5 SEO Link Building Misconceptions

Jayms Brooks  • 

A link building strategy to improve your SEO is pivotal to any website looking to grow and increase their search authority.

Finding the right opportunities for your brand is a key element of link building, because of course shoddy link building does exist and in turn can have negative effects on your website’s rankings and search visibility.

There are however some features of link building that are being naively ruled out or incorrectly actioned which is hindering their campaign. Here’s five of these common misconceptions around link building.

First of all, let’s explore how search engine bots move around websites. With a do-follow link bots will freely travel from one website to another, whereas with a no-follow link the bots will pass over these and will not make the connection between site A & site B.

So effectively the do-follow links pass a type of authority commonly known by the SEO bods as “link juice”. So you’re correct in thinking do-follow links are the most valuable and more of these in your backlink profile will see you climb up the rankings.

However, this shouldn’t mean you should totally abandon any plans to secure no-follow links and here’s why; If you’re like the content team at Digital Fuel Marketing and have been lucky enough to secure a backlink from Forbes.com, a 93DA website that gets 25M+ organic traffic a month, you will know that the majority of external websites Forbes links out to are no-follow.

Ask yourself would you want to miss out on an opportunity for your brand to be seen on a website that gets 25 million organic visitors a month just because you won’t get the full search benefit of a do-follow link?

It’s also worth bearing in mind that one of the key elements of successful link building is ensuring your backlink profile looks as natural as possible. Even the best websites and publications in the world have a healthy amount of no-follow links, for example BBC.co.uk has 4.5 million no-follow links and is one of the most trusted websites on search.

So while you should be looking to get as many quality do-follow as you can, you shouldn’t be ruling out no-follow links in the process.

There was a time in the early years of SEO where search engines would rank a page solely on the number of inbound links that page had. Effectively the more of these, the higher the ranking without a way to measure the authority and relevance of each link.

The Google algorithm is much wiser these days and in fact a higher volume of links, if the wrong kind, can have a negative impact on your rankings.

It is advisable to spend some time vetting each website you are targeting to ensure it is of good quality, with regular content and holds some search value, otherwise the likelihood is you wouldn’t want your website associated with it, and that is effectively what a link is, a recommendation.

One handy tool to remove spammy links from your backlink profile is the Google Disavow tool which allows publishers to tell Google that they don’t want certain links from external websites to be considered as part of Googles system of counting links that rank websites. The Disavow tool should be used sparsely however.

While the most trusted sites on the web have a large volume of backlinks, you will find the majority of these are from well-respected websites and that is why Google is ranking them so high.

While it is important to actively seek new link building opportunities, you want to ensure you find websites relevant to your brand and site.

Since the roll out of Majestic’s Topical Trust Flow, you can clearly see what niche your website is being viewed under by Google.

What topic your website comes under is determined by the inbound links from Page A to Page B and you want as many links from websites relevant to your brand as possible to improve this and ensure you are rankly highly within your chosen niche.

For our sportsbook clients at Digital Fuel we target quality sports sites, every one relevant to their niche to improve their Topical Trust Flow but also targeting the right audience which could drive referral traffic to their brand.

For example, if you are an Esports brand you don’t want to be getting a ton of links from websites outside of the Computing / Gaming Topical Trust Flow niche, so it is crucial you do your research on each website you are eyeing up for links.

“A strong DA linking website is all you need”

While DA is a key indicator of the authority of a website from a search metrics perspective.  It is worth bearing in mind this is a third-party metric and doesn’t tell the whole story of the quality of a website and the link you are eyeing up.

There are many examples of a website having a good DA rating but when you dig deeper into the site it has old/out of date content, poorly written content or next to no traffic coming to the site. If the DA looks too good to be true, it probably is.

That’s why It is always advisable to have a quick read through the websites content; checking quality, upload frequency and those who have access to the likes of SEMRush and ahrefs, checking the traffic figures and the wider picture of a websites data.

That’s not to say discount DA, far from it. DA is an indicator of a websites value, but be sure to do further checks to ensure the link you have secured is a good one.

When attempting to grow out a page, often the temptation is to secure backlinks with the exact match keyword you wish to rank for as the link anchor text. While your link building campaign should include a handful of exact match keyword anchors, it’s important to not go overkill on these.

Reason being? Google is likely to flag this as obvious sponsored activity and could discredit you for this.  

Like your backlink profile, you want your anchor texts to be as natural as possible and you should build a variety of anchors to the page you are looking to grow.

Other types of anchor text you can use:

  • Partial-match: An anchor that includes a variation of the keyword you are targeting for example if your keyword was ‘Premier League odds’ your partial match anchor would be something like: ‘A popular pick in the Premier League odds’

  • Branded: This is simply the brand name as the anchor text so for BBC.co.uk it would just be ‘BBC’

  • Naked link: A URL that is used as the anchor of the page you are looking to grow for example

  • Generic: A generic word completely separate to your keyword. “click here” and “check out” are commonly used generic anchors.

Branded keywords in particular should not be underestimated, as this is the most natural way to reference and credit a source of information. ESPN.com for example are a global trusted sports source and their highest keyword anchor split is branded.

There are many tools out there that can help you build a link building campaign with the right number of anchor variations to help you rank well for your targeted keyword.

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