Getting backlinks has been an essential SEO element for years now, however, link building rules and way of thinking about backlinks have undergone substantial changes. To get high quality backlink building know-how, simply keep on reading; we’ll show you where to get the links from, how to avoid poor quality links penalties, and tell why exactly quality trumps quantity.
What is link building, anyway?
Link building is one of the absolutely top essentials methods that will get your website a high Google search results ranking. Often called Off-Site or Off-Page SEO process, to emphasize that link building can happen with virtually no website credentials. However, an overall SEO strategy requires On-Site (On-Page) process as a complement. As the name suggests, link building consists in creating website backlinks, i.e. link referring to the website optimized. To understand the SEO benefits of backlinks, let’s have a close look at what exactly a hyperlink is.
How does a hyperlink work?
We can picture a link as a reference – placed on a website or in any electronic document, which – when clicked – refers the user to another site or to another document, effectively “taking” the user there instantaneously.
A link, being essentially an URL, can simply appear as such, but any link can be associated with another object – a text or an image. Such object is therefore called an “anchor”, which usually means a link, located somewhere on the website, displaying as some fixed text. Anchors are crucial for SEO, due to their apparent contribution to Google’s ranking the website referred better among search results.
Types of links
Text-wise links can be divided into:
- brand links – links displaying company name, e.g. Delante.co, Delante,
- EMA (exact match anchor text) links – here anchor text simply matches the keyword, e.g. “Quality link building essential guide”
- mixed – being a combination of brand and EMA links, e.g. “The guide to quality link building, by Delante.pl”
- navigation links – referring to particular location within a website, e.g. “here”
- clean URLs – where the URL text is displayed, e.g. “Visit our website: https://delante.co/”.
SEO link building know-how
Basically, link building is about creating valuable backlinks referring to our website. This strategy is the driving force behind an effective SEO process. A correct number and type of links can help our website secure high Google search results rankings, ultimately boosting the revenue.
Why is backlink acquisition important?
The very first search engines worked, indexing the on-site content. Back then, in order to rank higher a right choice of right keywords matching the subpage was usually enough. The situation changed, however, with the rise of Google, which, by introducing the Page Rank algorithm, changed the ranking rules altogether. From now on, not only the number of backlinks was considered a factor, but also their assessed quality.
At the outset, PageRank operated under the general assumption that the more popular the website is across the internet, the more mentions it gets, the more valuable it probably is – therefore, it should be ranked higher. That was quickly exploited by the spammers, creating backlinks in bulks on many different websites. That tricked worked only until the algorithm was updated, rendering the quality of the backlinks way more important than the number of links.
Currently, Page Rank is no longer a factor – it’s not updated anymore, and should not be considered as a point of reference. Back in the days, link building was done mostly, using that trick – a single anchor was picked, for example “SEO Krakow”, and most of the links created contained that anchor. Currently, such a single anchor abuse can get you a Google penalty, possibly filtering out a given subpage. The anchors should be appropriately diversified: partially clean URLs, partially EMA, and the rest – mixed anchor type.
If there’s enough quality backlinks, our website is likely is rank in the of top search results. Creating poor quality links can lead, on the other hand, to Google penalties, which take a toll, usually causing a significant organic results drop.
Where to get our backlinks from?
There are many places on the Internet that could be used for a referral link display. However, the websites featuring the link should be topic-relevant, matching our company’s profile. Creating a database of valuable domains, featuring the link opportunities that work perfectly during the link building campaign. The channel differentiation is paramount – getting the links from several different channels, not just one. It’s worth noting that a different mix of channels works well each individual page. Individualization pays off here – industry, page type, etc. matches are possible.
The most common new backlink sources:
- Your own microsites network – it’s one of the best ways to get a high quality link – create a microsite that’s of high quality itself. It can be a blog or website with valuable entries or articles, where we’ll publish.
- Directories – dedicated SEO websites featuring large numbers in various thematic categories. Having a high Page Rank, such directories are positively reviewed by search engines, including Google. Link submission usually involves a one-time fee. Only a few years ago, directories were omnipresent in SEO processes. However, among many directories available, many were poor quality websites, too, so they got filtered out. Therefore, for high quality back link building make sure the directories you use are worth it, and the links submitted will do you good, instead of harming your backlink profile tainting it with low quality links.
- Blog comments and forum posting – both of these are generally discussion spaces – users ask a lot of questions, and you can provide with a professional answering in your area of expertise – and featuring a link in your post!
- Expert publications and sponsored articles – when featured by renowned publishers, they make a very effective tool of promotion, bringing numerous benefits about – e.g. boosting the reach of the content we author, reaching more potential customers this way, too.
