In recent years, the world of SEO and link building has changed drastically – for the better. Five years ago, businesses could build a decent online presence by basically cheating their way higher and higher up the search engine results pages (SERPs): keyword-stuffing, paid links, internet marketing automation software, and spamming comments sections was all common practice for many companies.
However, with updates such as Panda and Penguin, Google has made businesses work harder to earn their rankings in the SERPS: black-hat techniques are no longer tolerated as they used to be. Link building is still a valid – and highly useful – part of boosting your online presence, but what if you’re still unsure how to use this for your business? Have you launched a new enterprise and need to know how to create a solid portfolio of links?
We’re here to help – check out our do’s and don’ts!
Don’t Aim For Quantity over Quality
A business or webmaster may ask if they can place a link on your page in return for the same courtesy. As nice as this may sound, it’s only worthwhile if they’re relevant to your company or industry. You are not in a race to get as many links as possible. Aim for quality links that are relevant for your readers and your site.
Do Focus on Content that Brings Value to the Table
Try to place links on sites related to your own – this may be a business selling products complementing your services, or a resource-specific site that your customers may find useful. This is a much better tactic in the long-run, and the more traffic your site of choice receives, the better it will be for both of you.
Don’t Be Obsessed With Anchor Text
Anchor text are the words and letters that hyperlinks display for you to click on. A lot of time’s professionals and amateurs alike will tell you the dangers of using exact match text, or using the same text too many times for one URL. Just hyperlink appropriately – in other words, don’t obsess. Use relevant words that pertain to the hyperlink. Other time’s “click here” works well. As long as it is natural, and relevant for your readers, it’s good for Google.
Do Allow Diversity
Diversity is key for your Anchor text. Like we said, repeating short keyword anchor texts looks spammy. Anchor text is something that spammers have definitely abused in the past. Allow for diversity, and simply write text that is relevant to the link. Your readers will appreciate it.
Don’t Be Afraid of rel=”nofollow”
Rel=”nofollow” is a html attribute that is placed on links that are not organic. You see, Google wants you to acknowledge any non-editorial links such as, paid advertising links, affiliate links, etc.
Example: <a href=http://www.website.com/ rel=”nofollow”>click here</a>
Although the SEO world has taken some time to jump on board, you shouldn’t be afraid of Google’s rel=”nofollow” command. Your SEO game plan should prioritize organic links, and set paid links to the side as much less important.
Do Allow Diversity
In the same regard, don’t be afraid of paid advertising, etc. It’s important to use the Rel=”nofollow” when suggested and follow Google’s best practices. Allow for diversity in your link profile, and aim for quality, not quantity.
Don’t Buy Text Links
Buying links is a dangerous and risky tactic. There is no full proof way to do it, and more often than not, the links you buy will be spammy or irrelevant. Once Google decides that you are using black hat tactics, the results in your traffic can be devastating.
Do Encourage to Link Back to you organically
Encourage your readers to link to you. Create beneficial content, and send it out via social media and email. Readers that find value in your content will link back to you. There is no harm in asking for a link as well, if the request is relevant and beneficial for the person from whom you’re requesting.
Don’t Allow Site wide Links
Site wide links were a common practice before the Panda update. They were usually placed in the footer or side bar of every page of a website, and usually be made of an exact match keyword. Google considers these spammy, and will penalize your site for it. You see, this again is an example of quantity over quality.
Do Allow Inner Page Relevant Links
Avoiding site wide links is easy. However, and by all means, take advantage of relevant internal links in your website. Google encourages an internal linking of your web pages, and understands your website better, by following your hyperlinks. In the same way, your reader should be able to fully understand your website and its purpose, by following your inner links.
Don’t Gain Links Very Fast
High link velocity can alert search engines that you may be performing spammy tactics to gain authority. It is a wise decision to build a link profile slowly, and organically. Building links fast implies to search engines that you may be paying for them. If a search engine detects an irregular spike in your link profile, aside from a slow and steady growth, it becomes a red flag for spammy tactics. Your link velocity should appear to be steady, regular growth over time.
Do build Links over Time to Acquire New Targets
Don’t avoid reaching out to people, and creating valuable content that can be linked to. As you create the content, you’ll acquire new and established websites that you can target and reach out to. This is also where guest blogging and outreach can go a long way.
Don’t guest Post Just Anywhere
Guest blogging is a powerful tool, able to generate extra traffic to both the site you’re appearing on, and your own: producing a well-written, engaging, share-friendly post designed to hook readers can drive new users to your site. However, if a poorly-performing business in dire need of boosting their online visibility approaches you to write a guest blog, be sure to do your research – appearing on a site with a terrible layout, poor, outdated content, and very low hit rates will be a waste of your time, and could even harm your reputation.
Do guest Posting in the Right Places, With Content Exposure in Mind
Find sites which share some connection with your company, even if they only offer popular information on products you sell. For example, if your business sells medical equipment, posting a guest blog on a site dedicated to health & hospital care would be a smart move: regular visitors to this site may well work within a clinic or medical institution, and be in need of your goods. With guest posting you have the ability to spread your content to an external audience, and the possibility of linking to your site, (depending on the website you’re submitting to).
Don’t Skip Research
Research is a key part of your websites success. It is important that you understand your competition, as well as your audience. Keyword research is also still an important tactic for you to take advantage of. Understand what your users are searching for, and create links and content based on it.
Do a Competitive Analysis
Doing a competitive analysis in your niche can often lead to discovering new opportunities for a link. If multiple competitors share the same link, it may be easy for you to acquire it as well. Understanding your competition, and their link profiles is a key to your link profile success.
Don’t Spam Blog Comments Section or Q&A Website
Another trend that unethical businesses and websites employed in the recent past was spamming comments sections, often on unrelated pages. You’ll still see this today, but to a lesser extent: whenever you read something along the lines of “I made $9000 a day working from home, find out how at …” you know to avoid it: clicking any links will, in the best case, send you to a business you have no interest in; in the worst, it may send you to something harmful.
Do Participate and Contribute If You Have Something To Say
Leaving links in comments sections can still pay off – provided you a) write on sites relevant to your own business or niche, and b) post a comment with real substance, rather than just “great article! Visit spammyguys.com”. Use your site’s URL in your signature, rather than plugging it in the actual comment itself.
Don’t Duplicate Content
The internet carries thousands (possibly even millions!) of articles, and some of them are poorly-written, pointless, thinly-veiled attempts to simply promote a business. While it can be tempting to copy your own or others writing, and republish it elsewhere, this is ultimately a waste of time. Google can see when and where an original document was published, and will often penalize a copycat article if posted soon after. Unless you have permission to re-publish someone else’s writing and are planning to give them credit, then avoid stealing online as much as you would in person.
Do Create Unique Content That Others Will Want to Share
Writing helpful, insightful articles related to your business or industry – such as tip-focused pieces or how-to guides – will engage readers in a much more real way than promotion-heavy articles. Be sure to use a consistent tone across all articles, to build a strong, unique portfolio of resources that people can explore in years to come. Your useful articles will likely be shared amongst your followers.
Link building should definitely play a role in your ongoing marketing campaign. Whether you’re using Ignitur, an agency, or doing it yourself, make sure you put your link building profile as a priority. However, don’t jeopardize your company’s standing just to boost traffic: play the long game for the best results, stay within the guidelines of Google, and aim for quality, organic links through valuable content.