SEO Link Building Practices

Written by: Jason Bayless | March 23, 2016

Each search engine uses different algorithms to rank websites, but some factors are use by all of them, and the number and quality of backlinks to your site are a main consideration. A sound strategy for building links can bring volumes of targeted traffic, both via the search engines and the links themselves.

You can view a link as a recommendation. When a visitor goes to a favorite site and finds a link to yours, they assume your site must be worthwhile, if someone went to the trouble to post a link. Credibility is established already; it’s up to you to live up to it. The more links you have from popular and relevant sites, the more relevant and popular yours becomes. Developing links doesn’t happen overnight, so it makes sense to develop good practices for link building.

Anchor Text

Anchor text is the visible text in a hyperlink. This is one of the first things a search engine looks at. Be sure yours contains the right keywords. If many links point to a page with the right keywords, that page has greater chances of listing well. Always use your keywords in the anchor text of your link, but you may want to experiment a little, and track the results to see what keywords work best from which sources. Vary the anchor text, as some search engines will penalize for over-use.

Trust Rank

Nobody likes spammy sites, and search engines agree. One of the ways these annoying sites get weeded out of the rankings is by the quality of their backlinks. Links from respected domains gives you a higher level of trust. Try to earn backlinks from government, .edu, non-profit, and other highly respected organizations. Think of this as your “link neighborhood”. Quality is better than quantity with this metric, so don’t waste time posting links with sites that only make yours look bad. Building links is building reputation. Don’t overlook offline marketing either, as a partnership with prestigious organizations could mean leverage with the online

Use a backlink checker to see where top rivals are putting their links, and try to get your own links into the same domains. Check out your own backlinks occasionally to remove links from any sites that would be embarrassing.

Freshness and Relevance

Sites that were popular a year ago might be fading fast. It’s important to keep in touch with your niche and its market. If there’s a site or topic that’s trending, you want to get your links in while its hot. Be sure your own content is fresh and relevant; if your site is really in touch and worthwhile, people will create backlinks to it on their own.

Social Media

All kinds of content is being exchanged, from Tweets to videos. Facebook now boasts over 1.2 billion users. Don’t overlook backlinks with these markets, as there are some user pages that get huge amounts of visitors. Experts disagree as to how exactly search engines rank these types of links, and there are differences from one to the next, but all them will consider these links. For the most part, they don’t count against you, and if it means thousands of targeted users, why pass it up?

Take link building seriously, and avoid low-quality backlinks. There are a lot of marketing companies promising you thousands of quality links for a fee, but before you lay down a dime check them out and know what you’re getting. A lot of poor-quality backlinks will damage your site’s credibility, while bringing no quality traffic. Recovering from that bad behavior could be a struggle.