- Social media activity – link-featuring social media posting does not affect SEO directly, but renders our website more trustworthy in the search engine’s eyes.
- Classifieds – short text content, often featuring a photo and… a link, of course! Published on dedicated websites, offering our business products or services to a variety of customers.
- NAP SEO – standing for Name, Address, Phone Number – dedicated websites gathering the following business information: business name / owner’s name and surname, address, telephone number; NAPs allow business identification and verification and positively affect local online marketing.
How many links per day should I create?
No golden rule about that, either. However, mind the domain source domains and their differentiation, and don’t overdo with the number of links added in a single domain or a page. A desirable link profile should be as extensive as possible, appearing to Google as rather natural – using one backlink source only, certainly doesn’t. It is best to increase backlinks number gradually, beginning with only a small number of links created, gradually increasing over the time. A sudden, fast gain of so-far steadily behaving (rising or otherwise) backlinks base will appear unnatural, and Google crawlers may take it as an evidence of automatic linking.
High quality linking essentials
Effective backlink SEO is definitely more difficult now than it was a few years ago. Google is constantly improving its algorithms, thus being able to effectively detect all irregularities real fast. However, there are some ground link building rules to be minded. These are as follows:
Unique content only!
Effective SEO relies upon high-quality, unique content, valuable to readers and attracting their attention. Publishing interesting content on industry blogs or other websites increases the chance of being noticed by users, which further increases the reach of our website. Remember to always link your website in the published content!
Correct anchor use
Proper anchors use in the published content, so they appear natural to Google, is crucial. If used in the wrong context, anchors can increase the risk of getting an algorithmic filter from Google. So how do you do it the proper way? First and foremost, it should look natural. We should assume the readers perspective and ask ourselves, whether the link anchored looks natural and is a valuable feature for the user.
Mind the link quality
High-quality links are of great importance for Google. Its advanced, updated on a regular basis algorithms analyze and filter out pages if they suspect an unnatural backlink profile. That’s why creating low-quality links can lead to a Google penalty, and may even result in a significant ranking decrease or disappearing from the search results altogether.
What should high-quality links look like? First and foremost, such linking should feature reliable information, valuable for the users. They should be unique, never plagiarising content from other sites, as well as correctly written in terms of spelling and style.
Thematic links acquisition
Effective SEO link building is, too, based upon gaining the so-called thematic links. Google attaches great importance to the thematic content consistency both for the domain referring and referred. That’s why, when creating your backlinks, choose sites thematically pertinent with your business website. For instance, running a construction company? Do not create too many links on catering industry sites. Posting such as: “I do not know anything about this type of pot, but I gotta say that a great shovel I recently got in this store: …”, etc. will be negatively evaluated by Google’s crawlers, and may also have a negative impact on the PR of the company.
Do-follow links acquisition
Do-follow or no-follow attributes are assigned to each and every link across the web. These values are important for robots crawling websites , for when they encounter a do-follow hyperlink, they attribute a part of the value of the page featuring the link to the website referred. This means that the acquisition of do-follow links allows us to get some of the value of the referring domain for our own page! A multiple use of anchor do-follow text link will make our site rank high for a specific phrase.
Linking on “strong” pages
Each website has a certain Trust Rank evaluation, which reflects how trustworthy search engines find a given page. Creating do-follow links within domains with high Trust Rank, we get some of that trust to our own website, effectively reducing the risk of appearing to Google as suspicious. Even a single link created on a highly trusted, strong website has much more value than dozens of links from very poor quality pages – the latter can even harm your page.
What else is there to mind?
Valuable and strong links are not at all easy to get. That’s why an effective link building strategy takes considerable creativity, and some wit, too.
However, the truly fatal link building strategy error is an absolute lack of thereof. We can have valuable content and other great resources, however as long as without a correct linking strategy support, that potential will only be wasted. However, creating backlinks wins only half the battle. The link, after creation, must be noticed by Google. We should therefore keep indexing all newly created links, thus increasing the likelihood of the search engine noticing them.
Everytime valuable content is published, find a way to reach as many relevant users as possible. Use social media, contact the bloggers and webmasters, ask for a quote if needed – all that will likely bring you natural reverse links.
Link building is an essential SEO process. Targeting Google TOP10 takes a deliberate link obtaining strategy. First and foremost, the links should be natural, unique and relevant for users; they should come from highly trusted domains, which will in turn make our website appear as trustworthy, too. Creativity in link building pays off.
On the other hand, creating low-quality links may result in a Google penalty – our rankings drop or even a complete removal from the search results.