At Heymedia we are all about linkbuilding. We are one of the biggest providers of links in DK, with a wide portfolio of both big medias with +100.000 visitors per month and smaller niche sites. We work with both small and big clients with planning and executing linkbuilding-strategies, so they are custom made for all companies.
Moreover, we are cooperating with other marketing agencies in Denmark, which makes it possible for us to develop constantly and gather new knowledge.
Should we help you and your company plan your linkbuilding strategy that creates noticeable results? Then sign up for a meeting with no obligation.
Linkbuilding is just one element of SEO. Nonetheless it is a crucial factor for your webpage’s ranking on search engines. But what is linkbuilding, and why is it so important as many claims? These are the questions that we want to elaborate, which is why we will present you this linkbuilding guide, where we have gathered all our knowledge and experience on linkbuilding.
- What is linkbuilding?
- Why care about Google, when you are linkbuilding?
- Linkbuilding, how?
- How to get good backlinks!
- Linkbuilding tools – why are they important?
- Linkbuilding – does it actually work?
- Our top five linkbuilding tips (take away points)
What is linkbuilding?
Linkbuilding can, if done correctly, help your websites ranking on Google.
Linkbuilding can be separated into three categories:
- Inbound links: These are the links from a place on your website to another place on your own website. It is certainly important to create a good internal link structure on your website.
- Outbound links: These are the links on your website, that links to another website.
- Backlinks: This is those links from other websites, that links to your website. When talking about linkbuilding in general terms, backlinks are often what is being referred to.
In this context we will primarily focus on linkbuilding in terms of backlinks, however inbound linkbuilding is just as important when doing SEO. A lot of people actually think it is called SEO-optimization, but technically the word “optimization” is already in the word “SEO” as it is what the “O” stands for. In that sense it is more correct to write for example “optimization of SEO” instead.
When you are linkbuilding, it is all about creating backlinks for your website. This way you are giving signals to Google or another search engine, that your website provides value, because other websites are referring to it. It may sound simple but that is definitely not the case.
Why care about Google, when you are linkbuilding?
In 2012 Google introduced “Penguin”, which was a change in their algorithm. The algorithm change was meant for those sites that were created only to build links, which meant that these sites no longer would play a role regarding linkbuilding, when Google was ranking a website’s value. The consequences for websites who had used these sites for linkbuilding were severe. They were punished by Google and ranked several pages lower in the search results. This forced website owners to find new methods, which resulted in a bigger focus on the quality instead of the quantity of links.
In general you can say that Google wishes to reward websites, who put an effort into earning natural links. Natural links are those you receive without asking for them or purchasing them. An example of a natural link could be when news media links to your website as a recommendation or a source for their news, without you having done anything.
But does this mean that you should not do linkbuilding and buy links? Of course not!
It is not without reason, that the market for linkbuilding is huge. As a matter of fact you do see an effect of linkbuilding, when Google are ranking and validating websites. However, Google’s algorithm is creating the boundaries for which links that will have an effect on your website’s ranking. You can say that Google are giving you the guidelines in which you can validate whether a links is good or bad for your website. But if you wish to see result of your linkbuilding efforts on your ranking on Google, it requires that it is executed correctly.
What is important, when you are linkbuilding? First and foremost, you should remember that those sites you want backlinks from, should have high authority and high organic traffic. If the sites are worthless, the links are worth nothing as well. At the same time you should bear in mind that the links should be relevant for your website. If you have a website that sells skiing equipment, it will not necessarily have an effect on your ranking if you receive a link from a pet shop who only target a specific audience, that is not related to your business in any kind. Relevans is a matter of judgement though, because it does not mean that it won’t have any effect at all. It can still have some effect if the page has high authority and a lot of organic traffic, even if it is not relevant at all for your website.
Another factor that is relevant, apart from evaluating which websites that can give you the “good” backlinks, is the anchor text. Anchor text are that or those word(s) whereto you place your link. In this case it is important to have in mind, that the intention with linkbuilding is to get a better ranking on various relevant keywords. This means that it will be an advantage for you, if you make the anchor text with the keyword(s), you wish to rank high in. However, it is important to mention that to create the most natural link profile, there should be some diversity in your anchor texts. You can do this by varying your anchor texts, e.g. the URL, “click here” or something different that matches those keywords you wish to rank upon.
A third factor, you should care about when linkbuilding, is to create a thorough linkbuilding strategy. This relates especially to what we call link-flow. It is not completely irrelevant how many backlinks you get and when you build them. If you create 30 links in a week, Google will properly figure out that these links are not created natural, and you will increase the possibility of getting a penalty. If you receive a penalty from Google, it will influence your efforts and your ranking in search result will drop. If you instead create a thorough linkbuilding strategy, where you generate a natural flow of good and strong links, Google will reward you for building a website naturally.
