When we talk about link building strategies or backlink strategy, we refer to the practice of creating one-way hyperlinks between the pages of our site and those of other websites, to increase visibility and improve organic positioning.
The backlink is one of the most important ranking factors that the search engine uses to determine the authority of a website.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you click and wish to buy through affiliate links, I may make a small commission at no extra cost to you.
Linking the pages of your site to authoritative sources (i.e. well-positioned domains and websites that already enjoy certain notoriety), helps the search engine understand not only what your page is about, but also how reliable what it is saying is.
But be careful. For your backlink strategy to be effective, it is necessary to select the backlinks very carefully. That is, to connect the pages of your site to other pages whose content is relevant to that of yours.
It is not enough to create a certain amount of inbound links and outbound links, but it is equally important that inbound and outbound links go to validate the content of our page.
How can this be done? By creating only high-quality links.
Link Building Tips For Beginners: What Makes a Quality Link?
At this point, the question arises: what makes a quality link? What are the factors that Google takes into consideration to determine if your site’s links are relevant to SEO rankings?
Page Authority (PA)
In the first place, there is the authority of the web page. It’s a score that is attributed to the page, to determine its positioning capacity concerning a series of factors that include the number of links present, the volumes of traffic, and more different parameters.
The page’s authority is determined by PageRank, the Google algorithm that ranks the importance of web pages, based on the number of links that the page receives.
Put simply, the operation of PageRank assumes that the most important websites receive more links from other websites.
PageRank was developed by Larry Page and Sergey Brin at Stanford University in 1996, as part of a larger project to create a new search engine, based on the intuition that information on the web could be sorted based on a criterion of link popularity. Two years later the first Google prototype would be published.
Domain Authority (DA)
Domain authority is a concept very similar to that described in the previous paragraph, except for the fact that in this case what is calculated is the relevance of an entire domain and not of the single page.
The methodology and criteria applied are almost the same (i.e. “reliability” and “popularity”).
For the search engine to consider our site reliable, its “historical curriculum” must be impeccable in its eyes. In other words, its reliability must be validated over time.
To give a practical example, as trivial as it is useful, a domain like Economist.com will have a greater weight than that of a blogger or a small independent magazine, which talks about the same topics.
The same goes for the popularity, that is the number of views, but above all the mentions that your site receives, which are an index that is just as important as it can be considered reliable.
So, the more links that point to my site, the more popular the site will become, the better positioned it will be. Quite right? Not exactly. Not all links positively affect ranking, as we are about to see in the next paragraph.
The anchor text is the portion of text to which the hyperlink is associated.
The selection of the clickable keyword must also follow a criterion of relevance with the content of the page it will open. This is because over the years, search engines have adopted increasingly sophisticated methods to determine if the link points to a related and relevant topic with what is being talked about on a page.
The choice of the anchor text to be inserted is mainly linked to the context. It does not always have to be exactly matched keywords, but in some cases, it is also correct to insert more generic words or phrases (i.e. click here, or find out more).
The important thing is that the anchor text is never misleading for the landing page, to respect a logic of consistency in the user’s navigation path.
Be careful not to insert a surplus of keywords in the anchor text: with the update of Penguin, the Google algorithm has learned to evaluate the choice of keywords in detail.
If too many anchor texts contain the same keyword, this could be a wake-up call for Google that the links have not been inserted naturally. In general, it is always best to select a descriptive text portion of the landing page.
Co-occurrences are related keywords, the combination of which circumscribes a semantic context. A co-occurrence occurs when combinations of recurring words are used to deal with a given topic.
In the case of the backlink, the words placed around a hyperlink also serve Google to determine if that link is more or less relevant.
Nofollow vs. Dofollow
The nofollow and nofollow links differ based on the use of the rel attribute which establishes whether or not they should have value in the eyes of the search engine.
In other words, it serves to communicate to the search engine whether or not to consider that link, during the content crawling phase. Dofollow links are the most useful type for SEO purposes to attribute quality feedback to the linked site.
