If you are interested in SEO and netlinking, you know that getting quality backlinks is essential for good SEO.
Google recently confirmed that backlinks are the number one ranking factor in 2019, along with excellent content. 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 not as long as “more” means that 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 developing a netlinking strategy, you should therefore be careful. While a good backlink can increase a website’s ranking, bad inbound links can penalise it.
Fortunately, there are still many ways to safely create quality backlinks. It’s all about relevance and user focus.
1 – The so-called “natural” editorial links
These backlinks are given by websites and web pages that spontaneously link to your content or your business. Obtaining them does not require any specific SEO action, apart from creating quality content and giving them some visibility.
2 – The link building
These backlinks are obtained by buying links, contacting influencers and journalists or submitting the site to web directories. Creating these backlinks 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 from 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. As a rule, search engines penalize websites that aggressively pursue these backlinks because they consider them spam. They should therefore be integrated into a netlinking SEO strategy with caution.
Évitez les échanges de liens du type : « Faites un lien vers mon site depuis le vôtre et j’en ferai de même ».
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 might interpret it as spam.
Some directories do not provide any real value to Internet 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 netlinking strategy. 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 cannot 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 carry more weight than a link from a site specializing in sneakers.
To check the legitimacy of a given page on specific search terms, you can simply look for certain keywords and phrases targeted by this page (especially those in the title tag and the title). For example, if you’re trying to rank on the terms “dog trainer”, look for pages that are already ranking on them.
To find legitimate sites to earn relevant links from, you can also use a tool like Similar Site Search. Simply type in your website URL to get a list of sites covering topics related to your field of 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 trustworthiness of web pages. Therefore, it is advisable to carefully choose the sites you link to and only gain links from domains you are sure are trustworthy.
Examples of high trust domains are universities, government websites, and non-profit organizations.
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 consider 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, 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 containing few links, than to be linked 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 ranks well on specific keywords. You can then target these sites for your own link building campaigns.
In order to stay out of penalties, the disavow link 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 all you have to do is react quickly in case of unwanted inbound links.
As long as your reciprocal backlinks cover the same topic and make sense from a user’s perspective, exchanging links should not penalize your website.
There are many online directories that provide no real value to web users and Google has excluded them from its search results. But not all web directories are bad. Some specialize in one area of business, 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, also prefer paid web directories that have the merit of seriously reviewing each submission and adding only legitimate sites.
Simply make a list of the best blogs and forums in your niche, and then post high-quality comments to them with a link pointing to your website in the dedicated field.
If you actively participate in discussions on forums or blogs relevant to your business, and if your posts bring real contextual value to the exchanges, your SEO should feel the benefits.
If dozens of links point to a page with the right keywords, the likelihood of that page ranking 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 get you into 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 variations 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 referred to as “Fresh Rank,” the “freshness” of links metric continuously judges the popularity and relevance of backlinks.
Although search engines treat socially shared links differently than other types of links, they do notice them 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 worthy of sharing, no doubt you will be able to reach new customers and get new inbound links.
Has anyone ever created content about your company, brand or products without inserting a link to your website? Don’t hesitate to contact the author to convert that mention into a backlink!
But, how to find these mentions? You have a lot of choices. With tools like Link Research Tools, BuzzSumo or mention.com, you can track everything that is 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 relies on creating quality, relevant, useful and well-structured content to get natural backlinks. Even Google engineers advise this! This approach requires a little patience, but is often the most profitable.
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 are starting your blog, you need to 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 cite, 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. For that, don’t hesitate to add graphics, quotes, figures and practical advice.
If you write quality content, you’re bound to find a website or blog that will agree 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 backfire and penalize you.
But if you follow Google’s guest article best practices, 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 looking for resources and information to create interesting content for their readers. Where it gets interesting for your backlinking SEO 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.com instead.
Example of requests for journalistic resources on responsesource.com
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 and 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 be able to link to your product or an article you’ve written on the subject?
By taking the time to search, you can even get a glimpse of the questions your target audience is asking and use them as ideas for future blog posts!
To get quality and authoritative backlinks, you can offer bloggers to test your products for free. Ideally, don’t openly ask for a review or link in exchange… you’d be breaking Google’s webmaster guidelines! Let them decide if your product deserves a mention or a test article.
See also our tips to find influencers and reach them out.
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 good exposure.
In summary, in 2019, you need to create quality content first and foremost to gain backlinks. Sure, building backlinks requires creativity, time and, often, a budget. But your efforts will be rewarded by the beneficial effects on your SEO!