In 2018, the controversial subject of SEO is still the old link building. We will be discussing everything about what is right and what is not. Working on that start page, is it even possible? Also, how depends on a posted blog article is enough authority? The most important thing is to read between the lines and to base on logic. Google remains a machine on its own, which is ‘just’ used to map out who is the most critical company within an industry.
Before you start: the internal structure.
It is necessary to know that the internal structure of your website is in order. The internal links in a site can be seen as the water pipes that distribute the ‘link juice’ over the website. If it goes wrong here, you can start creating a crazy authority, but it will not be passed on correctly.
Careful on an excellent categorization within your website and ensure that every page on the site is ‘accessible.’ Moreover, it is essential to have a clear hierarchy of the different pages, even when it comes to communication.
1. Absolute numbers
Although Google is increasingly aware of how vital a link is (and what the authority is that link gives), you have not saved 3 to 4 good links. To create enough authority, it is important that you be suddenly found. So pay attention not only to high quality but also to the quantity.
Many different links entail different types of anchoring texts (or more later), which give Google sufficient context to determine who you are and what you do. The best of the one of the one of the one of the one of the one of the one. Of course, you have to come to the quality of the incoming links, but it is equally important to let you come.
In practice, it is important to pay attention to four parts in terms of quantity:
- Number of links
- Number of domains
- Number of IP addresses
- Number of sub-nets
Of course, it is important to have sufficient inbound links. However, these different links must also come from different places. It is not enough to have hundreds of links from the same website. Make sure that the links come from different domains.
The diversity, however, goes a step further. It is very nice to have incoming links from hundreds of domains, but when these domains are all at the same IP address, you will not win the war yet. It even spammy over to Google, which can have an adverse effect. It can also help if the links are in different ‘ranges.’ This requires some knowledge of subnets, which is a rather complicated matter.
Not every link needs to come from a different IP address or subnet. It is also really not bad if you have 10 links on one website. Make sure that you have more than enough diversity in the incoming links.
2. Anchor Texts
Google not only watches who is referring to you but also how you are being talked about. It would be nice to refer to you on toptut.com for example, but when you say that you are a shoe store, while you are an accountant – I know, it is an extreme example – you have little to do with this.
Different types of short texts
Danny van den Berg went into it in his article ‘The ultimate anchoring text for SEO’, but the anchoring texts also play a prominent role in how Google values and indexes your website. He talked about 12 different types of anchoring texts, but I have highlighted 5 for the sake of convenience:
The first anchoring text, which also has to come back a lot, is your company name. When people name your company name a lot, it makes it easier for Google to recognize who you are.
Unadopted anchoring texts
In the case of unchecked anchoring texts, think of a bare URL, such as ‘www.toptut.com’ or ‘https://www.toptut.com.’ It can also be a link without anchor text, such as an image without alt text.
The most important keywords
Note: this is a horse resource and must be used in moderation.
To make it even more transparent for Google who you are and what you do, it is also useful to have specific keywords appear in the anchoring text profile. In this case, a small percentage of the anchoring texts can be devoted to exact matching keywords. Are you an accountant in Rotterdam, for example? Then it really cannot hurt if people name you as such. It also works positively when people refer to a subpage of you, and use the title of the page in question as anchor text.
Variations on keywords
If you go too far with the exact matching keywords, this can have negative consequences. Fortunately, your website consists of more than a few keywords. If we continue on the example of the accountant in Rotterdam, you can choose to go for variations on keywords. Think of terms like:
The more variation you make in your anchor text profile, the more context you offer Google to find out who you are and what you do.
In the past, anchoring texts such as ‘click here’ and ‘read more’ were mainly used. Sometimes you hear that these texts would no longer work. There is a core of truth here: they do not help Google to figure out what exactly you are doing. However, it is ‘natural’ about the search engine, which can help again.
Regardless of which anchor texts you use, make sure they are part of a larger whole. This means that the anchoring texts in your profile are linked to the anchoring texts within the internal links on your website and that these are connected to your services/products. Also, ensure a balanced profile:
- Company Name
- Unadopted anchoring texts
- Main keywords
- Variations on keywords
- Natural’ anchoring texts
3. Follow / nofollow
Let us remain ‘natural’ in the plane: in the past link building was, even more, the victim of spam and abuse than it is today. As a result, the nofollow link was created in 2005.
