6 Effective Ways to Build Links Naturally

Posted by admin on May 12th, 2011

Site devaluation happens to webmasters way more often than it should.

Six major components of a link building strategy that staves devaluation include keyword percentage in anchor text, the use of site wide links, the percentage of links to a homepage, effective use of a Resource page, quality versus quantity of links, and the pace at which backlinks are built. Successful SEO Services recommend these tactics to ensure linking strategies will avoid devaluation.

1. Anchor text.

Following a couple of best practices ensures a linking strategy will not be considered unnatural. Do not use keywords for every single link. Add non-keywords like click here for more info, or Do you want to learn more? for five to thirty percent of your anchor text in addition to keywords. No one knows the exact percentage range algorithms consider optimal, but using only keywords in anchor text attracts algorithmic ire, defeating the purpose of looking natural.

Use Open Site Explorer to find the optimal range for a specific site. You can export data to Excel format, run a phrase match on a targeted keyword, and calculate the percentage of overall links that match the anchor text. From that point, compare your percentage against the average of the top ten competitors using the keyword in question.

2. Site wide links.

While the effect of site wide linking on SEO has been conjecture historically, webmasters tend to agree on a few aspects of site wide linking today.

First, they are not worth buying. Site wide links have a negative impact with Google nowadays, and only a minimally positive impact with Yahoo, Bing and other search engines.

Second, site wide links used to be good for blogrolls, but since late 2010 Google started counting each of those links as one link.

Third, Google’s Webmaster Tools now breaks down links by domain. A large volume of links pointing to one page makes it easier for Google to devalue those links.

3. Link to more than just a homepage.

Nine out of ten links pointing to a homepage are unnatural, so point to content on subpages as well. This is especially true for sites with a hundred or more pages, as larger sites should have links pointing to many pages. A good practice is to have around half of the links, give or take 20 percent, point to a homepage, and the remainder pointing elsewhere.

4. Make good use of the Resource page.

Some sites use their Resource page to add links already found on other pages. This kind of redundancy looks unnatural to Google and risks devaluation, so use the Resource page for genuine resources valuable to visitors. Using a Resource page for link exchanging is poor practice. While some search engines do not yet frown upon that strategy, Google does.

5. Quality over quantity.

Boxed Art strongly suggests double checking the sites you link to and from. The quantitative approach to linking, posting hundreds of links to low ranking sites, is discouraged as it relates your site to undesirable ones. The qualitative approach, however, is good practice. A few permanent links to sites with high rank is much more effective than the alternative; quality trumps quantity every time.

6. Rapidly building backlinks.

This is a terrible idea sure to hamper any progress already made. If a site does everything else right – staggers keywords with non-keywords in anchor text, avoids site wide links, links to more than the homepage, makes good use of the Resource page, and values quality links – but builds backlinks too fast, the site has taken one step forward and two steps backward.

SEOmoz strongly recommends building backlinks gradually over time, i.e. naturally, is best practice.

To summarize, determine the optimal percentage of keywords in anchor text, avoid site wide links, let around half of the links point to a homepage, use a Resource page for real resources, remember that quality links matter, and build backlinks gradually. Stave off link devaluation from your growing websites with these “natural” tactics.

This is a guest post by Amber McDougon who is a professional writer and blogger with a particular interest in the open source Joomla platform. She has been helping companies build and maintain their online relationships with customers since 2005.


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One Response to “6 Effective Ways to Build Links Naturally”

  1. mark Says:

    When you say building them naturally over time? what do you mean? Because the only way i can think of is exchanging links, but that is, ofcourse, frowned upon. I am completely lost when it comes to building backlinks because there isn’t much information out there… and I can’t expect people to link to me with out any effort on my part. I am very confused on this topic.

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