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Everything You Need To Know About Links and Backlinks for SEO

Updated: Feb 12, 2022

Backlink, internal links, and links, in general, are probably the most important aspect of Search Engine Optimization and ranking in Google and other search engines. This article is going to teach you everything you need to know about search engine optimization for links and backlinks so that you can develop a strategy to boost your business growth and revenue.


If you feel overwhelmed or need help, get in touch now. Let’s get going.


How Backlinks Help with SEO

Google and other search engines love backlinks because they demonstrate a vote of confidence from one site to another and backlinks help with your overall SEO. Having links pointing to pages on your website sends a signal to search engines that says your content is valuable to other websites.


In a nutshell, backlinks are the currency of SEO because they help improve user experience, build trust, and rank pages that have the most valuable information. This post is going to guide you through the amazing world of backlinks so you can understand:

  • What are backlinks,

  • How do backlinks work,

  • The types of backlinks out there; and

  • How you can get more backlinks.

What is a Backlink

Inbound links, incoming links, or backlinks are links from one page on a website to a page on another website. These “votes” of confidence given to your website are considered highly important for Google and other search engines.


Backlinks are good, but there are different practices to acquire them. Incurring in ”Black Hat” tactics to gain more links and boost your rankings is not recommended and can bring you serious penalties and even manual actions that can even ban your website from being indexed at all.


Before we jump into “White-Hat” tactics that will get you more links, let’s explore how backlinks actually work.


How do Backlinks Work

Your backlinking strategy plays a highly important role in SEO and your overall digital marketing strategy. Backlinks are basically conversations between websites that tell search engines where the most valuable information is.


In an optimal scenario, both sites will benefit from this linkage provided both offer value to each other as reflected by their domain authority and other SEO metrics.


Why are Backlinks Important

Backlinks tell search engines: “This content is valuable, credible, and useful”. In fact, Andrey Lipattsev, a Search Quality Senior Strategist at Google, said that links, content, and RankBrain are the most important ranking factors for the search engine giant.


The main aspects backlinks help regarding your SEO are:


1. Rankings

It’s clear that the number of backlinks you have coming in from referring domains is strongly correlated with organic traffic. This is directly connected to the fact that your site will be higher in the SERP.


2. Discoverability

Search engines tend to revisit popular pages more often than the not-so-popular ones. Having a healthy backlink profile will encourage search engines to revisit your site to check for new links more often, making it more discoverable.


3. Referral traffic

Backlinks are the path users take to find the most useful and valuable resources related to their query. Users that click on a link that takes them to your page is known as referral traffic.


Best Types of Backlinks

Having a high number of backlinks is good. But the most important factor is having quality backlinks. Quality backlinks are defined as those that add value to your sei by “sharing” their authority.


Consider the following traits when researching for high-quality backlinking opportunities.


Relevance

This means that Google simply places more value on backlinks that are relevant to the user. Their “reasonable surfer” patent mentions this.


The goal is to give users better and more valuable content that is topically related to your site and the linking site.


Authority

Links from trusted, high-authority websites will transfer more of this “authority” to linking pages. However, you should note that backlinks from strong pages don’t always transfer more authority.


Authority is split into equal parts between all outbound links on a page. So, having backlinks from a high-authority page that has too many backlinks might provide less rank juice than a page with lower authority but fewer outbound links.


Backlinks from high-authority sites are hard to get but definitely worth the effort.


Traffic

Backlinks from high-traffic pages will probably send more referral traffic your way than a site with low traffic. However, you should know that there’s only a very small correlation between rankings and backlinks from pages with a high volume of organic search traffic.


Placement

Placement places an important role in your backlinks. Bill Slawski, Founder SEO by the Sea, puts it best during a talk about his analysis of Google’s updated “reasonable surfer” patent.


“If a link is in the main content area of a page, uses a font and color that might make it stand out, and uses text that may make it something likely that someone might click upon it, then it could pass along a fair amount of PageRank. On the other hand, if it combines features that make it less likely to be clicked upon, such as being in the footer of a page, in the same color text as the rest of the text on that page, and the same font type, and uses anchor text that doesn’t interest people, it may not pass along a lot of PageRank.”


Make sure you take this into consideration when pursuing links.


Dofollow vs. Nofollow

Although Nofollow links can influence the linked page’s rankings, they usually don’t. Getting backlinks that are valuable to your goals takes time and a lot of effort. That’s why it’s better to prioritize Dofollow links.


Anchor text

Anchor text is the actual visible text that users read and click to get to your page. This text does influence rankings related to the link. Although anchor text is not as important as other factors, don’t go overboard with overly keyword-rich anchor text. Google’s Penguin algorithm will filter out your page if you have links with exaggerated keyword-rich anchor text since this is considered a “Black -Hat” tactic.


How to Check Backlinks

You can check the links pointing back to your website through a couple of different methods. You can also check your competitors to help you build a better linking-building campaign. The first one is to do it through Google Search Console.


This method is free and fairly easy. However, you have to be a verified owner of the site to proceed.


Once you’re in the Google Search Console platform, click on “Links” on the sidebar to access a report that will show you data on external and internal links. You’ll also see these three reports just below:

  • Top linked pages: The most linked pages on your website.

  • Top linking sites: The sites with the most backlinks to your website.

  • Top linking text: The most frequently used anchors when linking to your website.

You can also check your backlink profile with third-party checkers like:


These tools will yield highly valuable information, including:

  • Referring page: The page linking to the target.

  • Domain Rating (DR): The strength of the linking website.

  • URL Rating (UR): The strength of the linking web page.

  • Traffic: The total estimated monthly organic search traffic to the linking page.

  • Anchor and backlink. The anchor and surrounding link text.

How to Get Backlinks

Link building is an important SEO tactic that definitely helps you improve rankings, traffic, authority, and user experience. There are many different ways to get backlinks. They can be split into “Black-Hat” tactics like link posting, buying links, and automated backlink software. These tactics will eventually lead you to headaches.


“White-Hat” tactics, on the other hand, are practices that take more time and effort but yield better results that are long-lasting and boost your site’s SEO safely.


These are three effective ways to get more backlinks:


Earn Your Backlinks

This is the best kind of link in that they’re 100% organic. All you have to do is produce content people WANT to link to because it’s valuable and useful. Search engines also love this content and will rank it in better positions.


The type of content you can create includes blogs, videos, podcasts, graphics, tools, a piece of software, a quiz, a survey. In other words, clickable assets that people love and share.


Create Your Backlinks

This tactic needs to be applied carefully to avoid looking like a spammer. The process consists of manually adding links to your page from other websites like business directories, blog comments, forum threads, etc.


Build Your Backlinks

Guest blogging and broken link building are two techniques to acquire more backlinks legitimately. One of the most crucial elements to successful link building is to have a clear value proposition to present to other website owners, editors, publishers, or webmasters when you ask them for a backlink.


The following link building tactics can help you get started:

  • Guest blogging: In exchange for a backlink, offer to write insightful and useful content for another website.

  • Broken link building: Research sites that you’re interested in having a link from and look for dead links in their content. Then, use an existing or new piece of content that you have as a replacement for the dead links in their website.