There is no concrete template for how you should create your linkbuilding strategy. Therefore, it is a good idea to spread out your links throughout the month and afterwards, you should adjust the link-flow month after month.
Simultaneous you should also consider the other factors of linkbuilding, when you are mapping your linkbuilding strategy. In this way, it becomes an overall evaluation of which, when and how many links you should purchase throughout the month. At Heymedia we have many years of experience with linkbuilding strategies, and we are ready to help or give you advise in this process.
The ideal link is in fact that link, you receive from natural causes. It fits well in line with Google’s guideline. However, it is also the hardest link of all to obtain. It requires that you already have a recognized brand, which is not the case for the majority of companies. Even the largest corporations cannot even execute proper linkbuilding strategies without buying links.
The second best link is the one you receive through the good and relevant story, though. A good strategy would be to do some good PR-work and find the holes in other websites, you can fill out with information and knowledge about your product. One of our own great examples was when we contacted DBA.dk because we found that the users of DBA could benefit from our website “Tjekbil.dk” if the users of DBA got the option to check used cars’ license plates though a direct link from DBA’s website. In this way, Tjekbil.dk received a relevant and good link from a strong site as DBA, which sends good signals to Google.
In general, the bad links are those that are unnatural. This means all the “manipulated” links, which does not provide any particular value for the user. If you build a lot of links from pages without authority, low relevancy and no organic traffic, it will be bad links. As a general rule you should stay away from these links, or at least stay away from getting a lot of them.
If you are in doubt whether a link is good or bad for your website, we can also help you with this of course.
When you are linkbuilding, you often chase the dofollow links which are indexed by Google and thus release the so called “linkjuice” to your website. Nofollow links, on the other hand, are not indexed by Google, and thus gives you no or at least only minimal value. Google view nofollow links as a hint that the link should not pass on any value from the given website. An example of a nofollow link could be links from comments in different forums, because they are often used by bots to harvest free links.
Meanwhile it can be relevant to obtain some nofollow links. This is due to the fact that Google can evaluate it as “unnatural” an “unreliable” if you only have dofollow links. You should therefore try to find a correct balance, where you have a vast majority of dofollow links but still have a few nofollow links. It all comes down to having the most natural link profile as possible that, of course, have a great link diversity.
If you use Google Chrome, you can inspect whether a link is dofollow or nofollow if you right click the link and press “Inspect” as shown in the picture below.
In the spring of 2019 a new feature arrived, that makes it possible for you to qualify outbound links in Google and tell the search engine about your relation to the page, you are linking to. This can be used by using rel-attribute values in the <a>-tag. This function can declarate three values to whether the content is sponsored, user-generated content or nofollow. You can read more about this function on Google’s own website here.
How to get good backlinks!
There are various backlinking methods and all of them contain some pros and cons. It is therefore all about weighing the right parameters, when making a decision, for example how much money you are willing to spend and much time you can allocate to linkbuilding.
Links from PBN (Personal Blog Network)
Links from PBN are a classic linkbuilding method, and it is very popular. There was a time, when this was the only method in use. However, after the changes in Google’s algorithm, that was meant to break with the sites that were created only to get links (= PBN sites), this method has become less popular. Anyway, the links from PBN-sites are still providing some value and therefore is it not completely useless to utilize this method.
When you are linkbuilding through PBN-links, you often buy these links from expired domains. This way the actual link does not provide any value itself. The idea behind it is, that the expired domains previously had authority and traffic, which you are taking advantage of. At the same time it can also be from the domains that are not expired. These are still PBN-links though, as the domains are only created to generate links and therefore have no authority to pass on. It is still unsure though, whether these links have any effect at all, but they could potentially have some.
The advantages of backlinks from PBN-sites are that they are cost efficient and gives some relevance to your website. This means that you can easily get a lot of the links compared to e.g. advertorials, which are much more expensive than PBN-links. However, there are also some disadvantages. First of all, the effect of PBN links are in general uncertain. Furthermore there is a potential risk of Google seeing this as being harmful spam-links.
Through outreach linkbuilding you reach out to a lot of websites to retrieve links. The advantage of this strategy is that you can receive exclusive and relevant links, others cannot necessarily obtain.
Find relevant blogs with relations to your website
When you try to get links via outreach, you can try various approaches. A good strategy is to find relevant blog posts, articles or something else in this manner, which have a close relation to your website. If you are selling treadmills, it could be relevant for you to have a link from an article about the latest collection of running clothing. When found, you could reach out to the website who posted the article and ask whether they would like to link to your website in the article, as it is relevant and useful for the readers. It does not guarantee you a link, but the worst you can get is a no. The advantage of this method is that it is completely free, easy and less time consuming as you are not creating the content yourself.
