Linkbuilding: 6 important factors
Don’t let your links be the missing link
I want to talk about the importance of links and linkbuilding. 5 years ago I was convinced that links would get less important, because it was a factor that was tampered with a lot. On top of that, my opinion was that there were other factors that were much more relevant to measure the authority. A third cliché: good content doesn’t need help to get links.
Well, no. 10 years later, it’s clear that, not only are they still relevant, they may even have gotten more important than before. Nowadays it’s much more difficult to tamper with your links (thank god for this). Google has since taken some measures like the Penguin update , an update which erased the tampered links and made linkbuilding a lot more fairer from then onwards.
A good link has it all
1. A link with authority
A good link is one that has a page with good authority as its starting point. A link from an university is worth much more than a link from your local drama club. It works similarly to a closed network. Google itself already links to loads of websites. The websites that get those links, through this, inherit a part of the authority of Google. The official name is ‘Linkjuice’ and if flows from page to page on the web. Are there a lot of links on that page? Then the linkjuice is devided in equal parts to all of the linked pages. Look at it as a form of peer reviewing. How far are you removed from the high-authority websites?
2. The more links, the lower the added value
With this we arrive at step 2: the higher the number of links, the lower the added value. A high-authority domain can have a link page with 10,000 links. A link from this kind of page only gives 1/10,000 of the authority of that page. Too bad. This is also the reason why home pages and such are links of a lower quality, as you’ll only get a small part of the cookie. You have to ask yourself whether it’s worth it. It’s probably more interesting to invest your time in other forms of linkbuilding.
3. Old links, the traces of your past
Age is another important factor. A link that has already existed for many years, is a sign of trust. If you quickly build 10,000 links, either it looks fishy, or you are just growing superfast. If other factors are not growing in proportion to this increase in linkbuilding, than it can set off some red flags. A link that is already pointing out your site, is a sign that your site has been around for lots of years.
4. Relevant context
Relevancy is important as well. Sponsoring may be a positive thing at times, but it doesn’t improve your link authority that much if you are mentioned amongst 20 other sponsors on one page of your local football club. After all, it’s missing context. You want a link where the context is immediately clear.
Google looks at the origin of your links. You think you can outsmart Google by building yourself a link network? Knock yourself out, it won’t even make a dent in your authority. Google not only looks at the domain names, it also considers the IP addresses where you get linked from. If you are trying to obtain links through the same shared hosting, then your links come from the same IP, so they will be very low in value. It goes even further than that, as Google looks at the C block of the IP address, so links coming from the same datacenter have a lower value. The best advice that can be given, is that links should be obtained in an organic way, so they also get spread organically. Logically, the links from the same geographical region will be more useful if that’s your target audience.
A month ago we got a new client that was previously working on its linkbuilding with a non-disclosed other marketing agency. The majority of their links came from Argentina and lots of low-quality blogs, while the company sells products on the Belgian market. Would Google notice this? Would it help you to score better in the Belgian market?
Furthermore, you should make sure you have a good spreading of links on your own website. If you link everything to your homepage, that’s ok, but a link to a deeper part of your site (like your product/service page) is also worth a lot.
6. Anchor text and title
The anchor text or the title which links to your site is important as well. The same thing should be considered here: the spreading of the anchor texts is important. If all of the links that go to your site look exactly the same, it can appear quite artifcial. Logically, a link gets a spreading of titles if the context is also spread. An anchor text with the product or service as its title creates more value than when you always have your domain name as a link. After all, people are looking for a service or product. A good achor text can consequently put you higher in the ranking.
- Bad: visit this link: https://www.growl.be/website-bouwen/
- Good: Get to know more about building a website
Is there such a thing as a bad link?
In the past, there wasn’t really anything like a ‘bad’, which meant that a lot of low quality links were being bought. Nowadays, however, linkbuilding luckily happens differently, and if you buy links you can even seriously damage the authority of your site. Unfortunately the same can be said for your competitor’s search results. Negative SEO does exists. Do you think you are a victim of this? Make sure you regularly check your Google Search Console. This tool will let you know whether your linkprofile has gotten infected. To erase any negative linkbuilding, you can use thedisavow tool. Carefullness is key here.
Linkbuilding tips to conclude
- Quality above quantity. It’s better to have 5 good links that include everything, rather than 150 links that are performing poorly.
- Start with yourself. Make it worth to be linked to. The best linkbuilding is a spontaneous link that you earn through the quality content on your site.
- Ask and you will receive. Behind every website there are people. Really take the time to actively hunt for a link.
- Linkbuilding is a long-term investment, so also try to work sustainably towards it.
- What you do yourself, you (probably) do better. External linkbuilding companies, most of the time, point the links to homepages, blogs,… After reading this article you already know that these have close to no added value.
To conclude, a quote by Matt Cutts: “The objective is not to make your links appear natural, the objective is that your links are natural“.