Just a few years ago, one of the primary SEO tactics utilized was ‘link building’ and there were many powerful tools to aid webmasters in obtaining and tracking inbound and outbound links.
Well, with the last 4 Google updates, multiple linking strategies are not only completely USELESS, they are actually detrimental to website placement.
And even though this is common knowledge, as Google constantly reminds us of the dangers of passing link juice on to other sites, link building remains a mainstay for many SEO companies that continue down this same road.
In February of 2013, Google posted this article about passing on link juice or page rank. While the article is more focused on paid links, the same type of penalties exist for reciprocal or one way links. They will also penalize the destination site if they deem the link was a paid link.
The only good type of links these days are natural or organic links. Reciprocal links are only worthwhile if the linking sites have similar topics. And since the majority of similar topic sites are more than likely your competitors, the best reciprocal link would be from another like-minded site in a different geographical area. For example, we set up many of our real estate clients with links from other Realtors® in other areas, preferably with the same brokerage such as ReMax, Century 21 or Keller Williams. It can’t be stated enough the importance that any links, whether inbound or outbound, are relative to the topics on BOTH sites.
Outbound Links Hurt Search Engine Placement is a Myth – They Don’t
We have read about and heard a lot of talk that “outbound links without a reciprocal link can damage your page rank or placement”. Well, this is absolutely incorrect as long as the site you are linking to has high topic authority that relates to what you are talking about within your content.
We write a lot of GEO-targeted content for Realtors® across the nation. On a specific county or city area profile page, we will link out to other local websites such as: Chamber of Commerce, libraries, hospitals, colleges, school districts, airports, etc. as a reference. This type of outbound linking works as an ‘authority builder’ for that page as well as the site. Outbound links can be very beneficial, that is if you use them properly.
- Here is an example of a real estate area profile page with outbound links to relevant websites in order to build up local geo-targeted topic authority.
Intra-linking Within Your Website Spells Success In The SERP’s
Unfortunately for a lot of websites, one of the most overlooked SEO Linking Strategies is intra-linking or internal linking. These are links that keep references to similar content within the website. Most WordPress systems that have been around for a while can lose track of older content on the site. One of the ways to keep the content in play and help ‘build a web within the greater web’ is to incorporate links within your call-to-action signature which every product or service site should have. We also recommend that this intra-linked signature be pasted on every post and page.
Here is an example of an intra-linked, call to action signature that links back to pages:
Intra-linking Related Articles
There are plenty of plugins that will present related posts automatically at the end of a current article. Most are SEO friendly, but their idea of relevance is not the same as Google or Bing. Hence the reason why we manually add on topic articles throughout and at the end of posts and pages. Adding Related Articles is a great topic builder as Google/Bing follows all the links. Just make sure the related article links are relevant to the current page.
Build A Strong Structure of Authoritative Topics
By building a solid structure of authoritative topics within WordPress, you are helping the search engine spiders crawl your site and assign importance to the content on your terms. We suggest that you take just 30 minutes a day to go back in and properly intra-link your content if you have not done so already. Your WordPress system will reap the rewards in huge SEO benefits and will also be creating good usability for your site visitors to easily navigate within your site and find topics of interest.
Fully Qualified Domain Name Links
Keep in mind that any link you manually enter in your content or in a widget must be a fully qualified domain name link (FQDN) not a relative link: ../content/article.htm. All links to the home page need to link to the domain, not a page like index.php or default.aspx. With larger sites that have a lot of content, we often use list pages/posts command to enable a printed list of all content. This allows us to keep track of the linking structure we are creating within WordPress.
Natural or Organic Links are Best
The most important link is a natural or organic link which is another website linking to your content because it is relevant to what they are talking about. Trackbacks, pingbacks and citations are all included in the Googlebot’s understanding about the topics your site is about.
A comprehensive linking strategy that includes: building up topic authority by intra-linking posts and pages, linking out to relevant authority sites and relevant sites linking back to your content is the single most important aspect of SEO. Some people, however, don’t grasp this method. If your webmaster or the SEO company you hired focuses exclusively on external link building and puts no emphasis on intra-linking, find out why or better still, hire someone else who does!
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