Topics covered in this lesson:
- What is link building
- Structure of a Hyperlink
- Best way to build your backlinks
- Recommended Backlink checker tools
"Off-site SEO" (also called "off-page SEO") refers to actions taken outside of your own website to impact your rankings within search engine results pages (SERPs).
It’s no secret that link building is the most important skill in SEO and it will continue to be one of the leading SEO components if you want to rank well in 2018.k
What is link building:
Link building is the process of acquiring hyperlinks from other websites to your own. Search engines use links to crawl the web; your the individual pages and also the links between entire websites.
Links and Off-site SEO
There are three main types of links, defined by how they were earned: natural links, manually built links, or self-created links.
- Natural links are editorially given without any action on the part of a page owner. For example, a food blogger adding a link to a post that points toward their favorite produce farms is a natural link.
- Manually built links are acquired through deliberate link-building activities. This includes things like getting customers to link to your website or asking influencers to share your content.
- Self-created links are created by practices such as adding a backlink in an online directory, forum, blog comment signature, or a press release with optimized anchor text. Some self-created link building tactics tend toward black hat SEO and are frowned upon by search engines, so tread lightly here.
In order to understand the importance of link building, it's important to first understand the basics of how a link is created, how the search engines see links, and what they can interpret from them.
- Start of link tag: Called an anchor tag (hence the "a"), this opens the link tag and tells search engines that a link to something else is about to follow.
- Link referral location: The "href" stands for "hyperlink referral," and the text inside the quotation marks indicates the URL to which the link is pointing. This doesn't always have to be a web page; it could be the address of an image or a file to download. Occasionally, you'll see something other than a URL, beginning with a # sign. These are local links, which take you to a different section of the page you're already on.
- Visible/anchor text of link: This is the little bit of text that users see on the page, and on which they need to click if they want to open the link. The text is usually formatted in some way to make it stand out from the text that surrounds it, often with blue color and/or underlining, signaling to users that it is a clickable link.
- Closure of link tag: This signals the end of the link tag to the search engines.
Importance of Links for Search Engines
There are two fundamental ways that the search engines use links:
- To discover new web pages
- To help determine how well a page should rank in their results
Once search engines have crawled pages on the web, they can extract the content of those pages and add it to their indexes. In this way, they can decide if they feel a page is of sufficient quality to be ranked well for relevant keywords
When they are deciding this, the search engines do not just look at the content of the page; they also look at the number of links pointing to that page from external websites and the quality of those external websites. Generally speaking, the more high-quality websites that link to you, the more likely you are to rank well in search results.
What are nofollow links:
There is an attribute that can sometimes be applied to links called the “nofollow” attribute. If added, you will not notice any difference if you're a user. But, if you look at the code of the link, it will look slightly different:
<a href="http://www.example.com" rel="nofollow">Example</a>
Note the addition of rel="nofollow". This tells Google not to pass any PageRank across this link to the target URL. Effectively, you're telling Google not to trust this link and to discount it from consideration. Therefore, it should not help the target URL to rank any better.
Why use nofollow links:
The main reason a site might use nofollow relates to scenarios in which that site lacks total control over the links that are added to its pages.
This is more common than you'd expect; here are a few examples:
- Blog comments
- Forum posts
- Guest book comments
- Editable Wiki pages (e.g. Wikipedia)
- Yahoo! Answers
- Guest post signatures
Best way to build your backlinks
The old days when all types of backlinks were considered good for SEO are long gone. For years, many webmasters relied on sloppy techniques and used automated tools to build hundreds of backlinks every day. Things have changed a lot since then.
High-quality and relevant backlinks have the most value.
Setting goals: Link building is a form of online marketing, and with any form of marketing you should start with goals.
Finding your assets: At the heart of any link building campaign is the asset that you're going to use in order to attract and earn links. This can also be known as the "hook" that will make people care about what you have to offer, and will entice them into linking to you.
Examples of assets may be, content, Data, Products, Services, People
- What types of links you need: When defining the strategy for your link building campaign, you will need to think about the types of links you need to get. There are various types to consider:
- Finding link targets: The first thing you need to think about is what types of people you should contact, as you want to make sure that you are contacting people who are likely to be interested in your content.
