If you are researching SEO, chances are you want your website to rank high in search results and reach a bigger audience.
In that case, you should know that link building is a big checkpoint to prioritize on the road to effective SEO.
Links are used by search engines to crawl the web and measure the reliability and quality of your website’s content.
Based on this and a number of other factors such as social media metrics, visitor traffic, etc. your website’s position in a search result is determined.
Link building, by definition, is the practice of building incoming links to a website from external domains.
It plays an integral role in search result ranking and is an important metric used by search engines like Google.
Google’s PageRank algorithm, which decides the order in which websites appear for a particular search query, is heavily based on the number of quality link referrals to those websites.
Like in many other areas, quality leads quantity in link building.
So, generally speaking, a few links from popular websites would help your rank more than a dozen from relatively small blogs.
The more the number of highly reputed websites that link to your domain, the higher your rank in Google’s search results.
Whether you are just beginning to build links for your website, or you have thousands of them.If you are yet not penalized, here is a list of dos and don’ts to avoid footprints and stay safe.
05 Important Do’s:
1. Get a Blog
Most ecommerce start-ups do not have a blog section, it’s the first step be ticked if you intend to start building some relevant organic traffic.
The most natural way of getting incoming links from other websites is to create good quality content for your own.
It goes without saying that good content automatically gets you the attention of webmasters in your field and a link on their respective sites to go with it.
It is most significant to consistently host well-written, well-researched, reliable content on your site.
With an increase in the number of quality articles, the likelihood of getting links and, in turn, of improving search rank increases.
2. Request contacts for links
The best place to start link building is Contribute content to a website with a dedicated communityyour own network of contacts.
This may include your colleagues, your customers, or even your competitors whom you have a working relationship with.
This is just to make sure they have an up-and-running website which caters to an area similar to yours.
Once you have made a list of the people who meet these requirements, request them to add your link on their website.
You may do this while recommending a resource from your site you think would interest them and offer value to their audience.
This is one of the easiest ways to start link building and one that you shouldn’t ignore.
3. Contribute content to a website with a dedicated community
There is a scope for gaining followers for your website by sharing content as a guest contributor on an established website/blog.
Shortlist all the well-known blogs in your niche, and ask the blogger if you could contribute an article on his site.
Once you get the green flag, produce good content with a few links to your website wherever justified. Good content is always helpful in generating organic traffic.
Don’t overdo linking on the article as it may appear that you are less interested in contributing to the author’s blog and more inclined towards your own site’s promotion.
It is advised to choose blogs that have a passionate and engaging community over blogs that have a bigger but comparatively less active community.
This would mean your content will mostly find readers who are actually interested in the niche topic.
4. Identify site mentions and get them linked
There may be instances where content writers have mentioned your website’s name but have not added a link to it.
It is a good practice to look for such mentions and suggest the sites to add a link to them.
This makes sure that the people visiting those pages can check your site too, and helps you to not miss out on potential visitors or customers.
As a rule of thumb, websites similar to yours are very likely to have mentioned your website. An easy way to find such site mentions is to run a search on Google using this structure:
“your site’s name” site: other_website_domain
If you’re having trouble finding enough sites related to yours, you can rely on Google again and use this structure:
5. Broken link building
Your business may lose prospective customers, if the links to your website are “broken”, i.e. no longer working as they should.
This usually happens when you change a webpage URL or relocate to a new web address, and sometimes, it happens simply due to human error.
These services help you track links to your site from external sources (backlinks) and identify the ones that are broken.
You can contact the concerned webmaster about the broken link and give him a working one.
08 Strict DON’TS
1. Avoid links from incompetent or irrelevant websites
Getting links from as many sources as possible sounds good, but you must avoid having links on incompetent websites that are poorly maintained and are excessively covered in ads.
You should also avoid having links on websites belonging to an irrelevant field of interest.
Having backlinks from incompetent or irrelevant sites negatively affects your site’s Google ranking. There are many efficient ways to use backlinks to attract customers.