Another strategy is the one, we in the industry call “broken links”. This method is about finding articles, where products or services, which has a close relation to the content on your website, are mentioned. When found you write to the owner and point out, that the link in the article is not working anymore, but you have written a great deal about the topic and have great knowledge on the area. In this case you politely ask them if they could be interested in linking to your site instead, namely because your site can contribute usefully to the article. As before you are not guaranteed any links, but it is always worth a try!
Offer other website to deliver (relevant) content
The third strategy within the area of outreach linkbuilding is to write to websites and blogs, where you offer to write a good and relevant article to the owner of the blog. In exchange, you receive a link in the text. It is likewise a good strategy to grab some good and unique links, however this is more time consuming as you have to create the content yourself. If you do not have the time to write these articles, we can also help you with that. At Heymedia we have gathered a strong team of competent copywriters, who write high quality texts for any purpose. You are always welcome to contact us, if you need texts for your company.
What you should keep in mind, when doing outreach linkbuilding – and other types of linkbuilding for that matter – is that you should always make sure, that the websites are relevant and reliable. Consider therefore, which blogs and forums that are relevant for you and how good they are. If that is not the case, you can sometimes be better off NOT getting the link. It should be mentioned though, that in most cases, a link provides some kind of value. If you are in doubt and need advice, do not hesitate to contact us and get our assessment.
Linkbuilding in the form of advertorials is by far the most expensive but also the most efficient strategy. Advertorials is a term used for articles, which in itself are relevant, valuable and useful but the real purpose is to advertise for a product and this way obtain backlinks.
Linkbuilding through advertorials have not always been the preferred strategy. As more and more of the traditional Danish news media like “Jyllands-posten”, “BT” and so on, experience decreasing sales numbers on the physical newspaper as well as rising competition from the virtual news market, they are now more reliant on sponsored content. This means that they have opened up the possibility for more advertiser paid content on their websites.
The advantage of this strategy is, that you get the chance to achieve a really great backlink with a high Domain Rating, as the traditional news media usually has a score of 80 or higher in their domain rating. The disadvantage is that this approach is very expensive and time consuming as you pay a lot for the link and you too have to create the content yourself. Are you still not sure what Domain Rating stands for yet? We will luckily return to that later on.
Anyhow, It does not always have to be from the big news media companies, you buy the links from. It could also be the more niche based media, that targets a more limited and specific segment. Again you should bear in mind whether the media has relevance for your website. The more relevant the media is, the better effect it will have. This does not mean that you should avoid any media that does not connect 1:1 to your website. As long as they have authority, there is value to receive from them.
Free links are those links, everybody can get their hands on. Free links can e.g. be the ones you create in comment sections of various forums, where there is a natural relevancy to the product you have on your website. The effect of free links are debatable, however the effect of these are mostly relatively limited. Nonetheless, the free links can contribute with diversity to your link profile, which is in fact what generating a natural link profile is all about. When you are linkbuilding with free links, you should be more careful and make sure that you are not getting too many of them at once, as it can seem very unnatural or suspicious to Google. And this Google will not reward you for, rather the contrary.
The advantage of this strategy when linkbuilding is of course, that it is cost efficient and not time consuming, if, however, you have a great network. If you are new in the market, it is not necessarily easy to find the “good” free link, but it is of course something we can help you with.
Linkbuilding tools - why are they important?
As mentioned earlier it is all about getting the good backlinks, as this factor is a part of Google’s criteria for ranking websites. However the question is, how you determine whether a backlink is good or not? This is where linkbuilding tools come into play. At Heymedia we are using Ahrefs but there are also other tools out there for this purpose. We use Ahrefs every day, and it quickly becomes a irreplaceable tool, when assembling the good linkbuilding strategy. The disadvantage of Ahrefs is that it is a very expensive tool. However it can sometimes pay off, because you can use Ahrefs to check your competitors backlinks.
The linkbuilding tools are used to evaluate a website’s link profile and thus the valuation of a backlink. We are especially looking at four different factors, when deciding whether a website potentially makes a good link:
- Domain Rating (DR)
- URL Rating (UR)
- Organic Traffic
- Number of inbound links vs. number of outbound links
As an illustration, we have taken a snip from our site, Handyhand.dk.
Domain Rating (DR):
Domain Rating can be a pipeline to the strength of a link, as for example Handyhand who have a DR on 48, which is a decent ranking for a website to have. Ahrefs is currently rating pages regarding DR from 0-100, where 0 is worst and 100 is best. Remember though, that the data you find in Ahrefs is only guiding and should therefore be taken with a grain of salt.
