Look before you link – 10 things you need to know about link building.
Link building is SEO 101 – creating an effective link strategy should be an important part of any online marketing plan. Your link profile is an important signal in Search Engine algorithms to boost your rankings. Search Engines see websites linking back to your site as a validation or accreditation that your website is trustworthy, credible and has high authority. Here are 10 tips critical to the success of your link building campaign.
1. A link profile should be developed naturally
Building a strong virtual network with both internal and external links is vital to increase Search Engine visibility but your link profile should be developed naturally and organically. Search Engines get suspicious if a new website suddenly has thousands of websites linking to it and it can even be penalised or banned from Google – learn from retail juggernaut JC Penney’s mistake. Quality link building campaigns are developed over time (see point #9).
2. There are two types of backlinks
It is important to note that there are two types of links; a no follow link has the rel=”nofollow” attribute, doesn’t carry much weight, and will not count towards your overall link equity. While these links may attract traffic to your website, they have little or no impact on your rankings. Thus while devising your link building campaign, make sure that only a small proportion of your backlinks are ‘nofollowed’.
3. Work smarter not harder
You cannot control who is linking back to your website but ideally links need to come from quality, trustworthy, credible and relevant websites that will help build your website’s core strength with Search Engines. It is far better to have fewer links from high-quality sites than more links from sites with low authority – as always with SEO, it’s quality over quantity that matters.
4. Anchor text is important
Keyword-rich anchor text is very important in link building – an organic link profile will have anchor text with variations of keywords. Focus on your main keywords but also use synonyms – if Search Engines see the same anchor text appearing in most links they may think you are trying to spam them. In addition, be consistent with your linking and decide on whether you are using sitename.com or www.sitename.com for example.*
5. A link profile should be balanced
A natural link profile in Search Engines’ eyes is diversified with variations of anchor text, linking to your homepage as well as deep-linking to other pages on your website, linking to other authoritative and relevant sites from your website and a good ratio of internal links. Search engine rankings can change position from day to day, one way to keep abreast of your competitors is to focus on your link building.
6. Internal link building also has relevance
Internal link building with relevant anchor text is also important – this helps Search Engines to crawl your website and also builds the strength of website pages. As above, an organic link profile will have a good ratio of internal links as well as backlinks and linking to other quality websites. Don’t overdo it though as too many internal links on one page can dilute their value and you should only link to the same page on your website once.
7. Position matters
The position of the link is also important – Search Engines take into content the position and the context of a link. Pay attention to where links are placed on the page; in content links are more valuable than side or footer links and only link to the same web page once from any given site where possible. Links above the fold (the part of a website a user can see before they need to start scrolling) are likely to have a higher click-through rate than those below.
8. Not all link bait has bite
The underlying focus of a quality link building strategy is having copy on your websites that other websites want to link back to – this is called ‘link baiting’ in the SEO industry. However, there are other white hat techniques to proactively seek backlinks to your website to try and build your link profile. Here is some of the best link networking strategies that you can adopt for your link building campaign:
- writing blog articles
- listing your website in blog directories
- creating a profile on community-related websites
- adding a link to your supplier’s websites
- writing guest posts on related industry websites
- participating in forums
- commenting on social media sites
- posting job opportunities online
- posting videos on video hosting sites
- analysing competitor’s links and
- other link building strategies.
9. Quality link building takes time
White hat SEO link building strategies take time and effort. Like any aspect of Search Engine Optimisation, it is a long term strategy with long term benefits. Link building not only pays dividends with boosting your website’s Search Engine visibility but also driving pre-qualified traffic to your site from credible and authoritative sources that are more likely to generate quality leads and increase your conversion rates.
10. Link building requires maintenance
Link building is an important part of your SEO campaign. By focusing on link building using the strategies listed above in point eight and making it a core part of your SEO strategy, you will start to see the difference in your Search Engine rankings in a few weeks/months. Generally speaking, with all other things being equal, when a website has more quality links than a competitor, they will be ranked higher in a Search Engine.
We have a dedicated team of link development analysts who help you build an organic and natural link profile to assist boosting your Search Engine rankings. Through the years of experience in SEO, we have developed credible database of hundreds of hand-picked websites, across a wide range of subjects and industries. Speak to an SEO consultant and find out more about the link building services we offer at SEO Works.
*Even if you have a link with a non-www redirect to www, being consistent with your link building URL is important.