If you are interested in SEO and netlinking, you know that getting quality backlinks is essential for a good SEO.
Google has recently confirmed that backlinks are the No. 1 ranking factor, along with excellent content. It’s no wonder that link building is one of the main SEO strategies to improve the ranking and traffic volume of a website!
By definition, a backlink is an incoming link from any other website or blog.
However, not all backlinks are of equal quality. Forget the saying: “The more the merrier”! It doesn’t work for links, at least as long as “more” means you buy or get links without checking if they are low quality or risky.
Because what you need to know is that Google has strict rules about link building. Some inbound links may be considered a violation of its guidelines for webmasters, and a manipulation of its search algorithm.
When you develop a netlinking strategy, you must therefore be careful. While a quality backlink can increase the referencing of a website, bad inbound links can on the contrary penalize it.
Fortunately, there are still many ways to safely create quality backlinks. It’s all about relevance and focus on the user.
1 – So-called “natural” editorial links
These backlinks are given by websites and web pages that spontaneously link to your content or business. Getting them does not require any specific SEO action, apart from creating quality content and giving them visibility.
2 – Link building
These backlinks are obtained by buying links, contacting influencers and journalists or by submitting the site to web directories. Creating these inbound links can be as much about posting a guest article on another site as it is about convincing a professor that your content is worthy of publication.
3 – Non-editorial links called “self-created
These backlinks are obtained thanks to the hundreds of thousands of websites that offer their visitors the possibility to create links via guestbook signatures, forum posts, blog comments or user profiles. These links offer the lowest value, but overall can have a positive impact on SEO if they are created in a relevant way. Generally, search engines penalize websites that aggressively pursue these backlinks because they consider them as spam. They must therefore be integrated into a netlinking SEO strategy with caution.
Avoid link exchanges such as: “Link to my site from yours and I will do the same”.
In the age of Google Penguin, which is now part of Google’s core algorithm, you can’t use abusive SEO techniques such as keywordstuffing. If you create links with the same anchor tag on thousands of websites, Google may interpret it as spam.
Some directories provide no real value to users and Google has excluded them from its search results.
For example, avoid comments such as: “Good article”, “This post helped me” or “Thank you, it’s great! – SEO Agency Paris”.
Not that publishing articles on other sites is forbidden, but some bad practices can harm your SEO strategy of netlinking. It is more than advisable to avoid publishing the same article on different sites, publishing many articles on the same site or publishing articles without added value.
Don’t let a website duplicate your content in exchange for a link, without adding a rel=”canonical” and a rel=”nofollow”.
Search engines clearly state that buying backlinks to improve a website’s ranking violates their guidelines.
While Google and Bing can’t penalize all paid links, they spend a lot of time and resources finding ways to detect them. Poor quality paid links therefore present an extremely high risk of penalty for your website.
Links from sources that specialize in a topic matter more to your SEO than links from general or off-topic sites. For example, if you sell dog accessories on your website, a backlink from the 30 million Friends Foundation will have more weight than an incoming link from a site specialized in sneakers.
To check the legitimacy of a given page on specific search terms, you can simply search for certain keywords and phrases targeted by this page (especially those in the title tag and title). For example, if you are trying to rank on the terms “dog trainer”, look for pages that are already ranking on it.
To find legitimate sites to earn relevant links from, you can also use a tool like Similar Site Search. Just type in your website URL to get a list of sites covering topics related to your business.
The Internet contains huge amounts of spam, and spammy links often go both ways. A website that links to spam is probably itself spam, and in turn has many spam sites pointing to it.
In order to eliminate this irrelevant content from their results, search engines use a TrustRank to measure the degree of trust of web pages. It is therefore advisable to choose carefully the sites you link to and only gain links from domains you are sure are reliable.
Universities, government websites and non-profit organizations are examples of high trust areas.
With a free tool like MozBar, you’ll also be able to examine the domain authority (a score from 0 to 100 – a score close to 100 being better than a score close to 0) of the sites you’re considering for your link acquisition strategy.
Links that send high volumes of traffic not only tend to provide a better signal to search engines, but also send targeted and valuable visitors to your website.
The value of a link is diluted by the presence of other links on a web page. It is therefore better to link to a page with few links, than to link to a page with many links.
With the help of tools like Moz’s Open Site Explorer, you will get information about the backlinks of a website that is well ranked on specific keywords. You can then target these sites for your own link building campaigns.
To avoid penalties, the link disavowal file is a great way to preemptively tell Google to ignore poor quality inbound links.
To spot these links, you can use a tool like Majestic SEO or Ahrefs. They will allow you to monitor the appearance of new backlinks and you will only have to react quickly in case of unwanted incoming links.
As long as your reciprocal backlinks cover the same topic and make sense from the user’s point of view, the link exchange should not penalize your website.
There are many online directories that provide no real value to users and Google has excluded them from its search results. But not all web directories are bad. Some specialize in one area of activity, and their audience is particularly qualified.