If a nofollow attribute is given to a link, Google will in principle not follow this link. No authority is given, and Google does not take the anchor text of this link. However, this does not mean that you must reject nofollow links by definition. It contributes precisely to the creation of a ‘natural’ backlink profile.
If you try to expand the authority of your website, it is also essential to ensure that some of these links have the nofollow attribute. This can, for example, be via social media links or via reactions to forums. There is no specific percentage attached to this. It is only that when Google sees that a website has hundreds of incoming links, and none of them has the nofollow attribute, the alarm bells are ringing.
4. Different types of links
We have now gained the necessary knowledge. We know everything about link numbers, the anchoring texts and about follow versus nofollow. Now we can focus on the kind of links. Here too, it is vital to ensure sufficient variation. Let me immediately explain a misconception from the world: it is not true that start pages, partner pages and other ‘old-fashioned’ variants no longer proclaim value. It is simply that they work (much) less well than before. However, they can still be part of a link profile, or in moderation.
As I said, it is important to ensure sufficient variation in the type of incoming links. However, it is good to provide a solid foundation. So start by logging on to company pages and directories and setting up social media channels. Afterward, focus on distributing content on, for example, blog sites and the like.
To get inspired by what kind of links you all have, I have put them in front of you:
- Social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc.)
- Google My Business (doubt whether this falls under the heading link building, but important!)
- Directories (like Yelp.com)
- Business pages/company guides (
- Blog sites (like www.toptut.com itself)
- Partner pages
- Forum responses
5. ‘Natural’ growth
If you know where to look, you can sometimes find hundreds of useful links in just a few hours. Links that you can use to build a strong authority. You can ruin these links by registering them all at once. This is very unnatural on Google, so it does not give you the authority you could get with these links. It can even cause a reduced valuation of your website.
Do you want to keep on coming to Google? Generate the links as phased as possible, so that a ‘natural’ growth occurs. For example, choose to manufacture the links over a period of a year, depending on the total number of available links.
6. Attract visitors
By all tactics, techniques, dos and don’ts; we sometimes want to lose sight of the main goal of link building: attracting visitors. Concepts such as authority, anchoring texts, IP addresses, follow-up and nofollow all seem suddenly very unimportant when you attract thousands of visitors with one blog post. This may seem like an unrealistic scenario, but it is the way Google wants you to work.
If you want to increase the authority of a website, the components of point 4 are indeed a nice basis to start with. The subsequent question to ask yourself is: “How do I immediately attract visitors to my website?” When Google determines the authority of a website, it also looks at the extent to which the website can keep its head above water. Investigate where your visitors are in your industry and try to conquer a place here!
The implementation of the above steps
Above I went through several steps to increase the authority of your website. If we want to do this as carefully as possible, we have to proceed as follows:
- Map the types of links you are looking for (step 4 from the overview)
- Map the values of the links (step 1 from the summary)
- Indicate which links you put on follow and which ones on nofollow (step 3 from the overview)
- Write per link on which anchor text you are going to consume and to which page you will refer this (step 2 from the overview)
- Write down which link you sign up when (step 5 from the overview)
Above I have described the first 5 steps. I deliberately left out one, and that is attracting visitors. This is the most challenging step there is and also the most time-consuming activity. By setting out the first five steps for yourself, you have certainty and the guarantee that your website can grow in authority. When it grows quietly, you then have plenty of time to search for the real banger to attract visitors.
Attract diversity, ‘natural’ growth and visitors!
All in all link building in the year 2018 has become even more a matter of nuance, context, and logical thinking, instead of ‘building hard links.’ You can increasingly compare it to an online form of PR:
- Who am I?
- What am I doing?
- Where are my customers?
Google remains a machine, which fails in some areas. It continues to improve itself and can read more and more between the lines. The ‘tricks’ of formerly still work to a certain extent, but they require more and more ingenuity. If you are still trying to fool the search engine, you might also conclude that you are not old-fashioned about ‘link builder’ in the middle of the process, but that you make an online name for yourself.