Mastering Link Building and Establishing Your Authority Online

So you've built your website and started writing blog posts that people are looking for to help answer questions and have search engine ready information.  But all of these points together still won't mean you'll rank high in any search engine.

In order to rank high on search engines like Google you have to establish authority.  This can be achieved by earning links from other well-regarded websites.  Through hard work and nurturing your brand and website you'll build not only your audience but also your authority.

One of the three most important ranking factors Google states are links and quality content.  It just so happens that trustworthy sites tend to link to other reputable sites, and similarly spammy websites link to other spammy websites.

So let's get back-to-basics and look at how you can improve your linkability online. 

What You Need to Know About Links

Backlinks, external links or inbound links are all HTML hyperlinks that point from website to website.  Links are like your reputation, or a kind of currency and would be like you asking which is the best coffee shop in South Shields was, and the answer everyone would give is "Greggs on King Street," this would make you feel confident to pop-in there and have a coffee.  Links work in the same way for search engines.

Since the inception of the internet search engines have used links the same way a candidate uses votes for popularity.

Much the same as external links, internal links connect to internal pages within a website.  If you provide a high number of links to a particular page of your website Google will take that as a signal that this page is important.  This should be done naturally within your blog and not be spammy in any way.

Search engines use algorithms to evaluate websites and their pages.  So what are algorithms and how do they assess links?  This is where we look at the concept of E-A-T. 

E-A-T

What is E-A-T?

E-A-T is an acronym for

E - Expert
A - Authoritative
T - Trustworthy

Websites that don't display these factors are looked down upon by Google and seen as low-quality, whereas websites that share these characteristics are rewarded. As website search evolves the more E-A-T becomes important for the internet user.

E-A-T should be what you strive for in better SEO and something you should always be working on with the introduction of new algorithms.  In addition to providing great content to your readers, it's also what Google is trying to provide to it's customers, better and more accurate search results.

How E-A-T Benefits Your Website

Sites that provide a constant stream of good information to their readers hold more weight, and is a strong indication that a website is providing knowledge it's users require.  And has become a trusted source for other websites.

In order to gain this trust your website will need to be linked to other authoritative websites with the same E-A-T characteristics.  

What's the Difference Between Follow and No Follow Links?

If you remember that links are a lot like votes, then:

  • Follow links are links that give your website a plus vote.
  • No Follow links remove the vote from your website.

Without No Follow Links the Internet Would Be a Spammy Place

Google measures how many natural links you use to ascertain where your website should rank.  Consequently the more natural links the higher your website should rank.  

Unfortunately you'll always get people who try to beat the system and are self-proclaimed SEO "experts" who think if they can trick the search engine using unethical methods, like people used to do before the "no follow" link was invented, they can artificially beat page rankings.  

The "no follow" link was put in place for that very reason to stop spammers from spamming.

Link Profile

Much like any normal profile, a "link profile" is a comprehensive assessment of all of a website's links.  The profile contains the number of links, their quality or lack of quality, and diversity depending upon how many websites a site is linked to.  With this information a search engine can ascertain how a website connects with other websites.

Factors of a Healthy Link Profile

If you gain more link juice through artificial links to increase your website ranking, chances are your website will be deindexed or removed from Google's search results.

On the other hand a healthy link profile that's earning links fairly and naturally over time will eventually be rewarded. 

Editorial Links

A link added naturally by another site that wants to link to yours is called an editorial link.

This is why you need to create high-quality content, and become a resource to other websites.

Relevant Links Gained from Topically Similar Websites

Natural links can also come from topically similar websites to your own. For example a website that sells dog accessories would gain more from The Kennel Club than it would from the Federation of Artistic Roller Skating.  Websites linking to your website that bear no resemblance to your own topic will send out confusing signals to search engines as to what your website is all about.  

Anchor Text Can Be Useful Without Being Spammy

When you use "anchor text" it lets Google know what your topic is all about.  Your webpage is more likely to be ranked high if links are pointing to a page that contains a variety of words and phrases.

Important note:  Take heed that too many backlinks containing the same anchor text could show to search engines that you might be trying to manipulate the system.

Links Are the Be-All and End-All

Don't put all of your eggs in one basket, which is to say that your SEO should never be just about link building.  Google search could disappear tomorrow, then where would you be?  That's why you need to write quality content all of the time and keep your eye focused on the job in hand at all times to earn your website ranking.

The Do's and Don'ts of Link Building

By now it should be pretty clear that Google frowns upon spammy links, and any website engaging in this kind of activity could lose all of their hard work overnight.

You should look at what Google wants you to do, and that is earn your links.  This often leads to grey areas and people can unintentionally end up with penalties.

Don'ts

Don't Purchase Links

As tempting as they may be, never seek to get paid search results.  While Google can't tell which of your links might be earned or paid for it is smart enough to detect patterns that may lead to deception.

Don't Link Exchange

Emails from people asking you to "link to me and I'll link to you" are another definite no no.  Programmes that deal in this practice used exclusively for cross-linking can also trigger a spam alert to a search engine.

Don't Use Low Quality Directory Links

Another source used for manipulation is pay-for-placement web directories that pass off as legitimate, using website anchor text to link back to the submitor's site.

Do's

  • Do use editorial or earned links.
  • Do use links from authoritative websites.
  • Do use natural anchor text.
  • Do use a healthy mix of follow and no follow links.

People will always find a way to beat the system, but new methods are being worked on to thwart the spammers.


 Create a Blog With Evergreen Content

Google recommends blog creation as a valuable tool to build links naturally, and contribute towards the constant flow of new text that needs to be generated.

You should avoid accepting low quality content on your blog for the sake of building links.  Google recommends that your efforts be put into something more worthwhile.

Your website must include the following factors:

  • Emotional content that brings about happiness and sadness.
  • Original content that is expressed in a new way.
  • Be visually appealing to your audience.
  • Conveys a need or interest.

What you end up with is a website that's worth linking to for its information and resources.  Followed not far behind by people on social media looking for content to share with or tech savvy webmasters who look out for information to post regularly through their own social media and sites.  These are the links you should be looking to earn and are an invaluable asset to your website ranking.

Recycle Your Most Popular Content

Turn your most popular blog posts into videos, slides, and images for Instagram.

Build Your Brand

Become newsworthy by being controversial, or releasing a new product.  

Make Your Brand Personal

Not crafting valuable information is a mistake many new bloggers make when they're just starting out.  This includes all marketing efforts, especially emailing.  People are tired of the same old advertising, instead they want fresh information directly into their inbox.

Most of All Be a Trustworthy Source

Quality and quantity are what all search engines are looking for, with links that have been earned through well-written content.

Here are some other ways your brand can be trustworthy:

  • Providing helpful information and questions people are looking for.
  • Being transparent in all of your website activities.
  • Creating readable text.
  • Being consistent in all of your online activities and writing.
  • Communicating in a unique way so that your audience always remembers your website.
  • Bringing experience and personality to your website.

Build your authority through great content and user experience and over time you'll find an audience that will never leave you. 

Read more:

How to Fix Common SEO Problems

28 Places to Share Your Blog Posts After Posting

19 Ways to Grow Your Blog Traffic

99 Ways to Promote Your Blog

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