You Do Not Buy Quality Backlinks
The Right and Wrong Links for SEO – How to Get the Right Backlinks for the Job
It’s well known that link building is one of the most important activities for off-site SEO, and all search engine optimization in general. What’s less well understood is that not all links are created equal. While some links will provide great SEO benefits, others will provide none at all, and could even be detrimental in the long run. Here are some simple tips that website owners and search engine optimizers can follow to ensure that they’re building the right links to provide maximum SEO benefit.
Recognize the different types of links:
Links come in a few different flavors, and depending on which type are pointing to a website, they could provide a great deal of SEO benefit, or absolutely none at all. That’s because not all links pass PageRank or TrustRank, the keys to SEO through backlinking. It’s exceptionally important that anyone engaging in SEO make sure that the backlinks they obtain are the right type, and avoid the wrong type like the plague. The two types to avoid are redirect links and no-follow links.
Redirect links are special links that don’t link out directly to the intended website. Instead, they use a redirect – normally written in PHP – to first take any user who clicks the link to an intermediate page on the same website before redirecting them to the target website. Because these links don’t point directly to the URL of the target website, but instead to an intermediary page on the host website, they provide absolutely no transfer of authority or trust, and are therefore useless for SEO purposes.
No-follow links are a type of link designed specifically to strip outgoing links of their ability to transfer rank or authority. If you think of links as votes of confidence between websites, many webmasters wanted a way to allow links on sites without necessarily adding that vote of confidence. No-follow links were Google’s answer. A no-follow link points directly to the target website’s URL, but provides no SEO benefit whatsoever. No-follow links are useful for a number of reasons, including combating spam, but they do essentially nothing for white-hat SEO efforts.
Obtain links only from trustworthy websites:
The entire reason links are useful for search engine optimization – particularly for Google – is that they transfer trust, authority, and relevance from one site to another. Naturally, it follows that gaining a link from a site that itself isn’t considered trustworthy by the search engines won’t really be effective for SEO purposes. At best, links from these types of sites will pass little to no optimization benefit. At worst, incoming links from sites that Google or other search engines consider to be spam-ridden or untrustworthy could result in penalties.
Sites to avoid building inbound links from include sites with content on topics like pornography, gambling, and illegal activity. Google generally restricts the effectiveness of links from these types of sites, and in some cases even penalizes websites being linked to from them. Link farms and sites that sell backlinks should also be avoided. Google is very good at recognizing unnatural linking patterns, and backlinks obtained from sites with mass numbers of outgoing links will be of no use. Likewise, purchasing links from sites that Google has identified as link sellers will provide no SEO benefit, making them a complete waste of money.
Good sites to obtain links from are any sites that seem to be in good standing with Google and other search engines. The more trustworthy or authoritative a site seems to be, the better. Naturally, websites for government agencies, universities or colleges, large foundations, or major news outlets all carry a lot of weight and are great for SEO. However, even a simple personal blog can provide a beneficial link so long as it hasn’t been penalized or devalued by the search engines.
Embrace Google’s new disavow tool:
Google has released a new tool to allow webmasters to disavow links that they think may be lowering the quality of their link profile and hurting their SEO efforts. Essentially, if a website owner feels that links from a certain website are hurting them, they can use the disavow tool to instruct Google not to consider those links, thereby eliminating any negative effects the links may have been causing.
There are a truckload of reasons why webmasters might need to use this tool. One is negative SEO, in which a competitor builds bad links to a website in order to try to hurt its search rankings. Negative SEO is real, but not really that common. A much more common use will be for webmasters to go back and undo some of the bad SEO practices they’ve employed in the past. If a webmaster has ever used shady or aggressive linking tactics and found themselves being warned or penalized by Google, the disavow tool is a great place to start corrections.
Whatever the reason may be, if a bad link warning comes up in Google Webmaster Tools, or a website finds itself being penalized, either manually or by the Penguin update, the disavow tool now offers a relatively simple way to strip bad links out of a site’s link profile. That makes it something every search engine optimizer should at least become familiar with, and if nothing else, its existence should be proof positive that Google takes link quality very seriously.
Link building is important, and if website owners aren’t actively trying to build more links, then they aren’t really maximizing their potential search optimization. As beneficial as the hunt for links is, it can be very time consuming. That means that it has to be done right, or else a great deal of time, and potentially money, could be flushed down the toilet. By ensuring that they avoid no-follow and redirect links, focusing on building links from only high quality, trustworthy websites, and ensuring that they purge any existing negative links, website owners and search engine optimizers can ensure that their link profiles will be high quality and that the websites they’re optimizing will reap the significant rewards that strong backlinking can provide.