Backlinks have always been valuable for SEO, but as Google has started to punish websites that have low quality links they have become harder to get. Webmasters are becoming cautious of accepting guest posts and are more and more commonly requiring all links to be nofollowed – no matter how relevant or useful the link is.
Unfortunately this means that when people do find a website that will accept their links they tend to go overboard and try to maximise the SEO payoff. This only leads to links being marked as spam, and hurts both the host and the website being linked to. This article will assume that you are familiar with backlinking, and already know which tools to use – if not, our blog has discussed it before.
Trying to cram in too many links to your own website
A lot of people will try to fit two or three backlinks (or even more) into the same blog. This strategy is counter-productive, for two reasons: first, it makes the article look like spam; and second, by trying to tailor the writing to allow this you will make your content less interesting and informative. You also miss a chance to mark yourself as an authority by associating yourself with other high quality websites.
This especially applies when all of your links go to the same page on your website. Having two or three backlinks to the same domain from a single article is bad enough, but when it is to the same page it is especially pointless. If people are interested enough to follow the link, you only need to have it once.
Linking to different pages – say, blog posts – is a little better, particularly when all of the links are relevant. This might help you to attract more visitors, but you will be sacrificing the SEO power that you want to go to your main link. In either case, it is better to pick the most relevant anchor text and simply run with the most important link.
By linking multiple times to your own site you also miss a chance to present your page as an authority. If you have other external links in your content, make them go to high quality relevant pages, such as news websites or government information. This will help to associate you with these trusted sources.
Spamming comment sections
While making a thoughtful comment containing a link to your website can be useful when you find a relevant video or blog, spam is almost always counter-productive. If you just go through YouTube, Facebook and other sites that allow comments copy and pasting your link you will A) just see it get deleted and B) get your website penalised by Google.
You need to make sure that your comments add something to the discussion, as well. Even if your link is relevant to the discussion, unless you can create some value in your comment than it will just look spammy. You should also take the opportunity to establish yourself as an authority on the topic.
Ignoring nofollow options
While nofollow links won’t do much for your SEO, that doesn’t mean they are completely useless. A link on a high traffic website will help to bring visitors to your website, which is what the overall goal of SEO is anyway. If the link is relevant people should also spend a fair bit of time on the website, so Google will raise its estimate of your website’s authority, which will help your SEO in the long run.
While followed links are the most valuable to you in pure SEO terms, a nofollowed link on a high traffic website can bring you more overall customers and benefits than a followed one that very few people will ever see. It is also better than getting no return if you are having trouble getting backlinks!
So what should you do?
As in so many other aspects of SEO, the best thing you can do for your backlinking is to write engaging, informative content that people will want to publish and/or link to. If you get a reputation as a writer who provides interesting content, you will be able to get your links in and build up your SEO through backlinking.
Kieran is the Social Media Manager and SEO Expert at SEO Shark. He is an expert in Social Media, link building, PPC and of course SEO. In his time off work Kieran enjoys reading and playing rugby, as well as following all kinds of sports! You can read some more of his articles here.