Although we typically associate SEO (Search Engine Optimization) with on-site factors, such as meta tags and page content, off-site factors are equally important.
Off-site factors such as backlinks continue to play a significant role in a page’s search engine rankings. Irresponsible tactics, however, have turned off-site SEO into a minefield of link penalties and backfire-prone schemes. Jason Ferguson, writer for Volusion.com provides a few tips for building a more successful and responsible off-site SEO campaign.
Building too many links back to your site over a short period of time can raise red flags. Ferguson suggests not pursuing links for the sake of having more backlinks; carefully select sites that are relevant to your business and build your link profile slowly and deliberately.
Ferguson also suggests looking for a variety in your link sources, anchor text and link types. Using a repetitive anchor text (the text used in the hyperlink back to your site) was once a very common SEO practice. For example, if you wanted to rank well for “wooden birdhouses”, you used that exact phrase in your backlinks at every opportunity. As with many practices in the field, this became overused and website owners now proceed with caution. Ferguson wants us to diversify out anchor texts and be sure to occasionally link using your brand name or domain name instead of a competitive keyword.
If you’re hearing “yes” every time you ask for a backlink, you’re probably not trying hard enough. Remember, rejection can be a good thing. Rejection means you’re testing your limits and pushing the boundaries of your effort. If one website offers you a free backlink while another requires that you provide them with quality content first, go for the later. If your content is rejected, work on producing something more suitable for the site’s needs.
Ferguson suggests trading value for value and not link for a link. Write relevant content in exchange for a link or make the argument that your link adds value to the site that is hosting it. Link trading schemes and link sharing networks were once an effective way for two sites to scratch each other’s backlinks, but the abused practices is transparent and looked down upon by search engines.
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Read the full article by Jason Ferguson.