What is the proper etiquette of link building you ask? Google has made it very clear that there are “to-do’s” and “to-don’ts” when it comes to placement and utilization of linking as a whole. It would be absurd to avoid the resource all together on the off chance that you may be penalized, so here are a few points to be aware of when venturing into the world of link building.
- Balance – Google is all about balance. Getting backlinks from multiple sites a number of times is acceptable, but the trigger you need to watch out for is the pattern. If Google notices a pattern in the numbers or placements of your backlinks and their validity they will intervene. Key tactics to implement are placing brand name and URL as anchor text. This is a great strategy and Google expects this.
- Press Releases – Press releases are also a great place for link building. Obviously they were created to inform society of events that are newsworthy. Do not post a multitude of press releases with minimal news to gain backlinks. Only include a link back to your website if it is natural or in the “About the Company” section.
- Review Sites – Being connected and listed on review sites is a positive move. Google sees the value of a review and posting links here is acceptable. In the recent Google Pigeon update, directory visibility was increased. This subsequently means that you are not only getting a link, but you are also placing your company on a highly ranked website with increased visibility which will improve your rank and visibility.
- Google+ – Google+ is a great platform that offers similar benefits to Linkedin. They definitely have their differences, but the similarity lies in the fact that you can post links to all of your social media networks and your website. Also, why would Google penalize you on their own site? They wouldn’t.
- Guest Blogging – Here is a great way to show Google that you are building relationships. Reach out to blogs that are related to your industry and where you feel that your expertise can be useful to audiences. Here you are building relationships, creating relevant and unique content and gaining links. The key trigger to be aware of in this situation is that you cannot get paid for your efforts. Buying and selling links, even if you are getting paid for the writing rather than buying the link, is against Google’s terms of service and will result in a penalty.
- Storify – Storify is another important tool to utilize in relationship building. You are creating content and adding your own brand voice while linking to other users and noting their efforts. Also, when others see that you have curated their social media posts they will often share your article, increasing visibility. After creating a Storify you absolutely should promote it on all forms of social media which will then create backlinks in your favor as well as providing links for others.
- Infographics – Not only do infrographics grab attention and provide a great outlet for content, they also build links. Also shareable on all social media platforms, infographics are a must have.
- Videos – Videos have been noted to generate the most purchases over all other types of content advertising. You can create a Youtube or Vimeo account for free and place your website’s link under each video you produce. Videos can also be embedded into landing pages, blog posts and social media posts for better user experience and engagement. Double wammy is what I’m thinking.
- Social Bookmarking – Resources such as Redditt and Dig are platforms that allow you to post content and be seen without having to gain followers. This can be a positive way to educate audiences using your already creative and relevant content and garner links.
The Bad and the Ugly
- Pattern – Having too much repetition or pattern behind your backlink strategy is asking to be penalized. Generally anything on a mass scale is frowned upon and can majorly hurt your rankings.
- Bad Anchor Text – As stated above, brand name and URL in anchor text is appropriate, but you must be cautious of implementing anchor text on the same set of keyphrases over and over again. For example, Google would refer “Atlanta SEO” rather than “Cardinal Web Solutions,” to be “over-optimized” anchor text and can result in a penalty.
- Buying and Selling – Buying and selling links can get you in the most trouble of all. The best way to avoid this is obviously not to do it. Another guard against the wrath of Google would be to place a “no follow” in your code. For example, if you sponsored a little league baseball team, it’s fine to get a link from the league website. But it should be “no followed” so that Google doesn’t think you were supporting the team JUST to get a link. There have been instances when companies have indulged in buying and selling links and have lost their ranking entirely. Beware!
- Excessive Link Exchanges – Casual linking to a client is acceptable, but if all of your links are coming from the same place because you have cut a deal then that is bad. Make sure that you are being cautious of the pattern once again.
- Writing just for the Link of it – Google wants quality links. Writing an article that isn’t relevant, unique or really any good at all and adding link after link will get you flagged. Also, commenting on blogs and adding links keywords or branded terms in the first place isn’t as sneaky as you might think.
- Footer Links – For some companies it seems obvious to place a link to your website at the footer of every landing page on a site that you are referenced on. The reference is okay due to the relationship building aspect, but Google suggests that site wide links should be marked as “no follow.”
While link building is changing and becoming more manual, it is an extremely important practice for your visibility online and should not be avoided. There are plenty of ways to utilize this resource and I hope that you can go forth and conquer with these few tips.
Cardinal Web Solutions has a slew of digital marketers who are eager to grow your company through strategic, targeted solutions. Consider partnering with us to further your company’s knowledge and digital strength by getting a quote today.