The rel = dofollow attribute should not be set manually and is already present by default in each new link that is inserted. On the other hand, when you want to communicate to Google that a link has no relevance for positioning purposes and, therefore, to ignore its reading, you need to manually apply the rel = nofollow attribute.
To apply the nofollow to a link just insert this HTML code on the single link:
<a href=”URL” rel=”nofollow”>ANCHOR TEXT</a>
Best Practices for Outbound Links
Once it is clear what determines the quality of a backlink and how to select the links within the pages of your site, the next step is to figure out how to get more inbound links from other web pages.
For other websites to link to yours it is essential that there is “trust”. In short, the content of your site should demonstrate high credibility and authority in your niche. And, as we all know, the best way to obtain trust is to work on content quality.
But not only. Some types of content can help you get higher backlink quality.
Visual content is definitely at the top of the list. We are talking about images, infographics, graphs, tables and other contents that are particularly suitable for re-sharing.
In particular, infographics containing data and statistics are very easy elements to connect, better if they are original content, produced by carrying out analyzes and research on the web.
According to some data published by Search Engine Watch:
content with images yields 90% more views than content without images.
Furthermore, a correct optimization of these contents can help you to increase traffic and to be found by users through the image search on the search engine.
Google Images automatically generates a title and a snippet that describe the content in order to associate it with the search queries typed by the user. To make sure you optimize the images on your site in the right way, it is always good to rely on Google’s guidelines.
The so-called “Listicle” (list post) confirms itself as a very appealing format, which to this day is still among those that receive the highest number of clicks and which seems to be made specifically for the inclusion of backlinks.
We refer to those structured posts as real lists, in which different reasons or ways to do something are enumerated, suggestions on purchases, places to visit and so on.
Why does it work so well? Simply because from the title, the reader will already have a clear idea of what he will find in the list. In addition, the various passages, tips or elements listed in the post often contain explanations or notions “in a nutshell”, which easily entice the user to read.
By managing to include one of the pages of your site in a list-post of a site with good authority, you can easily see a surge in the visibility acquired by your site in a short time.
Creating in-depth evergreen content guides on a specific topic is a way to get many more shares and links than a standard article.
We are talking about a more detailed and full-bodied content than a simple blog post, divided into paragraphs. Even better with an initial index, containing images, tables, data, infographics, which responds in a relevant and in-depth manner to the doubts of users on a particular theme.
Whether it’s the way to set the best advertising strategy or a guide on sustainable tourism, be sure to carry out a preliminary analysis on the most clicked search queries on the web, to understand what are the most frequently asked questions by readers about that given argument.
Black Hat Link Building
What is called Black Hat in SEO jargon refers to a whole series of practices that violate the guidelines of Google, to obtain a higher ranking.
Google’s algorithm has become increasingly adept at recognizing the websites that use these systems and at penalizing them. In these cases, the site can lose rankings or disappear completely from the search results.
When it comes to building backlinks, the first thing to avoid is paid links. Google’s guidelines expressly state that
any link intended to manipulate a site’s PageRank or ranking in Google’s search results can be considered part of a linking scheme and a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.
Link buying is definitely at the top of this list.
If you’ve already gotten inbound links to your paid site, your best bet is to stop as soon as possible and use the disavow tool, which instructs Google to ignore certain links.
Another thing to keep away from are link farms, so-called “link factories”, of pages or sometimes entire websites, developed exclusively for the creation of links.
They don’t have any content or information useful to the user, and their sole purpose is to artificially increase, and incorrectly, the popularity of the sites that use them.
However, this is a method that is gradually losing its popularity and that, in recent years, has been increasingly identified by spiders in the content scanning phase and, consequently, penalized.
Now, It’s Over to You
I hope that you found this small guide about link building strategies useful.
Did you learn something new?
Do you have new strategies to add?
Can you share your experience and thoughts?
Please leave a comment below, thanks!