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Why Link Quality is Important and How to Build Quality Links

| 5 minutes to read

LinksAn integral part of anyone’s SEO strategy is link building. Right now, anyone performing SEO or working on a campaign will be looking at ways in which they can build links to the site they are looking to optimise. Now the age old debate in SEO link building is whether you should focus on quantity of links, or quality of links, or a blend of the two.

As you’ve probably gauged by the title, I’m not here to discuss ways to build a large quantity of links. Now, that isn’t to say that this isn’t still important. Of course the number of backlinks a website has is important, but there is a need to focus on quality links as well. Why you should do this and how it can be achieved will be discussed.

Why Quality Link Building is Important?

Now we know that since the panda update, Google have focused more towards the quality of websites. This was to weed out spammy sites that contain no real purpose and are often overlooked by users when they are presented within the SERPs. As a result, there was, or has been, a growing emphasis towards quality on-page content. This helps inform search engines of a site’s relevancy and the context of a specific page. Therefore we know that search engines, Google specifically, are focusing on ensuring a website is of sufficient quality if it is going to rank well.

Most recently, within February’s updates, Google revealed they have changed the ways in which links are evaluated [See: Google Updates: Panda, Local Search and Links]. Whilst we have no exact idea of how they are now going to evaluate links, one can only assume that, in relation to the panda updates, this means an added emphasis on quality. This could put a stop to black hat practices of buying links with keyword optimised anchor text. Whilst anchor text itself plays a role in telling search engines the context and relevancy of a webpage, it can be used easily to ‘game the system’.

Getting back on track, when Google index websites, they take into consideration the amount of links a website has, as well as the quality of those links. For example, within your link profile, they will look at your links and assess their site authority, PageRank, domain age, domain type, the number of outbound links they themselves have as well relevancy of that link. Assuming that you have a link that hits all of the aforementioned factors, this will stand your website in a far greater position than 10, 50, 100 links from really poor websites.

For any website that has a link profile with a large quantity of links, yet also a number of quality links as well, this will help when it comes to your website ranking well within the SERPs.

How to Build Quality Links

Effort, endeavour, initiative and nouse. I can’t speak highly enough of people who put in the effort to source good quality websites, approach those people and get a good quality link in return. However, this is provided that they are doing this legitimately and without causing anyone hassle. There is a thin line between those who are able to offer a website good quality content, or insightful thoughts and ideas, that are useful and relevant, in return for a good quality link from their site, and those who end up contacting companies just to get a link. Don’t get caught into the trap of the latter, be sure you approach a company with a good idea, comment or content; otherwise they won’t reply to your e-mail or call you back.

So, how do you source links? Well, it’s really down to you and your creativity, but most of all, it’s about networking. Our own Mike Essex recently presented on the Psychology of Link Building, partnered with Distilled. First thing’s first, when it comes to link building, you’re not getting your links from a website, you getting them from a person. Mike explains how you go about getting people’s attention, by ensuring your e-mail stands out, and the content that you are supplying is truly original, and useful to them.

Sourcing Quality Links

If you don’t know where to begin, I would recommend looking at your competitor’s links. Use a programme like Linkdex, here you will be able to input your competitors’ sites and it will tell you their link profile. Here you can establish links they have that you don’t and start building from there. Here’s a Koozai review of the programme. More often than not, links are gained because they have supplied the website with a quote, a comment, an insight, a whole post, a picture, an infographic etc. All of these a excellent, but when it comes to real quality content, it’s best to approach the big industry websites and resources first.

Let’s take guest blogging as an example. Guest blogging is where you would write for a website in return for a link towards the site you are looking to optimise. This presents you with a good opportunity to get a good piece of content in a well known online magazine or publication. Have you ever written a piece of content and thought, where can I get this published? If, so ensure you look for write-for-us opportunities or establish a list of well known industry websites that you can approach. Sometimes these websites may have titles and ideas of their own, in which case you just have to play ball if you’re going to want that link.

A good idea is to perform a search within Google, or another search engine. If you use the following search term, this will help when it comes to finding write-for-us pages within sites: { site:.com/write-for-us “keyword” }. Here you would include the keyword that you are searching for within “Keyword” section. So, for example if you are looking to write for websites about gardening be sure to include this as your keyword. Also mix up the domains within your search. The above search term uses .com, but also include .co.uk and .org as well. Some domains are incredibly valuable, such as .edu, .ac.uk, .gov; it will still be worth searching for these, but in all likeliness, you’ll be hard pushed to find a write-for-us sections on these types of domains.

To Summarise

Whilst the above example is a great way of finding websites looking for guest posts, generally speaking, when it comes to link building, the more unique the link, or a link that is hard to get, will be of far greater value. Therefore, it’s always best to source your own opportunities. That’s why it’s all about speaking to the right people, putting in the effort, and creating good quality content. Getting quality links isn’t easy work. If it was, they wouldn’t be quality links.

Remember, quality is the name of the game for Google now, and creating quality takes time. Good link building takes time; it’s an ongoing endeavour, just like SEO is. As long as you have quality to share, then quality links will come.

Image Source

Chrome chain with a red link via BigStock

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