About link building and backlinks - quality first!

by Search engine optimisation

External links are relevant for the ranking - that is generally known. Link building is therefore an important term in search engine optimisation and can strengthen your web presence. But be careful: the quality of the backlinks plays an essential role.

"You need more backlinks"they said to me, "take care of your link building, then you will also get a better ranking and more traffic"..

And I thought: "Wow, four Anglicisms in a single German sentence - that's almost a record! At that point I only understood what I was saying and switched off.

In the meantime, I know what backlinks are and that it can definitely be an advantage to spice up one's own link profile. But I don't think much of aggressive and artificial link building - and with this opinion I'm on the same side as Google.

Link building and backlinks? Clear text, please!

Linkbuilding includes various measures to generate links that refer to your page from other websites. This makes it part of off-page optimisation in the SEO area. This means that this form of optimisation does not take place on your website itself.

A link from website XY to your own site is called a backlink.

The goal of a website operator is to generate as many (good) backlinks as possible that both users and Google consider to be of high quality. Such a link is more or less like a recommendation and not only ensures more traffic, but usually also a better ranking.

But there are also strategies in link building that have the opposite effect and are penalised by search engines. Namely, when links are artificially created and inserted in an inappropriate place.

Rule number 1: Good backlinks are priceless

Backlinks are so valuable for a good ranking because you can't actually force them. Actually.

Because with the knowledge that search engines reward an extensive link network also came people trying to be smarter than Google. The result: "mass postings" of links in forums and comments by Link farms, whereby the links are even partly generated automatically (surely you can find one or the other example in the spam folder of your comment function...). Link buying also became hip and companies started to flow a lot of money to acquire backlinks on pages.

This no longer has much to do with quality and genuine recommendation. Such artificially created links are usually completely out of context, out of place and do not bring the user any added value.

It is precisely for this reason that Google does not like this and has adjusted its algorithms accordingly. Google now scrutinises backlinks very closely and penalises websites that engage in aggressive link building.

Rule number 2: Good backlinks are relevant and natural

The quality of a link profile - i.e. the totality of all backlinks - is influenced by various factors. Particularly important in this respect is the relevance, the link text and the quality of the page where a link is placed.

 

  • Relevance: A backlink should fit into the context or the topic of the page and offer the reader added value. In other words: when a user clicks on the link, he should find additional relevant information there. A small positive example: A health magazine links to an external blog entry with ginger recipes in an article about the healing effects of ginger.
  • Link text: In addition to a suitable context, the link or anchor text is also crucial. Texts that describe the content of the linked page are better than Keywords or a meaningless "click here". Firstly, individual link texts show that they were written by different people and therefore appear natural. Secondly, the search engine can do more with more information.
  • Place of linking: The quality of the page where the backlink is inserted is of course also included in the evaluation. Trustworthy, high-quality pages are ideal. But of course, average pages are more likely to link to yours. That's perfectly fine and natural - as long as the relevance is there. However, you should stay away from low-quality spam sites. As a rule, however, you don't have to worry about being linked to by such a site without your knowledge - natural linking is rather rare in such environments.

Tips for natural backlink building

If you want a good ranking and image in the long term, you should keep your hands off link buying and other manipulative measures. Instead, count on natural link building. This may take longer, but it also lasts much better.

High quality and regular content

If you regularly produce high-quality content, then you will be rewarded in two ways:

  • It ensures a better ranking and thus more traffic.
  • The more traffic, the more users will refer to you with a backlink if they like your post.

By the way, this applies not only to blogs, but equally to corporate websites. Integrating a company or corporate blog on your website therefore creates many advantages for you in terms of ranking and trust.

Networking, baby!

Maybe you (or your company) work with other people, exchange ideas in an expert network or are an active member of an association. You can make use of such contacts for honest link building.

Perhaps you are mentioned in a member profile or you offer a relevant addition to the offer of a network partner? Surely no one would object to inserting a backlink to your page! However, make sure that you don't just link to each other all the time, which would then again look unnatural.

Guest Contributions & Interviews

There are many sites that publish guest articles, expert interviews or just stories about interesting people. Try to get hold of such an offer that fits your industry. This will not only give you more reach, but also valuable links. Maybe there is a blog in your city?

Directories and link lists

Especially on a regional level, it is worthwhile to register in suitable directories or thematically relevant link lists. For example, I maintain such a list on my website on the subject of "Inspirations: global change and conscious consumption" with a focus on Leipzig (and yes, now I have approved myself a backlink in an appropriate place 😉 ). Another example is this link list of associations.

Such lists and directories usually emerge naturally and you can kindly ask if they would include your site. Of course, you should also pay attention to quality and relevance here and not blindly rush into every directory.

Forums & Comments (limited recommendation)

In principle, you can also place links yourself in a suitable place - for example in forums or comments. But only if it is really appropriate and can be clearly distinguished from spam. For example, if you have previously participated in a discussion and provide helpful information with the link. However, don't post links indiscriminately and make sure you only post on high-quality sites.

Conclusion

Backlink building is indeed a double-edged sword. "Real" links to your site strengthen your web presence by helping you to gain traffic and a better ranking. But used incorrectly, backlinks can also have the opposite effect and harm you. Therefore, only focus on methods that promote natural link building and stay away from dubious link purchases or spam comments. Quality and relevance come first here and definitely far before quantity!

 

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