How To Work On Your Link Building In SEO?
Building an effective link building strategy is the best way to work on the authority of a website to improve its SEO.
As you know, an effective SEO strategy is based on 3 main pillars: work on the content of the site, the improvement of technical performance and the development of its authority.
In this article, we are going to review all the elements that will allow you to set up a powerful link building strategy to work on your natural referencing.
What Is Link Building And Why Is It Important In Seo?
Link building in SEO is the act of carrying out actions to obtain backlinks.
What Is A Backlink In SEO?
A backlink is simply a link from a third-party site that points to one of your site’s pages.
A backlink is a link from a third party site to your own site.
Backlinks are important elements to build and develop the authority of your domain (that is, of your website as a whole) for search engines.
The more quality backlinks you have leading to your website, the more Google will consider it a quality and trusted site.
Why Are Backlinks Important In SEO?
Before Google’s algorithm became as comprehensive as it is today, the quality of a page was judged solely by its content.
Google then launched its PageRank algorithm which fundamentally changed the way the search engine identifies and ranks web pages.
This evolution has added an external dimension to the analysis of content quality. Google now gives significant weight to the number of external links pointing to pages.
With the Google Penguin update, the analysis is more refined. It is no longer enough to have mass backlinks, but above all they must be of high quality.
This evolution appeared to counter the strategies consisting in artificially creating backlinks by buying or integrating mass links on low quality sites.
Finally, for Google, a backlink acts in the same way as a recommendation that you could obtain from a third party to legitimize your expertise on a subject.
In SEO, if one of your pages dealing with a specific topic gets a lot of quality backlinks, it will have an extra chance of ranking ahead of competing pages with fewer backlinks or lower quality.
The issue of obtaining backlinks is therefore an essential component of an effective natural referencing strategy!
How To Identify A Quality Backlink?
It is essential to understand what a good link is before launching a link building strategy. Let’s review the different components of a quality link.
A quality backlink comes from a page with high authority itself
This first point is very logical when we take up the analogy of the recommendation.
You trust a recommendation from someone with authority in a field more than an opinion from a stranger (at least I hope).
Google works the same way.
For him, if the page and by extension the site of which it is a part have themselves a strong authority, then the “power” of the backlinks emitted is more important.
It is often more interesting to obtain a single backlink from a very high authority site than a multitude from low authority sites.
You can easily check the authority of a site (often referred to as domain authority ) or a page with online tools like Ahrefs.
You can know the authority score of the url, the domain as well as the number of backlinks of a page
For Google, quality always matters over quantity when it comes to backlinks.
Worse, you could suffer SEO penalties by getting a lot of backlinks from sites identified by Google as “toxic”. That is to say sites with very low authority, with poor content, poorly optimized technically, insecure…
A quality backlink comes from a site dealing with a similar theme
The relevance of the third-party site to your theme is an important element in qualifying a backlink.
That is, even if you get a link from a high authority site, Google might reduce the “SEO power” of that backlink.
It must be understood that Google will study what is happening on the two linked pages to judge whether a backlink is correct or not.
Let’s take an example:
Vintage guitar maker site A links to guitar string supplier site B and online music lessons site C.
Here the backlinks obtained by sites B and C are relevant because they are in a related theme.
Let’s analyze this second example:
Site A of an accounting firm links to a site B of a tractor manufacturer and a site C of streaming PC games.
A priori the themes of sites B and C are very different from those of site A. The backlinks obtained will therefore have a low impact on their authority score.
Illustration of a good backlink
It is therefore crucial to work on your link building strategy around referring sites in similar or related fields.
A quality backlink is strategically positioned in a page
In your opinion, which backlink will be best perceived by Google: the link placed in one of the first paragraphs of an article or the one placed at the very end of the page just above the footer?
As you will have understood, when it comes to backlinks, everything is important. And his position is no exception.
In general, a backlink placed in the body of a page will have much more value than one located in a menu, a footer or in the source at the bottom of the page.
This is explained by the fact that Google will give greater weight to links that are contextualized. That is to say, links that are included in blocks of text that will give context to it.
