Quality backlinks are still one of the strongest ranking factors used by the Google ranking algorithm in their Search Engine Results Pages. But how best should you build backlinks and what kind of backlinks should you really seek to build?
Backlinks are simply links pointing to your website from an external website.
Getting backlinks from external sources tells Google that your content was found to be useful and worthy of being referred to. It is like an endorsement of some sort.
Search engine use links to discover web pages and to determine how well a page should rank in their search engines. Among Google’s most important ranking factors, the number of linking domains ranks as one of the top most important and very valuable. It is the reason it has been abused by black hat SEOs scrambling to manipulate the search engines to favor their sites for better ranking.
Now you know that getting links is very important and worth the investment in time. So, what are the different methods you can use to get backlinks that help your SEO and improve your ranking and online reputation with Google? That is the focus of this post. We examine five white hat methods you can use to get backlinks to your website and build your ranking in search engines. But before we go into that, let us look a bit more into why backlinks are important for search engines.
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The Importance of Links to Search Engines
There are two fundamental ways that search engines use links:
- To discover new web pages
- To help determine how well a page should rank in their results
Search Engines crawl the pages on the web and extract the contents of those pages and add it to their index. They are also able to discover new pages that earn links in the pages they crawled. So one of the easy ways to get your pages discovered and indexed by Google is to link them internally.
Google has created a short video to explain this process. When Search Engines like Google is assessing a page, it does not just consider the quality of the content, Search engines also look at the number of external links pointing to the page and the quality of the pages from which those links are coming. Search engines also consider the relatedness of the pages to your business so it makes sense to have a link for a web hosting company coming from a website design company than that coming from a flower retailer.
The more high-quality websites that link to you, the more likely you are to rank well in search results.
A link to your website is seen as a vote of confidence. It tells the search engines that your website is valuable and increases the trust people have in the content you publish. But links have also been abused and Google has come up with more stringent approaches to decide what amounts to quality links. The actual metrics used to measure quality links have only been known to Google and the much we know is what has been revealed to us by its staff and based on our observations and experiences.
So it is not enough to just get links because some links are actually toxic and can lead to a penalty. Link building must be decent, honest, and based on building high-quality content that people find worthy of linking to.
Google also frowns at the overuse of link building as a technique to get a better ranking. It is best to allow it to flow naturally from people making reference to your quality content than a deliberate effort at building links to impress Google. Google’s regular Penguin updates are one such that penalizes unwholesome link building.
Although we generally cannot be definitive about Google’s acceptable ways of assessing website quality outside the specifications in its guideline, which has remained the company’s “secret”, we know that links still play a key role in how search engines assess the quality of websites.
Benefit of Link Building
There are good reasons and benefits link building will offer to your website. Here are some reasons you should take link building very seriously.
When your website is quoted by others, it becomes an authority and that only adds up to its own credibility. The more links you get, the more people see your website as credible and as an authority.
A lot of the considerations of Google for higher ranking center around the links you have. Without having links from other websites, it can really be difficult if not impossible to rank so well in the Google search engine. Links pointing to your site are rewarded by Google with higher rankings.
Getting links from relevant authority websites build traffic to your won website. Increased traffic to your website is a sign of its health and that tells Google your website is credible and a good source for the information people are looking for.
Increased Domain Authority
Although has repeatedly said its algorithm does not factor in Domain Authority as a ranking signal, there had been a correlation between domain authority and higher ranking even in the Google Search Engine Results Pages. Getting higher domain authority from increased links coming to your site is therefore healthy and really beneficial for your website rankings.
Increased Revenue and Conversion Opportunities
This draws from the increased traffic coming to your website. As more people visit your site using the link references, you will get more targeted and relevant traffic. This leads to more revenue as there could be more conversions.
Builds Relationships within your Niche
Building links rightly connects you with leading industry players. This gives you the opportunity to build relationships with industry leaders and opens up avenues for more collaborations.
Link building vs link “earning”
We have dwelt a lot on link-building but before you commence a link-building campaign, it is important to have content worth linking to on your website. When you create valuable content, then you will be able to earn links even without making extra efforts to build links.
The take-home here is that all link-building campaigns should start with something worth linking to. It’s very difficult to build links to low-value web pages, but when you begin with something truly valuable that people find useful or share-worthy, link-building is a much easier endeavor.
