How to build quality backlinks for your website

by | Apr 29, 2024 | Seo

Home 9 Seo 9 How to build quality backlinks for your website

A good backlink profile is among the factors that can affect a page or website ranking on Google. Its weight in an SEO strategy is a controversial topic among supporters and detractors of link building, but its role in communicating authoritativeness and reliability of a piece of content to search engines is indisputable.

Before thinking of backlinks as magical SEO tools to improve a website ranking, we need to think of them as references. I may recommend a piece of content because I consider it a useful in-depth follow-up about the topic I am dealing with. If you consider me authoritative, then you accept my suggestion and propose it to your interested interlocutors as well. Google acts just like you in this example.

SEO techniques that we are going to see are nothing more than good practices to give more information to Google’s algorithm and simplify its work of crawling and indexing. In this regard, external backlinks and internal links could affect organic search engine rankings.

Domain authority, page authority, and quality backlinks

PageRank is a Google algorithm that assigns a quality score to a web page based on a series of parameters, including:

  • Percentage weight of links to the destination site, from the page that links to it;
  • Percentage weight of links to the destination site, from the page that links to it;
  • PageRank value of backlink’s source page.

In other words, Google values references to a page, coming from authoritative websites. Websites that use Black Hat Seo techniques are listed by Google, and their backlinks could be toxic, thus causing landing page score to drop.

There hasn’t been a way to calculate PageRank exactly for several years because this value isn’t public. However, there are some tools (e.g. Semrush) that can estimate a score. A viable alternative is Moz’s Free Domain Authority Checker, which allows you to send a limited number of requests per day for free and returns its scores, called Domain Authority (DA) and Page Authority (PA).

Buying links vs Digital PR

A quality link should be natural. If I give you a reference that I’m paid for, I lose my credibility. However, paid links have always existed, will continue to exist and, if they are done right, Google doesn’t notice. My advice on this topic is not to force links too much, but to use them to add value for readers. And always show that these are sponsored links, using the Html attribute that we will see later.

The best way, even if it is longer and more tiring, is Digital PR. Basically, it’s about building a network of relationships that could lead to acquiring backlinks naturally and organically. The value of this business is due to the fact that they are authentic references based on trust.

How many links to put on a page

The web is an open system, at the heart of the very concept of hypertext. Along the deep network of links, Google’s crawlers move, looking for connections and information. A page that doesn’t receive links is orphan and is unlikely to be detected by Google. The web therefore needs links and everyone has a duty to contribute.

Some tools, such as the great Yoast plugin for WordPress, suggest inserting internal links and external links on each page. This is a good practice because internal links boost the pages of our website, while external links open us up to the world. Although this should be a goal we should aim for, it should not become an obsession: links should only be placed according to their usefulness!

To the basic format of the Html tag, various attributes must be added, from the fundamental href that indicates the destination (external link, or even on the same page) to the more specific ones that indicate different information about the backlink and commands for the browser.

<a href="URL">

The Importance of Anchor Text

A link can be placed on a button, a menu item, an image, or a portion of text. Anchor text is the textual and visible element around which the link is placed. To be useful, it’s best to choose words that are very relevant so that it’s clear that your landing page is an in-depth look at that concept. In the event that the link represents the progress of a specific action, it is necessary to put a clear call to action: for example, “ask for information”, “download the PDF”, etc.

Links should always be clearly visible, to improve user experience. If the backlink is placed on a piece of text, it must be made clear through the convention of underlining the text.

In addition to user experience, choosing a relevant anchor text is also useful for SEO strategy. This is about information sent to Google, which creates a connection between the landing page and the linked keyword. Therefore, it is necessary to use anchor text that is useful for the landing page ranking, also considering the authoritativeness of source page and website for that topic.

Backlink target and Target attribute

An important element for user experience, consequently for SEO, and for the objectives of link is also the destination of the backlink, expressed by the “target” attribute. There are several options, but two that are most useful and popular: _self and _blank.

<a target="_blank|_self|_parent|_top|framename">

If the “target” tag is not set, a link is opened by default in the same window, which match the target=”_self” attribute. This is useful for pages on the same website and promotes internal navigation without overloading the browser. It can also be used to link to external landing pages, when you want to keep the user within a rigid funnel with no way out.

The target=”_blank” attribute, on the other hand, is used to open a link in a new browser window or tab . In the “Add Link” function of WordPress text editor, there is the “Open in New Tab” option. It is used to take the user to landing pages on external websites (or internal sections and subdomains with completely different intents and topics) and let the source website open as well, thus reducing the chances of losing the viewer.

Types of backlinks

In the end, it is up to Google to decide how to consider a link and whether to consider it natural or an advertisement, authoritative or untrustworthy. However, thanks to the very useful “rel” attribute, we can help Google by declaring the relationship we attribute to the linked page.

Do Follow and No Follow Links

If we are earning PageRank points from inbound links, we distribute them with outbound links. By default, each link is Do Follow, which means that it provides Google with a reference to the landing page and, basically, tells it that it is a useful and reliable resource.

However, we can stand back if it is a forced link or if the landing page is not completely reliable (in this case, however, it would be better not to put the link) or can be removed or changed without us noticing. This function is performed by the No Follow value associated with the “rel” attribute, which suggests that Google should not follow the link. In the “Add Link” feature of the WordPress text editor, there is a “No Follow” option.

<a rel="nofollow">

Until a few years ago, all sponsored links or those over which the owner of the starting page had little control were indicated with No Follow. Since 2019, Google has introduced new attributes that specify the nature of landing pages in more detail.

The first, as mentioned above, is the rel=sponsored. It is used to define all sponsored links, used in exchange for payment, or all affiliate links. The latter are links that usually contain a tracking code, such as those provided by Amazon, Booking or other companies that have partner and affiliate marketing programs. A sponsored link should always be defined with the appropriate attribute!

<a rel="sponsored">

The second is rel=ugc. It is used to define all user-generated links (User Generated Content). Usually, these are the backlinks that appear in the comments of posts, or in forums.

<a rel="ugc">

Inbound and outbound link tracking

A good place to start analyzing a websit links is the “Links” screen on Google Search Console. In this section, the report on the pages that contain the most inbound links is very interesting. For a more in-depth analysis, able to scan in detail all the backlinks to a website, there are several SEO tools, among which Ahrefs is currently the best.

Periodically it is agood practice to check to identify any broken links, those that point to URLs that may no longer exist or have been changed. A free plugin on WordPress that superbly performs this job is Broken Link Checker.

On the other hand, to monitor outbound links, the best tool is Google Tag Manager. Setup may not be easy, but it allows you to accurately count every click on a link. Instead, to track inbound links, it may be enough to create a UTM (Urchin Tracking Module) link. This can be made in a simplified way via Google’s Campaign URL Builder and can contain up to 6 parameters that will be displayed in GA4 reports. UTM links only add a suffix at the end of the base URL and have no negative effect on the PageRank score attributed by the backlink.

Luigi Nervo

Luigi Nervo

Digital Marketing Manager

Marketing, Seo and content expert (read the bio).

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Luigi Nervo

Luigi Nervo

Digital Marketing Manager

Marketing, Seo and content expert (read the bio).