Good links are powerful for SEO link building. Especially inbound links. Each link that points to your website from a site of authority boosts the authority of your site. That’s according to Google and let’s be honest, Google is who we’re concerned with when we put in effort trying to create the most effective search campaign. And, identify the best link-building strategies.
In Google’s eyes, the higher perceived authority your website has, the higher it will rank in the SERPs. Meaning, you will enjoy increased visibility and brand awareness, as well as likely boosted traffic to your website and conversions, if you know how to create authoritative backlinks.
In the light of the black hat linking strategies that plagued the Internet several years ago, Google has put safeguards – so to speak – into place so that trusted, valuable and authoritative links get rewarded. While spammers manipulated their rankings with bad links in the past, today this results in a Google penalty, thankfully.
It can be difficult to tell whether a link is a good one or spam, but Google has developed methods for distinguishing the ill from the beneficial. The process consists of primary elements, each of which can also be looked to when evaluating the strength of your inbound links.
Evaluate the Authority of the Source
Generally, the authority of the linking source determines the authority of the link passed to the linked site. For instance, if a new website without a substantial number of readers links to your site, it may seem nice but it won’t build authority as far as Google is concerned. New websites are considered low-authority sites and links from it are at best marginal. Instead, seek links from well-known and established websites, such as global or industry-leading publications.
Ask Yourself if the Source is Relevant
Google gives us good reason to believe that the relevance of the source linking to our site makes a difference in the strength of the link. As an example, if you operate a bed and breakfast, it won’t do much good if you receive a link from a website selling concrete services. It just doesn’t provide any value. However, if a highly regarded local online travel publication links to your site, that makes sense and Google will help readers see the connection.
Consider Contextual Relevance
While the source of a link is important, the context around the link also matters. The content that comes before and after a link, most importantly the text in the sentence that contains the link, helps Google understand the relationship between the link’s source and the destination. After the sentence text, Google turns to the paragraph and then the rest of the body copy to determine value.
Take a Good Look at Anchor Text
Google takes anchor text into consideration when evaluating the value of a link. Anchor text is the clickable text that holds the outbound link. Years ago, before Google’s Penguin algorithm update, best practice said to use keywords for anchor text. In particular, it was thought that marketers should use the exact keywords or keyword phrases as anchor text that they wanted the linked page to help rank for. This doesn’t really apply today. It’s better to link naturally and consider the reader when creating your link-building strategies.
Address the Nofollow Tag
Google allows an exception to the rule when it comes to linking and authority. The nofollow tag is the search engine giant’s free pass that many businesses take if they want to specify certain links as “not be crawled.” The HTML code “rel=nofollow” appended to links indicates they should by no means be used as a way of transferring authority. Usually. There have been cases where Google apparently has ignored this tag. Nevertheless, large publishers use the nofollow tag to ensure that outbound links leading to questionable sources don’t damage their authority.
There are many other ways to evaluate your links for SEO link building. To learn more, contact us.