Over a period of time even if you have gathered such backlinks, it’s best to occasionally scrub out all such spammy and irrelevant backlinks through the disavow process.
Such backlinks may even get you penalized by Google as the search engine giant continuously looks for sites that have an unacceptable amount of low-quality backlinks.
2. Do not use the same anchor text for your links
Anchor text is the highlighted text to which your website is linked, i.e. when a user clicks on it, he will land on your domain.
Although it may be tempting to distribute a keyword-filled anchor text to your partner sites for linking, it is actually not such a great idea as Google prefers variety over the same keywords in anchor texts.
Always keep anchor text very natural. Keyword anchors should be kept at a minimum. At max, 20% should be safe for keyword presenters.
Use URL and Brand anchor text while linking to your homepage.
Always use a combination of keyword anchors and half match anchors while creating a link to your money pages.
Use the asset title to create links to content assets, however, keep it natural and mixed.
3. Don’t get multiple backlinks from a post to your website
This is a very common mistake businesses do when they start on backlinks, if they are getting a guest post published, they tend to have multiple backlinks from that post to their website.
Although a couple of such instances might be ok, having multiple such guest posts published with the same 2-3 backlinks on a single website leaves a clear footprint.
4. Not all links to commercial pages
We often tend to get most backlinks to commercial pages so the money pages get ranked.
It’s recommended to not get more than 20-25% backlinks on commercial pages (product and category pages), remaining should be on blog, informational and home.
5. Do not excessively indulge in backlink quid pro quo
The sites that you have backlinks on may want you to add their link in return. This is acceptable as long as those sites are relevant and offer value to your online visitors.
But, refrain from overdoing this practice. This behavior is also monitored by search engines and can hurt your website ranking.
A suspicious amount of backlinks between the same two domains is usually a giveaway.
6. Avoid unfavourable digital footprint
The emails you send, the information you share on social media, your old domain names, all of these things form an online trail that can be traced back to you.
For your website, it is wise to eliminate digital traces that you no longer want.
These can be a former web address, your business’s inactive social accounts, outdated information on third-party sites, etc.
You can improve your digital footprint by looking up your business on the internet and analyzing what potential customers see when they search about you.
Getting inaccurate information removed or updated on external sites and writing back polite responses to customer reviews are good places to start.
7. Be shrewd about paid links and advertising
Pay attention to where you run your ads or buy paid links from.
It is best to only trust websites that follow Google’s ad guidelines and webmaster guidelines for promotional purposes.
The paid links you buy on other sites should be “no-follow” links.
“No-follow links” are overlooked by search engines for ranking as they are not genuine referrals but paid promotions instead.
Disguising paid promotion as a referral is unethical and can incur a penalty from Google. In any case, ethical link building should be practiced.
8. Runaway from black-hat link building
Although it is probably too extreme to come across your mind, it is still important to discourage using unethical options.
These could include cloaking (disguising your content as something else), injecting links (hacking into others’ websites to put your link), etc. for link building.
These practices are illegal and can not only get your website banned but also land you in legal trouble.
Link building is a major part of SEO, and if done effectively, can take your website’s popularity to new heights.
However, it is also a time-taking process and results are not instant, so it is better to work through this stage with patience and perseverance.
Moogan, Paddy. The Beginner’s Guide to Link Building. Moz. https://moz.com/beginners-guide-to-link-building (Accessed 17-04-20).
Perry, Garrett. 2019. Vertical Measures. 10 January. https://www.verticalmeasures.com/blog/link-building/the-dos-and-donts/ (Accessed 17-04-20).
Lindblom, Ted. 2018. What is Broken Link Building? Vertical Measures. 23 October. https://www.verticalmeasures.com/blog/link-building/what-is-broken-link-building/ (Accessed 17-04-20).
Hardwich, Joshua. 2019. Google Search Operators: The Complete List. Ahrefs blog. 24 December. https://ahrefs.com/blog/google-advanced-search-operators/ (Accessed 17-04-20).