Modern day SEO is all about acquiring relevant backlinks from high PR sites, and the new trend is to get them through guest posting. But hardly anyone thinks about the other attributes that make a perfect backlink, and what the links are actually about. For a link builder to be a true SEO, s/he should go back and understand the principles behind Google’s reasoning – that way you won’t have to look for the holes in incoming algorithm updates, because your links will be compliant to their core intent.
What they are thinking, and what you should understand
Ten, fifteen years ago, before SEO even existed, links were used to point the web page visitors to other pages on the web, and that was their sole purpose. Now, forget about SEO for a moment and think about the reason why someone would link to another web page. If you had a blog about hair treatment, and you wrote an article about a new shampoo that you’ve tried, it would be natural to link to pages that either: represented someone else’s experience with that shampoo (another blog or forum or similar), a manufacturer’s page, yours or someone else’s article about treating dull hair, or anything else that could potentially be an additional information that your visitors could use.
On the other hand, that page that you’ve linked to would probably receive many other backlinks (since you’ve found it useful, it’s reasonable to assume that other people have found it useful as well), and these other links could come from other blogs, whose quality is better or worse than yours, from forums, from blogging platforms, etc.
See where this is going? A link from a page about milking cows back to your site about hair treatment in the author’s bio isn’t going to send you visitors; it’s not natural and it doesn’t make sense, for people nor for Google. And they want your links to make sense in order to rank your site.
But there are other attributes of a perfect back link, other than page relevance, that also make sense, but people rarely talk about them, or even think about them when creating back links. Don’t be those people, read on – it will all become clear.
Link font and color
Do you think that Google wants to see links that your visitors can’t see? The whole point of links is to get visitors from one place on the Internet to another, and if the link stands out (a bit, don’t overdo), the visitor will spot it more easily. So yes, your links (anchors) should have a slightly bigger font than the rest of the text, and a different color; you could also do them in bold or italic – but again, don’t overdo, just font size or color will be enough, as long as the link looks like a link.
Relevance of the surrounding text
If you are creating back links on a page that already exists (a resources page for example), check if that page has something in common with the keywords you’ve chosen for your anchor text, and with the content on the page that you want to link to. The easiest way to do this is to plug the URL of that page into the Google’s External Keyword Tool – if the suggested phrases match, you’re good to go. Synonyms are OK as well.
Position of a link on the page
Which link is an average user more likely to click on: the one that s/he sees above the fold or within the text that makes the link relevant and inviting, or the one in the comments section, just after 50 other links? Or in the sidebar, listed among several other links, for that matter. Do you now see the logic behind devaluing comment and sidebar links? Sure, they have been misused a lot in the past; but additionally, they aren’t likely to be clicked on, unless there’s a strong call to action, but that’s another story.
As we said earlier, it’s not normal that all of your links come from PR 5,6,7 websites; it’s not normal that all of them come from blogs, to have the same anchors, not to have a single one with the “rel=nofollow” attribute… You need to acquire some links from blog comments as well; you need links from trash websites (well, PR n/a is a bit too much, but you should have some PR 0), links that contain different anchor text, even a few links from the pages that aren’t very relevant to yours. You need them all – because if you were a “normal” webmaster, you couldn’t control who is sharing your content, or how they’re doing it, and Google knows it. Of course, they also know that SEO exists, but they’ll go easy on you as long as you aren’t manipulating them too obvious, or over-optimizing.
Did this affect how you feel about link building? If so, please share your thoughts in the comments (and get one low-value, but still useful link) – we’d love to hear from you!
About Author: Ben Sawyer is an online marketing consultant for 7 years, and he helped many of his clients to improve their rankings. Here Ben gave us very useful tips about backlinks and backlinks profiles, which he implemented in his campaign done for paramold.com candles eCommerce website.