How can I tell if a link is safe?
How do I spot a good or bad link?
What questions can I ask myself to see if a link should be pursued or not?
These are common questions many business owners ask ourselves as we SEO our websites. Link building is an essential part of SEO. Without it, especially in a competitive industry, your site may move in rankings, but at some point it will stagnate. Many SEOs believe that link building can attribute 60% or more to the ranking ability of a site. Plus, with the right kind of links, link building can drive quality traffic to your website which can convert into leads. However, if you do not have quality links placed, it can be detrimental to the growth of your online presence.
Link Building Can Be Dangerous
But beware. And we hesitate to say “Buyer Beware,” because you should not be buying links. The issue is that link building can be dangerous—and can do even more harm than good. With algorithm updates like Penguin and a Google search formula that closely scrutinizes links to your site, it’s more important than ever to not only build a clean link profile, but to make sure all links already pointing to your site are of good quality and the kind that will not be disregarded or penalized by Google.
Link building is a complex subject, so if you are starting out and you are not working with a professional SEO company (we recommend that you do), then see if the link you are planning to build to your website meets the following 10 criterion:
• Is the page being linked to valuable to users? Can you articulate why?
• Will the webpage linking to you likely refer a quality prospect to your site?
• Is the link built to help users online or is it solely built for SEO purposes?
• The website is related thematically or solves a problem for the same target audience.
• The content on the page where the link is coming from is thematically relevant to the page it is linking to.
• The link will actually be clicked on because it is placed into the optimal context (content of the page).
• The website is of high quality – branding, content, user experience.
• The website itself does not have bad links pointing toward it.
• The website looks up-to-date and well managed
• If your customers came across this link, would they form a positive or negative impression of your brand based on the page on which the link has been placed? If the answer is yes, then it may be good. If no, then avoid this link.
A better way to look at this is to simply ask whether a link builds value to your target audience and the audience of the site where the link may be placed. A focus on value and whether that link will help people and actually be clicked is a better way to determine if this is a good link or not rather than adhering to one supposedly safe or sanctioned approach.
Final Tips: Don’t EVER BUY links to your site, especially if you are offered packages like “Buy 300 links for a special time $299 offer.” Stay away from these solicitations. There are many companies out there that will promise hundreds or thousands of links for a price. Don’t buy into their offer. You not only run the risk of receiving a bunch of links from poor quality websites, purchasing links to boost your page ranking goes against Google’s guidelines. As a result, your website could get penalized or even banned from the search engine.
Especially if a deal sounds to good to be true or you do not know the company personally who is selling to you, then you should avoid link building companies altogether. Rea link building takes time and is a very in depth manual process based on an approach and a strategy.
Play it safe and do it right the first time. A few good links carries much more weight than many poor quality links, and it is the safest route to take on your link building journey. If you get penalized, it will cost you dearly in time and money to clean up your link profile.
Getting Started with Link Building
If your goal is to build a solid online presence that draws your target audience to your website, and you do not know how to start, then reach out to us with your questions. We are happy to help. Call (516) 610-0922.