SEO consists of conducting appropriate activities related to content, external and behavioral factors. You have either a direct or indirect impact on all these elements. In today’s entry, we’ll pay particular attention to external factors, namely strong website links.
External factors don’t incorporate only links. Apart from them, the group includes brand mentions and social media signals. However, the impact of these elements on SEO is definitely less significant than the impact of links, therefore, we’ll devote most of today’s entry to discuss the latter issue.
The evolvement of link building
Links have been a part of the SEO process since time began. Their role was, and still is, very important, however, the activities themselves changed over the past few years. Google is increasingly effective in detecting and devaluing links that are obvious manipulation. The number of acquired links has also changed. Activities based on blast, PBNs, and forum profiles are becoming worthless or even harmful. Although it’s still possible to do SEO effectively with their use, it’s not a recipe for success in the future. A few strong links can contribute to the effectiveness of the entire domain, therefore, it’s worth knowing how to recognize quality redirects.
How to recognize strong, quality links?
Which links do actually make a difference? Link quality is affected by a number of factors.
The first one is the link juice transferred from one domain to the other one with the link. Linking directly to linking pages is a common practice. However, this method isn’t as powerful as placing links on websites with real visibility.
Visibility in the search results is another important characteristic feature of quality links. If a website can boast noteworthy visibility and attracts organic traffic, it’s definitely a good link building candidate. However, it’s worth keeping in mind that domain visibility is definitely less important than the visibility and traffic of a particular subpage with the link.
Being thematically related is the third factor. The phrases the selected URL is displayed on should be closely related to the keyword you want to do SEO for. The strongest links are obtained from websites boasting high visibility on targeted or related phrases.
The hidden power of indirect traffic
If a linking page isn’t known for its outstanding visibility or organic traffic, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s worthless. The possible link juice is frequently determined also by indirect traffic, i.e. traffic coming from sites linking to a domain you want to obtain links from. To check second-tier links with the use of traditional methods, you would have to analyze each and every link leading to the page you want to obtain links from. It’s really time-consuming. The Surfer tool provides an insight into indirect traffic as standard functionality, thanks to which you can easily discover seemingly weak pages that can bring you spectacular benefits because of their link juice.
How to obtain quality links?
There are a few methods of obtaining quality links from highly visible subpages.
Mentions with links
Placing a link in existing text that ranks for your keyword or related phrases is the first and the quickest method. This can be achieved in several ways – write to the publisher, try to add a comment, or benefit from the option to place a link anywhere with the use of link building platforms. The main advantage of this solution is the fact that you don’t have to invest in content creation and you can sleep soundly knowing that the entry is displayed high on keywords that are of interest to you. Nevertheless, the method has some limitations such as lack of influence on the overall content – you only acquire the link.
Well optimized new text
Writing an entry from scratch is the second, more time-consuming option that’s more profitable in the long run. Obviously, it’s not about ordering a link building back-end text from a copywriter, but about creating an article perfectly optimized for a selected keyword. The quality is exactly the same as the quality of content created for your landing page. Top-notch optimization can be combined with an appropriate message aiming at lead generation. It’s an additional advantage of writing quality texts. Just as in the case of the first method, you need to select an appropriate guest post candidate. It’s a good idea to check website potential and chances of reaching high positions thanks to a quality entry. If the site has a similar or higher number of valuable linking domains and the content of your competitors isn’t too elaborate, there are definitely changes to reach top positions as long as your page is thematically related to the targeted keyword.
How many links to acquire?
When devising an SEO strategy for particular keywords, you need to know how many links you should acquire to achieve the expected results. If you aim at being ranked in the top 10, it’s worth choosing a few weaker competitors and check how many links lead to their pages and whether they focus on the home page or on the subpage you try to outdo.
Verifying these parameters with popular tools like Ahrefs or Majestic has its drawbacks as the links found there don’t reflect the real link juice. The reason for that is quite simple – most of the elements detected by these tools are low-quality links from pages with unsatisfactory traffic and visibility. Evaluation based on the number of linking domains can be significantly overestimated. On the other hand, Surfer provides only the links that generate traffic or at least are visible on Google. You’ll be able to check keywords related to each URL and their potential traffic. Analyzing hundreds of worthless domains in order to acquire an actual number of strong links isn’t necessary anymore.
Such an activity definitely has an impact on the link building strategy. It’s much easier to take a look at the parameters of valuable links and set a plan that includes acquiring 50 or 100 links than to compare 1,000 domains and choose which ones are relevant to each competitor.
How to decrease link building costs?
Last but not least, we’re going to discuss 3 methods of reducing link building costs. In some cases, it’s possible to compensate for the lack of redirects with content that’s usually cheaper than link acquisition. Take a look at the chart below that shows how good content can make up for fewer links.
1. Optimized landing page
Before performing any link-building activities, it’s crucial to take care of appropriate content optimization. The effectiveness of conducted actions will decrease significantly if the content doesn’t live up to the expectations of websites displayed on the first page in the search results. As always, ensure proper structure – length, headers, paragraphs, keyword density, and being thematically related and using the same keywords as the pages ranked in top positions.
2. Free strong links
It’s not always necessary to pay for quality links. Browse the search results for phrases closely related to your industry. You’ll probably find quite a few domains where you can easily acquire links from the comments section or forum posts. These links are powerful because URLs with the links are displayed for related keywords. There are hundreds of domains you can benefit from.
Acquiring several links of this type with the no-follow attribute can bring you truly satisfying results. We applied this method in one of our projects – the website that was initially 19th in the ranking, improved by 8 positions once it had been optimized and it reached 6th position after we introduced 2 no-follow links.
3. Cooperate with customers
It’s hard to notice opportunities available at your fingertips. If you cooperate with a company that runs a website, don’t hesitate and ask about the possibility of exchanging links. No one else will be able to acquire such backlinks, therefore, you’ll gain a noticeable advantage over your market rivals. Benefit from the fact that your business partners usually operate in similar industries.