Since the introduction of Google’s Penguin update, it has become more important for you to be concerned with the links pointing to your website. While it’s true that Google uses hundreds of indicators to rank pages in its search engine results pages, we know little about their specific details. We do know, for a fact, however, and this has come down from Google itself, that links are an important SEO ranking factor. When talking about links, Google refers to both your internal links and those links pointing to your website, also known as backlinks. You can gain mastery over your internal links, but you don’t have control over your backlinks.
One way you can improve the quality of links pointing to your website is to increase your site’s authority. Because external links come from other sources, Google looks at them as sort of an endorsement of your site. If you want others to link back to you, then your site must offer them something of value. If you can get many links pointing to your website, Google will view this as social proof that your site does offer value. Backlinks can bequeath upon your web pages a higher domain authority and as a result a higher search engine rank as well.
Google uses the anchor text in the links pointing to your website to determine how relevant your web pages are. Anchor text is the blue, highlighted words that people click on to get to your page from another site. If these links have a lot of search terms that relate to your industry or niche, Google will better understand how to rank your website’s pages on its search engine. This is important. It’s not only the number of quality backlinks you have but also the context of those links that affects how your pages rank on search engine results pages. While it’s true that Google has come down hard on the use of exact match keyword anchor text, this factor does still have a strong impact on search rankings. Having relevant backlink anchor text is a good idea. Just vary it up. Don’t use the same text all the time.
Now, it’s not as important to have a high number of links pointing back to your site as it used to be. In the old days, quantity mattered more than quality. That position has reversed. You used to be able to improve your site’s rank by using link building services like link exchanges and by buying links. Now those type of links can have a negative impact of your rankings.
So, what makes a good link good and a bad link bad?
If you want Google to deem your link a good one, you should first consider its trustworthiness. Simply put, a trustworthy link comes from a domain with high authority. In other words, a link pointing to your site that comes from the New York Times is much better than one from your aunt’s scrapbooking blog. A high quality link also is relevant. If your store sells electronics, a link from a technology-related blog is considered good. A link from that same aunt’s scrapbooking site is not. Finally, the location of the link is important. Site-wide links that appear in the site’s footer or sidebar don’t have a lot of link juice. However, a contextual link in the page’s body of content does.
Google does not consider links pointing back to your website as good if they appear artificial, deceptive or manipulative. Bad link examples include:
Paid links – There are still websites that will sell you links. Doing this is actually against the Google Webmaster Guidelines. So, don’t do it. It’s not worth it. Link exchanges are also not popular with Google whether they are paid or not. Steer clear of these too.
Links from aggressive link building tactics – What does this mean? Aggressive link building tactics can include but are not limited to leaving your links on forums and in blog comments across the web – usually using software that’s automated for the purpose. These links will often be found in low-quality directories and can hurt your link standing.
Irrelevant links – A link on a page with no real context can be considered unnatural. For example, if you have a link about payday loans on a German automotive directory that makes no sense to Google and can get you a lower ranking on the search engine.
Links with over-optimized text – If you’re linking around the web using an exact match keyword over and over again, Google may see it as an attempt on your part to manipulate the search.
To check your backlinks, you can use tools like LinkResearchTools, Majestic or ahrefs to see what kind of links you have pointing back to your site. You can then take action to reduce the negative links and improve your search ranking. You can also use our SOLOSEO pro tools to find information on links pointing to your website. For more information on what our pro tools can offer you, visit our website at www.soloseo.com.