Link Building Strategies for a New Business in 2021

When you own a new business, it is natural for you to look for affordable marketing and promotion options for your brand. Sadly, one of these options, called SEO (search engine optimisation), can put you at risk. Some SEO companies today make use of black-hat methods based on trying to fool the system. For instance, these platforms will build hundreds of low-quality links around spam-like websites or publish pages with too many keywords so that they become nearly unreadable.

While these techniques did work during the initial days of the internet, search engines have kept upgrading their algorithm to ensure that none of these practices was allowed to have high rankings; additionally, these platforms were also punished with search engine penalties.

It is recommended that you use white-hat link building tactics by doing it on your own or hiring link building services, something that well-established companies, big tech brands, or space unicorn would do. If you plan on doing it on your own, here are some tips to help you with the same.

What Are Some Efficient Link Building Strategies?

According to most link building experts, here are some efficient backlinking strategies.

1. Support The Local Community

Nonprofits and charitable organisations are always on the lookout for sponsors. A minimum of one sponsorship tier will include backlinks to the site of the sponsor. You need to think about what types of local events and organizations are eligible for sponsorship from your locality. Do these organisations host fundraising?

However, you should not limit yourself to these traditional charities only. You can also consider for-profit and school events. Any organisation that is looking for a sponsor will have a possible candidate for backlinking. This is regarded as one of the best link building techniques for new businesses. Overall, the sponsorship should make sense for your company by siding with your physical location or industry.

To take this tactic up a notch higher, you can sponsor something that your target audience actually cares about instead of simply supporting an organisation that will provide you with a link.

2. Connect With Niche And Local Bloggers

As a new business, you need to know the famous bloggers that cover your industry. These content creators are very famous because they provide a constant supply of content to their audiences. Similar to content managers, they also tend to run out of ideas from time to time. This is where your business can step in.

Follow these individuals on social media and subscribe to their blogs. Reshare and comment on their pieces when you find them interesting. This will ensure that you build a genuine relationship with them.

However, ensure that you pay attention to what they write about. Look for ways that make sense for them to include you as well. For instance, you may ask them to include your brand in their blog for local gift ideas if you are in the florist industry. If your company sells accounting software, you can ask a finance blogger if they wish to use your top tips for getting a tax refund.

The keynote here is to share something of value with their audiences. These bloggers have become influential because their content helps their audiences. If you can help them, they will do the same for you. This is considered one of the best link building strategies today.

Guest Post For Sites That Are Relevant To Your Industry Or Niche

This is a suggestion that can be seen in many similar articles; this is because this method absolutely works. Guest blogging can take a lot of effort. For this, you have to do the following.

  • Look for platforms that accept guest writers
  • Look for the contact info of the editor
  • Brainstorm a compelling story or article
  • Persuade and pitch the article
  • Write the piece down

While this method does entail a lot of work, you will also get a lot of benefits. Guest posts are a lot more than just an SEO link building service. When your guest post gets published on any site frequently visited by your target audience, you will get a lot of traffic to your website. Additionally, you will be able to elevate the status of your brand simply by having a byline on these platforms.

It is common for new and small businesses to run into roadblocks when working with popular sites. Therefore, it is suggested that you look for smaller but relevant sites to your niche or industry.

4. Run A Scholarship

Of course, you can choose to sponsor local organisations. However, you can also opt for high school or college sponsorships – this is considered one of the best ways to earn the .edu backlinks. The idea behind this tip is to create a scholarship for high school and college students that are relevant to your small business.

The thing about running a scholarship is that you will have to set aside some budget for this. However, this is known to be one of the most efficient link building methods you can use. Additionally, this will also help out students who are in dire need of a scholarship.

5. Provide Testimonials or Case Studies

This is one of the easiest link building methods that should be used often. What link building software or vendors do your company use? If you are happy using them, you can provide them with a testimonial or a case study.

Most brands practice this method to link their business in the testimonial or case study, often as social proof and gratitude. You do not want to get involved in this by asking for the link. This method should only be done for brands that you are sincerely satisfied with.

You can get in touch with the sales representative of the link building company. Once you do, let them know how useful their product or services have been to you. Also, include the fact that you are willing to provide a testimonial or case study for them. You will make their day, and they will definitely make yours.

Final Thoughts

The methods mentioned above are some of the best ways for link building. Of course, various other link building tools can help you do the same. However, ensure that the building link app you use is legit and only provides white-hat backlinking solutions, not the other way around.

What’s your experience with this concept? Let us know in the comments!

Posted by: Emily Moore

Emily Moore is an English & programming teacher with a passion for space and blogging. She believes that current exploration should be focused on preserving our planet’s resources. With satellites circling the orbit, it is easier to get relevant data on any environmental changes. This, in turn, should help people quickly address any challenges.

