Usability-first Search Engine Optimization

Ethical Linking Campaigns: Fuel for SEO

Link Campaigns
Backlinks are the fuel that powers all other search engine optimization efforts.

Quality backlinks provide web pages with the power to properly respond to search engine optimization techniques, and the currency of that power is measured in trust.

In accumulating links from well indexed, trusted sites, a website will inherit the respect and trust of the search engines – necessary to compete for high rankings in the natural listings. Lacking the endorsements of quality backlinks, on-page SEO efforts go largely unnoticed by the algorithms of Google, Yahoo and Bing (Windows Live search). A diverse portfolio of healthy backlinks fuels organic search engine placement by effectively signaling authority to search engines,consequently boosting the results obtained from the majority of other SEO practices.

Your first and most important backlink campaign: Compelling content

Content is King - maybe even the kingdom
Some say ‘Content is King’ – Others say it’s the kingdom

Many effective link building strategies exist, but there’s no better method of acquiring quality backlinks than by publishing web content worth linking to. Backlinks based on merit are the links that stand the test of time.

Once your site has been optimized for both human visitors and search engines, effective linkbuilding methods are leveraged to ethically promote your content, thereby generating additional incoming links.

“Great content” is highly subjective, and is measured at least in part by your target audience – however, you’ll want to stick to some basic guidelines in creating content worth linking to.

 

The Importance of Backlink diversity

One of the most important elements of SEO is acquiring backlinks from a wide variety of relevant websites, as well as drawing from a number of different methods in obtaining them. Natural link profiles typically boast backlinks in all “shapes and sizes”, including:

A wide assortment of anchor text

Natural link profiles reveal a wide variety of anchor text
A few “click here’s” are just a natural addition to your link profile.

It’s common search industry knowledge that meaningful anchor text is one of many important variables factored into indexing algorithms. This doesn’t imply that you should go chasing all the backlinks you can with a handful of your most targeted keyphrases, as you’ll reach a level of diminishing returns very quickly. A local ecommerce site specializing in ‘widgets’ could benefit from anchor text such as ‘Canadian made widgets’, ‘Great prices on widgets’, or ‘Dusty’s Widget Emporium’. Think long tail terms here.

In many cases, your brand or company name is a beneficial source of anchor text. Even the far less popular ‘click here’ and ‘http://yourdomain.com’ have their places. While non-descriptives are definitely not the most desirable forms of anchor text, natural link profiles always inherit them – and a natural link profile is one you should strive for. Note that anchor text devoid of descriptive keywords still do offer some semantic value, as search engines algorithmically detect relevance from the content surrounding external links.

Links from various levels of the web

Natural link profiles do typically contain backlinks of varying relevance, however, a healthy percentage of links are going to be from content-related sites. Backlinks from relevant sites are highly desirable, as they help signal niche authority to search engine algorithms. However, when promoting your site, it’s wise to leverage a variety of channels to reach your target audience, including:

Keeping it “real”

If submitting your site to hundreds or even thousands of low quality directories with a selection of your favorite keyword-rich anchor text and calling it a link campaign seems too simple to have value, well then things are just as they seem.

Spending time and money attempting to fool search engines with dubious or exaggerated link building schemes will often raise flags with search engine bots. As algorithms improve over time, gaming search engines with shady link schemes becomes less effective, and apparent improvements in rankings are often short-lived. The best strategy for link campaign success is straightforward, will not harm your brand, and is the most effective for long-term and short-term search engine placement:

It’s important to recognize that Google stores the complete history of your domain and its links. Your link building activities will be associated with your domain for its entire existence.

When embarking on a linking campaign, consider if the linking strategy benefits human visitors as well the accessibility/indexibility of your site’s content. If both variables are satisfied, then you’re on the the right track. This goes for all search engine optimization principals. All of our backlinking campaigns are 100% white hat, just like the rest of our SEO services.

About matt

Matthew Edward is the founder of Springboard SEO, a usability-first search engine optimization company in Montreal.