The best directories are those that provide useful information to your potential customers. Take TripAdvisor or Yelp for example: they are essential for local businesses that serve consumers in a specific service area. Therefore, building links in niche directories and directories relevant to your industry can be beneficial to your SEO.
In most cases, you should also use paid web directories which have the merit of seriously examining each submission and adding only legitimate sites.
Just make a list of the best blogs and forums in your niche, then post high quality comments with a link to your website in the dedicated field.
If you actively participate in discussions on forums or blogs that are relevant to your business, and if your posts bring real contextual value to the exchanges, your SEO should feel the benefit.
If dozens of links point to a page with the right keywords, the probability that this page will rank well on the terms targeted in the anchor text is high. However, when getting links, be careful to vary the anchor tags on different websites. Filling the anchor text with commercial keywords is far from natural and will surely cause you trouble.
To make the backlink look natural, you should use your brand name with other keyword variations. For example, if your site is imob.com, a real estate training site, you can use these different anchor text variants to generate backlinks: imob real estate training or imob real estate agents.
You can also modify the anchor text by using URLs with your target keywords: http://imob.com real estate, http://imob.com real estate training, real estate training on www.imob.com.
Commonly known as “Fresh Rank”, the measurement of the “freshness” of links continuously judges the popularity and relevance of backlinks.
Although search engines treat socially shared links differently than other types of links, they do notice and take them into account.
How much do they value them? It’s impossible to say. But, undeniably, the importance of social networks is growing and they most likely affect the SEO of web pages, in addition to giving them visibility and increasing their popularity.
If your content is original, interesting, well-structured and shareable, you will undoubtedly reach new customers and get new inbound links.
Has anyone ever created content about your company, brand or products without linking to your website? Do not hesitate to contact the author to convert this mention into a backlink!
But, how do you find these mentions? You are spoilt for choice. With tools like Link Research Tools, BuzzSumo or mention.com, you can track everything that is being said about your company and receive an alert as soon as someone writes something about you.
If you create visual content, you can also use Google’s reverse image search to locate sites that use your images or infographics without linking to your website.
A good netlinking strategy is based on the creation of quality, relevant, useful and well-structured content to obtain natural backlinks. Even Google’s engineers advise it! This approach requires a little patience, but often pays off the most.
The most effective way is to start and maintain a blog that is both informative and entertaining. Blogs have the unique ability to consistently contribute to content refreshment, engage in conversations and, of course, earn you links from other blogs and websites.
But beware! If you start your blog, you should update it as often as possible, creating quality articles on a regular basis. Focus on your industry and the needs of your target audience.
Over time, by posting regularly, you will find that your blog will gain authority. Users will naturally quote, recommend, share, link and tweet your posts.
Sometimes, a single article can get many quality backlinks to your site. The main thing is to make it interesting. To do this, feel free to add graphics, quotes, figures and practical advice.
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If you write quality content, you’re bound to find a site or blog that will accept to publish it. It’s a win-win: the website owner gets a free post, while you gain a backlink.
Before you start guest-blogging, just make sure that the site or blog is relevant to your topic, and that the article is not just about touting your business. Google has tightened its quality rules for guest posts, and a poorly optimized post could have the opposite effect of what you intended and penalize you.
But if you follow Google’s best practices for guest posting, by publishing unique content on sites other than your own, you’ll expand your brand’s reach and most likely drive additional traffic to your website.
Writers all over the world are searching for resources and information to create interesting content for their readers. Where it gets interesting for your SEO backlinking strategy is that you can perfectly offer them your content and expertise as resources. Of course, this strategy is only valid if your articles are relevant.
To connect with writers, you can use HARO (short for Help a Reporter Out), a website that sends you three daily lists of topics that journalists and bloggers are looking to create content on. To target a more focused community of writers in France, use responsesource.fr instead.
All you have to do is find the requests that are relevant to your field of expertise or to the recent content you have created to maximize your chances of being quoted or getting a backlink!
In Quora, Yahoo! Questions Answers, or on social networks, you can find questions relevant to your business. By answering them, you will not only be useful, but you will also position yourself as an expert. And, who knows, maybe you’ll have the opportunity to link to your product or an article you’ve written on the subject?
By taking the time to research, you can even gain insight into the questions your target audience is asking and use them as ideas for future blog posts!
To get quality, authoritative backlinks, you can offer bloggers to test your products for free. Ideally, don’t openly ask for a review or a link in exchange… you would be breaking Google’s webmaster guidelines! Let them decide if your product deserves a mention or a test article.
Also find out
how to find and contact influencers
If your blog already has a good visibility, you can also propose to influencers to dedicate an article or an interview to them. The trick is that most bloggers place a link to the articles featuring them on their page. This way you can get a good exposure.
In summary, in 2019, you need to create quality content first and foremost to gain backlinks. Of course, building inbound links requires creativity, time and often a budget. But your efforts will be rewarded by the beneficial effects on your SEO!