 

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An Ultimate Guide to WooCommerce SEO For Your Products

For many newbies, running a digital store may seem complicated. Choosing the right platform and going into details of a proper promotion strategy is a responsible moment at the start. We are here to present the WooCommerce platform and explain how you can use WooCommerce SEO to make Google love your store.

Understanding WooCommerce

WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin designed for those who want to build an eCommerce store. This platform has a solid and productive foundation of WordPress, so you can realise the potential that the most popular and effective content management system offers to you while creating your unique eCommerce space.

WooCommerce inherits useful WordPress features that you can implement on your website. It is an open-space platform where every detail is fully customisable, so as a result, you will have a functional one-of-a-kind digital store.

Additionally, WooCommerce adopts the SEO-friendliness of WordPress, which means you immediately get a set of built-in optimisation features. But do you really need to get into SEO and perform it in your store? What are the advantages of SEO WooCommerce? Let us dive deeper into search engine optimisation and what you will get from it.

The Value of WooCommerce SEO

Search engine optimisation helps people across the net improve the performance of their blogs, websites, and digital stores. SEO tools and means aim at interaction with search engines, which can help you reach your business goals.

Here is what the magic of WooCommerce SEO can do for your store:

  • Better user experience. You optimize a website or a store guided by search engine rules. However, as a result, you will have a space that is easy and comfortable to use: an intuitive interface, fast page speed, informative content, pleasant design, etc. The better SEO you provide, the more visitors will get satisfaction later on.
  • Improve your ranking. The ultimate goal of SEO is letting Google notice you and improve your rankings in search results and thus make your website visible to a larger number of users.
  • Increase sales. The better traffic inflow you get, the more people you can convert into leads. Along with other positive side effects of optimization, your visitors will more likely tend to buy your products or pay for your service.
  • Enhance the authority of your store. By having your store on top of search results, you will increase the trustworthiness, authority, and overall reputation of your website. That is a fertile ground for productive partnerships.
  • Make the outcomes last longer. Unlike other marketing methods, SEO has middle- to long-term effects. It is a systematic approach that requires constant effort investments, but after all, you will enjoy your results for a longer time.

As mentioned above, WooCommerce has a great SEO basis. However, you can take a step further and enhance your optimisation performance. How can you improve and sustain the SEO WooCommerce space to make Google rank you higher and provide high-quality organic traffic? Read on to discover the 5 best tips on how to enhance WooCommerce SEO for your website.

5 Steps to Optimise Your WooCommerce Store

1. Work on WordPress Setup

As long as WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin, make sure you adjust this system for SEO. For that, using special extensions may be helpful. You can try out a popular Yoast SEO plugin to create a credible SEO basis for your further work.

2. Optimise Your Product Page

Optimising each component of your product page will increase your chances to get visible in Google queries. Work on the following parts of your page:

  • Product SEO title and URL;
  • Meta descriptions;
  • Categories and WooCommerce tags.

If all these components comply with basic SEO requirements, you will already improve your optimisation drastically.

3. Consider Adding Alt Text to Your Images

Even product images can become an object of WooCommerce SEO. Alt text attracts visitors who use image search. Moreover, it is an SEO signal for Google, as its initial aim is to help users quickly find what they are looking for. Alt text is a great place for keywords, too, if it describes the product comprehensively.

4. Provide Technical SEO

Whether you work on WooCommerce SEO or SEO for Shopify a store, technical optimisation is a must. A clear website structure, simple navigation and WooCommerce search in the store, intuitive design, a higher page speed, and mobile optimisation are obligatory SEO components. Not only are they crucial for Google rankings but they also make it easier and more satisfying for your visitors to scroll your WooCommerce store.

Take Care of Security

A good SEO specialist will always insist on proper security control for your store. First, this will enhance your reputation and will never harm your visitors. Second, Google always strives to create a safe space for Internet users. If your website is insecure, this can lead to dramatic consequences like Google penalties.

What Comes Next?

After you perform these basics of WooCommerce SEO, you will have a great basis for your further work. Never hesitate to learn more about this process, check for more details to cover other aspects of SEO for your store.

Effective optimisation means constant improvement and looking for more opportunities. Do not forget about the basics of website SEO, learn on tmcnet.com about backlinks, and get a professional consultation if you are feeling stuck. WooCommerce SEO is all about effort and consistency, but the results will be impressive!

 

Nathan da Silva - Profile

Posted by: Nathan da Silva

Nathan is the Founder of Silva Web Designs. He is passionate about web development, website design and basically anything digital related. His main expertise is with WordPress, Magento, Shopify as well as many other frameworks. Whether you need responsive design, SEO, speed optimisation or anything else in the world of digital then get in touch. If you would like to work with Nathan, simply drop him an email at [email protected]

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How to Remove Website URL Field from WordPress Comment Form

In this tutorial, we are going to show you how to remove the Website URL Field which appears by default in the WordPress comment form.

