we do to avoid getting hit by a Penguin in the first place?

Here are some things you should do if you want to avoid a Penguin penalty.

1) Watch Your Blog Comments

We all love to be sociable, and it’s true if you want engagement on your blog you should frequently engage on other people’s blogs. This is commendable and perfectly reasonable, but if you’re a little too zealous with your commenting you could find a (not so cute) Penguin breathing down your neck.

When you submit a comment, you’re requested to add a name, email and web address. The blogging system will then turn your name into ‘anchor text’ and use it as a link back to your website.

If you add the same thing every time you post, you could find your anchor text ratio hitting dangerously high levels.

A study by showed that every website hit by Penguin had over 60% of its anchor text the same. In this instance the anchor text was a ‘money’ keyword (e.g. web designer, SEO expert etc.), but you still need to err on the side of caution and ensure all your anchor texts are at least below 35%.

The highest percentage of anchor text would ideally be your brand name, or if you’re blog commenting you should use your actual name. But if you’re commenting a lot then it’s good to mix it up and use variations, so they aren’t all exactly the same.

Of course, there are exceptions to this rule and you’ll find websites getting away with much higher anchor text ratios, but these type of websites usually have one thing in common: Trust.

2) Build Your Trust

If your website is trusted by Google you can get away with a multitude of sins. Rand Fishkin from Moz once famously invited spammers to hurt his Google rankings, but they failed because Moz is such a trusted website. But how do you build on trust?

Trust is an ethereal kind of thing that comes over time, but you can be proactive. Tools like Majestic SEO have their own Trust Flow indicators which are built using complicated algorithms that analyse backlinks. Generally they’re quite effective when it comes to sorting out the low from the high quality websites, and you can use these when assessing who to make ‘friends’ with.

For example if you’re going to comment on someone’s blog, give them a quick check on Majestic SEO first. If they have a low Trust Flow then you might not want them linking to your website. The more low quality links you have the less trusted you’ll be, so be selective on where you get your links. On the flip side, you can seek out websites that are high in Trust Flow and comment/engage with those. The higher your Trust Flow, the higher chance you have of becoming a trusted website, and the better chance you have of avoiding the dreaded Penguin penalty.

Worried about incurring a Google Penguin Penalty on the SEO of your blog? We've got 5 surefire ways of doing just that! On

3) Avoid ‘Active’ Link Building

John Mueller is a Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google, so when he speaks we should generally listen. John came out recently and said we should avoid active link building completely. Now this is a bit extreme, but actually good advice, especially for people new to SEO. It’s a known fact that your website needs links to improve its rankings on Google. So it’s all too easy to run around begging, stealing, borrowing links from anywhere and everywhere you can find. But this opens the door to low quality links and can leave you vulnerable to a Penguin update.

You should look at your content first and concentrate on building a website that’s the best, most resourceful and informative of its kind. People come first, not links, and as mentioned, trust is more important than links. So if you spend more time delivering excellent content and engaging real relationships via social media, and less time ‘actively building links’ then you should have a much better chance of success and avoiding any penalties.

4) Never, Ever Buy Links

This follows on from the last two points and should be a given, but it has to be said. Don’t buy links. If you do a little digging into the world of SEO you’ll soon find a multitude of link peddlers selling links in all shapes and sizes. They’ll come at you with testimonials and charts and tell you that these links are proven to increase rankings. For a newcomer it’s easy to get swayed by this kind of talk, but I can guarantee that the vast majority of websites hit by Penguin had paid for links at some point or other. The people that sell links aren’t bothered who they sell them to. They just want the money, and what might seem like a shortcut at the time will only shorten the life of your website when you get hit by a Penguin update.

5) Be Polite and Don’t Annoy SEOs

This may sound pedantic, but it could be the best advice you’ve ever been given. If like me you enjoy getting involved in forum discussions or groups on Facebook, it’s quite reasonable you’ll look for some SEO experts for advice. This is all well and good, until you find yourself in a flame war, arguing over some point about how links can’t hurt your website, or how link building is dead etc.

It only takes one disgruntled keyboard warrior, sat at home in his/her dressing gown to make a point by throwing a barrage of bad links at your website.

If you make enemies in the wrong places it could kill your website before it’s even started. Tread very carefully when speaking to groups of SEOs, as they all have access to links that can damage your website. If you see an argument brewing then run for the hills. Negative SEO is very real and in certain niches highly prevalent, so it’s best to fly under the radar until you have enough trust to withstand an attack.


Basically a Penguin penalty is caused by one of two things:

  • Anchor text ratio
  • Low quality links

If we stick to the points above we should have a good chance of avoiding a penalty and not losing our rankings on Google. If like Gary Illyes says, Penguin updates are to be carried out in real-time, and we do get hit by a penalty, at least we have a chance of addressing the problem quickly and hopefully recovering sooner.

