Link building has been an integral part of any SEO strategy ever since the rise of search engines. While many aspects of SEO have changed over the years, arguably the principles of link-building have been quite static ever since its invention.
While it is a very important part of SEO, many SEO practitioners are still dreading link building. First, it requires a lot of works. Second, there are many rooms of getting a penalty when you are not doing link building right.
With that being said, here we will share some of the most effective (and safe) link building tactics the most experienced SEO consultants offer to their clients.
Let us begin with the first one.
Ever since Google implemented the Penguin update to their algorithm, back in 2012, links are no longer equal. Now, Google takes account of the quality of your links instead of just quantity. Meaning, we can no longer rely on spammy link-building tactics that were popular back in the days. In fact, having a lot of low-quality links is a common cause for being penalized by Google.
Here are the factors affecting the quality of your links:
Authority is still the most important factor of link quality.
We can further divide authority into two: Domain Authority (DA), which is the authority of the whole site, and Page Authority (PA), which as the name suggests, is the authority of the specific page. In determining link quality, page authority is the more relevant factor.
Page authority is measured by Google’s PageRank. In the past, the PageRank information was available to the public, but that’s no longer the case. So, we can use third-party tools like ahrefs to measure the ‘hidden’ PageRank score.
If you want to measure domain authority, again you can use ahrefs or Moz’s Domain Authority Metric.
A link found in the body of a content or in the middle of the page is deemed as higher quality by google. On the other hand, links on footers, headers, or sidebars won’t contribute as much.
If you are a site focused on basketball, a backlink from another basketball-related site will worth more than, say, a site writing about digital marketing.
Nofollow links is another common cause for Google penalty. So, make sure to always get dofollow linkbacks.
A fact often overlooked is that anchor text is also an important factor considered by Google and major search engines in determining link quality. Make sure the anchor text fits semantically with your niche. For example, if you are a food site, make sure your anchor text is food-related and is relevant according to the overall content.
Now that we’ve understood the importance of high-quality links, we’ve come to the most important question: how can we actually get high-quality backlinks without getting penalized?
Here, we will cover some of the most effective tactics to do it:
The obvious, most natural way to get yourself linked by others is to have a valuable content worth sharing. To really have an effective content marketing, you will first need to understand your audience (and the high-quality sites), their problems, and provide a solution. Yet, some content types are more effective than others in generating links. They are:
Original research complete with useful data and statistics are always valuable, and consistently linked by those in your industry.
In-depth guides covering solutions to a problem experienced by many are always useful.
In some niches, list articles are always a popular content to link.
A lot of us are using images, graphics, and infographics made by other people. You will get backlinks when they are linking those assets.
A common misconception nowadays is that guest posting is a thing of the past, and it is no longer an effective tactic. Yet, when done right, it is still one of the most effective (and affordable) ways of getting backlinks. In general, the key principle is to naturally (and often, slowly) build your reputation and relationship with high-quality sites.
Also, avoid barter or giving any payment, since you can be penalized by Google fairly quickly. Build credibility, contact authoritative sites, and build a relationship.
Reaching relevant sites in your industry, influencers, bloggers, and journalists by email is still the most effective way to build relationships even today. Thankfully, there are many tools available to help you find important email address, such as the handy hunter.io (https://hunter.io/). Remember to reach each of them with a personalized message. Authenticity is always valuable.
Broken link building is a tactic where you find a website of your niche that has broken links, most often because the domains it linked to are no longer active or supported. After that, send an email to the site administrator informing about the broken link, and offer them to link to you instead. There are many tools that can help you in finding broken links, such as the trustworthy LinkMiner.
Link building is still one of the most important aspects of organic and local Search Engine Optimization, and it won’t get away soon. The key to success here is to first accept the fact that link building and SEO, in general, is a long-term process. Build naturally and expect a 6 to 12 months timespan before you see significant results. Since it is a long-term effort, there are two things you should pay attention to:
Be patient and only changes things when they are absolutely necessary. The key here is to develop a clear, realistic link-building plan, and stick to the plan with a minimal pivot.
Monitor your links at all times, if you have dead links or if you are currently linked by a spam site, take action. Track how the links affect your ranking, and also track how many people are clicking your links.
If you are looking for an experienced SEO consultant to take your website to the next level, look no further. I’ve been creating and implementing digital marketing campaigns for small and medium sized businesses since 2008.
I specialize in organic and local SEO, web design, digital strategy, keyword research, paid search, lead generation, conversion optimization and content marketing.
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