As you might be aware, spam comments are a big issue for any WordPress Blog. The biggest reason you get spam comments as well is for people to get a backlink to their website using the Website URL field that appears in the comment form by default.

Since most of the spam is generated by automated bots, you can combat this with free tools and plugins. The trickiest part is to discourage spam comments submitted by real people. These are generally comments submitted by actual users are tend to either be off-topic, irrelevant, but also add no value to the discussion of the post. A good tool for this is Akismet along with removing the URL field from the comment form.

We are going to show you two ways to remove the Website URL Field; first one being with custom code and the second with the use of a plugin.

How to Manually Remove the Website URL Field From WordPress Comment Form

We always supply the manual removal first, as if you can get away without adding additional plugins to your website, it’s always better. What you need to do is actually quite simple; simply add the below code to your functions.php file and jobs a good’n.


add_filter('comment_form_default_fields', 'unset_url_field');
function unset_url_field($fields){
    if(isset($fields['url']))
       unset($fields['url']);
       return $fields;
}

What this does is simply removes the Website URL field from your WordPress comment form.

How to Remove the Website URL Field From WordPress Comment Form With A Plugin

If you want to go ahead with the plugin method, again, this is very simple. All you need to do is install and activate the Comment Link Remove and Other Comment Tools plugin

First, you need to install and activate the Comment Link Remove and Comment Tools plugin. For detailed instructions, please follow our step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Once activated, you will see a new menu item called QC CLR Settings in the left sidebar of your WordPress Dashboard. Clicking on this will take you to the plugins settings page as shown below:

The main option to select is the “Remove WEBSITE Field from Comment Form” option, then simply scroll down and click “Save Changes”.

Now to check, log out of WordPress and view any of your posts and you will see the field is now removed.

Do note, the comments that are already approved will still have their author names linked to their website URL.

To remove them, you need to go back to the settings page of this plugin and check the box next to the “Remove hyperlink from comment AUTHOR Bio” option.

Once you save the changes, the links from the existing comments will be removed as well.

Conclusion

We hope this tutorial has helped you in removing the website URL field from the WordPress comment form.

In relation to spam, you might also want to check out the following blog post:

How to stop spam emails coming from WordPress’ Contact Form 7

If this has helped, feel free to leave a comment below!

 

Nathan da Silva - Profile

Posted by: Nathan da Silva

Nathan is the Founder of Silva Web Designs. He is passionate about web development, website design and basically anything digital related. His main expertise is with WordPress, Magento, Shopify as well as many other frameworks. Whether you need responsive design, SEO, speed optimisation or anything else in the world of digital then get in touch. If you would like to work with Nathan, simply drop him an email at [email protected]

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How to Disavow Links – The Ultimate Guide

As we know, in modern times, backlinks are one of the most important factors when it comes to SEO. In this tutorial, we are not talking about acquiring backlinks, but removing them. Why would we remove them? Well, not all links are good backlinks, bad backlinks come with a spam score which gives you a negative score or a spam score. This is why it is good to use the disavow tool to remove unwanted backlinks.

Unlike some other topics, Google has been quite forthcoming on their backlink disavowal views and its place in your search engine optimisation toolbox. Let’s look as to why you may want to disavow a link and how we go about using the tool.

Why Should We Disavow Links?

If your spam score is increasing or poor backlinks are having a negative effect on your SEO, then the disavow tool is what you should be using. If you receive a message from Google in your Webmaster Tools about having ‘Unnatural Links’, you are being penalised whether you are knowingly complicit or not.

An important role for any SEO export is addressing any Google penalties that may arise. It’s not an issue if you stick to white hat SEO, but knowing how to keep a clean backlink profile for your website is vital when it comes to your SEO strategy.

Another great tool you can use to monitor negative backlinks is Moz Domain Analysis tool. This will provide you with metrics for your PA (Page Authority), DA (Domain Authority) and a Spam Score which is all ranked between a value of 1-100. However, I am going to mention here that if we disavow links in Google’s Disavow Tool, it will not take effect on Moz. We are simply using this tool to check which links we could potentially disavow. Unfortunately, Moz doesn’t have any access as to which links have been disavowed from Google, so just within Moz; it won’t reduce your spam score.

We, unfortunately, will not detect that a link has been disavowed, this isn’t something we were able to include in the old or new DA models. Since disavowing links doesn’t actually remove a link, it just signals to Google that the links aren’t important, our crawler will continue to find the link. We are working on having something like that built into Link Explorer, where if you disavow a link in Google, you can also mark it as disavowed in Moz, but I’m afraid that option isn’t available yet.

So, what constitutes a healthy backlink profile?

In general, the majority of organic backlinks can be classified as ‘good backlinks’. They represent the ideal Internet that Google is looking for. One where the website has great content is referenced frequently, naturally and freely. A single backlink won’t really have a big impact on your website, but they will slowly be building a reputation for your website and acknowledge your website to be a trustworthy and authoritative source.

On the other hand, ‘bad backlinks’ are mostly non-organic (with few exceptions). Two of the biggest offenders of this are where people decide to purchase backlinks in a mass order from shady websites. This, and intentional backlink schemes which utilise a private backlink network (PBN). You can read more about this in this article: What do I need to know about buying backlinks in 2020?.

It is also possible to gain ‘organic’ links from spammy websites that are just lists of products and links with no real content. The link was most likely generated by a script/robot, and it is certainly not benefitting your site, in which case, these are the ones we want to be removing.

Negative SEO Attack

Just to add here, with disavowing backlinks, you have to be really careful. It is a serious action. that can significantly impact your search ranking, whether it’s for the better or worse, so be very careful with the links you wish to disavow.

Google considers it a pretty last-resort option. You can find this in Webmaster Tools > Advanced and there are 3 warning screens you have to click through before you can upload a disavowal file.

In general, you should only disavow a link that you know for sure is bringing you down. Check the Google Quality Guidelines for a more exhaustive list.

Note that a link from a low-traffic or low domain authority site is not a bad link. It probably won’t contribute much individually, but every link is a vote of confidence in your site that Google takes into account. Obviously high ranking PA / DA websites will increase your score quicker, but a thousand low-quality PA / DA websites linking to your website is also helping you as well.

So, What Happens When You Disavow a Backlink?

Essentially, this is a request for Google to ignore those links to your domain. If the link disavow is successful, it won’t be counted for or against you when determining ranking in the search results.

Do note, Google is not obligated to honour your request to disavow the links. If you have a look in their documentation, you will see that it is only a suggestion to disavow the links that you are requesting. Also, this can take up to 48 hours before it takes effect on your websites search ranking.

Is it possible to undo a link disavow?

It is indeed. You are always able to download your current disavow file and edit it to your requirements. I wouldn’t edit it too frequently, you really want to be sure that the links in which you want to disavow are the right ones and the ones you wish to stick with.

How to do I Disavow Links in Google Search Console?

If you have a Google Analytics tracking tag on your website then you will also have access to Google’s Search Console tool.

Within the Google Console, you can conduct a link audit from the Link Report page. Just click the Export External Links button on the top right of the screen then select the More Sample Links option. You can export this file if you wish as well.

Once you have determined which links you are sure you wish to disavow, you will need to create a text file (*.txt) which you can upload to the Google Disavow Tool. With this, you need to follow a specific format but it’s really simple. The format goes as follows:

  • Each entry has to be on a different link
  • Each entry needs to begin with domain:
  • You can name the filename of the text file as anything you like

Following these rules, here is an example of how you can block either a complete domain or just a specific page:


# Pages to disavow
https://spam-website.com/this-is-a-bad-link
https://spammy-website.com/oh-damn-another-bad-link

# Domains to disavow
domain:spam-website.com
domain:super-spammy.org

Blacklisting the entire domain will save you quite some time over blocking just a specific URL. However, there are few instances in which you would want to disavow a single link from a site but still allow other links from that domain, but that’s why the option is available.

Head over to the Google Disavow Tool, select your domain and click through all of the warnings prompts until you reach the dialogue box that allows you to browse your folders and choose a file to upload. Select the disavow file you already created, and select Open to upload it to the disavow tool.

Within the next day or so, Google will no longer take the listed domains into account when determining your pages’ ranking.

Conclusion

Disavowing links can be intimidating if you don’t know what to do, so be sure you know what you are doing before adding a list of domains/pages. You can potentially ruin your SEO if you abuse disavowing, so it’s crucial to get it right.

We think every site owner needs to know about disavowing. It can mean the difference between a clean link profile and a spammy one. Plus, there are so many benefits to disavowing links correctly. Why? Well, your website will most likely get a book in ranking which will result in a higher ranking and more traffic to your website.

As already mentioned though, you don’t want to disavow links if you can help it; a manual removal is always preferable.

Only disavow links when you have no other choice. In this case, don’t be afraid to use the Disavow Tool, at the end of the day, that’s why it’s readily available.

Hopefully, you have a better understanding of why you should disavow links and when you should do it. It can be a bit of a daunting task, but once you get used to it, it’s super easy.

Has the disavow tool ever helped you in the past? How much did it improve your rankings? Let us know! 🙂

 

Nathan da Silva - Profile

Posted by: Nathan da Silva

Nathan is the Founder of Silva Web Designs. He is passionate about web development, website design and basically anything digital related. His main expertise is with WordPress, Magento, Shopify as well as many other frameworks. Whether you need responsive design, SEO, speed optimisation or anything else in the world of digital then get in touch. If you would like to work with Nathan, simply drop him an email at [email protected]

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What do I need to know about buying backlinks in 2020?

Have you ever had someone say to you that they’ve had a sudden decrease in rankings on their website? Everyone wants to rank on the first page for certain keywords on the search engine results page (SERP), and if you’ve been there before, you’ll realize how impactful this is on traffic and revenue coming through to your website.

There are various reasons why this could happen, more commonly because of the use of low-quality or bad backlinks which can be considered as spam. These low-quality links are usually caused by website owners purchasing backlinks for their website. If you consider the amount of time, effort and money people have to make to build website traffic, a sudden negative impact due to poor backlinks is known to disrupt the operation of their business, both mentally and financially for that matter.

Before we get started, we’re going to mention a great tool we like to use to monitor the performance of our website called Moz. You can also download their browser extension here which makes it easier to analyse your domain. What this will do is provide a score for your domain, and you will receive a score for DA, PA and it will give you a spam score as well.

PA & DA stand for Page Authority and Domain Authority, respectively. These are numeric metrics which are both scored out of 100. Quite often, they are used to see how search engines see the strength of backlinks by a particular URL. However, Google does not use PA or DA as ranking methods. From this information though, you can think of Moz as a third-party metrics to get an idea of what your PageRank might look like.

There are similar link-graph metrics from other third-party tools as well such as:

  • Ahrefs DR & UR
  • Domain Rating & URL Rating
  • Majestics TF & CF
  • TrustFlow & CitationFlow

Which ones should you use? Well, it all comes down to personal preference. Some SEO’s use these metrics, some don’t trust link-graph metrics at all or think they’re useless.

Personally, we prefer Ahrefs & Majestic metrics as we’ve worked at a web-host previously and got a taste for the scale of different bots in practice. Moz doesn’t actually crawl that much. Ahrefs & Majestic have a much larger crawl infrastructure, so I would trust them more… But again, the choice is down to you!

You can read more about Link Building on one of our previous posts here.

So, what are backlinks anyway?

Backlinks are links from one website to another website. Google and other search engines consider backlinks as a vote of authenticity. Basically, if another website links to you, it means that website is giving you a ‘vote of trust’. If you have thousands of backlinks linking to your website, this ‘could’ increase the worth of the page in the eyes of any search engine. One thing you have to understand though is that a few backlinks from reputable websites are going to be worth a lot more than several links from unreputable sites. How can we determine if a site is reputable? Well as we mentioned before, we can use certain tools to get an idea of how ‘worthy’ a backlink is.

Let’s look at Facebook for example:

Facebook, at the time of writing, has a PA of 100 (perfecto!), DA of 96, 1,601,867,432 backlinks, and only a spam score of 1%. Pretty incredible right?

Since the advent of the search engines and the rise of Google, backlinks have remained instrumental in ranking the website. Despite regular changes in the search engine algorithms, experts still regard the number of quality backlinks as one of the most important factors of any website.

That being said, how did backlinks become of such great importance for a website? It wasn’t always like this but here is a bit of history of backlinks.

History of Backlinks

Once upon a time ago, search engines such as AskJeeves, Yahoo, AOL, Excite amongst a few others dominated the search landscape. For this reason, developers of search engines were always trying to find a way in which they could rank websites based on the quality of information that appeared on that website. In the beginning, search engines started by ranking websites based on the number of keywords for the particular website.

In these golden days, whenever somebody searched for something, the top-ranking web page on search engines would be pages that had the most relevant keywords to that particular keyword search. Let’s say you were to search for ‘Website Design’, this would normally rank a web page based on the number of keywords for Web Design and similar terms for a particular page. What was the issue? Well, this method of ranking led developers to do things such as ‘keyword stuffing’. What this means is that a lot of people would then stuff their website with hundreds of keywords on every page of their website just to gain priority (or even a top-ranking) on search engines for a particular search term. What this meant was that a lot of low-quality websites would start appearing quite highly ranked up even if the website wasn’t even about that given topic, crazy right?

Not only that, but to keep the look and feel of a web site, people were actually hiding these keywords, placing them off then screen (let’s say like 9999px to the left) just to get a higher ranking and increased web traffic.

This is when Google first came into the spotlight back in 1998. Their objective was to change how the information is presented to the user in search listings. Over time, Google started putting more emphasis on backlinks instead of keywords. Why? Well, there were obviously some flaws before and it’s not quite as easy to ask other website owners to link to a particular page on your website; because of this, the number of backlinks was a preferred method over keywords and other factors.

It was a very wise thing to do: if you look at big companies such as Apple, Amazon, CNN, and so on, they all had one major thing in common. They had thousands of backlinks. For Google, this was an awesome start as people were then shown information from authority websites that had more relevant information based on their search terms.

Over time, people were also finding ‘hacks’ to gain a higher ranking. This resulted in business owners purchasing backlinks from companies that could sell them in bulk and given more emphasis on keywords (with a link to their website) that people wanted to rank for. As a result of this, it once again became possible to climb up the search engine ladder and reaching the top page once again quite easily.

This obviously challenged Google to address another problem. What they did to tackle this was that they started blacklisting websites, decreasing their rank, or in more severe situations, just outright blocking the website. This meant a lot of websites suddenly noticed a massive decrease in their rankings.

For some websites, it meant losing thousands of pounds of revenue for just a single day’s operation. For others, it meant restarting their journey from the ground up again. Even today, Google and other prominent search engines are proactively changing their search algorithms to stop website owners from dodging the system.

To get a better idea of how you can rank for SEO these days, you should check out this blog post: The 4 best SEO practices for 2020 and beyond.

So, should I buy Backlinks?

Well, since Google and many other search engines now put a huge emphasis on backlinks, it’s quite obvious that many website owners will feel pressured into buying them.

They continue to buy them because it saves a lot of time and helps them get results faster. But there is a problem here…

Google and other search engines will eventually catch on to this, which can lead to their website becoming penalised which can even lead to established websites becoming bankrupt because of this.

Google does have some clear guidelines regarding link-building schemes. These guidelines are regularly published by SEO companies and experts who try to steer people away from buying backlinks. Unfortunately, some website owners don’t take any notice of this, assuming it’s just a quick and easy (lazy) way of attracting customers to their website.

What you should look into prior to this is having a look at what Google says about buying backlinks (aka; link schemes):

Buying or selling links that pass PageRank. This includes exchanging money for links, or posts that contain links; exchanging goods or services for links, or sending someone a “free” product in exchange for them writing about it and including a link.

Funnily enough, one of the first things Google mentions in its guidelines is related to link schemes and how it prohibits the buying and selling of backlinks. Exchanging money for links and generating excessive link exchanges where other sites link to others in an excessive manner is banned by Google. Should they discover that you have bought links, it WILL severely penalise your website without any given reason. Google is very clever, don’t underestimate their power.

If this does happen to you, you’ll be stuck in a pretty sticky predicament: you will be left without anywhere to go. The only thing you can do is to contact Google using their webmaster tool and hope that there will be a reply. While Google is not known for replying to such queries, consider yourself lucky if your website is restored at a later stage… very lucky indeed!

Don’t just take our word for it though, a quick Google search will tell you that most people lose their minds trying to recover from such a situation. The most practical way of recovering from this is to remove the ‘bad links’, which will ultimately restore the website a lot quicker. If you don’t have access to websites to remove such links, you should consider using Google’s Disavow Links Tool. What this does is allow publishers to tell Google that they don’t want certain links from external sites to be considered as part of Google’s system of counting links to rank web sites. It can take some time to recover, but this tool can be very useful. We spoke about Moz earlier and how they provide a spam score by a percentage. With this tool, you can actually see which links are considered spam. From this, we can include such links into our Disavow tool to regain the desired 0% spam score.

To get a general idea of how impactful search engines like Google take automated backlinks into account, they actually initiate nearly 400,000 manual actions every month. Besides the manual actions, thousands of websites are often hit by Google algorithm updates, which are specifically designed to stop low-quality websites from popping up in the search radar.

What can we take from this? Well, for any website owner, it is clear that search engines are actively monitoring low-quality backlinks and spam issues, so you always need to be very careful! Buying backlinks is an easy strategy, but is it worth the risk? Definitely not.

Here are some truths about Backlinks…

Google and other search engines DO NOT promote link building. If you’re quite new to the wonderful world of SEO, this surely might sound confusing or contradictive as backlinking is widely used to promote the SEO of your website.

Despite what Google suggests, SEO experts have proven that backlinks are a huge factor in terms of higher page rank. Over time, this fact has been proven on a variety of occasions. For this reason, if someone tells you that link building is not important, they probably don’t have a clue what they are talking about.

Nothing against Google, and if the truth were told, if I were one of Google’s executives or the owner of an emerging search engine, I would probably do the same. After all, there are reasons to continue focusing on all aspects of your website, which DO include high-quality backlinks.

What should we focus on then?

High Quality Backlinks

Backlinks are not always ‘equal’. What we mean here is that there are high-quality backlinks and low-quality. A high-quality backlink is most likely a link from an authoritative and legitimate website. However, a low-quality backlink is generally one from a low ranked website, a spam website, or a link exchange.

What we mean here is that you should not simply focus on the total number of backlinks you have, but instead, focus on the overall quality of backlinks you have. For example, we would rather have 10 quality backlinks (where the PA and DA are very high), than 200 low-quality backlinks from unreputable or spammy websites. In fact, these low-quality backlinks can actually lower your overall ranking on SERP’s.

Let’s cover: Do Follow vs. No Follow Links

What is a do follow link?

A do follow Link is a hyperlink that is able to tell all search engines to pass along its page rank influence to an outbound link.

What is a no follow link?

A no follow link is exactly the opposite of a do follow link. It is a hyperlink that removes the ability to pass on its page rank status to other sites.

Before we begin setting up a link building campaign, it’s very important to understand the difference between a follow and a no follow link.

A history of backlinks suggests that a “do follow” link is the most important type of link because it will count towards the authority of your website. On the other side, search engines will only give link juice to a “do follow” link. For this reason, if you have let’s say; 100 links that have a “do follow” attribute, search engines will count all of those 100 links towards the ranking of that particular page. However, if you have backlinks with a “no follow” attribute, it will simply ignore or give very little juice to an external website. You can read more about this from Neil Patel on his blog post: Should You Waste Time and Money on Nofollow Links? Here’s a Final Answer. When it comes to SEO, he’s the guru, we 100% recommend subscribing to his mail list, you will gather so much knowledge on SEO it’s unreal.

Anyway, the “no follow” attribute was originally introduced to reduce spam. How? Well, before lots of people were deliberately leaving links on Wiki pages, and high valued forums that quite often pointed to low-quality websites. These links did not help the web site owners because you could literally go to a lot of websites and add a backlink to your own website.

The solution to this was creating the ‘no follow’ attribute. You can read more about this here. These days, most websites such as Wikipedia, forums, and any commenting system will only allow “no follow” links that do not count as votes. As a result, it helps fight spam.

If these “no follow” links don’t count towards the ranking of a website, then what’s the point in building such links right?

While “no follow” links may not count as a vote, it can definitely get you a lot of traffic if placed on an authoritative website. With the passage of time, hundreds of these no follow links can build a regular stream of referral traffic that will continue non-stop. It means that you will not need to put any effort after placing the link because the link will bring automatic traffic to your website.

In the end, it always helps to build a mix of no follow and do follow links. Even when you’re using an SEO professional to rank your website, ask them if they know about the proportion of do follow vs. no follow links.

To conclude…

We have discovered now how search engines have evolved over time. In the olden days, we could rank for websites using a variety of keywords to gain traffic, stuff pages with thousands of keywords, and gain a load of traffic. Well, we can’t do that anymore, search engines have evolved and we now know that we can get severely penalised for using such techniques. This can go the same way with buying backlinks… If you get caught, you will get penalised, it’s as simple as that. There are cases where people have been fortunate to get away with it and even try and find loopholes around this to make it safer, we won’t mention these techniques but you have to ask yourself the question: Is it worth it?

For us, we’re pretty happy gaining backlinks from websites we build (i.e. by adding Developed by Silva Web Designs in the footer) and if anyone mentions one of our articles in their blog posts, then awesome! We tend to concentrate on several other SEO techniques as well. We won’t list them all but this includes SEO best practices, like only having one h1 tag per page, optimising all images and improving the page speed which can be checked using tools such as Google’s PageSpeed Insights or another one we like to use; GTMetrix.

There are other ways to gain traffic depending on your budget as well such as Google Ads. How this works is like an auction system: Google Ads, aka Google AdWords, is Google’s advertising system in which advertisers bid on certain keywords in order for their clickable ads to appear in Google’s search results. Since advertisers have to pay for these clicks, this is how Google makes money from search. Not only Google of course, but generating traffic to your website may also gain revenue, so if the ROI (return of investment) is worth it, it’s definitely a great tool to use.

If you have any questions in regards to this article, feel free to get in touch or leave a comment below.

 

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Posted by: Nathan da Silva

Nathan is the Founder of Silva Web Designs. He is passionate about web development, website design and basically anything digital related. His main expertise is with WordPress, Magento, Shopify as well as many other frameworks. Whether you need responsive design, SEO, speed optimisation or anything else in the world of digital then get in touch. If you would like to work with Nathan, simply drop him an email at [email protected]

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Link Building: What, Why & How

Link building is one of the SEO strategies that have stood the test of time.

Ever since 1998, Google used backlinks (getting hyperlinks from someone’s website back to your own) to assess website quality. So if your site has a lot of links from relevant sources, Google will deem it an authority site, boosting your ranking in the SERPs…

…giving you a major increase in traffic and pageviews!

But before we move ahead, you should know that there are two types of links.

  • Internal links are links that are placed on a domain and point to the same domain.
  • External links are links that are placed on a domain and point to a different domain.

There are many link building techniques, but below we’re going to focus on:

  • Competitor Backlink Analysis
  • Resource Pages
  • Web Directories

We’ll also go through the best backlink checker tools so you know which tool is worth investing in.

Let’s go!