  • Skyscraper Technique: in this tactic, you have to research and find sites that have relevant content with considerable amounts of links. Then, create a better piece of content and propose it as a new page to link to for those linking back to the other

  • Unlinked mentions: REsearch the web for mentions of your brand without links. Once you find them, rhea out to the publisher or author and ask them to make the mention clickable

Backlinks are hugely important for SEO. If done correctly and diligently, they’ll help you build your authority and reputation. Good backlinks will also help your rankings rise and stay up there.


Remember that backlinking, like any tactic, needs to be a synergic part of an overarching strategy the is focused on your target user.


Types of Backlinks

Link building is one of SEO’s most used tools to boost rankings, domain authority, traffic, conversions, and sales. They’re all connected.


Links tell search engines if your site is recognized, trusted, and worthy of a top spot on search engine results pages (SERPs). However, the quantity of backlinks is important but takes a far backseat behind the quality of backlinks. In fact, backlinking is among the most important factors in SEO.


This post is going to examine how links are graded by search engines, especially Google, the good and bad types of links, and, finally, we’ll look at what characteristics a good backlinking strategy should have in order for it to be successful.


How Links are Valued

A link is considered a ‘vote’. The Google algorithm places a very high value on what links are being pointed to a page or site. However, these votes are not only about quantity, so make sure the quality of your links is also as high as possible.


Authority of the Linking Site

But it’s not just any old link. Novice SEO’s are tempted to thinking that because search engines care about links the more the better… right?


Well, you’d be dead wrong. It is the quality not the number of links that matter. As well as the types of links that point to your site and where they are from.


You see Google, parent company Alphabet, has a market capitalization of $1.55 trillion. Believe it or not, the primary source of their revenue is from website visitors using their search engine - they are far more invested than you are in ensuring the accuracy of what sites show up for certain queries.


What Google wants to see is useful links in informative content. Gone are the days where you can spend $80 on 1000 links and expect that to help your site - in fact engaging in risky techniques like that is likely to get your site marked as ‘low trust’ - doing more harm than good.


Best Types of Backlinks

Now that you know how links are graded and what factors to take into account when building your own link-building campaign, let’s take a look at the links that will give you positive SEO value.


Editorial or In-Article Links

Editorial backlinks are valuable backlinks because they are natural and provide real value to readers. They are the ones you get just because your content is great and other people naturally want to cite it or include it in their content because it adds value for their audience.


Essentially search engines look at two factors of these links. One is the attributes of the site where the article is contained and the other is attributes of the page where the link appears.


While the above has a branded anchor text - it is natural for the article to link to the source site as it provides value to the reader based on the article’s aims.


Caution about link insertions.


Even better is to get an editorial backlink that has anchor text that uses your brand or the keywords you're looking to rank that content for. To produce this type of link, you have to focus on developing a content marketing strategy based on strong keyword research that helps your produce evergreen, shareable content.


Business Profile Backlinks

When you open a business profile for your company on the business listing, social media networks, and/or industry-specific directories, you can include a link back to your website. These links will tell search engines that your website is an established business.


The link in your LinkedIn profile is a great example as you can see in the image above.


Make sure the profiles you create and the sites/platforms you create them on are relevant to your industry and your audience. Review sites are also acceptable for this purpose, for example, Clutch, G2, etc.


Guest Posting Backlinks

Although guest posting takes a lot of time and effort, it’s still one of the best link-building strategies. Researching and contacting sites that are relevant to your website and your audiences is a sure way to guarantee a boost in user experience and a boost in your rankings.


Guest blogging backlinks remain to be highly rewarded by search engines because they are an effective tactic to build links and improve the user experience for the audience.


Bonus: Broken Link Replacement

Broken link replacement is a great tactic to build your link profile with relevant backlinks. In a nutshell, broken link replacement is a tactic by which you research websites you want to target for a guest post to find links that are broken and that you can replace with your own content.



The approach is very similar to guest posting in that you reach out to the owner of the site with the broken link and pitch them a piece of content that is valuable and relevant in order for them to update that link with your own content.


Webinar Links

Webinars are highly valuable assets that people often want to link to. Make your webinar recordings available for people to link back to them easily, even allowing them to embed the recording on their site.


Free Tool Links

Hosting free tools on your site is a great way to attract people interested in linking back to them. Consider adding tools that will benefit your audience and add value to their journey. This might be a free tool or a free version of a paid tool.


There are other links that don’t provide as much SEO value but are not harmful either. These include:

  • Acknowledgment Backlinks

  • Guest Post Bio Backlinks

  • Badge Backlinks

  • Newsworthy Press Release Backlinks

  • Comment Backlinks

These types of backlinks need to be obtained as naturally as possible because if you start getting too many of these links, you might be seen as a spammer and there could be negative consequences.


As you will see below, there are important differences between high-quality backlinks and low-quality backlinks. Let’s go through some of the bad kinds of backlinks you should probably avoid.


Bad Types of Backlinks

SEO is not measured by quantity alone. Links can hurt your rankings if you try to manipulate search engine rankings in any way.


The following types of links ought to be avoided in your backlinking strategy to keep your linking profile healthy and growing.


Paid Links

Google has stated on repeated occasions that buying or selling links “can negatively impact a site’s ranking in search results.” So, avoid doing it despite the temptation of quick boosts in rankings and traffic.


Non-Newsworthy Press Releases

Sending out too many press releases just to obtain backlinks is not correct. The best practice regarding your press releases is to only send them out when there is something newsworthy to share.


General Business and Article Directory Links

Keep your directory and article listings to those websites that are truly relevant to your industry and your audience. Make sure they’re recognized in your niche and relevant to your audience.


Forum Links

Spamming forums with your links is not a good practice. What you have to do is join forums that are relevant to your audience and participate in the conversation with the goal to inform and add value.


Build a Smart Backlinking Strategy

The best way to ensure long-term backlinking good health is to create a backlinking strategy that follows best practices and is focused on providing valuable information and a better user experience to your target audience.


Following these principles will ensure you stay away from penalties and other awkward situations. Google and other search engines are always on the hunt for bad practices, such as automated backlinks and link-building practices that lower the quality of the search result pages.


Your links and link profile will get more SEO juice from quality websites linking back to it. If you get a backlink from top sites in your target niche, search engines will receive signals saying your site is also relevant, thus ranking it better.


On the other hand, low-quality or unknown sites may hurt your authority and rankings.


How to Figure Out a Website’s Authority

There are many tools out there that’ll help you find a website’s authority. Some of these sites will require you to sign up, some of them have free trials, other tools are always free and might come with some limitations.

  • Alexa

  • MOZ

  • SEMrush

  • AHREFS

The way these sites measure authority might change, but the results will be consistent because all of them take mostly the same factors into consideration.


Do-Follow & No-Follow

To determine if a link is Dofollow or Nofollow, the publisher will add a piece of HTML code to it in order to tell search engines the type of link it is.

  • Do follow links send a signal to search engines that add ranking “value” to such links.

  • No follow links tell search engines to ignore them, thus they have very little to no SEO value.

There are various tools to find out if a link is Do follow or not. They include Chrome extensions such as this one or websites like this one.


On-site Link Location

Location, location, location. That old real estate maxim holds true to link location as well. Websites are divided into sections, these sections do have an impact on the value of your link.