Meanwhile there are some backlinks that are worth more than others. A lot of backlinks with low DR would not necessarily give anything to your website. Contrary, backlinks with high DR, would most likely influence your website’s DR positively and in general add value. You can say that the strong links in this way pass some of their strength onto you, if you receive a backlink from them. Meanwhile, it will often have more value if you get one link from a strong and relevant site, compared to getting links from several not-relevant pages. It is also worth mentioning, that it does not do any harm to get links from not-relevant pages with a low DR, and it is indefinite whether these links actually do have a smaller effect for your ranking.
Some sites experience that they are dropping in DR even though no changes were made to their backlinks. It may seem a bit odd, but there is actually a rational explanation for this. It means that other websites have received more referring domains (backlinks from unique domains), and bigger authority, which pushes your website down in ranking. This also shows a good point in online marketing – namely that it is an industry, where it is important to constantly keep up and optimize the websites link profile.
If we take Handyhand as an example again, it can be mentioned that we in 2019 set out a complete new link structure for the website. Since this change, we have achieved good and solid results, which are also shown in the figure below. The first picture is the number of backlinks and the second picture shows a graph of monthly organic traffic. The figure shows that our great focus on linkbuilding in 2019 really paid off and contributed to the quadrupled increase of monthly organic traffic.
However, this does not mean, that linkbuilding is the only factor that has created the good results for Handyhand, but it is still remarkable that we have achieved these results concurrently with the new linkbuilding initiative, we have made for Handyhand’s link-profile.
URL Rating (UR)
A website’s URL is an indicator of it’s authority level. In Google, we see a relatively clear tendency, that websites with higher UR also rank better. UR is based on the strength of your backlinks’ link profile, which is evaluated upon its internal and external link-profile. At the same time it is worth mentioning that there is a positive significant connection between numbers of organic search results and URL Ratings. The higher UR, the higher probability to rank higher in organic search results. This means that UR is a very important factor to take into consideration, when evaluating the value of a link.
The elements that can damage your URL rating are though, if you get too many spam-links. It is for example spam-links from Russia, porn-sites and so forth. Google always promptly punishes spam-links, so it is important that you keep an eye on your existing links, should you be unfortunate to get a spam-link. If you get spam-links you can risk getting a lower UR and thus worse placement in search results.
Apart from UR and DR, organic traffic also plays a vital role. The organic traffic is a goal for the monthly user traffic your website receives. When deciding the value of a website the organic traffic is without a doubt a good point of departure. This is due to the fact that high organic traffic in the sense of a number of visitors to the site, is a sign of authority. At the same time it shows that real people are actually visiting the website.
Organic traffic can also be a sign that says that good content is to be found on this particular website, which gives Google’s users a good experience. It is essential, as it is more or less the purpose of Google – namely to rank the websites that have great content on specific keywords, so the users are entering the useful and valuable pages from their keyword on Google.
The number of inbound links vs. the number of outbound links
A fourth aspect which is relevant to include, when determining the value of a backlink is the number of inbound links relative to the number of outbound links. The best link will of course be the one that has a lot of inbound links but not a lot of outbound links. Naturally, this is a relative valuation and a backlink will still be good if the website e.g. has 100 outbound links against 400 inbound links. Regardless, it is best if the link has the smallest number of outbound links as possible. This is due to the fact that a great number of outbound links relative to inbound links can indicate that the link is from a PBN-site. As mentioned this should not hold you back from getting these links, as they can still give relevance to your website.
The traditional news media, which for a danish context is media such as “BT”, “TV2”, “DR” etc., is the exception to this criteria. News media can naturally not avoid having a lot of outbound links, as the media writes news that concerns other websites, companies etc. This way they will naturally have a lot of outbound links as they use them as source in their content. It is therefore not an aspect you should take into account in relation to traditional media, and a link from one of those pages will almost always be a good link.
Linkbuilding - does it actually work?
All our knowledge and experience points towards one particular direction, namely that linkbuilding works! Linkbuilding is therefore necessary, if you would like to hit the good rankings in Google. Nonetheless, there are a lot of important factors to take into account, when you are doing linkbuilding. If you want remarkable results from your linkbuilding, it requires that it is done correctly. It may sound a bit subtle but to make a long story short, it is about creating a well-balanced link profile. If you are still in doubt of how you can manage this, we have made five linkbuilding tips, that you can use while linkbuilding.
Our top five linkbuilding tips (take away points)
- Start by creating a solid linkbuilding strategy (We can help you with that)
- Make sure your backlinks have authority and are relevant
- Diversity in your link profile is the key to organic growth
- Create rich and unique content to your links (With various anchor texts)
- Get yourself a linkbuilding tool, so you don’t act blindfolded.