How to Build Backlinks
Create high-quality content
Creating good content that informative remains the best way to build links. Build in Infographics and make your content long-form. These are some of the ways to create fascinating content that will attract readers and get them to link to it. People like content that address what they have been bothered about and that goes for the “how to” article titles. Again, the more in-depth you go, the more likely your content will naturally rank well on search engines and attract more links from outside sources.
Share your content with your audience
For people to link to your content, they first need to see your content. Sharing your content is therefore key to getting links. Taking advantage of social media in today’s world is one easy way to reach out at little or no cost. You may also want to email your fresh content to your customers via your mailing list. It is important to mention here that adopting an email marketing method is something you must do cautiously to avoid spamming and the negative consequences that come with it.
Reach out to industry personalities.
Reaching out to industry leaders can help you put out your content on the most authoritative websites. For instance, if Neil Patel references your post, it gets a very high authority link and could be shared by several other authority websites. You can begin by compiling a list with which you need to reach out to share your content. Contributing to their posts can also be one way to attract industry leaders and give you the opportunity to share our content.
You can also create a social media group of influencers who are likely to share your content on their pages. Influencers are most likely respected people in the industry and a positive opinion, comment or content sharing can work for your website. But to attract highly respected influencers, you need to build content that is also authoritative, and research-based, and report the latest industry practices.
Ensure that you run a blog on your website and keep updated regularly for two reasons: Google loves to see that your site is consistently updated, and readers like to know when they can expect the next post from your business. This increases the chance that someone will find something to share and link to from your posts. If you consistently build on quality content, you are sure to get the right quality links you desire to push your website up in the search engine rankings.
Moreover, in these days when Google values User Experience, you need to keep your content updated with the latest industry changes and practices to build the trust and authoritativeness which Google cherishes.
Link Building Techniques to Avoid
There are several link-building techniques that worked before now but are now ignored by Google or have become something Google no longer tolerates and will penalize for. We discuss some of the most common which you could be tempted to try.
Forum administrators and moderators are on the lookout for link builders who post a couple of useless “me too!” posts and then answer a question with a link to another site saying, “And there’s more information at this site!”
Sorry, but most forum admins and mods consider that spam. The mods will trip over each other to delete those kinds of posts.
Forum posts is no longer considered by Google as a source of good links, they once did but not today.
Linking to sites with bad reputation
Avoid links to a site that has a bad reputation, that is, a site being penalized for spamming, or duplicate content site (auto-blogging, illegal sites, porn sites).
Do Not Buy/Sell Links
There are lots of wonderful offers about how buying links can help shoot your website ranks. We strongly advise that you do not be tempted to try any. They will all get you into trouble and there is certainly no way you can escape from Google. We state emphatically that you must avoid buying links, and avoid selling them too.
Getting Nofollow Links
Nofollow links make no sense for Google rankings. Do not waste time on them. Google does not give any value to nofollow links. However, if you are targeting Bing, then you can continue to build no-follow links.
Avoid Backlink from only high PR domains (Low PR)
Getting links from high PR domains indicates authority and can boost ranking. However, Google expects natural link building to represent the diversity of a natural environment which means links cannot all come from high PR domains. Once your links come only from high PR domains, Google should have a good reason it is unnatural and intended to manipulate the search engines. Google frowns at anything that attempts to manipulate it and will punish the site for it.
Getting Backlinks from Irrelevant Niche sites
Getting links from irrelevant sites have no weight and signals an unnatural link. For your links to be relevant and beneficial to your ranking, it needs to come from sites that are within your niche or industry.
Links without your Targeted keywords in Anchor text
Website Ranking is all about keywords. When your targeted keyword is used as anchor text instead of your site name, then it will help you rank well for that keyword.
Avoid the use of words such as “click here,” “check this” etc…
Though getting a backlink from a high PR site is always good if you get a backlink along with your target or a relevant keyword, this will help in a good boost of your ranking.
This refers to getting tons of links within a short time. Ordinarily, links are not easy to obtain not to talk of quality links. When tons of links are obtained within a very short time, it obviously tells Google that you have done something unacceptable.
Avoid Site wide link
Site-wide links like footers or links pointing to another website may be for being the developer and found all over the site are not acceptable to Google anymore.