Online success is a long term venture and there’s no quick fixes or shortcuts. Remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint and if Google has anything to say about it, you’ll never outrun a Penguin.

Steve Ceaton is a writer and blogger of SEO tips. Learn more about him here and connect with him on @SteveCeaton, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

Reading Roundup: What’s New in Blogging Lately?

Reading Roundup: What's new in blogging this week /

Plenty of stuff in here today to get you thinking! I’d love to hear your thoughts – let’s chat in the comments cos I seem to have a lot of opinions today!

11 Authors’ Strategies for Overcoming Writer’s Block // Mashable

Ah, it happens to the best of us. Nothing a few tips from the pros can’t overcome, though!

Why Manual Link Building will Never Be Obsolete // Search Engine Land

I’ve seen so much discussion about manual link building recently, and whether it should be done or not. This was food for thought.

4 Ways to Boost Your Social Media Presence //

I do number one the most – and I find it the most fun! It’s also super-revealing into the hearts and minds of your readers.

How to Create the Right Content at the Right Time: 6 Tips to Get You Started // HubSpot

Awesome basic tips to help you stay in the know if being current and timely and blogging on trends is your thing.

How to Create an Epic Mail Course as an Opt-In // By Regina

Well there’s something different to your standard free report/eBook/printable opt-in! A whole course. If you want to take the plunge, Regina’ll help you!

What I Learned (the Hard Way) About Becoming a Full-Time Writer // Jeff Goins

What happens when you’re always chasing your ‘big break’ (and never finding it!)

How to Use Periscope to Attract Followers // Chalene Johnson

Ok so it’s established itself as the next big thing that everyone’s jumping on – find your new audience there! (and find Darren here).

Twitter Says Hearts are a Success with 6% Increase in Usage over Stars // BBC

Did you even notice? Instead of “starring” a tweet to favourite it, the icon is now a heart. I always wanted something like a Facebook “thumbs up” to show that I liked a tweet, which sadly, I still don’t have. I use the “favourite” function to save favourites I can refer to later, even though I know lots of folk who use that as a virtual “like” button. Maybe this will help me psychologically move beyond the favouriting that’s always held me back and like a tweet for the sake of it! (but then I’ve still got a list of crap I need to wade through to find the thing I want… hm…)

Google’s New “About Me” Tool Lets You Control Personal Information Shown by Gmail, YouTube, Maps, and More // Venture Beat

Google Plus is now no longer a user requirement for anything Google-related, and so from last week, Google rolled out the new tool that allows you to modify how much personal info users see of you online.

Adam Gopnik on Darwin’s Brilliant Strategy for Preempting Criticism and the True Mark of Genius // Brainpickings

Oh if it’s one thing I’m sick of  doing, it’s preempting criticism. It can really strangle you as a writer, entrepreneur, or creative. Thinking of all counterarguments before you’ve even published anything is exhausting. And probably stupid in many blog cases, because you want conversations, not to be the final word on everything. It is difficult when people take issue with what you’ve written (especially if they’ve misinterpreted you), but I wonder about covering off every possible angle to ensure nobody can complain and if it’s necessary. But this article totally made me think… especially because the practice of criticising one’s own ideas is actually a very useful one, and not just to shut down arguments before they happen! What do you think?

Stacey Roberts is the Managing Editor of a writer, blogger, and full-time word nerd balancing it all with being a stay-at-home mum. She writes about all this and more at Veggie Mama. Chat with her on Twitter @veggie_mama or be entertained on Facebook.

Writing Challenge: Write a “Mistakes” Blog Post

Writing Challenge: Write a "Mistakes" Blog PostToday I want to give you a writing challenge – one of many we’ve done during the life of this podcast. We’ve tackled list posts, link posts, opinion posts, calls to action, review posts, and “how I do it” posts, and now it’s time to crack open our vulnerabilities with posts about making mistakes.

As usual, you are welcome to link up the post you’ve written at the show notes for this episode here.

I want you to think about some mistakes you’ve made, or that you see people in your niche or industry making. Write about what these mistakes are and offer solutions to and preventions for them. These types of posts do well for several reasons: people often wonder if they are making the mistakes, then they’ll want to know how to fix it if they do, and where to get help when they realise they’ve done wrong. It also helps keep you relatable to show that you’ve made errors in the past.

In today’s episode I also have six tips to help you write a great “mistakes” post – everything from ideas for content angles, how to personalise the story, and of course, what not to do!

Don’t forget to link up your post at the show notes and browse around other listener’s efforts.

Further Reading: