Link building has always been an effective SEO strategy, but a tweak to the algorithm is now designed to sniff out spam, scraper sites and content farms, therefore natural and relevant link building is crucial Post-Panda. Link-building focuses on joining a community of networks with similar interests in order to share content and ideas. The goal is basically to have your links visible on as many relevant, HIGH-QUALITY websites as possible, while sharing the love and linking back to HIGH-QUALITY sites that are of interest to your target audience. Search engines use link prevalence to determine factors such as site popularity, trust and authority so being on the lookout for a quality linking opportunity is always in the best interest of website developers.
Think of links as editorial “votes”. So, theoretically, the sites that receive the most votes should rank higher on Google because more people find them valuable. Furthermore, a quality link should be voluntarily shared and/or provided naturally to your site from other relevant pages/sources. A high-quality link, Post-Google Panda, is a free and enthusiastic link which has not been influenced by a monetary incentive.
High-Quality Link Building
An effective link building strategy (whether building a website or optimizing) cannot begin until you are familiar with the site’s concept as a whole, as well as the target audience. What are the site’s ultimate goals and who should know about it? Join in online conversations to make your presence known and welcome. DON’T SPAM, but instead share your insight. In time (and be patient because if done ethically this will take awhile) you’ll recognize ways to leverage high quality sites such as blogs, publishers, message boards, webinars, online merchants etc. as effective link building tools while attracting organic (natural) links. Joining the community and participating in discussions will lay the foundation for quality link building, and is also a great networking strategy which can help develop long-lasting relationships. Check out my previous post, Participate, Participate, Participate for a few more tips on joining your online community.
Low-Quality Link Building Warning Signs
- Too many ads- Take your links and run away as fast as you can! Others will be doing the same if your site has an inordinate amount of advertising.
- Lack of relevant content, thin content or no content at all are characteristics of sites no one wants anything to do with.
- Little or no moderation. Is the content out of date? Was the last blog post from last year? Are there unanswered inquiries in public comment areas? These are just a few clues that suggest a site is not properly monitored or maintained- a key indicator of low-quality.
- Sites that feature good content but receive little traffic. It’s nice to side with the underdog, but this is business, not personal. It’s not worth the effort because it won’t produce results. *Take this with a grain of salt because you don’t necessarily want to turn your back on a site based on low traffic alone, and great relationships can start from scratch. But overall, link building with low-traffic sites won’t improve your rankings.
- Always link to sites that are relevant to your niche and of interest to your audience. For example, our site is in the coupon space so my strategy involves linking only to retailers, money saving blogs, frugal blogs and family budget bloggers. This is a key feature of the update because pre-Panda it was quantity over quality in regards to link-building.
I’ll add more as I come across them, and please share your strategies or suggestions in the comment area.
Guest blogging, having guest bloggers, spam-free commentary, ReTweets and sharing the content of others’ are just a few strategies with which I’ve had first-hand experience, and have found them to be quite effective thanks to the organic properties of each. Getting your links featured on an authoritative site, natural blog mentions (w/ a back-link) and social networking are other very effective and natural link-building strategies.