Articles and publications posted on the Internet often contain links to other resources. They are used to supplement the text, indicate the source, give an example.
Which sites are being linked to the most? The ones that contain useful and valuable content. When evaluating a resource, search engines analyze its external links. If the page is often cited, this is a positive ranking factor and affects its position in the SERP.
Link building is an SEO method aimed at obtaining links to a website from different sources. It is also called external optimization, or link building (link building), that is, link building.
If the site address is rarely mentioned in a natural way or the domain is new and it has no backlinks at all, SEO specialists use alternative ways to get them. External links for a site help to increase its ranking among competitors and attract additional traffic (referral search).
A backlink, or backlink , is a site URL specified on another resource. Backlinks come in different types, depending on the placement, for example: an article on a thematic site, a post on social networks, a mention on a forum or in a review.
A donor site is a site that is ready to host a link from another resource (acceptor site).
Link mass is the total number of links leading to the site.
Link profile - all backlinks of the site, taking into account their types and placements.
The near- link text is the context in which the URL is placed on an external source.
Anchor is the text of the link, when clicked, the user is redirected. Text backlinks are usually highlighted in publications. In the HTML code of the page, they look like this: href=”https://website.com/">anchor. Links can be anchor or non-anchor.
There are several options for getting new backlinks.
1. Negotiate with the owners of other resources directly.
Communication with site owners and bloggers is a way to place PR articles or guest posts on sites that are popular among the target audience. Usually such links are effective for the site because they have more weight and bring natural traffic.
The placement of such backlinks can be paid or carried out on mutually beneficial terms, for example, when two sites exchange external links.
2. Place backlinks through a link exchange.
Link exchanges are intermediaries between donor sites that are ready to host a return URL, and acceptor sites. The resource catalog has filters that allow you to select sites by subject and other parameters. Exchanges simplify and speed up the process of obtaining links, and can also provide an automatic purchase service without the participation of an SEO specialist.
Backlinks are paid in full before placement (permanent links) or extend their stay on another site with regular payments (lease links).
3. Independently place links on suitable sites.
This method of obtaining links involves registration in various directories, where you can specify information about the company and its contacts, including the domain URL, as well as the development of accounts and posting on resources where potential customers exchange information.
Posting backlinks on forums and review sites is crowd marketing. To place crowd links for free, you first need to monitor the search results for popular queries, select thematic resources, evaluate their activity and content. Before adding the first link, it is important to develop a certain message history and rating, as the administration of the forums has a negative attitude towards backlinks in the publications of new users, perceiving them as spam.
In fact, all links with text in the tag can be called anchors, but in the field of optimization, backlinks are usually referred to this type, the anchors of which coincide with user requests in Google and Yandex. They are used in SEO to increase the position of the site for similar phrases. Examples of anchor links: "urgent visa to Canada", "order a cargo taxi", "buy a laptop", "translation services".
Text links can be branded and contain the name of the company or manufacturer: “Levis jeans”, “Wizzair”, “Apple”. Another option is commercial anchors with the clarifications “buy”, “order”, “price”, and so on. They are used to promote the site for queries that indicate the intention to make a purchase or order a service.
Non-anchor links can be added to the publication in the form of a page address, for example https://website.com/en/visas/canada/ , or a neutral anchor: "here", "look here", "more", "learn more" and etc.
In essence, link promotion is an artificial way to get more backlinks and show search engines that the site is popular and contains useful content. In turn, search engines are trying to identify resources that thus “wind up” the link mass.
If a site has the wrong external optimization tactics, Google can apply sanctions to it - reduce the position of its pages in the search results or even exclude it from search results. To avoid pessimism, backlinks to your site should look natural.
To create a secure link profile, you need to follow certain rules.
The link completes the text.
Usually, backlinks are a way to expand information or confirm it with an authoritative source. Less trustworthy is a URL that is placed on the page as a separate element without text or is part of the interface (through link).
Relevance of near-link text.
The section of the article or post that includes the URL should be close in topic to the landing page to which this backlink leads. For example, in the text on plant care, there is a link to the Phytolamps category of the online store.
A combination of article and crowd links.
