Enhance Your SEO Strategy with Google's Latest Guide on Link Building Best Practices

Posted on
March 13, 2023

Backlinks are essentially a "vote of confidence" from other websites that your content is valuable and authoritative. When Google's algorithm evaluates a website's ranking, it takes into account the quality and quantity of backlinks pointing to that website. Google normally doesn't publish a ton of information when it comes to their algorithms and SEO, but they recently published a new guide on link building best practices. In this blog, we will discuss how you can enhance your SEO strategy with Google's guide.

Why Link Building is Important in 2023

In the ever-evolving world of SEO, link building remains an important factor in determining a website's search engine rankings. As we enter 2023, link building is set to remain a key element of any successful SEO strategy. Here are the primary benefits from link building campaigns,

  • Improved Search Engine Rankings: As mentioned above, search engines view backlinks as a vote of confidence in your website's content. If your website has a large number of high-quality backlinks, search engines will assume that your content is valuable and relevant to users. This will result in improved search engine rankings, which will drive more organic traffic to your website.
  • Increased Website Traffic: By improving your website's search engine rankings, you will naturally attract more traffic to your website. This traffic will be highly targeted, which means that your website will receive more qualified leads and a higher conversion rate.
  • Brand Awareness: When your website is linked to from other reputable websites, it can increase brand awareness and credibility. These links can also drive referral traffic to your website, as users who are interested in the content can click through to your website to learn more.
  • Competitive Advantage: By investing in link building, you can gain a competitive advantage over your competitors and improve your search engine rankings.

Google's Latest Guide on Link Building Best Practices: Do’s and Don’ts

Link building has long been considered one of the most important factors for achieving higher search rankings. However, not all links are created equal, and improper link building tactics can actually harm your website's search engine performance. That's why Google has released a new guide on link building best practices, aimed at helping webmasters build high-quality links that improve their search visibility without resorting to spammy or manipulative tactics. When determining the relevance of pages and discovering new pages to crawl, Google employs links as a “signal”. Here, we are highlighting some of the key do's and don'ts outlined in Google's guide to help you build effective links that will benefit your website's SEO.

Use correct anchor texts, do not use naked links:

Using rich anchor text links is encouraged by Google as it provides them with information on the content of the page being linked to.

Not recommended:

Here, the link has an anchor text: ghost peppers, while in the previous example, the link did not have any. It just read https://example.com. It is always better to use the target keyword as the anchor text.

Note: For some reason, if the <a> element is empty, Google can use the title of the article as the anchor text. Then you might lose out on improving the position of the target keyword.

For example:

Here is a link with anchor text on how to pickle ghost peppers. It's important to include anchor text in every link, as Google often takes the title as the default anchor text for backup.

Use Alt text for images, it makes a difference in link building

Google considers the alt text of images as anchor text, so it is essential to use descriptive alt text. Here's an example:

In this case, the image has been given descriptive alt text that reads "add enchiladas to your cart". Including alt text for images can boost your website's visibility on Google image search, potentially increasing your traffic.

It's worth noting that one-third of all Google searches are for an image, so if you don't consider that important, it may impact your search visibility.

Avoid ‘click here’ and other generic anchor texts

Google's focus was on distinguishing between high-quality links with relevant anchor text and low-quality links with generic anchor text like "click here" or "read more." Using generic anchor text provides little information about the linked page and is considered as bad as a blank anchor text link.

For example,

The anchor text in this link is too long, which could provide excessive detail for Google. This is not recommended and may have a negative impact on the website's ranking.

Google recommends the above example and prefers the anchor text to be descriptive.

Another example:

The link mentioned here is not only good but also highly recommended. Additionally, it is important for the anchor text to be aligned with the target keywords.

When creating links, aim to write in a natural way and avoid stuffing every related keyword into the anchor text. Keep in mind that keyword stuffing goes against Google’s spam policies.

Providing context to your links is important. The words that come before and after the link can affect how it's perceived, so be sure to pay attention to the entire sentence. 

Avoid placing links right next to each other, as this can make it difficult for readers to distinguish between them, and you'll lose valuable surrounding text for each link.

Space out your links by a few words or even a sentence or two.

Google prefers that internal and external links are not placed too closely to each other.

For example, if you have multiple links in a row such as,

In this example, the links are added continuously without any space or words. While adding we need to ensure that they are placed in a logical and relevant manner to enhance the user experience and improve the ranking of the webpage.

Here, the links have been added to this content with carefully chosen words to ensure that they are relevant and contextual for both readers and search engines like Google. This will enhance the user experience and also improving the content's visibility in search results.

Do-follow vs no-follow links:

Google prefers when you use both internal and external links on your website. This helps them decide which web pages to rank higher. You should use clear anchor text when linking to other pages on your website, so both users and Google can understand what the linked page is about. The same applies to external links.

Only use nofollow when you don't trust the source and not for every external link on your site. For instance, if you are passionate about cheese and someone wrote a negative article about your favorite cheese, and you want to reply, but you don't want the other site to get your link's reputation, then you should use nofollow.

Importance of staying aligned with Google Algorithm updates

Google's algorithm is constantly changing and evolving, and what may have been considered a best practice a year ago may now be viewed as a spammy tactic.

By staying informed on the latest developments and best practices in link building, you can ensure that your website remains in compliance with Google's guidelines and is not penalized for any shady or outdated tactics. This also ensures that your website continues to rank well in search results, driving traffic and ultimately leading to greater success for your business or organization.

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