Despite all of the tumult in the world of SEO, high-quality links and well-executed link profiles are still important factors in web ranking and authority. Unfortunately, the practice of link building is also shrouded in mystery and misinformation. Part of the reason that so few people understand what goes into good link building today is that, historically, link building was a decidedly “black hat” tactic and has been made famous by viral articles like “Confessions of a Google Spammer.”
While link-building can be a black-hat SEO tactic, it can also be a completely legitimate way to lend authority and context to your web content, which is ideal for small businesses and those just getting started in digital marketing. If you’re unfamiliar with link building, read on to learn more about how to do it right and how to avoid doing it wrong.
The 5 Dos of Link Building
When it comes to SEO link building, there are several dos that will take you far. These apply to people at all stages of business – from small to large.
1) Focus on quality
Quality and relevance should be first and foremost in your mind when you move to build links. Linking to low-quality, “Scraped” sites can hurt your SEO much more than they help it, so don’t link to something just because it’s tangentially related to your topic. Instead, use reliable tools like the MozBar to research a site’s Domain Authority (DA) score.
The DA score runs from 0-100 and, as a general rule, you should only be linking to things with a DA score of 50 or higher.
2) Earn incoming links
One of the best ways to boost organic traffic to your site and ensure that you’re making a good impression on the web is to focus on earning incoming links. This means reading and commenting on other blogs, offering to guest post, and featuring guest posts on your site. While simple, these tactics will help you build quality links and boost your SEO rankings.
3) Create evergreen content
In order for your site to be strong, you need both inbound and outbound links. Outbound links are easy enough, but inbound links are a bit harder. To ensure that your site is getting a decent number of inbound links, one of the most important things you can do is to create evergreen content. Evergreen content is content that is fresh and relevant no matter when it’s viewed and it’s important for link building because it stands the test of time. Over years or moths, people will keep referring to it, generating traffic and links for your site and improving your SEO.
4) Use long-tail keywords as anchor text
Anchor text is the portion of text that you choose to house a hyperlink. This clickable text makes content look authoritative and helps it appeal to audiences. Using long-tail keyword phrases as your anchor text (See what we did there?) is a wonderful way to stay relevant to your topic and provide variability and interest for readers.
5) Build brand mentions
Google Panda made it possible for Google users to search the web for brand mentions. Brand mentions take many forms, including press releases, product launches, campaigns, events, and reviews. One of the best ways to build links for your site is to ensure that brand mentions that involve your company feature link attributes that direct people back to your page. There are dozens of free tools to locate brand mentions and, when you do, you can simply reach out to the webmaster and ask him or her to add a link. This tip is simple but effective.
The 5 Don’ts of Link Building
When learning to build links well, the don’ts are almost as important as the do’s. Read on to learn more.
1) Using keyword anchor text only
While using long-tail keyword phrases for your anchor text can be a do, it can also be a big don’t. Using keyword-only anchor text links can actually harm your SEO and, instead, marketers should seek to use a mix of brand and keyword phrases for anchor text. For example, if your keywords are “bakery” and “New York City,” you could use “Best bakery in the entire New York City area” as a keyword phrase. This helps protect your site from being penalized for unnatural SEO.
2) Don’t place links in blog comments
While you should read and comment on other blogs, you shouldn’t do so only to place your links in the text of the comments. This is considered spammy SEO and can easily get you blocked from other blog site and ruin your link building attempts. Instead, interact meaningfully with other blogs and people will gravitate toward your site naturally.
3) Trading links
It’s unwise to trade links with websites that aren’t thematically related to your own content. This is considered bad SEO and will harm both sites’ rankings. Instead, focus on building links with sites that are relevant to your area of expertise.
4) Including blogroll & footer links
If you’re linking to a relevant blog, blogroll links are just fine. Typically, however, if your link building tactics include linking to footer or blogroll links, you may need to re-evaluate. These links are the last links in code, which means there’s less likelihood they’ll be noticed by search engines or viewers alike.
5) Social profile links
If you’re setting up social profiles for the express purpose of gaining links, stop right now. These links have very little importance unless the profiles they are attached to are being used in a valuable and relevant way, which is impossible if you’re only building them for links. Instead, focus on creating relevant content and building relationships with like-minded bloggers. This is the best way to earn links that last.
For companies looking to get out and get found on the web, white-hat link building can be an effective means of producing traffic. For help learning SEO link building for your business, contact Bigfoot Media.
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