One of the most common problems in link building is how to build quality links. Good link work is very challenging. It is extremely time-consuming, and it can take a long time for you to access top-notch backlinks for your website.
Sometimes even the most prolific content creators with attractive long-standing relationships with publications often find it difficult to pitch the right type of content at the right moment. Link building is nevertheless an essential part of building a formidable SEO strategy.
Is Link Building Still Relevant to SEO?
One good link can give you a ton of advantages than a hundred mediocre links. Why? Content creation is done in an attempt to answer the questions that people have.
When you have created stellar content and posted it on your website, there is the hope that search engines will understand the high quality and useful nature of your content and rank it highly.
Unfortunately, Google’s algorithm does not always work this way. To outrank your competitors, you need to establish yourself as an authority. The easiest way to convince Google that you have enough clout to rank higher is to earn links from authoritative sites.
Let’s take Neil Patel’s site for example. According to Ahrefs, here’s how many backlinks he has:
Yes, that’s a whopping 2.22M backlinks!
Let’s zoom in on the referring domains. Here’s how they’ve grown over the years:
And here’s the effect on his organic search traffic:
The site now ranks for highly competitive keywords such as digital marketing.
And if you think he doesn’t do link building, you’re wrong. He has many link building tutorials on his website.
It would be best if you also nurture an audience that will amplify your content. Consequently, quality content and links are essential SEO ranking factors.
If trustworthy sites link to your trustworthy site, then you will enjoy the advantages of online reputation, which is the currency of the internet.
How Can You Tell the Quality of Backlinks?
Most website owners are often reluctant to take up the challenge of natural link building, which is what Google loves. They will avoid the footwork and import links from SEO tools. Unfortunately, this practice can jeopardize all other hard work put into marketing a website.
While SEO tools can accurately depict the profiles of links and direct you in ascertaining the ranking ability of a website, they cannot accurately determine the natural aspect and strength of a link. For example, here’s part of what Ahrefs identifies as referring domains to NeilPatel.com.
A glance at this tells you they’re not relevant or high-quality links, right? Looks like a bunch of irrelevant numbers.
Let’s filter by DR (domain rating) to see better quality links.
And now we’re talking. You begin to see some reputable names come along.
Let’s go a bit further down to see who else links to Neil Patel.
This now gives a clearer picture of valuable links. You can see links here from big-name sites like New York Times, BBC, Forbes, and Guardian.
The most potent links have to be relevant.
Webmasters say that the human brain, intuition, gut feeling, or emotional intelligence is the best tool to gauge link relevance. Google’s algorithms, such as BERT, are designed to evaluate relevance.
They are continually improving to detect manipulative and low-quality links. One of the most common links-building school of thought out there is that any link that has to be pursued is not truly natural. The safest way to have relevant links is to receive validation for valuable content.
There are, however, very many shortcomings to this approach. First, websites make fortunes or losses based on their ability to satisfy Google’s algorithm. Google says that it is only looking for “naturalness” in links, meaning that speeding up the natural link building process is possible.
Google’s standards mutate after every other update, and now that AI has become part of the equation, it will become easier for it to spot the signals of natural links. It is, therefore, possible to work hard, use natural human discernment, and build relevant and natural links, a process that bots cannot achieve effectively.
What is a “Good” Link?
One rule of thumb about useful links is that they are not an end goal, but are meant to achieve your marketing strategy’s end goal.
Their numbers are, consequently, not as significant as is their capability to drive traffic. Organic traffic fuels over 53% of all web traffic, meaning that useful links can radically improve your bottom-line.
Links, therefore, have to be evaluated to ascertain their quality and relevance to your marketing goal. The key to good linking is to ensure that the links used promote valuable content to the appropriate audience. Good links should have:
1. Human value
Your links should have an inherent value such that anyone that clicks on them will be happy that they did and will access the information that they were after. The link should also take them to their desired location or direct them to an item of value.
Your website, the person clicking the link, and the site linked to should all benefit from a useful link. Google will always strive to count links that provide value to readers.
A relevant link can be built through intuition. A human reader should clearly understand how relevant your link is on.
A link shouldn’t easily look inappropriate or forced.
3. Trust and authority
The Google algorithm searches for trustworthy and authoritative results for all queries. The search engine relies on links to ascertain levels of authority and trust. Useful links, therefore, come from websites that have such signals.
SEO tools like Ahref, Majestic, Moz, or Authority Labs offer insights into such metrics. The tools, however, can only measure but not give context. If you do not ascertain context, you will still have bad links on your website.
What is a “Bad” Link?
Bad links are sneaky, unnatural, and low quality. They’re often attained through link exchanges or purchases. Google places a hefty penalty on spammy link profiles, so it is essential that all link practices meant to manipulate ranking are avoided. Bad links are:
Search engines are designed to discount paid links created to influence organic search results. They can, consequently, detect foul play if there are patterns that point to the purchasing of links.
Google hates excessive link exchange practices. Therefore, you can cross-link naturally by keeping relevance in mind. If you, however, cross-link with irrelevant sites, Google will penalize you.
3. Low quality
Blackhat SEO practices used to pay for placement link directories and other low-quality sources in the past with success. Search engines have learned to uncover manipulation and reduce the impact of low-quality links.
The key to the effective building of useful links lies within the human brain. SEO tools can crunch the hard numbers, but in the end, relevance is a human, not a bot attribute. Google’s bots are, nevertheless, designed to seek out relevance, value, trust, and authority. Time, hard work, and patience are the ingredients of a quality link-building menu.