Usually, links of various types lead to popular sites. It is a good sign if the URL is quoted not only in articles, but also in messages on social networks, forums, and other sites where users share their experience and useful information.
Links are posted on quality resources.
Search engines evaluate the trustworthiness of donor sites that host backlinks, that is, how authoritative they are. It also allows you to identify spam platforms created specifically for external optimization and advertising.
The weight of the backlink and its benefits for the site depend on trust. There are different approaches to calculate this parameter. It can be influenced by the traffic of the resource, the age of the domain, the number of external links and other factors.
Smooth dynamics of adding links.
The activity in the appearance of new links depends on the size of the site and the niche. The pages of a large online store or news portal may be linked more often than a B2B site with a narrow topic.
In order for the process of link building to look natural, it must be stable and without sudden jumps. A strategy for external optimization helps to consistently develop new backlinks.
Balance of anchor and non-anchor links.
The authors of articles and publications rarely use phrases that are beneficial to the acceptor site in hyperlinks, for example, requests in the exact wording (“multivisa urgently”, “car rental in Cyprus”), commercial requests (“order sushi”, “buy a toaster”), as well as backlinks with brand name (TourPartner agency, Gingerbread coffee shop, Eurobank).
Natural link mass contains both anchor and non-anchor URLs. To make the backlinks leading to the site look organic, you need to carefully use anchors that match the query texts. It is better to use anchor links in a smaller proportion with non-anchor ones.
Links in the text lead to different pages.
In the publication, the main role is played by the text, and links only supplement it. There shouldn't be too many backlinks. Natural looks like material that contains from one to several URLs. If the backlinks lead to the same site, the landing pages should be different.
Users follow backlinks to the site.
If the information is useful and interesting to readers, they are more likely to click on backlinks in the text. External links will work better if they are followed, and some link exchanges provide the service of strengthening them.
The plan for external optimization helps streamline the process of getting backlinks, make it uniform and systematic. It also includes working with texts, which will indicate the URL to the site and the choice of sites for their placement.
When creating a link strategy, you need to determine:
- What period is the plan for?
- number of new backlinks per month;
- the ratio of anchor and non-anchor links;
- list of anchors (anchor plan);
- requirements for texts;
- ways to search for sites;
- criteria for selecting donor sites;
- budget for buying links.
Link promotion implies the constant purchase of backlinks. A strategy for them, as a rule, is drawn up for the next few months, for example, for three or six.
The link building strategy for a site that does not yet have backlinks has its own characteristics. Consider how a young site can build a link profile in six months.
1. Determine the number of new links per month
First you need to determine how many pages a resource has in total. The volume of backlinks for a small site is usually less than the link mass of an online store with a large number of categories and positions.
At the initial stage, it will be useful to study the link profiles of competitors occupying the top positions in your niche, and find out how many backlinks they receive per month, at what rate the growth took place, what is the ratio of the volume of the resource and its link mass. We will talk more about the analysis of external links in the section below.
When promoting a site with links, you should start with a small number of backlinks, gradually increasing their growth per month and avoiding sudden drops. Often 15–20 new links per month are enough for a new resource.
2. Choose landing pages
Now we need to define the URLs that other resources will link to. As a landing page for a young site, you should choose the main page and important categories.
The context in which the backlink is located, the anchor link and the landing page of the site must be relevant to each other. For example, the anchor and near-link text for a URL directed to the category of an online store "Electric kettles" should be related to this product group, and not to toasters, coffee machines and other types of equipment.
3. Consider the ratio of anchor and non-anchor links
When link promoting a new site, you need to be especially careful when using anchor URLs, adding them in a minimal proportion. There are no clear rules for the ratio of anchor / non-anchor links, but for security reasons, you can stick to the proportion of 10/90 for the first three months, and 20/80 after that.
If, according to the strategy, the site should receive 90 new backlinks in six months, the approximate number of anchor links will be 15.
4. Create an anchor plan
If the resource already has an SEO strategy and a list of queries for which it will be promoted, you can take anchor texts from it. If there is no optimization plan and a semantic core, you need to make a selection of keywords , that is, see what phrases the target audience uses, and choose the options that are suitable for the site.
