For years link building has been one of the most reliable strategies for improving search rankings. However, with ever changing search engine algorithms and black hat techniques, link building started to lose its value amongst the marketers. If you are a link builder, you would have come across the talks of link building dying or Google not in favor of link building anymore.
In its earlier days, SEO was not focused completely on users. Companies were not user-centric because their main goal was to be at the top of the search results. As a result, they had to resort to incorrect link building tactics which in turn has disparaged the image of link building.
But now things have changed to a large extent. People still build links and businesses require them to survive in the online marketing industry. Simple reason – It works. Let’s take a look at some of the standards and facts related to link building in 2016.
- Build Links Organically
A lot of people think Google is against link building; but it is not. Let’s roll back where the myth about Google being against link building started.
During a hangout session with webmasters in February 2015, John Mueller was asked: “Should I completely avoid link building or not use it at all? Is link building in any way good for webmasters?”
In his reply John told: “In general, I try to avoid that” also “Only focusing on links is probably going to cause more problems to your website than it actually helps”.
Well, such a statement coming from a Google webmaster trend analyst was enough for people to misinterpret that Google is no longer in favor of link building. However, John never meant to say that Google is against link building.
My interpretation is that Google wants you to focus on creating engaging content and gaining links organically rather than focusing only on gaining links and resorting to black hat link building techniques. Google is not against link building; it is only against the misuse of link building. If you build links the right way and attract quality web-traffic, you cannot go wrong.
- Don’t Be Lured By High Authority Websites
Improving search rankings by gaining links from high authority websites looks great on the go. Websites with high page rank and domain authority are bound to have high traffic. So why not go ahead and link to them? Seems to be a win-win tactic, isn’t it?
However, it is one of the most common mistakes made by many search marketers who intend to increase unnecessary traffic to their website. Google is not in favor of this and it wants the search experts to avoid this strategy as it believes this is not a natural way of link building and it is not going to add any value to the reader’s intent.
Getting irrelevant links from high authority websites is worse than getting links from low authority sites.
Before linking, you need to ask yourselves: Does this link make any sense? Will this link help visitors? Will they actually click through it?
If the link is not relevant, it is not going to help you improve your rankings even if it is coming from a high authority website. That said, linking to sites with low domain authority and page rank might not be a bad idea sometimes. Just because a site lacks authority, it does not mean that it lacks relevancy or a great community. Many small websites can probably be the best places to get a link to your website. Page Rank and Domain Authority are important but the first preference should always be relevancy.
- Quality Trumps Quantity, Always
It might sound preposterous, but building links should not be the main focus of your link building strategy. There are plenty of other ways as well to build relevant links such as:
ü Creating great content
ü Content exchange with established brand
ü High volume of social mentions
ü Constantly staying active in your community
ü Broken link building
These are some tactics where you can get natural links without any penalty risks. Most of these tactics also help in improving your brand name and increase your chances of getting more inbound links in an organic way and this is how link building needs to be carried out.
- Link Building Tools
You need link building tools to improve your campaign performance. You can find a plethora of link building tools in the market. However, these tools are sometimes quite costly and would require a good chunk of your budget. The good news is that you don’t really need expensive tools to start your link building campaign.
- LinkNabber helps you get free backlinks by showing your relevant blogs forums and social bookmarking sites. They also help you get Do Follow links so you can get link juice.
- WhoLinksToMe help in link profile management, link building, and reputation monitoring through various reports like site overviews, domain report, anchor text and many more.
- Link Prospector by Citation Labs is a pretty exciting and inexpensive tool to find link targets. For $47 a month, you get 20 credits and then $2.35 per credit. It researches and analyzes a large amount of data to list potential link partners. It cuts your search time down considerably.
- Nofollow links
Google does not give “nofollow links” the same value as other links. But you need to know that they still act as an important part of a “natural” backlink profile. Getting nofollow links from high authority websites help in improving your web traffic.
Search marketers seem to underestimate the value of a nofollow link, but having a good combination of dofollow and nofollow backlinks can help the site look authoritative and natural. If your content is good, there are chances you can get referral traffic or even new subscribers.
To make your site look natural to Google, it is important to have no follow links in your backlink profile. If a link is marked as a nofollow link, it does not mean that you won’t get any traffic or business leads. With great content and backlinks from high authority websites, you can get natural web traffic and you can also avoid Google penalties.
Link building is a crucial part of any SEO strategy as it plays a major role in improving your search rankings. If carried out properly, it can add great value to your website. We have not seen major changes in 2016 but these 5 rules are pretty much gold standard for link building.