See What Works For Your Competitors

Your competitors spend large sums of money and time developing a backlinking strategy.

So instead of starting from scratch, you should spy on them and reverse engineer their backlinking approach. This way, they’re the ones working hard to get the links. All you need to do is follow them to get the same backlinks!

To begin:

1. Identify Competitors:
List 5 competitors that are ranking for a keyword you’d like to rank for.

2. Backlink Analysis:
Analyse their backlink profiles with Ahrefs’ Site Explorer by adding the link from your competitors. Click on the orange loop button.

Then, click on backlinks.

Here, you can view your competitor’s backlinks. You can also sort the backlinks by selecting the Link Type button.

3. Export and Reverse Engineer:
Finally, export the list and think about what your competitor did to receive that backlink. Is it the quality of their content? Do they offer something valuable and unique?

You might find it a bit difficult at first. But the more you do this, the more you’ll get a good feel for the process.

Get Listed On Resource Pages

Bloggers and influencers often have a resource page that includes:

  • Tools
  • Products
  • Services
  • Website

…they use to run their business.

Getting listed on resource pages is one of the easiest ways to get strong and powerful backlinks.

For example:

I found Loud Digital’s resource page and sent them an email requesting to get listed on their resource page. They included my SEO Guide 2 days later.

…And that is how simple it was to build a backlink from a site with a respectable DR of 37!

To get listed:

1. Undergo Google Footprint Search:
Use an advanced search like [Your niche] + “resources” to find more targeted and specific Google results.

Alternatively, you can also try Inurl:[your niche] + resources to narrow down your results.

2. Scrape the links
Right-click on a search result and click ‘scrape similar.’ Now you will have all the relevant links on the page.

Then click ‘export to Google Docs.’

3. Analyse a Resource Page:
To see whether the site will be a good fit, you’ll need to assess:

  • Relevancy: Does your product fit well for their site and yours?
  • Types of Links: What other links do they have on their resource page?
  • Page Type: Is there a better fit?
  • Special Offers: Can you give users a discount or free trial so you get features?

4. Pitching your site:
First, begin thanking the site owner for their resource page and how it’s helped you learn more about a topic. You can then offer something in return, like an evergreen detailed guide within the same niche that would be helpful to their audience.

Take Advantage of Web Directories

Web directory link building is the process of adding your website into an online database.

The directories should be:

  • Active
  • Relevant to your industry
  • Well moderated

…so you can stay on-topic with Google!

If your site is new and recently indexed, getting links from a directory is a great way to start. It shouldn’t form the backbone of your backlinking strategy. However, it can help give your website that much needed link juice boost!

To start:

1. Identify a high-quality directory:
See if the site’s internal page is indexed to Google’s database. You can check this by doing a Google search for the directory’s homepage URL, to see whether the page comes up.

Low-quality directories don’t tend to show up and are not generally indexed by Google.

You can also run the site through Ahrefs to see how authoritative the domain is.

2. Create a Good Directory Submission:

Ideally, each submission is:

  • Unique
  • Descriptive
  • Brand name or URL focused

For example, here’s how I would phrase my submission if I submitted my site to two different directories:

  • Matthew Woodward provides SEO and Affiliate marketing advice to beginner and intermediate internet marketers.
  • Matthew Woodward is a seven-figure blogger who provides actionable marketing and SEO advice for new and experienced bloggers who are keen to increase their traffic

Here, I’ve conveyed the same message. But I wrote it in different ways so I can avoid issues like over-optimization, duplicate content, and manipulative link building.

Tried and Tested Directories

Here are 10 directories with high domain authority and thousands of indexed pages:

Best Backlink Checkers

A backlink checker can be extremely helpful when it comes to carrying out the backlinking strategies above.

1. Ahrefs: Ahrefs has the biggest and most usable database and starts at $99 per month.

2. SEMRush: SEMRush also has an intuitive dashboard. The subscription starts at $99.95/month.

3. SEO SpyGlass: SEO Spyglass had a major update recently, making it significantly more user-friendly. It’s customizable, rapid fast, and a more budget-friendly option. SEO Spyglass costs $124.75 for the first year and then you only pay $4.17/month afterward.

Rounding Up

In the eyes of a search engine, your content is:

  • High quality
  • Worth ranking

..if you have many high quality, spam-free backlinks.

The more quality backlinks, the better.

Backlinking doesn’t have to be difficult and challenging. But the process of gaining backlinks does take time. Remember to be consistent with your SEO efforts and persistent with your outreach.

Get started today!

Posted by: Matthew Woodward

Matthew Woodward became fascinated with all things internet at a young age. He started building his own websites as a young teenager, then moved to the corporate world of marketing and finally broke free in 2012 to begin his own blogging journey. Since that time he has used his blog to share his expertise in SEO and online marketing and in the process has helped thousands of people build and grow their businesses.

 

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