Bewildered by link building? How could you not be? It’s a potential minefield nowadays, with Google’s latest pronouncements on the matter. It used to be so easy – you would collect (and buy!) as many links as you could, and he who had the most was the winner. Nowadays you have to proceed with extreme caution, because you can be sure that Google inspects your links with extreme suspicion.
It’s important to point out that you still need links, in spite of all the Google “Thou shalt nots.” But you have to know what you’re doing. Here are some hints to help you along the way:
Your links must be relevant
A ladies underwear site might link to a beauty site because that might be relevant. A ladies underwear site would not link to a truckers site because there is no common ground there. (Or at least we hope not!) In other words, the content surrounding your links should always be natural and relevant to your site.
Diversify your links
It’s important not to have all your links coming from the same type of site. Studies show that your site will rank higher if its links come from different sources, e.g. blogs, web 2.0, pdf sharing sites, press releases, social networks, RSS and images, etc.
Whether you use the URL itself, “click here”, “visit…”, “more info”, or whatever, vary your anchor text as much as possible. Use the exact match for your anchor text as little as possible. When securing a link from another site, allow the site owner to choose the anchor text, which is more natural, or suggest they use your brand or domain name.
Link to inner pages, not home page
The best websites have loads of great content inside the site, so this is where your links should mostly be directed. Don’t make the mistake of sending links only to your home page.
Nofollow links don’t pass pagerank, but they are essential because they are natural, so don’t underestimate their power. If you only have “dofollow” links, it will appear as if you have (horror of horrors) SEO’d your site, and of course you’d never do that!
Referring C Blocks should be varied
Your IP address is divided into lettered sections: AAA.BBB.CCC.DDD.
18.104.22.168 is in the same C Block as 22.214.171.124
The C Block is your neighborhood and those with the same C Block number are your neighbors. It’s okay to get links from your neighbors, as long as they’re not your only links – that would look suspicious. Google might suspect you of deliberately setting up a bunch of domains so that they will all link to each other. (Gosh, you’d never be so underhanded, would you? Well, not anymore, anyway!)
Deleted or dead links are expected
Links that no longer link to your site for whatever reason – maybe the site has disappeared or maybe the link was taken down – are quite normal. What will look abnormal is having no dead links at all!
How many links in total?
The number of links necessary for a high ranking depends on your niche and keyword. Check your competition to see how many they have. But don’t try to outdo them by thousands of links, or you’ll raise the proverbial red flag.
The best advice as far as link building is concerned is to provide links primarily to benefit your readers, not to influence the search engines. And don’t focus exclusively on link building to increase your visibility – it simply won’t work.