To get the most value out of your link location, make sure it’s in the body content of the site. Placing your link in the header, footer, or sidebar of the page will not give it as much SEO value.


Search Intent

It’s not all about the links. Google is constantly analyzing search intent to deliver the best results for the user inputting the query. Search intent is basically an analysis of what the user is actually intending to accomplish when they type something into the search engine.


Google’s most important ranking factors are:

  1. Content

  2. Links

  3. User Experience

  4. Rank Brain

Believe it or not, links play a role in each of the categories above. For instance, your content needs to be high-quality and relevant, including the amount and quality of links in it. The links in your site need to improve the user experience.


Rank Brain is an algorithm created by Google that constantly monitors user experience signs on the search results pages and has the ability to manage and tweak Google’s rules to present the user with the most relevant results possible by analyzing factors such as:

  • Click-Through Rate (CTR)

  • Time on page/dwell time

  • Bounce Rate

  • User experience

  • Content quality

  • Backlinks

  • Content freshness

This analysis will help Google serve the most relevant content possible for the specific search intent.


Best Free Backlink Checker Tools

Optimizing your website to attract the right traffic in reasonably high volume is key to your business’ success. An SEO strategy that fosters this includes thorough keyword research, content optimization, technical SEO, etc. But only link building is a tactic that has no limits and you can continue to implement and get results continuously.


Link building the right way leads to increases in domain and page authority, as well as page rank and visibility in search results.


Building a strategy requires researching your competitors and other domains to find new link-building opportunities, discover the strategies of your competitors, and monitor the health of your backlink profile.


The technical and analytical nature of SEO link building has sprouted an entire “industry” of tools and platforms that deliver dashboards interpreting and organizing this data. This is a crucial tool for SEO and marketers everywhere, and it doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg.


That’s why this article focuses on giving you a list of the best free backlink checker tools. The condition is that they have to be available for free, either completely or at least partially.


AHREFS

AHREFS Site Explorer draws its data from one of the largest backlink indexes. It’s very reliable data. The platform performs a complete backlink analysis of your domain and gives you the top 100 backlinks (in the free version) with useful data like domain and page authority, traffic, and anchor text and type.


AHREFS allows you to perform unlimited checks per day and you can export your reports to CSV and Excel.


SEMrush

SEMrush’s free option for backlink analysis and reports gives you a detailed high-view of your backlinking profile. This allows you to analyze your backlinking profile by presenting you with over a dozen of tables and graphs summarizing your profile with backlinks by industry, by country, by top-level domain, attribute, type, anchor, and authority score, as well as backlink history going back over five years.


With SEMrush you can run unlimited reports, but only 5-10 actual backlinks per domain. Their backlink analysis tool is great to track multiple competitor sites and get comprehensive information about them.


Seobility

With Seobility you can perform up to three checks per day and each report will show you only up to 400 backlinks. These links come with the usual information (anchor texts, dofollow/nofollow attributes, link types, and linked pages) and are sorted from highest link rating to lowest.


The Seobility platform is one of the most complete.


Additionally, Seobility also gives you a high-level overview of your linking profile with total backlink count, domain rating, and the number of referring domains. This tool is great for checking your competition’s backlinking profiles and find content opportunities.


SEO SpyGlass

SEO SpyGlass is a highly useful tool that serves you data in an extensive analysis and management dashboard where you can sort and filter the discovered backlink data using any of the several dozen backlink parameters:

  • Linking and linked pages;

  • Anchor text and anchor URL;

  • Dofollow and nofollow attributes;

  • Domain and page authority of the link source;

  • Penalty risk, i.e. how spammy the link source is;

  • And more.

SEO SpyGlass limits you to 1,100 backlinks per domain, but you can check unlimited domains. This is great to allow you to check your site and as many competitor sites as you need. To add even more data, you can connect GoogleSearch Console and Google Analytics to SEO SpyGlass.


The Domain Comparison feature allows you to add your competitors and find intersecting backlinks to show you link lead opportunities.


This is probably one of the best free options for all your backlink research and management.


Majestic SEO

Among Majestic’s free tools, their backlink checker is great to find backlinks that point to your domain or to your competitors. The Majestic SEO platform includes relevant information regarding your backlinks like the number of referring domains and IPs, anchor text, how many links are set to follow, and more.


As you can see, the free option is limited but offers a few useful insights.


MOZ Link Explorer

MOZ offers a nice menu of free tools that all SEOs love and use regularly. These include keyword explorer, domain analysis, MozCast, and more. Link Explorer will give valuable information about your backlinking profile such as the number of links for a site, the newest links, the page authority, the spam score, and domain authority.


The MOZ interface delivers plenty of useful information.


Free searches are limited as well as the ability to run unlimited reports, track links over time, and more.


Google Search Console

A 100% free tool from the leading search engine in the world. The goal of Search Console is to help you make your site better. The only limitation is that you need to verify the ownership of the sites you want to analyze.


This platform allows you to view only up to 1,000 of the top results regarding your backlinks, and you will notice different results from other analysis tools. This is due to the fact that Google Search Console filters low-quality backlinks and only show you the ones that matter the most.


One of the best ways to take advantage of Google Search Console is to connect it to those platforms that provide this feature like AHREFS, SEMrush, and SEO SpyGlass. These types of platforms will extract the raw data from Google Search Console and offer you additional analysis and insights.


Rank Signals

Rank Signals gives you a set of useful information through its backlink checker that includes the number of external links, the tool also shows how many followers the site has on social media, its Alexa traffic rank, and its page rank.


You do need to create an account to use the tools, but you’ll get a lot of useful information.


Open Link Profiler

When you enter a link into Open Link Profiler, you get a much more extensive set of information that includes breakdowns of links by age, industries, context, countries.


This tool also allows you to analyze what links need to be removed and you can use the various filters to find even more insights.


Final Tip About Backlink Checker Tools

You don’t have to pick just one tool. With so many choices, you should play around with them in order to learn how to best use each tool depending on your needs.


The data is going to be similar from one to the other, with differences ranging from barely noticeable to more distinguishable variations such as Google Search Console.


However, the main differences between the various tools lay in the ways the data is presented in the dashboard, how reports are generated, how much data you can actually see, and the number of reports or scans you can run.


Don’t be overwhelmed by so many tools. Eventually, you’ll have your set of tools that serve your needs, and the rest will be stored in your toolbox for when you need them.


What is Link Posting

Read on for everything you ever wanted to know about link posting. How this can help or hurt your site and clever tips to navigate the traps in sharing links.


Site owners looking to get paid to share links are quick to get involved in what seems like a fast way to make cash… but caution is advised.


There are many companies interested in obtaining links from sites and operate with differing levels of efficacy - this guide helps prepare you to assess the best opportunities for effective link posting.


Link posting has been portrayed as an easy way to make money from home just by using a PC and an internet connection.


Unfortunately, Most of the sites or offers related to link posting will hurt your site and cause your site damage in the long run. While wanting to get paid to advertise on your site is important for many business owners, as running a site isn’t free right Unless you are really knowing what you are doing it’s often best to know exactly what you are getting yourself into beforehand. The best advice is to stay away from link posting altogether.


Job Advertisement Link Posting

This is one of the darker sites of link posting, a ‘work from home scam that it’s important to be aware of. These come about when a job advertisement requires you to post links online for them on different websites, blogs, forums, etc. These links are usually accompanied by meaningless text with the only intention to direct traffic back to a particular page specified by the company.


