Do’s and Don’ts of Good Link Building
Why Are Backlinks Good for Generating Traffic?
Backlinks add value to the user’s experience, enrich your content, and allow you to build bridges with other relevant pages seeking to increase traffic. By building backlinks to your content, the owner seeks to add value to their own content and attract the interest of visitors unfamiliar with their business. When you host backlinks to external relevant pages, you in turn add value to your content, create a more meaningful experience for the user, and draw the attention of new visitors who discover your content through their online conversations.
Building backlinks across the internet strategically can improve your ranking and visibility for unbranded search terms relevant to your business. If you sell sports equipment and you’re trying to increase sales of your fishing gear, for example, backlinks posted by reputable fishing groups or experts in your region can generate shares on social media that eventually turn into qualified visitors to your ‘fishing gear’ page.
Of course, creating links to your content, and convincing others to link to yours, is a strategy that can easily backfire if applied excessively or indiscriminately. Quality backlinks are crucial to improving your visibility with search engines. Poor and over aggressive link building tactics will drive your visibility in search results to 0.
If you’re in doubt as to what kind of backlinks you should be using and how, here are some of the key do’s and dont’s to include in your link building strategy:
Seek Out Legitimate Link Sources: If your business name is mentioned anywhere online, research them to determine whether the source is legitimate and relevant. Credible link sources add credibility to your content and can improve your PageRank score. A backlink to your page hosted by Forbes Magazine carries more weight with search engines than a backlink hosted by your neighbor who uses Facebook twice a year.
Create Interesting, Original Content: Instead of focusing exclusively on marketing copy, diversify your content with information that is useful or helpful to your audience. Tutorials, list articles, how-to articles, case studies, and feature interviews are popular because they invite sharing on social media. Use humor and capitalize on local trends; find interesting ways to connect with readers by sharing information and content you think would be of interest to your customers. Businesses in search of interesting content will gladly share your posts, and customers you entertain online are more likely to share a gag than an ad about your next big ‘summer blowout’ sale.
Focus on a Niche Audience: Niche audiences are often enthusiastic about their interests. They also tend to be smaller, which makes it easier to circulate information. If you focus your content on a niche topic that addresses a pain point, enthusiasts may share your content in their online circles. Experts in the field may link to your content, and their professional endorsement of your page will improve your PageRank score.
Use No Follow Links Strategically: No Follow links can actually have a more significant impact on traffic than popular ‘follow links’. No Follow links instruct search engines not to transfer link juice to the link, but they are highly valued by businesses (online trade magazines, niche bloggers, social influencers) seeking to balance their backlinks ratio of follow to no follow links. By tagging some of your content as ‘no follow’, you can attract more discerning link sources. Your linked pages will benefit from a boost in traffic while your PageRank score remains unaffected.
Avoid websites with weak content or questionable sources: Stay clear of web directories, bookmarking websites, and article directories. All of these sources host thousands of links, many of which are unmonitored and poorly curated. Since anyone can add their link to these sites, they tend to attract spam. Linking to websites with poor links will only reduce the visibility of your content.
Avoid sources with no quality control: Stick with websites that demonstrate SEO best practises. Any website that fails to follow Google’s web guidelines will earn penalties, and backlinks leading to your content will suffer by association.
Avoid using the same pen/author name for guest blogs: If you are considering a run as a guest blogger, don’t use the same name you use to publish content on your website. Use a pen name to help your backlinks appear more natural. Instead of including a hyperlink to your site at the end of the article, for instance, use anchor text that links to more in depth content on your site.
Avoid using the same business description across all your web pages: Consistent NAP information helps web crawlers identify your business, but if you alter the business description slightly, you’ll expand your relevance and increase your chances of appearing more often in search results. Instead of a tag line or generic description of your air duct cleaning business, alter the tag line or description to include other services you offer (grout cleaning, roof repair, carpet cleaning).