If you want to find yourself at the top of the Google & Co. rankings, you can’t avoid building backlinks. Link building can increase the reach and relevance of your company’s website. For Google, good backlinks are a signal of trustworthiness. This increases placement in search results and thus organic traffic. But not every strategy is suitable. In particular, non-organic link building methods are viewed by search engines as manipulation of the algorithms. The result can be a penalty and thus a loss of ranking or, in the worst case, even a de-indexing of your own site.
So that you don’t have a rude awakening when building backlinks, in this blog post you will find out which mistakes you should definitely avoid and which strategies you should use instead for organic link building.
What are backlinks and how do they work?
Backlinks are incoming links (references), i.e. links from external websites to your own. They consist of an image or text, which acts as an anchor text or anchor image. In HTML code, backlinks are usually output with a prefixed href attribute. With the appropriate anchor text, the link appears like this in the HTML code:
<a href=”https://timesit.com/”>Online Marketing Agency </a>
This link can be supplemented with various attributes, such as the no-follow attribute.
This is why backlinks are important for your business website
Google uses backlink analysis to evaluate the trustworthiness, popularity, and relevance of a website. The principle is based on the assumption that a backlink represents a recommendation from the webmaster. As a result, backlinks from reputable sites indicate that your website contains relevant and valuable information – the authority of your company website is increased.
As a result, the importance of backlinks quickly becomes clear: the more high-quality websites refer to your own, the higher its importance for the search engine and thus its ranking in the search results for relevant search queries.
In the past, backlinks were considered the main criterion for the positive evaluation of a website and thus for a good ranking. With the introduction of the Google Penguin update, the search service responded to spam tactics, so that today the quality rather than the quantity of backlinks is in the foreground. The high relevance for search engine optimization (SEO) remains, but is linked to the following factors:
- Trust and popularity of the linking site
- Backlink rate of the linking site
- Link placement
- Anchor text
- topic relevance
You should avoid this when building backlinks
Because of the importance of a natural link profile, you should avoid using non-organic methods. Tactics that only give the appearance of deliberate manipulation to Google can also harm your ranking in the SERPs. These include, for example, frequent backlinks to pages that are not related to the topic. Therefore, stay away from the following mistakes in order to achieve long-term success and avoid penalties.
1. A question of placement
Search engines consider it suspicious if links are always in the header, footer, or sidebar of a website. A constant link to the homepage of a website also seems unnatural. The result: the appearance of link spam arises.
Better: Make sure that links to your content are placed in the body text. Depending on your intentions, you should also use deep links, i.e. links that do not point to your homepage, but to a subpage with a blog post or something similar. If you are considering a better ranking for a product or category, the links should point to them. If you want to improve the placement of your entire shop, we recommend linking to the homepage. All in all, the right mix is crucial here.
2. The crux of the matter is the anchor text
A seemingly small mistake, but anchor texts can also be a thorn in the side of the search service. Text anchors with an exact match to the search term are risky and should only be used sparingly. In the long run, Google suspects that backlinks with the same keyword in the anchor text are deliberate manipulations.
3. Links from suspicious websites
Not all backlinks are the same – especially when they come from dubious websites that do you more harm than good for your off-page SEO. These suspicious websites include those with an outbound link rate over 50. Due to the unnatural accumulation, they quickly end up in the sights of search engines. The suspicion: link sales or link rental. Both scenarios can result in a penalty.
In addition, links from suspicious sites mean that your own site is classified as less trustworthy. Be careful even with identical IP addresses. For Google, they are a common indication of link networks and the service responds to these unfair methods with harsh sanctions.
Better: focus on quality instead. Two to three relevant and high-quality links impact the ranking of more than 30 low-quality forum links.
In this context, quality not only means the topic relevance of the outgoing website and its content but also the page authority. This is measured, for example, using the Majestic tool by the level of trust flow. With tools like the Majestic Backlink Analyzer PlugIn, you can easily determine the trust flow value of a website. Ideally, it should be over 20.
4. Backlinks increase too quickly
A company gains several thousand new subscribers overnight. If this makes you suspicious, you are not alone. Google will also take notice if you build numerous backlinks for a new website in a very short time.
Better: To avoid suspicion of illegal methods, you should ensure that your backlinks increase evenly. This eliminates the appearance of link purchasing or anything similar.
5. NoFollow or DoFollow?
Even today, cooperation often requires a DoFollow link. However, Google considers this a clear violation of the guidelines if there is a consideration in the form of money, services, or goods. The result: The practice can result in severe penalties from the search engine giant.
Better: According to Google, all links of this type must be provided with the NoFollow attribute. This prevents your own PageRank from being passed on. This is important to consider because – what some operators may not know – any link that is not explicitly marked NoFollow is automatically a DoFollow link. Alternatively, you can set the link attribute Sponsored (rel=” sponsored”). This includes links that have been paid for or come from an advertising environment.
But of course, the golden balance must also be kept in this aspect of the backlink profile. A profile that consists exclusively of NoFollow links will appear just as suspicious to Google as one that only contains DoFollow links. The added value of the links provides an indication for the choice of attribute.
Strategies for Natural Backlinks
You now know which mistakes you should avoid when building links. But what strategies for natural link building are available to you? The following applies: The cornerstone of any successful link building is your content. Accordingly, content creation should be the top priority of your backlink building strategies. Here too, in addition to high-quality content, you should also pay attention to the SEO compatibility of your content. In addition, broken link building, guest posting, and activities in social networks (Facebook, Instagram & Co.) as well as forums are also available.
Every beginning is difficult – including when building backlinks. The temptation here is to resort to link networks or link purchasing. However, you should definitely avoid this! Quantity is no longer more important than the quality of the links. The links obtained in dubious and unnatural ways are quickly exposed as such and punished by Google & Co.
An optimal assessment of link building occurs when they arise naturally – i.e. without any influence from the website operator. In order for this to succeed, high-quality content creation is required.
Do you need help creating content for your website that external operators love to link to? As a content marketing agency from Cologne, Advidera is exactly your contact! In our consultation, we develop a content strategy tailored to your company. With our expertise, you can reach your target group and top positions in search engine rankings.