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Link Building

Linkbuilding: short explanation

Link building summarizes the methods that web site owners, SEOs, and other web creatives use to link other sites to a destination site.

Detailed explanation

Link building (also link building) describes various methods that are used to create links from other websites. This makes link building an off-page optimization in the SEO area. The basic principle is to get other websites to create a so-called backlink, a reference to their own page, in different ways. Some of the strategies for link building are rewarded by the search engines, others are rated negative and punished. The goal of link building is to generate as many links as possible, which are rated by users and search engines as high-quality and helpful in order to strengthen their own page in the search engine ranking and to better network. The quality of a link depends on various factors.

What is a backlink?

Backlinks are sometimes referred to as HTML from one site to another. For a long time, linking was a signal to a search engine for a recommendation made by the linker of the linked page. Therefore, it was beneficial for websites to get as many backlinks and thus as many recommendations.

The algorithms of search engines are largely unknown. Nevertheless, it can now be assumed that a high number of backlinks is no longer decisive for a good ranking. Rather, the quality of the references now decides whether a website is well placed in the search results. Thus, backlinks from respected, high-quality and popular sites are more valuable than links from less-known or poorly rated sites. In addition, experts are increasingly discussing whether Google may reduce the importance of backlinks as a ranking factor more or less completely. Google itself states that webmasters should not value link building and instead produce good content that promotes natural backlinks.

What is Linkjuice?

Search engines assign each website a certain value and quality. To do this, they set various factors that tell how trustworthy, high-quality, popular, etc. is a page. What Google once said in PageRank is probably an even more complex process with several factors that determine the value of a page.

The value of a page can be partially “transferred” to other websites via links. This means that websites link through a recommendation that more or less counts depending on the quality of the page. The power with which this value is transmitted is often metaphorically referred to as link juice. A page can therefore pass on part of its link juices to another page via backlink: the higher the quality of the page, the more linkjuice it transmits and the more linkjuice receives the linked page. In addition, how much Linkjuice is transferred depends on the link structure of the linking page: the more links a page contains, the less linkjuice is usually transmitted per link.

In order to prevent a search engine from considering a link and its linkjuice for the ranking, website operators can use “no-follow-links”. A rel = “nofollow” placed in the HTML tells the search engine that this link should not be evaluated, so it should not transfer a linkjuice. Website operators can thus prevent the linkjuice of their site from being lost.

What is a link profile?

The link profile of a webpage indicates how many backlinks a page has, what kind they are, where they came from, which anchor texts are used and where the backlinks were placed on the page. All these are crucial factors that determine how high quality a link is.

A good link profile is a healthy mix of the different possibilities of each factor. Search engines conclude that the links originated naturally and were not built by link purchase, link exchange or other tricks. They interpret a natural link building positively, because usually only “natural links” correspond to a real recommendation and thus are valuable for the user.

Many SEOs try again and again to determine the perfect composition of a backlink profile. They try to give exact information about what percentage of the backlinks originate from and which properties they should possess. How exactly a good link profile looks, however, depends on many factors and presumably for each website individually.

Backlinks: number and source are crucial

While it was important for a long time to get the highest possible number of backlinks, in the meantime, link building is more class than mass. Although websites are best served by high-quality pages that are as relevant as possible to their own website, each page’s profile should contain a healthy mix of different types of links. Of course, most of the backlinks come from sites that are average or less significant. Inferior or negative pages, which manipulate search results using various SEO measures, should avoid webmasters and remove their links. Otherwise, Google may also penalize your own website.

For example, a good link profile includes links from (blog) articles and their comments, from press releases , forums, or social networks. Also directories, bookmarks and web catalogs can occur in a certain amount in the portfolio.

What types of links exist?

The source is just as crucial about the value of a link as the art. Search engines rate a backlink that comes from a graphic or an image, unlike links that appear in a text. It also counts whether the picture is provided with title and meta information.

In addition, the nofollow property affects the effectiveness of a backlink. This HTML tag tells Google not to consider the link so marked for ranking. Nevertheless, nofollow links are not worthless for the linked pages: they guide the user to the website, thus ensuring traffic and conversions. Therefore, a certain amount of nofollow links in the link profile of any website is natural and useful.

Where can links be placed?

In addition to the quality – the so-called trust – of the linking party, it is also crucial at which point of a website the link was set. Links in the header or footer have a value other than links in the main content of the page. Links in pictures are judged differently than text links. It is also important how many links are placed around your own – for example, whether a page offers only a mere list of backlinks. Search engines also check which topics deal with the content in the immediate vicinity of the link and whether these, as well as the entire page, are thematically related to the linked page.

