The Ins and Outs of Backlinks
Backlinks have for many years been the most important ranking factor for Google and other search engines and still a website’s backlink profile is one of the major ranking factors for it. Link building or link acquisition is the process by which other websites link to yours. Links are an important component of SEO because they show Google and the other search engines that your site is valuable enough for others to link to it. But, just like anything else in the SEO world, there is a right way and a wrong way to build links.
Natural link building
Natural link building takes time and patience, but it is worth it in the end. Google tells us that your content will most likely rank higher for your targeted keywords if you have other sites linking back to your pages. But, how can you do that organically?
- Content promotion - It all starts with great content. Once you’ve created that content, then promote it! Once you start spreading the world, people will find it, and then if it is compelling enough, they’ll want to share it and link to it.
- Don’t forget reviews and mentions - We’ve talked about the importance of reviews for your overall SEO strategy, but mentions can be as important. Don’t be afraid to reach out to influencers in your industry, especially those with big social media followings, to help get your name out there.
- Trusted partners - Do you have trusted friends or partners in the industry, or a related one, who can link back to your site? Competitors won’t want to promote you, but seek out friends in the same general industry as you. For instance, if you are an orthodontist, ask referring pediatric dentists if they’ll offer a link to your site on theirs.
- Infographics - Not only can infographics add valuable info they can help you gain valuable backlinks. Create easy to read, compelling infographs that can be shared and backlinked to your site.
- Guest blogging - Look for sites that offer valuable information and accept guest posts, and you can not only expand your audience, but gain backlinks at the same time.
- Reach out to bloggers - Turn to bloggers who cover your industry, and show them quality content and they may opt to link to your site.
- Social media - don’t forget to utilize your social media pages to leverage links.
- Check for broken links - as websites come and go, links will, too. You can search websites you’d like to be linked from, and if you find broken links that yours could be replaced with, contact the site’s owner. If your link can offer valuable information that the site’s users would find relevant, they may appreciate you offering to help.
Natural links are valuable not only to your SEO, but to your bottomline, as well. If you can get natural links from trusted websites, not only will it help increase rankings, it may also drive more traffic to your site via the linking sites. Think of them as referrals from a trusted friend. If a friend asks you for a restaurant recommendation, you’ll take the time to offer a suggestion you find relevant and of value. Web users will think the same of a site they trust that links to your site.
Anchor text refers to the clickable text of a hyperlink. The keywords you use in your anchor text are one of the things search engines will use to determine the content of the webpage. Your anchor text should be relevant to the page you are linking to. Anchor text is also known as the link label or link title.
Internal link building
Internal link building allows you to have control over the links being created. When linking to your own pages from your own content, you can control what gets seen by the search engine. And it all starts with research.
Before building internal links, start with a bit of keyword research. That way, you can see not only the keywords that are relevant, but also popular. Then, use those keywords naturally in your content. Then, target your anchor text and be sure you are linking to content using those keywords.
Exact match anchor text would utilize the same keyword as the targeted keyword of a webpage. For example, let’s say we’ve created a blog on anchor text - the exact match would be “anchor text” hyperlinked to our blog. Anchor text that is SEO friendly is short and relevant to the target page.
Partial match anchor text includes a variation of the keyword on the page you are linking to. Branded anchor text uses a brand name as the anchor text, while a generic word uses a generic phrase, such as click here, as the anchor.