It’s an SEO activity that’s fallen into some disrepute since Google’s algorithm updates began focusing on link spam. Before that it was seen by many as the only rank optimising activity that could get you results. But then unethical linking practices forced Google to change their algorithm.
Link building is still a valuable activity though. It may be riskier than it was, and Google can be gung-ho about labelling links, or entire link profiles, as spam but, using the right strategy, you can still use it to boost traffic and draw bigger attention to your content through smart linking practices.
Use Effective Anchor Text
Anchor text is important because it’s a description of the link. It explains, to a certain degree, what the user can expect on the other side of it. Google ranks keywords in anchor text higher because it indicates a thematic element to the page, and offers further content to the user, rather than just a single instance of the keyword in a body of text.
Google will also check to see if the anchor text is appropriate for what’s being linked to and what’s its relationship is to the domain and other links on the same page. This is a time when ethical SEO is essential. Branded keywords are a good idea but they must fit into the link’s context, if Google detects that you’re stuffing keywords into anchor text, they may discount the link.
Build Instead of Editing
Auditing your link profile is a smart move. It can help you distance your domain from bad neighbourhoods. But if your site has been around for a number of years, this can be a very drawn-out process and you might not get the results you’d hoped for.
Often the best strategy can be to focus primarily on ethical link building practices for the future rather than trying to fix the one’s you already have. Google will recognise this and eventually your ethical links will smother the presence of the spam ones.
Vary Your Links
Too many links of any one kind will begin to look suspicious to web crawlers. Your links should look like they’re adding value rather than a product of search engine optimisation. Try adding a mixture of the following ethical links.
• Content links – Links to other page’s content relating to the content on your page
• No-follow links – They don’t add link juice but make your profile look more above board
• Resource links – links to pages that are the source of the information on your page
• Social media links – Such as a links to YouTube video, someone’s twitter account or a blog
Link Building is a Long-Term Strategy
Don’t expect link building to shoot your page up the ranks within a few weeks. The process is well known for being very-time consuming and frustrating at times. It’s not established science either, so it requires constant review and tweaks to get results.
In some cases, you may only see a useful increase a few years down the line. But like any business activity, it’s the person who puts in that extra effort that normally finds the competitive advantage.