When creating an anchor plan, you should choose different queries for texts without duplicating them.
Intent or user intent
Prospective queries include phrases made by potential customers when the text of the appeal (intent) matches the theme of the site. For example, the phrases “cakes to order” for a candy store website or “buy a rod” for an online fishing store are more informative in terms of the user’s goal than the queries “cakes” or “rod”.
This parameter indicates the popularity of the request, that is, how many times it was entered in the specified region per month. As a rule, there is a lot of competition for high-frequency queries, and it is almost impossible for a new site to get into the top 10 for them. It is better to start with anchors containing low and medium frequency queries.
Since article links look more natural to search engines, link promotion often involves creating content for backlinks.
Texts for links can be obtained in two ways:
- the article is written by a copywriter according to your terms of reference (TOR);
- The article is provided by the platform on which the link will be placed.
As a rule, TORs include a topic, uniqueness and volume requirements, keywords, anchor text. This helps to get articles that meet certain criteria. Sometimes the sites that accept an article for placement have their own content requirements, for example, the minimum volume or a specific target audience for which you need to write the text.
This can be done in stages, for example, when buying 15 links per month, draw up a technical task for a similar number of articles in advance and send it to work.
Example of text requirements:
- volume: from 2000 characters without spaces;
- uniqueness from 90%;
- structure: use headings 1-6, bulleted and numbered lists;
- images: add 2-3 related images to the article;
- keywords and anchors: canada visa, urgent visa, visa center .
First you need to decide how to build a link mass - by contacting site owners, buying backlinks through the exchange or placing them yourself. Another option is to combine all these methods.
When buying backlinks for a new site through an intermediary, you need to carefully analyze donor sites. The quality of sites on link exchanges is often low, and in order to select suitable resources, they must be evaluated according to a number of parameters. Automatic, that is, uncontrolled, buying links should be abandoned.
In general, there are quite a few of them. Let's look at a few common ones.
- subject matter;
- attendance (traffic);
- rating and citation of the resource (PR and TIC);
- Alexa Rank, which depends on the traffic and activity of visitors;
- domain zone (region);
- domain age;
To filter out spammy sites, you need to check the level of their linkability - the ratio of links to all indexed pages of the site. When using filters on exchanges, you can limit this parameter, for example, to a level no higher than 30%.
Also, when evaluating a site, the impression it makes is important. A brief inspection of the resource will help here: an assessment of the interface, the subject matter of the content, the presence and volume of advertising.
Information about links leading to the site makes it possible to:
- get data on the link profile of competitors and use it in your strategy;
- check the indexing of new backlinks, that is, whether they were found by the search engine.
Now let's find out which tools provide statistics about site external links and what parameters these reports include.
Let's take the SEO platform SE Ranking as an example . The service solves both problems - a report on backlinks for your site and monitoring external links of competitors.
In the “Competitor Analysis” section, you can find out the resources that are leading in the search results for your topics, and the “Backlink Analysis” tool provides a detailed report on all links leading to the specified domain.
The URL report includes the volume of the site's external links, the number of referring domains, anchor texts, the division of backlinks depending on the landing page - main, internal, and others.
The statistics are also supplemented with graphs of link mass growth over a period of time and new/lost backlinks, the percentage of domain zones that include external links, and other useful information.
The Google Search Console service has a "Links" report, which includes the total number of external URLs, their anchors and the sites from which they are directed. You can get statistics on backlinks using this tool only for your resource, since to access the report you need to confirm the rights to the site.
Link promotion is a promotion method that complements the internal optimization of the site. With the help of backlinks, you can increase the weight of the resource and its position in the search results.
If the site is mentioned on other sites, this is a positive signal for search engines. In order for external links not to harm the site, they must look organic.
When promoting a new site, it is important:
- Analyze competitors' link profiles.
- Place new backlinks consistently, for example, 15–20 links per month.
- Do not use more than 20% anchor links.
- Choose promising queries as anchors, for which it is really possible to bypass competitors.
- Choose the most important pages of the site as landing pages.
- Create TOR for copywriters to get high-quality and unique texts.
- Place links only on trust sites.
- Track the indexing of new links.