Link posting scammers lure people in by promising big money for just posting links. They even sell interested candidates “training packages” for recruits to get up to speed to getting paid to share links. This is the biggest alarm for you to grab your stuff and go. You should never have to pay to get a job.


These scams go as far as employing telemarketers to call and try to convince each candidate to join or upgrade. These types of scams are everywhere and have been around since the internet was invented. See more from the FTC about these scams.


These “businesses” are able to continue to trick people because they constantly close and re-open new versions of the scam, this makes it very hard for authorities to crack down on them, and for reviewers to stay on top. Some large companies such as Facebook have been able to limit the number of opportunities for getting paid to post ads on Facebook.


If you have a website with a decent amount of traffic, you might also be asked to get paid to post links on your site. This is totally fine but beware of the links you post on your site because a link to a scam or a bad product will damage your reputation and might even get you penalized.


Legit Link Posting Alternatives to Make Money Online

Most people fall into these traps because they’re looking for easy ways to make money fast, and that is just not how real life works. Seems too good to be true right.. posting links from home and receiving huge sums of money. Usually, if something sounds too good to be true then it generally is.


There might be some legit link posting jobs out there, but the matter of the fact is that the earnings, as appealing as they may seem, are just simply not worth it. There are all sorts of consequences of dealing with companies that pay you to post links - the consequences of doing this include suspension of your accounts, and blocking of your IP address and phone number to stop you from creating more accounts, among others.


On the other hand, if you really want to build an online business where you can have a relatively decent income, consider affiliate marketing and strengthening your digital properties by exchanging guest posts and links with relevant websites. If you care about your site’s SEO - a great rule of thumb is to avoid accepting money for posts on your site. If you believe someone is offering you a genuine guest post opportunity that will offer value to your readers then by all means go ahead - however, companies that offer those services are hard to come by.


How does Affiliate Marketing Work

Affiliate marketing is a great way to make money online and is somewhat different from paid-to-post schemes. However, it requires you to invest time and resources. The basic premise of affiliate marketing is that an online retailer or an e-commerce business pays you a commission for traffic or sales generated from your referrals through special links provided by the company.


This means you need to build and nurture a marketing plan that builds an audience or community of followers, AKA valuable traffic, around you and your website and social media. This network of influence will allow you to get regular high-volume traffic that clicks on your affiliate links and actually makes a purchase, thus you earning a commission. Usually, affiliate marketing requires an existing skill, so if you’re not a savvy digital marketer or have a network of customers to tap into - you can forget about this one.


There are tons of people making money like this, but there are even more people that fail in the effort. Why? Because they want an easy income source without realizing the amount of work this really requires.


Guest Posting

Guest posting entails writing content for another website as a guest, just like the name implies. Guest bloggers look for websites in their industry or niche that have good traffic and decent domain authority and offer to write a guest blog in order to:

  • Attract traffic back to their website

  • Boost their domain authority using external links to high-authority domains

  • Increase their brand credibility and awareness

  • Build relationships with peers in their industry.

Let’s explore the benefits of guest blogging and then we’ll dive right into some tips to building your own guest posting strategy.


Benefits of Guest Blogging

Guest blogging is a great tool to strengthen your brand and grow your online community. The benefits of a robust guest posting strategy include:

  • Build your brand authority and thought leadership by sharing your expertise on other relevant websites.

  • Build and strengthen your network and relationships with other thought and industry leaders.

  • Expose your audience to new perspectives and opinions that add value to their journey.

  • Expose your brand to entirely new audiences.

  • Boost your reach by tapping into new social media audiences

  • Build backlinks that boost your site SEO


Building a good outreach strategy and having relevant content are crucial aspects to consider for guest posting. Let’s examine some best practices in a bit more detail.


Eight Tips to Build a Winning Guest Posting Strategy

Like any strategy, your guest posting efforts need to follow a clear plan with clear goals, expectations, and standards for deciding which opportunities are best for you.


There is one highly important best practice that is sometimes overlooked and can be very damaging to the quality of guest posting. This is involving money in any way during a guest posting negotiation.


Guest posting should always be about giving more value to the audience by sharing high-quality content. The currency exchanged is traffic, authority, relationships, value for the readers.


That’s why you should never accept nor offer any money for guest posting. This should focus on the content, not on a monetary transaction.


To build an effective guest post strategy, follow these eight tips:


1. Determine your guest posting goals

Outlining clear goals will help you paint a clear plan that should help you get there, just like with any smart marketing strategy.


Regardless of the results, your goals will help you measure your success. Here are some of the most common goals for you to consider:

  • Increase brand awareness.

  • Introduce your products and services.

  • Showcase your expertise and how you can solve your audience’s problems.

  • Improve visibility on social media.

  • Boost your SEO metrics.

  • Build industry authority and thought leadership.

  • Increase traffic and consequently Increase leads.

Make sure you prioritize those guest blogging opportunities that bring you closer to your goals.


2. Find guest post opportunities

The best opportunities for guest posting are those sites that your audience already visits frequently. To find them, conduct some research to discover the sites that:

  • Interest and attract your audience.

  • Are similar to your ideal guest posting sites.

  • Your competitors are posting in.

There are a number of popular tools that can be used for this purpose. Don’t worry if you haven’t got a paid subscription for them, below are a list of tools with free versions or tools that are completely free


Finding a lot of potential opportunities is great. But you need to filter those candidates to find the ones with the most potential.


3. Qualify guest posting sites

To qualify your prospects, create a list of criteria they have to meet in order to be aligned with your strategy and your goals.


Filter your candidate websites accordingly and you’ll have a winning list in no time. Popular filters can include domain authority, the similarity with the site's content to your own.


4. Develop blog post topics

While brainstorming and developing your blog topic ideas, take into consideration not only your goals and audience but also take into account what your publisher’s audience wants.


You might find come content gaps you could fill with your awesome content.


5. Create the perfect pitch

Negotiating a guest post is not always easy and straightforward. To catch the attention of the owner or publisher of the site and be considered for a guest post, you should build a killer pitch.


Sites receive unsolicited offers daily for posts - think of ways to stand out! A creative pitch goes a long way.


These are the most important aspects to consider when creating your pitch:

  • Do some research and find the right person to contact.

  • Read and understand the site’s guest posting guidelines, if they have them.

  • Write a compelling email that is not promotional, but that is personal and communicates the value of the potential guest post.

  • Share other guest posts you’ve written.

When ready, it’s time to get down to the writing part.


6. Write a post worth publishing

It’s important to keep in mind that acceptance of your pitch doesn’t necessarily guarantee the publication of your post. You need to deliver on your promise of a blog post that adds value to the site hosting it and the audience reading it.


So, make sure your content is top quality, and:

  • Follow the guidelines of the particular site you’re looking to feature on

  • Don’t be overly promotional and focus on adding value.

  • Proofread and check for errors more than once.

  • Add a link or two back to your website, depending on the agreement.

  • Include a writer’s bio that adds to the article and invites the readers to learn more.

7. Follow up on your work

Think getting a placement live is the end of the journey? It’s only just the beginning! Having your blog published is not the end of your strategy. It makes good sense You need to follow up on that post to help distribute and promote it and to nurture your relationship with the publisher for potential future guest posts.


