Anyone who wants to get higher in Google’s search results with his or her website cannot ignore the one thing that influences the game like nothing else: link building. Even in 2017 link building (literally “link building”) is still one of the most critical methods to optimize your website (s) for search engines. What is link building and what are the essential points of attention nowadays? In this article, we share our knowledge and experiences!
What is link building?
To put it simply, link building is the placement or acquisition of multiple links to your website, so that search engines like Google will rate your site higher in the search results.
However, link building is not wizardry and is more than just ‘linking’ websites to your site. Effective link building requires a lot and good communication, resilience, creativity and great empathy and perseverance. If you want to continue to win the competition with the competition on a structural basis, then you have to stick to thorough preparation, an effective strategy, and disciplined execution.
50/50: On-Page and Off-Page SEO
Hard figures about the search engine algorithm do not give Google a price. Nevertheless, reputable SEO experts and agencies generally agree that search engine optimization for the first 50% consists of optimizing various aspects of your website. Think of the page titles, meta tags and descriptions, content, loading time and an ‘https connection.’ This is also called On-Page SEO.
Your Off-Page SEO activities determine the other 50% of your position in Google. Off-Page SEO means all things that are taken outside your website to make your site easier to find in Google. The most common methods for this are link building and content marketing. These activities are about the quality of the links to your site, the so-called ‘backlinks.’ Link building, the process of collecting backlinks, determines for a huge part of how well people can find you online!
What does Google look at?
Google indexes the internet in the same way as how a user surfs the web; clicking on links and going from one page/website to another. However, Google still looks at many more things than the number of links. After all, the company does everything it can to ensure that users continue to have a pleasant search experience and not make use of other search engines. For this reason, Google Quality Rater has drawn up guidelines in which, as the name suggests, quality requirements of a website are included.
For example, Google looks at the quality and authority of the pages where you are left on, whether the topics of these pages are related to the subject of your site, and whether the websites that contain your links contain good content and not have been set up to only link up. What Google finds very important is that your site has a natural link profile. Some relevant questions are:
- Is there enough variation in the texts that link to your website (a text link can be www.domainname.nl but also for example “click here”)?
- Are all links to your homepage or are there also references to subpages?
- Is it referred to from different domains and IP addresses or does it all come from the same angle?
- Do you not only have links on “links” pages but also in blog articles, on forums, and on portals?
- How many people actually click on the links and ultimately stay on the landing page?
What it comes down to is that you do not have to work on as many links as possible or outsource the work to link building agencies that promise you higher positions within a few weeks. Remember that Google’s abuse of link building is heavily penalized and may result in a lower ranking in the search results, or in the worst case completely removing your website from the Google Index.
Important factors with link building in 2017
Five years ago, Google changed the search algorithm to prevent manipulation of link building. In 2012, the so-called “Penguin” update was implemented. This update identifies and penalizes websites that automatically generate links or participate in link exchange programs and/or paid links.
As described earlier Off-page SEO mainly consists of link building and content marketing. Since the Penguin update and the various updates that followed, the focus at Google has come to lie more and more on good content. How much good link building you do (or outsource), providing your website with good quality content is nowadays the most important aspect of SEO.
Year 2017 is the key to your website first technical order and weekly the content to refresh by, for example, relevant blogs on it. After that, you can only start with link building, where the quality and relevance of links is much more important than quantity. An additional advantage of working on good quality content is that it will automatically be linked to your website, something that in turn contributes to a beautiful natural link profile.