- Build backlinks with patience: If you’ve just created your website, the chances of getting fast and natural links are almost zero. Natural links take time.
- Content-Driven Approach: As hard as it is to produce quality content, there is no better way to drive high authority backlinks to a website. There are only three things you have to do with a content-driven approach:
- Find the right keywords to target
- Create a great piece of content around that keyword
- Promote the content (social and backlinks)
Guest posts: Guest posting” is the practice of contributing free content to another website or blog in exchange for a link back to your own site.
Directory links:The best way to secure a high-quality directory link is to find an authoritative niche directory. Try to avoid general directories and focus on those which are specific to your service offering or location.
Forums:The best way to get a high-quality forum link is to post in forums that are relevant to what your business offers. Like the way in which a good directory link comes from a niche site, you should think about the topic and community before inserting a link into a forum.
Read this article to get more knowledge about backlinking (https://www.crazyegg.com/blog/smart-ways-get-quality-backlinks/)
Difference between White Hat and Black Hat SEO
The difference between black hat SEO and white hat SEO has to do with the techniques used when trying to improve a website’s search engine ranking.
Black hat SEO refers to techniques and strategies used to get higher search rankings, and breaking search engine rules. Black hat SEO focuses on only search engines and not so much a human audience. White hat SEO refers to the use of techniques and strategies that target a human audience opposed to a search engine.
Build Backlinks That Actually Work
Trait #1: They Come From Trusted, Authoritative Websites: authority of the page linking to you matters more than any other factor.
You can easily check a proxy indicator of PageRank (“PageRating”) using Ahrefs. Just pop a URL into Ahrefs and check out its “URL Rating”:
(DR=Domain Rating. That’s Ahrefs’ way of sizing up a website’s authority)
Trait #2: They Include Your Target Keyword In The Link’s Anchor Text: you want your links to have anchor text that includes your target keyword. anchor text is the visible text part of a link.
Trait #3: The Site (and Page) Linking to You Is Topically Related To Your Site
Google wants to see that your links come from websites in your niche. Imagine you just published an article about running a marathon.
In this case, Google will put MUCH more weight on links from sites about marathons, running, fitness vs. websites that are about fishing, unicycles, and cat grooming.
Trait #4: The Link Is a “Dofollow” Link: Google and other search engines ignore links with the “nofollow” tag attached to it. (In other words, they don’t count those links in their ranking algorithm)
And most of the links that have the nofollow tag aren’t that valuable to begin with. For example, links from these sources tend to be nofollow: Blog comments, Press releases, Paid advertisements, Profile links.
- Trait #5: The Link Is From a Domain That Hasn’t Linked to You Before
Well, let’s say Website A links to you again. And again. And again.
Are the 2nd, 3rd and 4th links as powerful as the first one?
It’s better to get 100 links from 100 different websites than 1,000 links from the same website.
Recommended Backlink checker tools
- Ahrefs: Ahrefs gives you all of the tools that you need to track your backlinks and keywords. Furthermore, you can get an inside look at what your competition is doing.
- Majestic SEO: You can use it to find the backlinks pointing to your own site or to that of a competitor, including the number of referring domains and IPs.
- Open Site Explorer: Moz is another giant in the search marketing world, and its Open Site Explorer is considered one of the best tools available for backlink analysis. It gives you the number of links for a site.
- Google Search Console: Under the Search Console, you can check out “Links to Your Site” under the “Search Traffic” section
- SEMrush: SEMrush gives you a lot of important information about any URL that you enter, including the backlinks pointing to the site. You can track multiple competitor sites and get comprehensive information about the links. Do not forget to check for Broken Link Building
Broken link building: A tactic whereby you find a broken (i.e., dead) link, recreate the dead content, then tell anyone linking to the dead resource to instead link to your recreated content.
Here’s how to do it:
Install Check My Links or LinkMiner
Both of these tools quickly find broken links on any page (from within your Chrome Browser).
- Find Pages With Lots of Outbound Links
- Check For Broken Links
- Email The Site Owner About Their Broken Link
Source: Moz.com, backlinco.com, searchengineland.com