Link building is one of the recognised ways of ranking higher in search engines. As a result, marketing managers are often tasked with building valuable backlinks to their website.
But when it comes to backlinks for SEO, what are the rules? Are more links better or is it more important to focus on quality? In this article, we will outline everything you need to know about professional link building and whether it’s quantity or quality that really matters.
What is link building?
Link building is arguably one of the most valuable tools in any marketing toolkit.
The goal is to acquire links from other websites that in turn drive traffic and visibility to your own website.
The more high quality backlinks you earn, the more Google will recognise your brand as trustworthy and credible, and should rank your website accordingly.
The benefits of link building
Link building is a vital element of SEO. Some of the benefits you can enjoy from expert link building services include:
- Establish your online authority and credibility
- Drive organic traffic to your website
- Increase your SEO rankings
- Gain more opportunities to boost sales
- Promote your brand to new audiences
- Higher site metrics and SEO scores
Why quality backlinks are important
Earning high quality backlinks to your website is one of the best ways to grow your business. A high quality backlink from an authoritative/reputable website will provide exceptional value to your business, both in terms of valuable referral traffic and increased search ranking results.
Google’s algorithm is more sophisticated than ever before and can quickly and easily identify the quality of your backlinks. It achieves this in the following ways:
Topical relevance: although it can be difficult (depending on your industry), gaining backlinks that are topically relevant is an essential ranking factor. You must ask yourself; does the context of this link make sense? Does it provide further information to both users and search engines? The more relevant your links, the better chance you have of attracting relevant traffic and earning trust in the eyes of search engines to improve the rankings of your key terms.
Link placement: link building sounds easy, but there are so many factors you must consider. One of these is link placement. Wherever possible, links must be placed in a “natural” location on the page and within the context of the content. Generally speaking, sidebars or footers should be avoided as these can come across as spammy. Put simply, your links should offer value to readers – and would therefore need to be situated naturally within the content.
Branded or natural anchor text: anchor text often causes a trip hazard for marketers as they either over-optimise or link to random/unrelated words. Ideally, the anchor text should appear naturally on the page and should not be an exact match. We recommend using a mix of branded anchor text and long tail keywords as these describe to readers what the page being linked is, and fit naturally into the content.
Trusted link source: don’t just link to any old website. You need to ensure that every site you link to is providing additional value to your users. Would users or search engines trust the information on the linked website as credible? If yes, that’s brilliant. If no, consider linking to a more credible source.
Link diversity: when it comes to link building, one thing you don’t want to do is put all your eggs in one basket. A natural profile would contain link diversity – that is, different types of links from different websites. Products and brands often span many industries and niches, so this should be visible within a backlink profile. Link diversity expands your website reach, provides further valuable information to users, and boosts your brand reputation.
High quality and organic link building
You should build links to your website naturally over time. The process is an ongoing one and requires commitment and hard work to stay competitive.
It can take time to see the results of your efforts. But do not worry. Search engines love to see that your website is growing steadily over time. A sudden influx of backlinks without context can raise red flags, and may result in investigations or even your site being penalised.
So, you want to do everything you can to avoid unnatural spikes in referring domains and instead gradually add to your backlink portfolio over an extended period of time.
How to obtain high quality backlinks
The easiest way to gain high quality backlinks is to create content people want to link to. This can be content in instructional form, essay style, research, blogs or articles, or even infographics – it’s completely up to you!
Infographics: We find that infographics are a fantastic source of content that other websites love to link to. They are informative, to the point, engaging, and they provide real value for the user. If you want to gain some high-quality backlinks, infographics are a great option – though they can be time consuming and pricey.
Instructions: another way to get high quality backlinks is to create downloadable PDF instruction manuals. This could be a manual advising how to put together an item of furniture or build a kids’ toy – whatever they are about, instructions are a great way to provide linkable value for the user that they can take away and benefit from.
Independent research: people love linking to great statistics. Often, reporters won’t scour the internet for hours trying to find the original source of a statistic, but will instead link to your website where the stat is mentioned. So, carrying out your own research can be a great way to encourage more industry-relevant backlinks. Carry out surveys, interview your customers, do research into your products, analyse your data and write a report. There are so many great ways to carry out independent research and if you can provide some interesting statistics, people will link to your site!
Blog posts and articles: the most common way to get links is by writing content for other websites. These can be informative blog posts, factual articles, or entertainment pieces. The subject is really whatever is relevant to your industry while also being something another website wants to publish. Just make sure you say what you want to say, instead of recycling content that already exists online. You need to make it fresh and exciting so that people want to publish your work.
How to avoid low quality links
As we have already established, when it comes to link building, quality is better than quantity. Sure, you could win 100 backlinks in a week, but if they’re all from low quality and unrelated websites, you’re not doing yourself any favours.
If you want to know how best to avoid potentially harmful links, ask yourself the following questions:
- Is the website contextually relevant to your industry and the work that you do?
- Has the website acquired good social engagement after publishing content?
- Has the website got a well-maintained (or increasing) level of traffic?
- Is the website relevant to your audience?
- Does the website have a good domain authority? There are many great tools you can use to check the domain authority of websites.
Is backlink quantity important?
Yes, quantity is important. The more quality links your website has, the more Google will see you as an authority in your industry and rank your website accordingly. However, quantity means nothing if all the links pointing to your website aren’t worth anybody’s time.
The best strategy for building a good quantity of valuable backlinks is to get to work. It sounds basic, but link building takes time and the only way to create an impressive backlink portfolio is to chip away at link building and grow your profile over time. Unfortunately, these things can’t be rushed. If you want great results in the long-term, you have to put in the hard work now.
Backlinks: Quality over quantity
If your website has earned backlinks from credible and trusted domains, Google will reward you with increased rankings, traffic, and conversions.
By narrowing down your efforts and focusing on building backlinks from reputable sources, you will avoid Google penalties and increase your website success for the long-term.
Acquiring high quality backlinks can be time consuming and competition is fierce, so it takes determination and hard work. The best thing you can do is focus on creating high quality links and building your brand’s reputation. At Hive19 we always recommend quality over quantity.
Do you want to develop site authority and increase your search traffic, but don’t know where to start? Hive19 can help.
We’ve worked with businesses in a host of different sectors to help them grow their online presence, developing tailored content and link building campaigns that deliver excellent results. Our team has decades of combined experience that we bring to every campaign we work on, and we’re proud to provide expert support for our clients’ link building strategies.