Let’s go back to our example of the vintage guitar maker.
If he includes a backlink to the guitar string maker in a block of text on a page where he touts the quality of his instruments’ strings, then that backlink is well contextualized.
On the other hand, if he makes this backlink on a technical description page listing all the suppliers of materials used for the manufacture of his guitars without further context, then the backlink will have much less impact.
Google’s algorithm is sharp enough to understand the difference between an editorial link that serves the topic, to a link placed without any real specific purpose.
A quality backlink has good anchor text
Does the anchor text of a link speak to you?
In fact, it is the text that “encloses” a link in a block of text.
Good anchor text contextualizes the link. “Click here” or “learn more” are not quality anchor texts. They do not provide any information to Google to help it qualify the link.
For example, all links on this page are contextualized through their anchor text. I have integrated links on coherent pieces of text in relation to the page to which they lead.
Google will analyze the anchor text, the content of page A and that of page B. If everything is consistent, the link will be considered to be of quality.
Beyond the anchor text, Google will also analyze the words and phrases around the link. Here again, the more coherence there is, the more the link will be qualitative.
A quality backlink has a Dofollow attribute and no Nofollow
There are 2 main link attributes: rel=”nofollow” and rel=”dofollow”.
A nofollow attribute tells Google that you don’t want it to view that link. Conversely, the dofollow attribute encourages him to follow it.
In reality, the nofollow attribute will not always prevent Google from viewing the page in question. But from an SEO point of view, the nofollow attribute on a backlink greatly reduces the chances that this link will bring you authority benefits.
The best strategies to get quality backlinks
There are many strategies for acquiring quality backlinks without risking penalties from Google.
At SLN, we recommend 12 proven best practices for gaining quality backlinks:
- Offer quality content
- Create engaging visuals
- Publish studies / reports
- Dealing with topics in depth
- Send content to influencers
- do guest blogging
- Communicate on social networks
- Leave relevant comments on content
- Register in quality directories
- Monitor brand mentions
- Offer content directly
- Spot broken links on a website
Given the nature of the subject, we have dedicated a full article to it, which you can consult on this link:
Should you buy backlinks?
We must begin by clarifying that buying links is clearly a violation of Google’s guidelines.
From there, you have a good idea of the answer to this question. But I’ll tell you why that’s a bad idea.
Why is buying links a bad idea?
Already, you should know that the purchase of links is still an extremely widespread practice.
For what? Because even with the evolutions of the algorithm, Google still has a lot of trouble accurately detecting a paid link from a naturally earned link. Another obvious reason is the difficulty in getting those backlinks naturally. It takes a lot of effort while buying links brings faster results.
On the other hand, keep in mind that buying links involves negative effects:
- By cheating with Google, you expose yourself to significant risks in the event of penalties. The game is not necessarily worth the candle.
- Generally the paid links are on low quality sites and on less coherent themes than in the case of naturally earned links.
- If a site offers to pay for backlinks, chances are your competitors have had the same offer.
If you still want to buy links for reasons other than SEO, remember to ask for the addition of the rel=”nofollow” or rel=”sponsored” attribute to avoid a negative impact on your SEO.
What penalties will Google inflict on you?
Buying links is a risky SEO tactic. Like generating spammy links from sites considered toxic as seen earlier in this article.
If Google detects that your link building strategy is contrary to its guidelines, you risk a penalty.
They can be issued in 2 ways:
- A manual action, by Google employees
- An automatic algorithmic action (often Google Penguin)
The result? You will see a drop in your ranking in Google. Your pages will be less highlighted by the algorithm to respond to user queries.
A manual or automatic action can be remedied by correcting the causes that led to this penalty.
On the other hand, it often takes several months or even sometimes a few years depending on the case to recover your initial potential.
It is therefore essential to measure the risk/benefit ratio of your actions when you seek to cheat with Google, as in the context of link purchases.
In conclusion, do not buy links if it is only to improve your SEO and favor strategies allowing you to gain links naturally.
What are the other benefits of backlinks?
Generating backlinks is mainly useful for SEO. But a link building strategy also has additional benefits.
