Google's latest algorithm update, Penguin 3, has just rolled out, and it's affected a wide range of sites. It's been difficult to measure, because of a long, slow roll-out process. While this gives Google more time to work out the kinks in the update, it makes it harder to track. All signs point to it being a long, slow, minor change to a handful of sites.

We've waited over a year for a Penguin update, with intense rhetoric about Penguin 3.0 literally making grown men cry, and this is all we get? A minor data refresh that's barely noticeable using the most advanced measurement tools we have? There has to be more. For months, forecasters have predicted a hurricane, and what we have now is nothing more than the preliminary rain showers. Penguin 3.1, Penguin 4, whatever you want to name it when it hits, it's going to hit.

The good news is, if you haven't been destroyed by Penguin 3, you're probably in a safe place. If you've suffered, you may be in line for worse. If you've noticed a dip, but nothing major, you can consider it a warning shot. Google is playing it soft, telling everyone whether or not they have work to do.

What you can do is diversify your link profile. Even if you're in a good position now, you can probably stand to improve. Here are some sources of links you can pursue; just make sure no one source is proving to be more than 50% of your links.

Social Media Links

These are easy to get and easy to diversify. Pick up every social platform you think you can use effectively. Create interesting anchor text for your links when necessary; don't just use your brand name or a keyword.

Web Forum Links

Believe it or not, forum links can still play a very important part in your backlink profile.

Every industry has hobbyists, and hobbyists tend to create communities for themselves. Locate these forum communities and establish a presence. Make yourself a member of the community and link back to your site as a resource sparingly. Don't just link to your homepage; link to sub-pages with value for an ongoing discussion. Otherwise you'll be branded a spammer and have your links moved.

Authority Site Links

The old method of submitting to article and site directories is dead, but there are some authority directories you can use. Individual cities have local directories, for example, listing local businesses. City newspapers list top-10s for relevant businesses. Getting your link into these directories can be very valuable, though most of your opportunities come as a local business.

Resource Directory Links

Resource directories are similar, but less focused on the local. Sites like About.com offer resources with links to businesses that provide a relevant service. Find relevant resource lists and contact the author of those lists to see if your service may be added.

Organization Partnership Links

Occasionally, whether locally or in a particular industry, you can partner up with professional, governmental, educational and other organizations for mutual benefit. One such benefit is a recommendation from the partner site. You may have to pay dues to be involved with such a membership, so you need to be wary about the sites you join.

When you build all of these links, be cautious about your anchor text and your destination page. Avoid making every link you earn direct back to the same landing page. More importantly, avoid using the same optimized anchor text everywhere. Both are symptoms of link fraud and can put you in the next Penguin's sights.

Published on: Oct 28, 2014
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.