This step requires you to:

  • Share the post on your social media profiles.

  • Engage with your audience’s comments.

  • Link to it in your own content.

8. Track your results

Create a spreadsheet with your guest posts where you can track relevant KPIs to measure the success of your campaign and, most importantly, your campaign’s ROI.


Some metrics to consider include:

  • Amount of referral traffic

  • Number of new website visitors

  • Number of social shares

  • Number of comments

  • Changes in SERP placement

  • Number of new leads

  • Number of brand mentions or links

Measuring your KPIs will help you determine what guest posts are bringing in the best results and help you craft with any guest posting you’ll be looking to do down the road to your future guest posting efforts.


Links are the Currency of SEO

As you can see, links are very valuable regarding search engine optimization (SEO) and there are many ways to use them to boost your metrics and even your revenue.


Be smart as to how you use them and always make an effort to do so with the advancement of the entire industry in mind.


How to Do Guest Posting Right

Building your digital properties’ (AKA your websites) authority and rankings should be on your list of priorities as a marketer and as a smart business decision.


There are different tactics to accomplish these goals, some legit and others more questionable. However, the most effective and rewarding ones are probably backlinking and guest posting.


This article will walk you through what guest posting is and how to effectively build and use a guest posting strategy that actually helps you boost your website’s authority and rankings.


What is Guest Posting?

Guest posting is the process of writing a blog article for a company or website. This article is published on said website and most of the time has a link or two pointing back to the guest’s website.


The most effective guest posts are those that focus on adding value to the host’s audience with relevant high-quality content. This type of exchange is highly conducive to building your network, thus improving your options for guest posting in the future.


This article has relevance both for the niches of the photographer and the fashion retailer.


Regular high-quality guest posting and blogger outreach will definitely be beneficial to your brand, your authority, and your general SEO health and rankings. Plus, you’ll improve your linking profile by accumulating good backlinks, take a more in-depth look at the differences between good and bad backlinks.


What Makes a Guest Post Good?

Your guest posting campaign should focus on providing quality content that is also able to withstand the test of time. There is no shortcut to building a strong linking profile (you already know that link building is important) that boosts your rankings and generates quality traffic.


To assess a link profile, there are a number of tools.


Dofollow links are best for boosting your SEO. However, having some Nofollow links does help with naturalness, and you’ll be getting these naturally from building do follow links anyway.


An important aspect to keep in mind is the quality of the content. Publishers place too much weight on the metrics of a site. The metrics need to be at a minimum standard, of course, but the true value of the post comes from the quality of the content.


Google likes content that is at a level that can be understood by a 12-year-old.


If you have a technical product or service, such as PVC pipe fittings, or complicated software, it might be tempting to write highly technical articles. However, readers on the web want simple, easily digestible content. Keeping this in mind, create content that delivers maximum value.


Making your blog article provide as much value as possible to your target audience should be your focus. Traffic and all that nice stuff will come naturally.


Remember that guest posting isn’t just about improving your rankings, it’s a tool to improve the experience of the users reading it. So, here are a few tips to make sure your guest post is as good as possible:


  • Pick a topic that resonates with your target website’s audience.

  • Perform research to find out keywords and topic ideas

  • Select a relevant and catchy title. It’s always best to create your own article title, but you can get help and inspiration from blog title generators such as this one.

  • Use videos and images to illustrate and tell a story

  • Make it easy to read

  • Insert links that add value to the reader (both to authoritative sources and your own content)

  • Proofread, proofread, proofread! They will proofread it and edit it again, but nobody likes reading an article with spelling and grammar errors.

As you prepare to start writing an awesome guest post, stay away from practices that can make your entire campaign crumble just because of a badly written and formatted guest post, you can find numerous guides and examples online to produce a great blog post.


What Makes a Guest Post Not So Good?

Guest posting is all about producing high-quality content that can drive high-quality results. However, there are practices you should avoid to succeed in guest posting:

  • Don’t go out of topic

  • Beware of duplicate content

  • Stay away from charged topics like politics, religion, etc.

  • Be tactical with your links. Both internal and external links should be used sparingly and only to add value to the content.

  • Don’t over-use your keywords. Keep it natural.

  • Make it easy to read.

Now that you know some important dos and don’ts, let’s dive into the steps you need to take in order to build a killer guest posting strategy.


How to Build Your Own Guest Posting Strategy

Building a smart strategy always starts by setting clear goals and objectives. One great approach is to use the S.M.A.R.T. approach to goal setting.


By making your goals Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound (SMART), you will be able to devise a clear path of strategic tactics that’ll get you there.


Let’s get right to it and work through the steps to build your guest posting campaign.


Set Clear Goals

Your SMART goals are unique to your business, but here are a few common goals to help you get started:

  • Increase brand awareness.

  • Introduce your products and services.

  • Showcase your expertise and how you can solve your audience’s problems.

  • Improve visibility on social media.

  • Boost your SEO metrics.

  • Build industry authority and thought leadership.

  • Increase traffic and consequently Increase leads.

Make sure you make your goals as Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound as possible in order to get better results.


Look for guest post opportunities

There are free tools, or free versions of some tools, that you can use to research and find the best guest blog opportunities for you. Here are a few:


SEO Moz Toolbar – MozBar & Majestic SEO Chrome Toolbar

These toolbars will yield helpful metrics including Domain Authority, Page Authority, and more.


Use them for effective prospecting for your guest blogs and fine-tuning your outreach candidates.


The Mozbar gives you extensive information.


The free features from Majestic Toolbar are an excellent source of valuable data.


Buzz Stream Free Tools

An extremely useful set of 7 free tools. Sure to help you save time and money:

  1. Email research tool

  2. Email research tool Link building query generator

  3. Extract domain from URL

  4. Extract descriptive text from a URL

  5. Extract links from HTML

  6. Build Outreach lists from blogrolls

  7. Extract page title, description, and keywords from URLs

These tools from Buzz Stream will help you extract crucial information to fine-tune your campaign.


Google Docs, Sheets, Drive

The Google platform allows you to have real-time collaboration among all the members of your team with no data loss or other problems. Remote access to your documents is also beneficial so you can work wherever you are.


Gmail Suite Templates

Gmail templates are perfect to help you approach and respond effectively when dealing with your guest post target sites.


Make sure you add a section into your template for adding something personal to the blogger you are reaching out to.


FollowUp.CC

A great tool to configure follow-up reminders and pull the related conversions to the top of your mailbox. You can get it from the Chrome Web Store.


Wordtracker’s Link Builder

This is a great tool for prospecting, maintaining contacts, and analyzing your backlink profile.


Filter Your Guest Posting Sites

Make sure you not only filter through the most popular filters like domain authority, site content similarity, and traffic. Go a step further and make sure there’s alignment with your goals, your audience, and your guest post prospect.


Develop Relevant, Valuable Blog Post Topics

While brainstorming and developing your blog topic ideas, take into consideration not only your goals and audience but also take into account what your publisher’s audience wants.


Do some research and you’ll be able to find content gaps and other topics ideas that are relevant to your goal.


Build Your Pitch

Remember that sites receive unsolicited offers daily for posts. It’s up to you to stand out!


