Website links are like many things in life (dishwashers, car transmissions, significant others) – we all have them and need them, but few people know how they work. This article will give you a complete run-down of the types of SEO links there are, and how you can best make them work for you.
What are links for, anyway?
The primary purpose of SEO links is to increase rankings for relevant & targeted keywords, not to drive traffic. In this matter, quality trumps quantity. Consistent & efficient link building is very important to how a website ranks (along with on-page optimizations which are the other vital half of search engine optimization.)
Many SEO companies promise 1,000s of links, but these many links are useless if the sites they link to your site have no strength.
How does one determine the quality of a link?
The quality of a link is determined by a many different factors, but the biggest ones are domain authority and page relevancy:
- Domain authority – Strength of the URL
- Consider: Are targeted keywords used in the URL? Is it an old URL with a lot of good solid history? Does it have a strong page rank or Moz page authority? All of these factors are used to determine the muscle power of a site, and thus the power of a link from the site.
- Page relevancy – Topics and content on the site
- Consider the topics and subjects used in the content of the page, and the keyword used as hyperlink text for the link. These factors should be relevant to your site and the keywords you wish to rank for.
Types of links – Do follow & No follow
Also, there are two types of links. They are as similar as two different shirts, but have very important differences, like a t-shirt vs. a sweater:
- Do follow
- This type of link passes SEO value to a linked website.
- No Follow
- This type of link passes SEO value to a linked website, but tells the Google bots and scanners to not penalize the site with poor rankings due to being linked from a poor website. Penalties from Google can be caused by too many links (link farms, link “stuffing”), bad links, and duplicate content. A No Follow code tag tells Google, “This link isn’t necessarily relevant, so don’t hold this link against me!”
- Note that all social media links are No Follow. They pass along SEO juice, but they cannot create a penalty on your site.
The difference between DoFollow and NoFollow is all in the code they use when placing the link.
- This is a NoFollow link example:
- <a href= http://www.yoursiteisawesome.comrel=”nofollow”>Targeted Keyword</a>
- This code tells the Google bots and scanners to disregard all the authority that one site passes to another site.
- This is a DoFollow link example:
- <a href = http://www.yoursiteisawesome.comrel=”dofollow”>Targeted Keyword</a>
- This code tells the Google bots and scanners to pass the authority-building juice along to your page from their page.
Anchor text is the text that is hyperlinked (highlighted) and clickable, that can can come in or go out from a given site. You never want to overdo anchor text, especially with the exact same term used over and over. Again, link building is about quality and not quantity.
Always use links that make sense on your site and are relevant to the search terms for which you would like to rank.
Using text is essential for link building. When the text is placed in an image file, it is not recognized by Google bots and scanners as a link for the keyword. It is recognized as an image link, but it doesn’t have that clickable text that will tell Google what your site is all about, and give the link strength for terms searched on Google.
You’ll want to tell them that when they link to your site, they want to use a “DoFollow” link, as opposed to a “NoFollow” link.
In a Nutshell: Best practice for linking
An ideal link is built with hyperlinked text, is DoFollow, and the name of the link is the keywords you would like to target.
So a good, quality link looks like this inside of a paragraph:
With a little bit of effort, you can guide your partners and vendors to link to your site and pass along domain authority safely, and by Google’s rules. But always check with internet marketing and SEO professionals when deciding which kind of link will be the most beneficial to your site.