Why are backlinks important?
Link building is not dead, despite what you may have heard or read online. If you want to develop proper offsite SEO strategies, you need to be able to select qualified websites for opportunities that will fit your clients’ requirements. This means being able to identify quality websites that will pass link juice to your clients’ site.
It’s no longer a numbers game, it’s all about the quality. So if a site’s quality is determined to be low or irrelevant, a link from that site may not pass the value – leaving you with wasted efforts, time and money.
Link building is at times an overwhelming tactic and long process, so you want to be smart and lay out the proper foundations before you go building that multistorey offsite campaign. Ensure you are targeting the right types of websites to get that valuable tick off approval search engines are wanting to crawl and see. Here we identify some factors to consider as part of your offsite strategy.
Measurable SEO Data about the site
Doing something properly takes time, however you also need balance outcomes with effort. Ideally, assessing a website’s quality should take no longer than 10 minutes max.
Looking at measurable data is key, including:
- The number of “root domains” the site has which refers to the number of websites having at least 1 backlink pointing to it.
- Domain Authority of the entire website
- Dates when the website was last cached and indexed. To provide a benchmark, the latest cache date should not be more than 3 week old.
Looking at the measurable SEO data first will assist you in assessing quality websites and deciding if they are worth pursuing.
Overall quality content
The overall quality of content on a website is an obvious criterion but it is also the most difficult to assess. This should include:
- Unique copy, original information or blog posts. This means no scrapped content from news wires, press releases or article titles you have seen 10 times before
- By visiting some other internal pages of the website you can ensure that it’s not just the home page that has quality content
- Check the freshness of the content – when was the last article posted? How often is the website posting articles and are the blog post topics recent and relevant?
Try to avoid websites that have majority of articles posted from “Guest bloggers” or which run too many ads with loads of banners and advertising plastered across their pages. These websites are no-no’s and something to steer away from.
Backlink policy of the website
Getting a backlink is the ultimate goal for link building so as obvious as this may seem, it does make sense to check if the website actually links back to external sites. This can sometimes be a tricky line to walk, as it doesn’t guarantee a desired win. However, things to consider include:
- Reading some older articles or posts to see if they link back to external websites. In some cases they will all point to pages within the website.
- Checking to see if the website is a genuine “independent” website or whether it is a “corporate” website being used to re-surface its own SEO pages. It can be branded and obvious but also not visible at first sight, especially in the travel industry.
- Consider getting links from websites having a “no-follow” policy for the backlinks. “No-follow” links do contribute towards balancing the link profile of a website and making it look more natural.
Social media presence
In 2016, you cannot ignore the value and worth of Social Media. Facebook, Google + and Instagram just to name a few can be great indicators of a websites reach and power. So don’t forget to check the following:
- Does the site have share buttons on it?
- Do they have a Social Media accounts that are well utilized to do more than just push links?
- Are their previous articles generally shared, liked, commented on?
- Does the website have a solid base of fans and/or followers
As link building is a time consuming process, you need to make the best of your research activities and not waste time contacting low quality websites. Taking a few minutes to assess the quality of the websites you are hoping to achieve a backlink from can save you time and frustration in the long run. By doing this you are contributing to ensuring the best opportunities are being utilized for your overall campaign.
This article was republished with the latest industry insights on September 30, 2016.