Take these factors into account to make sure your pitch is effective:

  • Do some research and find the right person to contact.

  • Read and understand the site’s guest posting guidelines, if they have them.

  • Write a compelling email that is not promotional, but that is personal and communicates the value of the potential guest post.

  • Share other guest posts you’ve written.

Even if you use tools for outreach, make sure you personalize your pitch for best results.


Write an Outstanding Blog Post

Your article could still get rejected even after successful negotiations if it’s not up to par. Make sure your style and topic are adequate to the target audience and make sure to:

  • Follow the guidelines of the particular site you’re looking to feature on.

  • Don’t be overly promotional and focus on adding value.

  • Proofread and check for errors more than once.

  • Add a link or two back to your website, depending on the agreement.

  • Include a writer’s bio that adds to the article and invites the readers to learn more.

The web is filled with templates, case studies, and examples of great pitches for you to research, just like those in the image above from makealivingwriting.com.


Follow Up, Measure, & Track

Once your article is published, the next part of your strategy begins. This part is crucial to help with the promotion, distribution, and success of your guest posting. It will also help you nurture your relationship with the publisher for potential future guest posts.


Sharing your content helps raise awareness about it and gets people visiting and interacting with your blog.


Ways to Share Your Guest Post include

  • Share the post on your social media profiles.

  • Engage with your audience’s comments.

  • Link to it in your own content.

Tracking how your guest blogs perform is a great way to understand how your campaign’s success and get insights for future campaigns.


The Most Useful Metrics to Measure include:

  • Amount of referral traffic

  • Number of new website visitors

  • Number of social shares

  • Number of comments

  • Changes in SERP placement

  • Number of new leads

  • Number of brand mentions or links

Building a guest blogging campaign takes time and effort. As you can see, it’s a lengthy process but it will give you positive results.


Guest Posting Alternatives

Guest posting is a great tactic to get quality backlinks and boost your SEO. However, consider these alternatives to further improve your SEO and backlinking efforts.


Hold a Contest

Keep your contest idea creative and appealing. This will spark interest in your guest posting community and you’ll get your site natural editorial links, as well as a lot of new traffic.


Focus Your Social Media Efforts

Focus on the platforms most effective for your goals. Remember that different social networks cater to different audiences. Instagram can boost your SEO as much as LinkedIn, but the audiences are different. Creating a strong presence in your niche community will enhance your chances of getting backlinks.


Publish an Ultimate Guide

Creating a rich, informative, and valuable “ultimate guide” by repurposing content you already have is a great way to create a highly valuable resource that people will link back to for years.


Compile and Curate Your Existing Content

Similar to creating an ultimate guide, compiling and curating your existing content will lead to refreshing it with new information that will be attractive to search engines and your target audience.


Is Guest Posting Worth it?

Guest posting has evolved over the years and continues to do so in order to offer users the best information possible with the highest value. There are link buying and keyword stuffing techniques that might get you a spike in traffic, but those types of practices are punishable by Google and other search engines.


Guest posting takes time and work, but the results are very tangible when done right. Unlike other tactics, including black hat tactics and link posting, guest posting can bring in great results for a long time when you do your due diligence.


Are Blogger Outreach Backlinks Safe?

Looking for ways to boost your link profile? Are you fearful you might run into “unsafe” backlinks and end up penalized? You’re not the only one. Numerous SEOs, marketers, bloggers, etc., look for ways to get as much link juice as possible without deviating from white hat practices.


The short answer to the question if blogger outreach links are safe is yes. But it depends on the quality of the links you get with respect to relevance, naturality, and even format and the words used.


Backlinks are a highly important factor for search engines. That’s why you have every right to be concerned about the quality and safety of the backlinks you get, especially when you get them through a blogger outreach agency.


The main advantage of blogger outreach backlinks is that you can filter and select what bloggers to work with, or what agency with which to partner, as well as help potential readers be more likely to trust your brand by finding it through someone they already trust.


Backlinking is one of the best tactics to help you meet or exceed most of your SEO goals. Let’s go over blogger outreach backlinks in more detail so you can squeeze all the juice out of your backlinks.


What is Blogger Outreach?

Closely related to influencer marketing, blogger outreach involves finding influencing bloggers in your industry or niche and building a mutually beneficial relationship with them in order to leverage their fan base and influence for your own brand’s exposure.


The process is lengthy and takes effort, just like any relationship that’s worth it. But it’s a very effective way to:

  • Drive more traffic to your site via social media

  • Expand your network

  • Boost the chance that other people will start linking to you

  • Increase brand awareness, presence, and trust

If done well, blogger outreach is truly a win-win tactic for all parties involved. Both you and the blogger get link juice and both of your audiences will enjoy the added value of the partnership by having access to great content.


Why are Backlinks Important?

Just driving the point home here. Backlinks equal traffic, authority, trust. Just like word of mouth, backlinks are incredibly effective in boosting a positive aura around your brand, products, and services.


Backlinks take time and effort to build. Get ready to do what it takes to build and nurture those relationships, and you’ll see how it is totally worth it.


What types of backlinks are not safe?

Any links obtained through black hat techniques are not safe and can get you penalized by Google and other search engines. Penalizations and manual actions range from removing pages or warnings to banning you from the index altogether. These are types of links to avoid at all costs:

  • Blog comments that are not moderated

  • Article directories

  • Guest post signatures

  • Advertorials

  • User profile pages

  • Guest books

  • Forum signatures

Additionally, there are 5 link-building services you should not use so that your backlinks remain healthy and you stay on the white hat side of things.


5 Link Building Services to Avoid

These are either too good to be true or just plain old people trying to manipulate the search engine system and get quick results. Regardless, avoid the following services to avoid headaches.


1. Fiverr

Fiverr might work sometimes for some services, but it’s a waste of money if you’re looking for quality SEO. Most Search Engine Optimization techniques offered on Fiverr are completely useless in today’s Search Engine Optimization environment thanks to algorithm and search engine upgrades.


2. Private Blog Networks (PBNs)

PBNs stopped working in 2017 when Google updated the Penguin algorithm. Plus, Google also deindexes any network that gets on their radar screen manually.


3. Paid Guest Posts

Sites that require payment for guest posts are usually not that trustworthy. And Google has clearly stated that paying for guest post “placements” or “editorial review” can get your site penalized.


4. “Push Button” or Automated Backlinks

Any service that offers you dozens or hundreds of backlinks with the push of a button should set off your SEO alarms. These spammy backlinks are harmful and include;

  • Blog comments

  • Article directories

  • Web 2.0 sites

  • Directories

  • Guest blogging networks

  • Link wheels

  • Mass link swapping

5. Press Releases

Press releases are not a good strategy to get backlinks anymore. Most links in press releases are NoFollow and Google purposely ignores links in press releases.


How to Get Quality Backlinks with Blogger Outreach

When you embark on a backlinking campaign and start searching and finding bloggers to reach out to, you’re already on your way to getting quality backlinks. However, before we go into how to get those backlinks, let’s quickly go over a couple of techniques that are also great to get more backlinks.

  • Create Awesome Content

When you create content that is valuable, informative and presented in a way that stands out, people will want to link to it naturally. This content does not only include blogs and articles, but also more visual content like infographics, charts, maps, tools, videos, podcasts, galleries, reviews, comparisons, white papers, Ebooks, etc.