The multiple linking of a page usually plays no role for the search engine. If two or more (different) link texts point to the same URL, usually only the first backlink is considered. An exact breakdown of this has been identified by SEO expert Malte Landwehr in an experiment.

link texts

Another important factor – apart from the source, the type, the characteristics and the location of the backlink on the left-hand side – also influences the link text’s quality. So that search engines can interpret the reference correctly, the correct choice of words is crucial. While in the past it used to link exactly the word that should serve as a keyword for a page , search engines are now more likely to rate link texts than positives that accurately describe to the user what to expect when they click. These can be “soft” links that consist of a whole linked sentence or subset.

How Textbroker works can be seen in our video tutorial.

But individual words like “here” are often used as well

To read the article, click here .

Only in the internal linking of a page is a “hard” link with the exact, goal-oriented keyword still desirable and useful.

Strategies for Linkbuilding

There are a variety of strategies for linking, some are welcomed by search engines, others are less popular and are punished if discovered. Google regulates in particular in its webmaster guidelines, what is allowed in the search engine optimization for link building, and what is prohibited. There are countless examples of what webmasters, SEOs and online marketers are doing to build links. The following is a short, general overview:

Register yourself:

One of the simplest and fastest forms of link building is the self-placement of backlinks, such as in forums, directories, social bookmarks, catalogs or comments. Because this is a method that anyone can easily do themselves, the effectiveness is very limited. Placing a link in the wrong place – for example in poorly ranked directories – can even have a negative impact on your own ranking.

In addition, this strategy has a high probability that the placed links will be tagged with a nofollow tag. After all, anyone can sign up, usually without the help of a webmaster. For example, many bloggers try to avoid spam in their blog comments through nofollow links.

Link buying:

Commercializing backlinks is a strategy that Google’s search engines punish. When buying links, clients pay money to agencies or individual webmasters and receive backlinks on their pages, in specially created page networks or on other websites.

Since purchased links are not “honest” recommendations of a website, these links are not helpful to the user in the understanding of Google. Google opposes link buying and link buying networks and penalizes sites that buy backlinks – sometimes by removing entire sites from its index.

Link Exchange:

In the link exchange, two parties agree to place each other a backlink. They can simply link two pages to each other (reciprocal), but also use, for example, four pages and place a link, without a direct connection of the pages is recognizable.

Link exchange is a sensitive topic, as even this strategy is only partially accepted by search engines. For example, in the Guidelines for Webmasters , Google describes exactly what is prohibited in terms of link building. Here is an excerpt:

  • Excessive link exchange (“Link to my website and I link to your”) or affiliate sites for the sole purpose of linking to each other
  • Article marketing on a grand scale or posting campaigns as a guest with anchor text links that contain many keywords

    Good Content / Content Marketing:

    The best and safest way to get new backlinks is to get a “real” website recommendation. And that’s best done with quality content. Good and helpful content is naturally linked by other users and rewarded by the search engine.

    In the meantime, a new discipline of online marketing has evolved around (linking with) good content : content marketing . Here, high-quality and / or viral content is produced specifically for the target group and accordingly distributed on the Internet . Content Marketing thus falls under the category pull marketing.

    How exactly good content looks depends on the publishing side as well as its target audience, goals and strategies. Search engines try to get webmasters more and more to offer the best possible and high quality content.

    Outsourcing of link building

    Over time, agencies, networks and companies specializing in link building have formed. Many SEO agencies also offer links to other services. Whether link purchase, link exchange or the use of good content – on which strategy an agency sets or which strategies of link building can be implemented with an agency, depends on the respective provider. However, caution should always be exercised here: just last year, Google took action against some link networks and punished their customers.

    To what extent a company or a webmaster should rely on an agency or work together with a linkbuilding agency is difficult to say. But Google is always pushing in the direction that a website should not do any targeted link building .


    Linkbuilding, or link building, is still an important discipline today to improve the ranking of its website. Because links are still a ranking factor, even if Google and Co. try to become more independent of this method. When linking, the link sources are just as crucial as the link text, its type or placement on the website.

    For website owners it becomes more and more essential to do natural link building to avoid a punishment. Google, the largest search engine company, continues to oppose link-buying networks, punishes link exchange and increasingly invalidates (unnatural) links. With the help of various strategies, however, important links can still be placed in 2015. Which methods are used is the responsibility of every webmaster and decides how successfully and sustainably links are built.

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