How to Build a Competitive Link Strategy that Actually Improves Your Rankings
Although they lost some of the power they used to have, links are still a critical component of any effective SEO strategy even in 2017. Links are used by search engines to define a website’s popularity and authority. The more links you receive from highly authoritative sources of information and other sites with high traffic or trust scores, the higher your site will rank for a given query. If you want to boost your business website’s Google rankings without wasting a lot of money on useless and non-relevant sources, solid link strategy is mandatory to keep being competitive.
This guide will provide a few insights on how to effectively plan your link strategy to boost your SEO efforts.
Quality is more important than quantity
Back in 2014, the only thing you wanted on your website was the highest amount of links possible. It didn’t matter whether they came from an unknown forum or if you spammed your pages on adult sites. You just wanted a lot of them – the more, the merrier.
Things changed significantly since then. If the site that is providing the link that points to you has no authority, popularity or trust, it’s worth less than a single cent in a Kickstarter campaign. But there’s more to this. If the link comes from an authoritative website that has no relevance to your niche – that link is also worth much less. So if you have a bakery, receiving links from WebMD is not going to help you much, but getting them from Panera Bread will be of great use to you.
Learn how to disavow
The Google Disavow function is vital to any sound link strategy. If you found that, after performing a full backlinks audit, you’re getting a lot of non-relevant, unnatural or malicious link coming to your site – it’s time to get rid of them. Keeping them means keeping the clutter: Google is not able to tell whether you added all those spammy links on your own, or if someone with malicious intent actually attacked your site. By disavowing them, you’re telling the search engine “I do not want them inside my site,” and can thus avoid incurring a penalty.
Check your competitors’ backlink structure
Your competitors also have their own strategies and, believe it or not, Google is also looking at them to know how a proper backlink structure should be for that given niche. In other words, if everyone has links coming from a certain source, if you are the only one who doesn’t Google will identify you as a loser (much like you’re still in high school and you lack that cool gadget that everybody has).
Also, by checking your competitor’s’ links, you may find some broken links you may want to substitute by asking their sources to use yours instead. Just learn how to pitch your request properly, though!
Strike the right balance between link types
Other than do-follow and no-follow links, there are a lot of different link types that depend on the kind of site driving it. Links may come from online magazines, organizations, blogs, forum comments, events and much more. A natural backlink profile must include a little bit of everything, although every niche has its specific prevalence of a given type of links. A small backlink profile can even outperform a much bigger one if the link type breakdown is more appropriate (and more relevant) for that niche.
Aim for natural anchor texts
Over-optimization is often penalized by Google just as much as anything that is perceived as unnatural. This means that if you are managing a law firm website and all the links pointing to it have anchors tags like “file a lawsuit,” you’re probably raising a red flag that my led you to the dreaded penalty zone. Once again, you want variety, so mixing up keywords that are still relevant to that topic like “attorney,” “lawyer,” “plaintiffs,” and “tribunals” is much better than repeating the same one over and over. However, you also want a certain quantity of empty anchor texts such as “click here,” “find more info,” or even more subtle ones such as “according to” or “a very popular opinion is.”
Write high-quality, unique content
The best way to receive new links, is to attract them naturally. You should write high-quality content that provides your audience with a unique point of view or a very in-depth analysis on some topic. If a post or a page is long and detailed enough, Google will still give it a nice ranking boost, and eventually, someone is going to cite it as a source. To improve its initial visibility, you can always advertise it on social networks such as Facebook and get it shared on groups and pages.
Whether your website has just been launched or it is an established one whose rankings you want to boost, planning your link strategy is vital to achieving your goals. There are a lot of opportunities to find new ways to build your links if you just keep looking around.