Updated: Feb 21
Backlink building is an important aspect of every search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. Backlinks signal to search engines that your website contains relevant and quality content related to user searches on search engines. When many high-quality (domain authority) sites link back to your website, it signifies that your site is authoritative and reliable. This will also help earn you a high ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs).
Did you notice that I specifically mentioned high-quality websites? Yes, it means that you can't just go ahead and start accumulating backlinks from any source. That practice can hurt your SEO efforts, as not all websites stand up to Google’s algorithm test for quality and relevancy. So for every high-quality content, you publish on your site, you want to make sure that all backlinks you acquire are helping and not hurting your SEO.
Practices like wanton link exchange schemes and linking to sites that do not contain related content are often picked up as spammy by Google and other search engines. This gets you blacked in no time. So, in this post, I’ll be focusing on some Dos and Don’ts of backlinking. My aim is to provide you with practical tips to help you optimize your backlinks and improve your overall website SEO.
Alright. Let's dive in already!
Dos of Backlinking
1. Focus on creating high-quality content
The most natural way to acquire quality backlinks is to focus on publishing great content. Only write well-researched, error-free, and informative pieces, and watch your engagement soar. This way, other high domain authority sites will naturally link back to your content, which in turn helps search engines recognize your site as authoritative.
2. Guest blog only for high-quality links
Guest blogging is an excellent way to build quality backlinks from other sites related to your niche. It is also a great way to build relationships with other bloggers. However, be sure to reach out only to high-quality sites.
Offer them great content pieces for their blogs and acquire backlinks to your site. You can also accept the same from other blogs. Either way, it's a win-win situation for both of you.
3. Only allow high-quality directories
When you sign up with backlink-building directories, you only get value for your SEO if those directories list high-quality links. Avoid spammy directories, and at best ensure you carry out a little bit of background search before using backlinks from them.
4. Get backlinks from charity and non-profit organizations
When you donate in one way or another to non-profits, and they list your site as one of their sponsors, you literally turn your donations into backlinks.
5. Check out domain authority before approving backlinks
To ensure you’re on the right track, and not building links that will hurt your SEO, you should make sure that all backlinks you allow to your site are from high domain authority sites. Once in a while or even quite often, you’ll get requests for guest blogging from other sites.
Before accepting, make sure that their sites are ranking higher so that when they link to you, your chances of ranking higher on SERPs will leap higher. You can also analyze the quality of a site by checking its spam score. Here, we have an amazing collection of free link-building tools for SEO.
6. Allow paid links with caution
As regards buying links, the first thing you want to keep in mind is that you need to create high-quality content. Secondly, ensure that the link-building service you're using is reliable. Ensure that all the links they give you are generated manually. Buying links from just any source might land you in trouble if you're not careful.
Once you're sure that their practices are compliant with link building best practices, you may go ahead, but also be sure to follow the webmaster's instructions carefully. If there are any gray areas, do not hesitate to get clarifications.
7. Try blogger outreaches
Blogger outreach involves contacting influential bloggers and brands and sharing your content ideas with them. If they allow you to contribute to their site in exchange for backlinks, one thing you want to make sure of is submitting high-quality content.
Two other important things you should note is that they'll typically appreciate content or posts that are relevant or related to their niche. Secondly, you should, most importantly, focus on building relationships with these other bloggers.
Don'ts of Backlinking
8. Accepting backlinks from just any website
Whether you're desperate or not, one practice you must not indulge in is going for backlinks from all sorts of websites, including low-quality sites. It is bad for your site's SEO health.
9. Linking to poor quality content
Before you accept backlinks from any blog or website, make sure to check the quality of the content. Be sure that it is informative and worth reading.
10. Using spammy link exchange programs
The thing about link exchange programs is that they often get caught, as many of the backlinks do not follow a natural backlink generation approach. If you must participate in link exchange programs, ensure that you're getting only high-quality links from high-quality sites.
This is important whether you're paying for the links or not. Avoid spammy paid links.
11. Approve backlinks that aren't in texts
When you're given backlinks from outside the body of a text, do not use them, as they will drop your SEO. Backlinks outside a text include links in a sidebar, header, and footer.
Whether you're handling your link-building strategy yourself or hiring a link-building service, it is in your best interest to avoid any form of manipulations, including link injecting.
They may give you instant results and boost your SEO — which is the ultimate goal — but an update in the search algorithm may have you scrambling for ranking again. Besides, that's even after your site must have been penalized for manipulations.
SEO experts use backlinks to improve the SEO metrics of a site, and ultimately improve its ranking on SERPs. But to succeed at this, you must be compliant with SEO best practices. This is why we have compiled a list of Dos and Don'ts so you can optimize your link-building strategy.
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