External websites linking to your site can drive referral traffic, increase search engine rankings, and raise your website’s domain authority, among other benefits.
So, you should definitely build links, but make sure to do it the right way. Avoid anything that could raise a red flag in front of the ever-vigilant Google. Here are some tips for efficient and effective link building.
Your Link Profile
Your Google link profile — the overall assessment of links your website has earned — plays an important role in ranking factors and search engine optimization. Your assessment includes:
- Link quality
- Link quantity
- Link diversity
- Domain Authority
The state of your link profile helps search engines better understand your site. It also determines if your site has valuable content and how your site relates to others.
What Does a Healthy Link Profile Look Like?
A healthy link profile has inbound links with high domain authority and trustworthy content. Google tracks the sources of inbound links and ranks your website based on the diversity of those links. Variety is good, and quality matters more than quantity. Your goal: Attract many relevant inbound links that have high domain authority.
What is a Link Building Strategy?
A good link building strategy will raise your site’s rank on Google search results. Scalable link building strategies include:
- Opportunity Outreach: Third-party publishing on a blog or a site’s blog
- Unlinked Mentions: Sites that mention your brand but don’t link out
- Broken Link Building: Replacing a broken link with a link to your site
- Resource Pages: Page on a site that contains resources specific to a certain topic
- Directories: Listings of businesses or sites
Build your strategy step by step.
Get to know your audience. To gain traffic, you must understand your current audience and develop a clear vision of your ideal audience. Such knowledge leads you to the right content.
Generate a list of websites that appeal to your ideal audience. These sites show you what your desired audience seeks.
Once you know your desired audience and what appeals to them, you can tailor content to that audience. We don’t mean clickbait; if you want websites to link to you, your content must be excellent and useful to your audience.
With content in hand, look again at your list of websites that appeal to your audience. Review the content on those sites to make sure your content aligns with theirs. This review should also show you gaps in relevant topic coverage; be original and fill those gaps with your own expertise. Even when you cover well-trod ground, do your best to bring something new to a familiar topic.
Take advantage of social media and reach out to your audiences and potential audiences. Share your content via links on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Social media exposure can drive backlinks.
These steps will get you started; a link building strategy takes time, effort, sustained consistency and, especially, an emphasis on quality inbound links.
What is the Best Link Building Strategy?
Be prepared to take on a gradual process. As you strategize, keep these things in mind:
The Domain Authority of the Sites Linking to You
The pages that link to you play an important role in your website’s rank in organic search engine results. High authority of a website that links to you enhances your trustworthiness in Google’s eyes. It tells Google that your content is valuable.
Quality Matters More than Quantity
We’re hammering this point into the ground, but with good reason: The number of backlinks matters less than the quality of the sites that link to you. Quality has to do with the domain authority and content of the backlinking site. Trustworthy, authoritative backlinks always win.
Seek Backlinks from Sites with Relevant Content
Google uses backlinks to better understand your website. Therefore, you want backlinks from sites with content similar to yours. Target keywords, meta descriptions, headers, and alt texts tell Google about your content. Likewise, when a website with similar content links to you, Google then knows your website pertains to a certain topic and has value within that topic. This also builds trustworthiness, which is extremely important for Google search rankings.
Backlinks Generate Quality Traffic
When a user already on a topic-relevant website clicks on a link to your site, you have gained valuable traffic from a member of a relevant audience.
Backlinks Can Help Increase Your Domain Authority
Backlinks with a high domain authority raise your site’s domain authority. A high-ranking backlink hints to Google that your website is trustworthy and authoritative.
Quality Informational Content Attracts Organic Links
To gain organic links — that is, links gained without use of manipulation tactics — give users quality, informative content. Organic links take time but are very much worth the wait.
Nofollow vs. Dofollow
When you receive a backlink, check for nofollow tags, which cause search engines to ignore that link. Dofollow tags, obviously, help your site’s search engine rankings. Google uses these tags as a ranking factor. Generally, dofolllow is preferred.
However, in some cases you’re better off with a nofollow tag. Examples:
- Social media posts
- Blog comments
- Links in press releases
- User-generated content
- Paid links
This is best practice, as it follows Google’s guidelines for outbound links. You do not want to wave a red flag at Google .
If you have a nofollow tag from an inbound link, the best solution to change that would be to contact the website owner. You can only fix the nofollow tags with internal links.
How Do You Check if a Link Has a Nofollow Tag?
To check for a nofollow tag, right-click on the page and click View Page Source.
You will see the backend of your website. Look for the link in the HTML of the page for rel=’nofollow’. You can press control/command F and search for nofollow. If you don’t see that tag, the link is dofollow.
For more on nofollow tags, check out our blog on Google’s nofollow update.
Do Nofollow Links Have Value?
Dofollow links are great for SEO; however, nofollow links have their own benefits. These include:
- Brand awareness
- Building trust
- Quality traffic
- A natural backlink profile
Nofollow links are not as bad as they sound. Sometimes, a nofollow link from a trustworthy site is more valuable than a dofollow link from a low authoritative site.
Why is Link Building Important?
Link building helps Google rank websites. The importance of quality link building has never been higher for SEO and the competitive advantage of high organic rankings.
Online presence will continue to grow in importance for businesses of all types. To increase your site’s domain authority, referral traffic, and trustworthiness — and to build relationships, gain referral traffic and build your brand — develop a link building strategy.
We can help! Don’t hesitate to contact us.