  • Broken Link Replacement

This technique is basically finding broken links that are relevant to your brand and reaching out to the owner of those links to offer content to replace that link.

  • Social Media

The first thing is to have links on your profiles. Then, honestly and openly engage on social media by adding valuable comments and info so that people naturally engage with your brand and links.


Blogger Outreach

In a nutshell, blogger outreach is a three-step process:

  1. Identify relevant bloggers

  2. Get to know them/catch their eye

  3. Guest post amazing content

Sounds easy, and it is. But it takes time and dedication, as well as a strategic approach to the process. Let’s go over the basic steps of blogger outreach.


1. Finding Relevant Bloggers

Common sense, a defined target, a strategy, and time are everything you need to find relevant bloggers. Use a spreadsheet to organize the bloggers you find in places like:

  • Blog Directories

Bloglovin.com, blogs.botw.org, ontoplist.com, icerocket.com

  • Comment on Blogs

Check popular blogs for comments where the author of the comment is a blogger and filter the ones that adjust to what you’re looking for.

  • Look at Your Competitors

Tools like SPYFu allow you to see what your competitors are doing and who is linking to them so you can devise a plan of action that will allow you to get some of this link juice, too.

  • Use Google

Use queries like “write for us <insert niche here>”, “guest post <insert niche here>”, “product review <insert niche here>”, to find relevant bloggers.


2. Building Relationships with Bloggers

Solid relationships mean long-term benefits. Modern salespeople like to “warm-up” their leads by slowly getting to know them and becoming a valuable part of their online hangouts.


To “warm up” the relationship with your target bloggers before asking for a backlink, you can get to know them by understanding their target audience, their values, and their style. Ask yourself questions like:

  • Do they usually post long- or short-form content?

  • In what kind of tone do they write?

  • Are they big on data?

Finally, make sure you communicate well and clearly, comment on their stuff (authentically, of course!) and share it, tag them on social media, and link to them first.


3. Blogger Outreach Tactics for Awesome Backlinks

Now that you have your target bloggers and your relationships are evolving, leverage the following tactics to get you even more powerful links.

  • Create a Piece of Content with Numerous Experts

This can take the shape of a long-form blog post, e-book, or even a book. Reach out to the experts in your field or niche and ask them for contributions to the piece. The majority will be happy to contribute and they will also help you promote it once it’s ready.


A variation of this technique is to create a long-form article formatted as a list where you compile the best of something related to your niche. People will naturally link back to this list, especially if you enrich it with statistics and data.

  • Craft an Outstanding Guest Post

Before you pitch your article to an influential blogger to consider it for their site, make sure you have created a piece that is in line with their audience, style, type of content they create, other guest posts they may already have, etc.


Also, make sure you read their guidelines if they have them, personalize your email pitch by explaining who you are and why you would make a great guest poster. Remember to focus on giving value to their audience in your pitch and especially in your blog article.


4. Analyze Your Results

Use Google Analytics and other tools to track the traffic and other metrics you’re getting from your backlinks. The relationship building and content creation parts are fun, but you need to measure your results in order to optimize your approach.


Blogger Outreach Links are Safe

Implementing a well-planned blogger outreach campaign is an effective way to get high-quality backlinks that produce results. Likewise, using a blogger outreach service provider that is aligned with your principles regarding SEO will also produce long-lasting, high-quality results.


Dangers of Link Building Software and Automated Backlinks

Link building is probably the most common practice among SEOs everywhere. Google has made it clear on repeated occasions that a good linking profile is an important factor in rankings.


There are different ways to build backlinks that boost your SEO performance. Those that are based on high-quality backlinks and organic link building are referred to as “White Hat” link-building tactics.


On the other hand, there are other techniques that focus on the number of links in order to boost your rankings quickly. These tactics are known as “Black Hat” practices and come with the risk of being penalized by Google and other search engines.


The goal of this article is to help you get a better understanding of how link building works and what it is. Then, we’ll dive into painting a clear picture of what link-building software and automated backlinks are and how they work. Most importantly, the dangers of using some of these techniques.


What is Link Building?

According to Wikipedia:


“In the field of search engine optimization, link building describes actions aimed at increasing the number and quality of inbound links to a webpage with the goal of increasing the search engine rankings of that page or website.”


Notice the wording of the definition: “increasing the number and quality of inbound links”. Both characteristics are important and must remain in balance for your link building to stand the test of time… and the test of Google’s algorithms.


Quality backlinks are key to building a link profile that helps your site rank better without calling undesired attention from Google’s team. Here are a few tips to help you learn how to get along with the algorithm and distinguish the differences between good and bad links.


Google and Link Building

In the old days, link building just meant putting as many links in as many sites as possible pointing at your website. This was common practice and many people did it successfully. However, Google quickly caught up and started focusing its efforts on improving the quality of the user experience by providing more and more relevant search results.


Google rewards links that add value to the user and serve them with the most useful results possible. These types of links are gained or built either organically because you produce such great quality content that everyone and their mom want to link to it. Or, you have gone through the arduous duties of a link-building campaign.


Quick Reminder: What is a Link Building Campaign

A link-building campaign is a team coordinated effort to perform research and outreach to find websites with domain authority and a traffic volume that would benefit your own website. Then, once there is a negotiation regarding the details of the content and the link, the article is written, edited, published and the link is live.


Another highly important vetting is finding websites that not only have a high DA, but that are also compatible regarding topics, audience, expertise, etc. So, in a nutshell, link-building campaigns take a lot of work.


Google and Bad Link Building

Search engines are increasingly learning how to distinguish quality, organic content, and links from content and links that are produced automatically through sophisticated pieces of link-building software such as Money Robot and Senuke, among many others.


Google clearly states that one of the Link Schemes that can negatively impact your site’s ranking in search results is “using automated programs or services to create links to your site”.


Could they make it any clearer? Regardless, there are many companies and software offering just that: building links back to your site to help you rank better quickly. Beware of the consequences.


Let’s understand what link-building software is and how it’s connected to automated backlinks first.


What is link-building software?

Link building software is designed to submit your backlinks and content to:

  • Web 2.0 Blogs

  • Social Network Posts

  • Social Bookmarking

  • Web Directories

  • Wiki Articles

  • Press Release

  • Article Directories

  • Web 2.0 Profiles

  • Forum Profiles

  • RSS

Some of these platforms include a feature to spin your content (Article Spinner) in order to endlessly rewrite your article to make sure it passes the duplicate content test and other plagiarism checks.


Google (and other search engines) are constantly changing their algorithms (most notoriously with the Panda and Penguin) to penalize and deprioritize and find links created artificially by these programs.


Although the tools got better over time at beating the algorithm, each major search engine has continued to invest in keeping up.


Nowadays, Most of the top automated link-building tools have all but faced out, leaving only a few systems that are still popular despite not being as effective as before. These include:

  • Money Robot

  • SeNuke

  • Xrumer

  • RANKwyz.

These sites claim to be able to produce links that are going to help you rank, and they will. But they can also get you penalized, and the sites for these types of services put great effort into highlighting features that will make your link-building campaign seem more natural and organic.


Even they know search engines prefer organic links and content.


