by Kate Lett
For years, link building has been a key element in a solid SEO program. In the past, it was a pretty straightforward concept: Get as many sites to link to your site as possible. Oh, how some SEO managers long for those simpler times! In the good old days, link building was akin to a massive Easter egg hunt. Every link found was another feather in the cap for your website. Every link was valued the same. The problem with this way of link measurement is it leads to unscrupulous “link farms,” that sell links for profit. However, in practice, many of the links offered were “bunk” or very low quality. These sites were simply a single webpage stuffed with keywords, which is exactly why Google changed the way it evaluates links … dramatically.
Nowadays, the process of link building has become more complex. Everyone knows Google is fond of algorithms. At the baseline, Google uses algorithms to determine which results are shown to searchers. Google consistently tweaks its algorithms to place various values on different aspects of information. Many are familiar with this in the world of PPC, and link building is starting to look very similar.
Good practices for link building include getting links from sites that:
- Are in similar vertical;
- Offer fresh content;
- Are void of offensive or explicit material; and,
- Add to your brand.
If you have taken all of this into account when link building and yet you still don’t see an improvement in domain authority, it’s time to look deeper.
Rand Fishkin from Moz.com offered some very detailed insight into why your rank may remain the same even with a white hat link-building program. According to Fishkin, there are other aspects outside of best practices you’ll want to evaluate:
- Are you getting the right links?
- Are you getting the right content?
- Are the links coming from the right type of domain?
- Are there any technical issues?
To build a stronger program, each potential link needs to be vetted. Is it unique? Does this site take paid sponsorship and, if so, in what capacity? Can this link be trusted? Does the content apply to your brand as a whole or is it more granular? Is the site user friendly? Does the site offer anything that may be perceived as spam? What is the page load speed? And a whole host of other questions along these lines.
The bottom line is that Google wants any sites linking to yours to be the “right fit.” Not any Easter egg will do. Google only wants golden eggs with artisan jelly beans inside. Finding multiple golden eggs takes time and effort. It can be the proverbial needle in the haystack. Link building can be a tedious task, but one that, if done properly, can really give your domain authority a shot in the arm.
To read Rand Fishkin’s entire piece, click here. For those of you who find this interesting, but don’t want to read the entire piece, a video is also included.