Drive traffic to your website
Do you use Google Analytics? If so, you know that there are several traffic acquisition channels (organic, paid, email, social, etc.).
One of these channels is the referral. It corresponds to visits to your website made from a click on a link from a third-party site. Basically, it is the traffic generated by the clicks on the backlinks.
Because we must not forget that the interest of a link is first of all to allow an Internet user to navigate from page to page.
If you have backlinks to a high traffic site, you can expect some of that traffic to end up visiting your site. More visits to your site potentially means more leads generated and therefore more customers and sales for you.
Obtaining a backlink on a site with a similar theme and which also has an audience that may be interested in your offer will have a double advantage. You will improve your SEO while generating qualified visitors to your website.
Ideally, these are the types of backlinks you should target first.
Develop media relations
When you launch a new product or service, you might be tempted to launch public relations actions.
You will contact media sites, influencers in your industry, partners, etc.
These contacts will in some cases lead to the creation of content on their respective sites, and you are likely to generate backlinks. These links will be interesting for your SEO, but you will also develop notoriety and trust with the audience of these media.
You will therefore increase your potential presence in other media that you had not identified, as well as opportunities to make yourself more visible to journalists and editors.
Build your brand image
One of the best strategies for generating backlinks is to create quality content around your industry.
For example, if you create a market study, there is a good chance that websites in your theme will talk about it and create links to the page hosting your study.
Ditto in the case of a quality infographic, or any other content with very high added value for your market.
The generated backlinks will be particularly interesting to boost the SEO performance of the page hosting this quality content.
But it’s also a great way to develop your brand image by highlighting your expertise in your field. It is all the more effective if you evolve in a niche where all the evangelization around your activity is still to be done.
How to measure the performance of a link building strategy?
As we constantly say at SLN, the key to measuring the success of a marketing action is based first and foremost on the definition of clear objectives.
You need to set achievable goals and not just focus on quantitative criteria. As we have seen, effective backlinks are above all quality backlinks.
A good way to measure the performance of your link building strategy is to compare yourself to the performance of your competitors.
Do they have many more backlinks than you? Are they overall of better quality? How does your authority score compare to theirs?
The answers to his questions will allow you to see things a little more clearly and avoid focusing solely on vanity metrics.
Having 10 times more links than your main competitor is not useful if these links are not of good quality. They will not bring you benefits in terms of SEO, or even penalize you as we have seen.
But then, what concrete performance indicators can you track to measure the performance of your link building strategy?
There are several metrics to track here.
First, you should track your domain authority. The closer it is to 100, the better. This gives you an indication of the quality of your site’s netlinking profile.
Next, carefully track the authority scores of your most important pages. These are the pages that must generate the most backlinks, without forgetting the quality of course.
Finally, analyze the domain authority of the sites on which you have obtained backlinks. The higher they are, the better your backlinks will be.
Dofollow / Nofollow link ratio
As we saw above, nofollow links will have very little impact on your SEO performance.
It is therefore interesting to analyze the proportion of nofollow links compared to your dofollow links. Ideally, you should have more dofollow links than nofollow.
The number of referring domains
It is very unattractive to have a large amount of backlinks from only a handful of sites.
The more referring domains you have, the more qualitative your netlinking profile will be considered for Google.
The relevance of themes
We talked about the need for consistency between the pages of the sites that link to each other.
You must therefore make sure that the sites and pages that include your backlinks deal with subjects related to your activity. Thus, your backlinks will be much more effective in terms of SEO.
The number of toxic links
There are tools allowing you to control the quality of the backlinks of your site. It is recommended to identify them and make sure you get rid of them.
Google offers a feature allowing you to disavow links that you consider to be toxic. On the other hand, this action must be carried out with caution so as not to harm your SEO.
The volume of traffic generated by your backlinks
Remember that your backlinks are not only used to improve the authority of your site for SEO purposes.
It is also a significant source of traffic that should be monitored and analyzed.
You may find that some lower quality backlinks still give you a high volume of visits and you should make sure you don’t lose them.