Dangers of Link Building Software & Automated Backlinks

Before we take a look at the dangers of automated backlinks, here’s a refresher of link building tactics you must definitely not apply:

  1. You shouldn’t buy links.

  2. Don’t exchange links.

  3. Avoid automated programs to get links.

  4. Don’t do guest blogging with very thin and off-topic content.

  5. Don’t comment on blogs or forums if your only purpose is to leave a link in the comment.

  6. Over-optimizing your anchor text isn’t a good idea.

  7. You shouldn’t have links that are unrelated to the topic of your website.

  8. Avoid having links from sites that have no real content.

If you follow these rules and make sure your content and links are organic and naturally obtained through guest blogging and other White Hat link-building tactics, then don’t worry about reading the rest of this article.


But, if you want to try these tools at your own risk or if you are curious to learn a bit more, then carry on.


Links that can Get You Penalized

Below is a list of 10 types of bad links that search engines can penalize you for either algorithmically (automatically) or through manual action.

  • Press Release Links

  • Discussion Forum Links

  • Links From Foreign Guestbooks

  • Many Random NoFollow Links

  • Private Blog Networks (PBNs)

  • NoFollowed (& Followed) Social Bookmark Links

  • Directory Submissions (or a Directory Submissions Service)

  • Blog Comments

  • Links From Fiverr or Other Cheap Link Services

  • Links Built by Automatic Link Building Programs

As you have probably figured out already, automated link building is not liked by search engines. If you decide to go that way, you already know the possible consequences.


Remember that removing an algorithmic downgrade can take around 6 to 8 months depending on the situation and gravity. A manual action could take up to a year or more to remove. Not to mention the headaches involved in submissions, resubmissions, etc. A proper link-building campaign can start yielding results much faster, take a look at how long it takes for link building to influence your site rankings.


To find out if you have received a link penalty, all you have to do is beware of receiving manual action notifications in Google Search Console.


Internal Links: An Effective SEO Tactic

Your internal linking structure might have a backseat as far as your Search Engine Optimization Priorities. But taking good care of your internal links is one of the easiest ways to improve your site’s user experience and boost your search engine result pages (SERPs) rankings.


Internal links, unlike external links, are something of which you have full control. If you’re just getting started with your website, this article will help you go down the right path. If your website has been around for some time and you’re looking for ways to optimize it, then this blog will also be helpful. We will cover:

  • What internal links are,

  • Why they are important,

  • An ideal internal linking structure example, and

  • Best SEO practices for internal linking.

Let’s get started.


What are Internal Links?

Just as a matter of making things clear, internal links are backlinks or hyperlinks that connect different pages on the same website or domain. The main purposes of internal links are to:

  • Allow users to navigate a website.

  • Help establish an information hierarchy for your website.

  • Help spread link equity (ranking power) around your website.

This is not only helpful for search engines as they index your website. It also gives visitors to your site a logical and easy user experience when navigating around your different pages.


Why are Internal Links Important?

Internal links are the paths that help Google and other search engines like Bing and Yahoo find, index, and understand all of the pages on your site. Developing a simple yet effective internal linking structure will help spread page authority (also known as PageRank) to important pages on your website.


A page that doesn’t have any internal links pointing to it is known as an “orphan page” and Google will not be able to find it and index it.


It’s also important to note that in general adding more internal links to a page will increase its PageRank. Focus your efforts on making sure the quality of your links is a priority over the quality.


In short, the number of internal links pointing to a page is a signal of its importance, but the anchor text used helps search engines better understand the context and may rank it better for relevant terms.


The Ideal Internal Linking Structure

Generally, websites are organized in a pyramidal structure where the most important content is at the top and the least important content at the bottom. The hierarchy probably goes something like this:

  • Top of the pyramid: Homepage

  • Next: most important pages (about us, services, products, blog, etc.)

  • Then: less important pages (individual products and service pages, blog posts, etc.)

The only problem with this structure is that it doesn’t factor in relevance. To account for relevance, you will need to group or “silo” together web pages that share the same topic or are related topic-wise.


Each topic, silo, hub (or whatever you decide to call it) page is then linked to and from subpages about related sub-topics. Makes perfect sense and creates what is called a “topic cluster”. This “cluster” structure is beneficial because:

  • Users will have an easier time navigating their way around your site.

  • Crawlers will have an easier time understanding your site structure.

  • More “authority” is transferred to your most important pages.

  • It helps search engines to understand the context of your content better.

  • You can use rich, relevant anchor text.

Internal Links - SEO Best Practices

The goal of internal links is to establish site architecture and spread link equity in an SEO-friendly way. Let’s explore crucial best practices to keep in mind.


Internal links and their URLs are essential for search engines to find all of the pages on a website. Don’t make the mistake of hiding or burying your main link navigation because this will hinder or fully impede crawlers to find your pages, because as far as Google is concerned, these pages basically don’t exist despite all the effort that might have gone into great content, good keyword targeting, and smart marketing.


URLs

We mentioned URLs because you need to make sure they are consistent in format and naming standards across your entire website.


Minimize Link Depth

A topic cluster structure is great at optimizing your website for user experience and relevance. But be careful that your pages don’t get buried behind too many links. An approach like this needs an extra effort in order to have the minimum amount of links possible between the homepage and any given page. This will help your site’s link equity flow throughout the entire site, thus increasing the ranking potential for each page.


Supplementary URL Structures

Supplementary URL structures are a great way to help your internal links perform better.


To use complimentary URL structures, all you need to do is correctly format your links:


In the example above, the "a" tag indicates the start of a link. These link tags can contain images, text, or other objects. These provide a "clickable" area on the page that users can engage to move to another page.


The link referral location tells the browser and the search engines where the link points. In this example:

  • The URL http://www.jonwye.com is referenced.

  • The visible portion of the link for visitors (anchor text) describes the page the link is pointing at (Jon Wye's Custom Designed Belts).

  • The </a> tag closes the link so that elements later on in the page will not have the link attribute applied to them.

This format is easily understandable by search engines and crawlers will know that they should add this link to the engine's link graph of the web, use it to calculate query-independent variables (like MozRank), and follow it to index the contents of the referenced page.


Why are Your Pages not Reachable or Indexed?

Despite your best efforts to follow best practices, things can still happen that can stop your pages from being reachable by crawlers and therefore, not indexed.


Links in Submission-Required Forms

Search spiders will not attempt to "submit" forms and thus, any content or links that would be accessible via a form are not invisible to the engines.


Links Only Accessible Through Internal Search Boxes

Spiders will not attempt to perform searches behind completely inaccessible internal search box walls.


Links in Unparseable Javascript

Links built using Javascript are either uncrawlable or devalued. You should use standard HTML links instead of Javascript-based links.


Links in Flash, Java, or Other Plug-Ins

Any links embedded inside Flash, Java applets, and other plug-ins are usually inaccessible to search engines.


Links Pointing to Pages Blocked by the Meta Robots Tag or Robots.txt

The Meta Robots tag and the robots.txt file both allow you to restrict spider access to a page.


Links on pages with Hundreds or Thousands of Links

Google and other search engines like Yahoo and Bing have an approximate crawl limit of 150 links per page.


Although flexible, this limit it's wise to limit the number of links on any given page to 150 or risk losing the ability to have additional pages crawled.