As marketers we are constantly being told to focus on content production and social media. While these two aspects of the digital world are hugely important, backlinking still holds the top spot for being the most effective ranking technique. So if you’re new to search engine optimization and want to refine your strategy, make sure you take the following on board.
Mix It Up With Some Nofollow Links
If you’ve worked in the SEO business you’ve probably heard the phrase “diverse link profile” before. Contrary to popular belief, this doesn’t translate to mix up the anchor text. What most marketers tend to forget is that a “nofollow” tag means that Google can choose to ignore the link juice, not that it will.
Of course, nofollow links aren’t as powerful as dofollow links; however, they will make your link profile look far less spammy and may still provide a little juice – we’ll get into that debate another time! As a general rule of thumb, try to get one nofollow link for every two or three dofollow links to ensure everything looks above board to the bots.
Target Highly Authoritative Publications
There are some websites that, relevancy aside, are always worth targeting: Huffington Post, Forbes, The New York Times, Entrepreneur, etc. Not only will these websites provide an extremely authoritative backlink, they are also highly likely to generate a large amount of referral traffic, which is often a massively understated aspect of the business. In addition, you will earn the privilege of being able to say “As featured on …” on your website, which will automatically boost its authority.
While you shouldn’t waste all of your time trying to acquire mentions and features on authority websites, if the opportunity to get coverage does arise, make sure you embrace it – HARO can be a great place to start. Although it’s impossible to quantify how effective authority placements may be, marketers often report huge rankings boosts and influxes of traffic from them.
Stop Focusing On Irrelevant Websites
Google’s number one priority is to rank websites based on their relevancy to keywords. Keep this in mind whenever you’re on the prowl for new websites to target. Finding a blog that’ll link to your company is easy, but unless that website is somehow related to your target page, its value will be questionable, even if it has a high domain authority and trust flow.
Sometimes websites with low metrics are just as effective as websites with high metrics. If the topic and keywords on the page providing the backlink are the same or similar to what’s on your page, Google will look at it in a more favorable light.
Refine Your Anchor Text
Anchor text is probably the most misunderstood element of the backlinking process. Even today, years after Google publicly stated that websites with keyword-heavy links will be punished, people still do it. You must follow the rules. While a few keyword anchors are okay, keep 90 percent of your efforts natural.
By natural that means a mixture of: keyword links, brand links, URL links, relevant phrases, relevant words. Ensure the majority (some state up to 50 percent) use the brand name. For example, when ranking a website like salesandmarketingexperts.com.au, you could use the anchor text: www.salesandmarketingexperts.com.au (URL), Sales and Marketing Experts (brand), B2B Marketing Consultant (keyword), or even a call-to-action, such as “Click Here.” Additionally, you should also try to get a healthy mixture of index page links and deep links, again at a ratio of 50/50.
Produce Content That’s Actually Linkable
This is the most important point of all. Your outreach efforts will always be in vein unless you have a page on your website that’s actually worth linking to. If all you’re trying to do is sell, then forget about authority sites and natural linking altogether. When you’re overtly promotional all you’ll acquire are links from untrustworthy domains that’ll hurt your rankings. So if you’re yet to take this step, postpone your backlinking efforts altogether and read this guide.
It’s truly surprising how many well known SEO companies are still using outdated practices on their clients’ websites. If you’re new to backlinking or simply want to know more about what your chosen SEO firm is doing behind the scenes, use analytics to devise a report and start making your own assessment. Even if just one aspect of your strategy is wrong, it’s better that you find out before the Google bot does!