Is Linkbuilding Important In 2018?
2018 is almost here and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is still considered one of the most cost effective inbound marketing methods for websites. SEO is an umbrella term for onsite and offsite optimization tactics to improve the search engine visibility of websites. An integral part of SEO is linkbuilding. Links created between authoritative websites is vital in 2018 because it is a third-party vote on the importance of websites. External website links ‘validates’ the relevance and importance of a website. In fact, the more authoritative links a website has, the more link juice it has in relevant traffic.
Is linkbuilding manipulative?
According to Google Search Console Guidelines:
Any links intended to manipulate PageRank or a site’s ranking in Google search results may be considered part of a link scheme and a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. This includes any behavior that manipulates links to your site or outgoing links from your site.
Most, if not all linkbuilding methods are manipulative. Currently, the most popular practices in linkbuilding are manipulative:
- Buying links and paying for guest posts
- Paying to get better PageRank
- Exchanging links for a blog post or shout out in social media
- Link exchanges
- Automated link building schemes
Is it possible to build links without being manipulative?
Not only are links one of Google’s 200 ranking factors, they also help website visitors to find other relevant resources on the Internet. It is not sensible to give up on link-building altogether. The most natural form of links are links earned. This means that another website deemed your website to be worthy of being linked to. You did not have to prompt the other website to link to you or pay for a link exchange.
Note that natural links are out of your control at all times. This means that your website can attract some low quality links from irrelevant websites. Natural links are not all good news and every web-master needs to audit their backlink profile for low quality spammy websites.
So in a nutshell, it is possible to get natural backlinks, without paying for it or asking for blog posts. However, all forms of linkbuilding are subtly manipulative, or blackhat SEO, because it optimizes the website for SERPs. Therefore, all effort towards SEO, including better content and adhering to Google guidelines is manipulative.
How to get natural links in 2018
Natural backlinks from high authority websites are the gold standard of ‘natural linkbuilding.’ These natural links are out of your website’s control because they are built by other webmasters who like your content. How do you get other webmasters from authoritative websites to like your content? The answer is to create relevant, fresh and high quality content that could be useful to readers within your niche. This will not guarantee that other websites link to your content but it will increase the chances.
As natural back-links start flooding it, it the website owner’s responsibility to monitor them closely. Bad links should be disavowed and other negative SEO practices spotted before the website gets penalized. Links should be monitored for: broken links, do follow links, and anchor texts.
First tier, second tier and third tier links
Pyramid link building schemes can cause a penalty. It is not a question of if, but when. Direct links to a website, or first tier links must be relevant and high quality. The second tier include social media network links, private blog networks (PBN) and blog posts. Third tier links are built to add authority to the second tier links. This is a time consuming link building scheme that worked well before 2018 but use it at your peril.
Manual outreach links with web-masters
What is the difference between a link negotiated between webmasters and one that was placed without negotiating/manual outreach? There is no difference at all in the quality of the link. Provided that the content is highly relevant, there is no way for Google to tell. This is why links negotiated through outreach remains a safer option for websites in 2018.
The way to negotiate links is by creating a trusting relationship between two websites. Some webmasters offer a link in exchange for relevant, high quality content. It is very important to negotiate links for high quality content because low quality content will only make the link weak. This would defeat the purpose of link building.
Having a link building plan is integral to a strong SEO strategy in 2018. Website owners should know what types of links they want and don’t want to successfully monitor their SEO progress. As Google cracks down on manipulative link building schemes, website owners should experiment link building with caution and have their eye on their backlinks profile.
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