It’s well known that link building plays an essential role in delivering quality referral traffic, refining domain authority, and ensuring higher organic ranking for websites.  But at the same time, if you don’t have a viable strategy and are randomly getting links for the sake of it, Google might end up penalizing your website instead.

Let’s explain why it matters.

A hyperlink is a way for people to navigate between different websites or pages on the same website. When search engines crawl your website and collect information on it, they also record the links between websites and use it to measure its reliability and quality.

Think of a link as a vote of confidence in your website. Google believes that your site wouldn’t get links if others didn’t think of it as a good resource. Simultaneously, it is essential not to use shortcuts (directory submissions) or malicious tactics (manipulating PageRank) because Google will remove your site from the search results when it finds out. 

So with that in mind, let’s explore some promising SEO link-building strategies that can strengthen domain authority, increase traffic, and boost the value of your website. And while we are at it, let’s also check out some of those bad practices that SEO professionals need to stay away from. 

All SEO specialists agree that finding authority websites and getting backlinks from them is perhaps the most challenging part of any SEO strategy. But if you can master it, you’ve found a reliable way to put your website ahead of the competition.

Knowing your target audience

One of the best ways to grow your website’s backlink profile is to increase your website’s traffic and ranking on SERPs. To improve these aspects, it’s crucial to know your target audience and the type of content they like to consume. 

For example, when Yoast started out, their audience was mainly web developers. However, as they expanded, they wanted their content to reach a new web developer segment: WordPress users. So they adapted their content to suit this new customer segment while also keeping their initial audience in mind. 

Identifying your audience is essential for link building. You need to have content from other credible websites related to your own content to communicate to new customers. This makes it imperative to find websites that cater to your audience and include content that already appeals to them. 

Create infographics

Marketers who engage in visual content can generate more likes, follows, and subscribers. Incorporating visuals such as infographics into your posts is one of the most effective content marketing strategies because they engage customers with valuable information that could otherwise be rather boring to consume. People simply no longer have time to go over large chunks of content. 

Create an infographic that revolves around a popular topic. You can include statistics, research, and data visualizations from other credible sources to attract people and present them with the info they find engaging. Another good strategy is to pick up topics from the Twitter and Instagram trending topics sections and compile your observations and research into a single infographic.

It is no secret that it can take six to twelve months for Google to rank a website on top. And with new developments made to search engines, there are more elements every year for webmasters to consider when optimizing their SEO link building strategy. 

One such element is your site’s permalink, one of the most strategic ways of signaling Google regarding your content’s relevancy and effectiveness. A permalink is a full URL address that audiences can see for any given page or piece of content. 

The URL of a page signals Google about your page’s content, so the best way to make sure that your page gets recognized by Google’s crawlers is to use custom-made permalinks. To make customized permalinks, you can merge your URL structure with your site’s architecture so that search engines can understand your site better. 

Respond efficiently to customer requests 

You can also keep track of customer requests and queries by having a virtual help desk option on your blog or website. Remember, your blog exists for your customers, so they must have the best user experience possible. 

Customer service help desk software can redirect a customer query ticket to the concerned department helping to deal with customers efficiently. Ideally, each customer inquiry should be integrated with your email so you can receive and respond to requests in a time efficient fashion. Remember that high quality customer service will naturally lend itself to positive word of mouth, including through social media reviews for your business.

Now that you’re aware of strengthening your website’s backlink profile, let us look at how to avoid getting penalized by search engines.

Incorporate guest blogging in your SEO strategy

Improving your site’s ranking and visibility takes more than just optimizing your SEO keyword strategy. Tactics like guest posting on your competitor’s website or blog may help you to win high-quality backlinks and get more traffic on your website. 

Be strategic about partnering and guest blogging with other businesses in your niche. One useful way is to make sure that you partner with a business/blog that caters to your target audience. They must also rank highly on SERPs and be willing and able to accept guest posts. When you publish with them, the link you get back to your website will be considered authority links and help you rank higher in the SERPs. 

Be active on social media

Almost four billion people are using social media today, which means that if your company is not active on these platforms, you lose out on a significant amount of exposure. The more you share and comment on other people’s posts, the greater your customers are likely to engage with your posts as well. 

You can also put your blog or website link in your bio on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, helping your followers reach your website quickly and build your link profile. Consequently, you can also share your social media handles on your blog posts.

Mistakes to avoid 

Building the wrong types of backlinks can get you penalized by search engines and end up doing more harm than good. Your website’s goal should be to communicate relevant, valuable, and engaging information to your audience that can increase your readership organically.

But in haste to maximize their link-building SEO strategies, content creators can make critical mistakes that end up harming their rankings rather improving them. The most notable of these include:

Link velocity is the rate at which other websites link back to your website to cite you as a credible source for information. In other words, the higher the link velocity, the better your backlink profile will be.  However, many entrepreneurs confuse a high-link velocity by crowding websites with links that can help them rank better on SERPs. 

For example, you might think you’re getting a quality backlink to your site if external sources extensively mention your website. However, Google is quick to penalize sites that use links unnaturally, even if they seem to be of good origin. 

Some low-quality websites may link back to your website to increase their reach, traffic, and visibility. However, this might damage your website’s visibility because search engine crawlers may recognize your link as a spam link, thus hurting your site’s credibility. 

To prevent sites from building spam links against your domain, make sure that you regularly review your website’s backlink profile and eliminate links from sites that have nothing to do with your content. 

Not making use of your website’s SEO tools 

One of the best things about website building platforms is the numerous SEO features and capabilities that they come with. Failing to make use of these features won’t be to your benefit. This is also why you need to carefully research which website builder you’ll be using to find out exactly which SEO tools it comes with. 

According to London-based online marketer and web developer Alex Williams of Hosting Data, not all website builders are created equally for this very reason. Williams points out, “If you’re running a business, you likely already understand how important search engine optimization is. When you incorporate the best SEO tools into your website, it can help you rank higher in search results and drive a ton of traffic to your website. Who wouldn’t want that? However, some website builders are great for SEO, and others are not”.

The best SEO tools that your site should come with, according to Williams, are internal linking suggestions, .htaccess for permalinks, image optimization, keyword research tools, and the ability to turn off advertisements. 

Using the same anchor text 

Another mistake that most SEO content creators are likely to make is using the same anchor text for creating a backlink. An anchor text serves to inform search engines about the website’s content. However, repeatedly using them can lead to increased scrutiny by search engines and penalize your page for duplicated content.

If you’re using the same backlinks to support your keywords, try creating more natural-looking backlink keywords. Use different phrases and multiple related words to improve your keyword strategy and avoid any unnatural penalization.

Conclusion

Building backlinks are one of the most straightforward SEO strategies to optimize. However, if it isn’t utilized smartly, search engines can mistake your efforts as unnatural and penalize your website. Come up with a detailed list of websites that cater to your audience and follow the practices we have mentioned in the guide.

Hopefully, it can help you from falling into any bad backlinking practices and maximize your efforts to rank at the top of SERPs.

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Nahla Davies

Nahla Davies is from Brooklyn, New York. Since 2015, she has worked with enterprise clients around the world developing RegTech protocols and best practices. She shares her insights at nahlawrites.com. Follow Nahla on LinkedIn.