First of all, what’s a backlink?
A backlink is the link to someone or some company who has visited your website. It can be spammy (get rid of those!) or authoritative, meaning it has value. For instance, a good backlink would be an influencer in your field, or a credible source of information. It adds authority to your website and lets people — and search engines — understand that you know your stuff.
It’s simple to develop good backlinks, but it’s a lot of work. Remember, simple doesn’t mean easy. Why is this important for your WordPress website? Because Google highly values backlinks that have authority (citing reliable websites or experts in your field, writing guest blogs for them, and so on). And you get penalty points for taking the easy way out (buying links, linking to your friend’s blog about kittens).
There are a lot of backlinks – good and bad – so we’ll split the subject into more than one post. It might take 3 or 4 posts to talk about all we have on the list.
What is Link Value? We want the best, right?
There are 3 things to consider when going for the gold, aka the Best Backlinks. You may be surprised to learn that all links aren’t created the same. To paraphrase George Orwell’s Animal Farm, ‘All links are equal, but some links are more equal than others.’
SpyFu recommends that you begin to develop good backlinks by starting your hunt with a keyword. Makes sense, right?
Authority of Quality Websites
The very best websites to link with are those most widely recognized as experts in your field. Go to Alexa and find out the value of your linking site. The better the ranking (that is, the lower the score), the better will be that link for your SEO.
Alexa’s Site Overview Tool is free to get a glimpse of how your site (or your competitor’s site) is ranked. Just type in the complete (‘absolute’) URL and click on Find.
Follow vs No Follow
When you add a link to your website, you can set it to either ‘follow’ (aka, ‘do follow’) or ‘no follow’ using HTML code.
Follow/Do Follow links allow the search engine crawl spiders to take that little side trip to see the sights. But make sure the slight detour is worth their while. Do Follow links have more value than No Follow links, obviously, because they provide corroborating or validating information.
No Follow links are pretty limited, except in certain instances such as affiliate links. They can still drive traffic to your website, but they don’t help much for ranking. Still, they do have their uses, and we’ll look at them more closely in a future post. Here’s a video explanation of how to make a backlink that starts out as No Follow. Give the video a little time to load, please. You may need to refresh the page.
Location on Your Website
You know by now that your website is organized into sections – site title, header, body, sidebar and footer, for instance. One would think that putting a link into the header would make it more important, right? Not really.
The header (H1) is already high priority to crawl spiders, and it’s what they key on to find out the subject of that page. So including a link in the H1 headers to another page entirely will only confuse the search, and can actually stall it.
Put your links in the main body content of each page for best value. They act as verification or illustration for the subject of your content. Distribute them equally through the body, rather than lumping them all together. And the crawl spiders will thank you for not confusing them.
Relevant Links are More Valuable
Only develop good backlinks that support the subject of your content. For instance, if your website is about hunting in Upstate South Carolina, resist the urge to link to an article on how domestic cats hunt birds in your yard. Unless, of course, that’s really your subject. Here’s a prime example of an irrelevant image. Jackson is naturally adorable, but only the most imaginative among us can claim that he’s an illustration of a good backlink.
When you use images in your content, you also have the option to add a link to each one. Here again, make sure the image and the backlink both support the main subject of your content. Don’t put images and links into your content just to break up the torrent of words. Ensure that they clarify the meaning of your writing and add interest.
Check out this previous post, Content is King, Queen and Prime Minister, for tips on how to organize and write your page/post content. Intuitively you’ll be able to decide where to put your valuable backlinks. If you need help or more guidance, just use the handy Contact page to drop me a line