Some things to consider for your backlinking strategy
As you work to build your backlink profile (which we’ll dig into later), the quality of the website your link is on will be one of most important factors.
But that’s not the only important element. There are two more details to keep in mind when building a backlink profile for your website:
Nofollow links vs. do-follow links
To get good link juice, the backlink needs to be do-follow. That’s SEO jargon for “Google will attribute value to the link pointing back to your site,” and it’s the default for links.
Websites that want to avoid the potential damage of linking to a low-ranking website will nofollow their backlinks, which does the opposite. I.e., it tells Google not to associate your link with their website.
Many large websites and publications like Huffington Post nofollow their external links to avoid damaging their backlink profile.
Organic anchor text
One of the most popular ways to get backlinks used to be guest posting, because you could easily insert a link to your website into your guest post, or bio, and gain a new backlinks.
Unfortunately, some spammy implementations of this strategy tarnished guest posting’s reputation in the last few years.
Companies would create a list of keywords they wanted to rank for. Then they’d link to landing pages optimized for those exact keywords (i.e., “exact match keywords”) — which Google now considers poor practice. As such, the Google Penguin Update of 2012 destroyed the rankings for thousands of websites that used this technique.
Now, SEO experts suggest you use natural anchor text by linking from:
- A less “optimized” phrase, i.e., one that isn't an exact match for the target keyword or phrase of the destination page
- Your business or website name
- The name of the article you’re referring to
- Bad anchor text: When purchasing printer ink, remember to check the price.
- Good anchor text: When purchasing printer ink, remember to check the price, says the 2016 Office Purchasing Analysis.
In Google’s eyes, the latter example provides more value to the reader. Instead of “hiding” the link with non-descriptive anchor text, you’re providing the reader with more information so they know what they’re clicking through to.
We’ll dive into all the deets on backlink building in the second part of this series: "How to build backlinks."