8 Facts About SEO Link Building – Quality Over Quantity

seo link buildingWhen it comes to SEO link building, the road to improving your website’s ranking can oftentimes be daunting and confusing. The bottom line is that you need to get links from high authority, high relevance websites to your site. Simple, right? However, there are thousands of guides on how to get inbound links spread across every internet marketing website and blog. Methods range from simple directory submissions to building strong relationships with bloggers, editors, and other internet denizens, which can be incredibly time-consuming and stressful work. Those of you looking for all of those detailed strategies for link building will probably enjoy this comprehensive guide, but with these 8 facts on link building, the process can be brought back to its roots. Think of this as a list of tips to define your goals when working on inbound linking strategies for SEO:

  1. Prioritize Internal Links – Why start link-building with things you can’t control? Start with your own website. Internal link structure is crawled by search engine spiders just like external links. Link off of your relevant content to each other. For example, this SEO article related directly to our Integrated Web Marketing services, so naturally, I’ll link back to that page. Additionally, when you add new content that is related to older content, link back to your older content. Likewise, when you post new content, make sure to go back to older relevant content and link to your new content. This is an easy way to freshen up older content. This shares the authority and relevance of the older content with the newer content, giving your new content an instant SEO boost. Refer to your website viewers as your audience: what content within your site might they enjoy reading up on after visiting your home page? By establishing a “flow” between your website’s internal links, users will be directed to additional similar content while increasing traffic within your internal pages at the same time.
  2. Check Page Rank/Domain Authority – Getting links from higher authority sources should be a no-brainer, but sometimes SEOs can get focused on quantity over quality. While establishing a high level of internal links within your site will send a signal to search engines that your pages are meaningful, this process is useless without quality links. Getting one inbound link from a high PR site that is relevant can be much more effective than 10 links from irrelevant, low-PR directories. Take that big link-building spreadsheet that I’m sure you have, and sort it by PageRank. A nice tool for bulk PageRank checking is somewhat obvious – PagerankBulkChecker.com.
  3. Context is Key – Get links from content pages that are relevant to your website. For me to link to one of our clients like Target Distributing is nice, but it isn’t going to be nearly as useful as a more relevant link from other telecom or datacom sources. Try to get links from sites in the same or similar industries. This will make your website appear more relevant within your industry. Get links from blog posts and other sources that are relevant to your subject matter.
  4. Linking Domain Should Be Relevant – Similarly to #3, the domain that you are getting a link from should be relevant to your site. Try to find blogs and websites with descriptive URLs that pertain to your website’s subject matter. Domains that are unassociated with your business’s topic will confuse users — and Google! Avoid using links from unrelated topics to ensure that search engines don’t get the wrong signals as to what your content is about.
  5. Focus on Linking Back to “Cornerstone Content” – When you get an inbound link to your site, try to get it to link to the most relevant page. By doing so, you can also narrow down your “cornerstone content” that should contain a high level of links. Cornerstone content is the information that is most important to your site. For many businesses, this may be the home page, but it is essentially the content that demonstrates the core of your business. By adding several links to these pages, you are communicating to search engines that this is the source of valuable info that browsers should stumble upon when searching for businesses like yours. Referring back to the Integrated Web Marketing services example, that page can be pinned as the cornerstone content which serves as an umbrella of this SEO link-building article, and articles like it. That being said, you don’t always have to link to the homepage. If the linking domain and context (#3 and #4) are more relevant to an interior page than the homepage, by all means, link to the interior page instead. This will help search engines identify the subject matter of the content on the interior page which will help improve your search engine rankings.
  6. The Anchor Text Matters – Be sure to link the most relevant content within anchor text so that you are more associated with your business’s purpose than your brand name. For example, Ironistic displays a portfolio for all of the clients on our website. One of our clients, Quantum Xchange, is in the business of providing quantum-safe encryption services. When giving a rundown on Quantum Xchange’s cybersecurity company, we linked the phrase future-proof data security as anchor text. Being recognized on the Ironistic site for their brand name and business procedures gives those keywords a greater bump in authority.  A slight disclaimer on this recommendation is that if you do have to compete for your brand name in search results, you might want to stick with using the brand name as the anchor text (or get a new brand name). The bottom line is, getting a link with a keyword as anchor text instead of your brand name will give you a bigger bump in authority for that keyword. Taking this into account, be careful when choosing descriptive words for your anchor text on multiple pages. When Google finds that several pages all include the same anchor text, it can register them as spam. Aim to provide relevance in your anchor text while limiting the number of backlinks you assign it to.
  7. Some Links Can Hurt – Not all inbound links to your site are beneficial. What started as a tactic to nix low-quality sites with the Panda algorithm evolved in the Penguin update by Google. Prior to this, the search engine ranked sites based on the number of links, regardless of the quality. In its most recent update, Penguin 4.0 evaluates sites in real-time and devalues the spammy links. The definition of what constitutes a bad or spammy link is the subject of much discussion, but there are some general rules you can follow to be better safe than sorry. First, never pay for links! If the site looks like it’s shady and hasn’t been updated since 1995, don’t ask for a link from it. You can also try Googling the URL of the site you are trying to link to you. If the site doesn’t show up with at least two results, it means Google already thinks it is a low-quality site. It’s also important to take the “health” of your link profile into account. To maintain a healthy link profile, Moz.com notes that it all comes down to the indication to search engines that you are earning your links and authority fairly. In summary, high SEO rankings just aren’t worth paying for or stealing links to maintain.
  8. You Are What You E-A-T (Or at least your website is) – Google deems a backlink as a “quality link” by measuring the website’s E-A-T components: Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trust. Website browsers who propose a strong user intent to search engines expect the same level of care in return, and Google’s primary source of SEO ranking is based on a website’s ability to be qualified as “expert, authoritative and trustworthy.” This form of website measurement was introduced with Google’s Medic Update in 2018, which was created to protect the financial, physical, and emotional well-being of website users. Backlinks are essentially used to direct users from one website to another, almost like a recommendation. So if an external link measures up to the E-A-T scale by Google, it will rank highly. 

Have some other SEO facts you want to share?  Leave a comment! If you need help with link building, contact our team of SEO experts today.

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