92% of UK searches are done on Google.
Even with the rise in Social Media traffic, it’s still no surprise that businesses want to do all they can to appear at the top of organic search engine results pages (SERPs).
If you own a website, you’ll no doubt have received countless emails offering some kind of SEO link building service.
That’s because, in the past, you could move up Google rankings quickly by having links to your website from just about anywhere. But it doesn’t work like that anymore.
So, if you’re paying for an SEO service to build web links, here’s why you’re throwing money away.
1. Google is smarter than you think
Google is very smart. As a $135 billion company, it’s going to take a lot more than spending a few hundred dollars on some links to beat its algorithms.
In fact, Google uses 200 in-depth ranking factors that are ever-changing. This helps it to keep giving users the most useful and relevant search results.
But how does Google know you are relevant? You might be familiar with the term ‘Google Juice’.
This isn’t the Google team cashing in on a diet fad but refers to the value they allocate to inbound links to your website. When one website links to another, it’s like a ‘vote of confidence’ to show it can be trusted and holds value.
When you pay for link building, what you’re doing is getting people to put links on other sites to your website. The more links you have, the more likely you will appear higher up Google.
But for a few years now, Google has changed how it looks at the influence of these links.
2. Quality over quantity
Since 2016, Google started to favour the quality of links over quantity.
This means the links from websites relevant to your business would hold more value in terms of ‘Google Juice’.
So, if you’re paying for links to be randomly dropped into blog sites that talk about anything, then these aren’t worth much.
Google webmaster, Gary Illyes, has said that they will just devalue these link or not even count them at all.
If you’re a plumber, for example, and have paid for links in a Health and Fitness blog, they just won’t be of any value.
3. Content in context
Having links to your web pages within proper, written content such as blogs helps Google to see if your website has contextual relevance.
Google will trawl through copy to check if both websites are discussing the same topics, which if they are, will also help you to rank better for your keywords.
What’s key here is to match the content on the original website with the subjects on your landing webpage, so they align contextually.
4. Traffic to site
You get more ‘Google Juice’ if the website linking to your site generates organic traffic.
The more visitors that site gets, the more authentic Google will deem it to be – and the higher the value of the link will be.
According to Ahrefs, 9 out of 10 sites on the internet bring in zero traffic from Google, so you need to be careful where you get your links from.
5. Domains and their real authority
Domain Authority (DA) is a website ranking score which considers several metrics, including the total number of inbound links.
The score is given out of 100, and the highest scoring sites are platforms like YouTube and Facebook.
Years ago, you would automatically get a higher link value if the website linking to you had a high DA score.
One link from a website with a DA score of 90 would be worth more than several links from DA 30 scoring sites.
But it doesn’t work exactly like this anymore.
You may have had someone trying to sell you SEO link building packages based on websites with different DA scores, for example, DA 50-60 or DA 70-80 sites.
The higher the score, the more it would cost for the link.
But you’ll find that most of these sites won’t contribute to your Google ranking because they aren’t relevant to you or don’t generate organic traffic.
Some of these sites may have a high DA score simply because they got in the game when SEO was easier, and not because they’re high in credibility.
These types of sites actually end up having a negative impact on your overall DA score and SEO ranking.
So how do you create value through SEO link building?
To get the best ‘Google Juice’, you need links from websites that are relevant to your sector, have webpage links within relatable content, generate a good volume of traffic and have a strong DA rating.
It sounds easy, but you’ll find it’s harder than it first appears to apply this formula.
The good news is that if you invest in your SEO the right way, you can get these highly qualifying links through guest writing in sector-specific blogs.
After years of working in content marketing, we’ve perfected the steps you need to be doing and I’ve summarised them below.
Steps for Guest posting
1. Identify relevant sites
2. Reach-out and validate
3. Pitch and agree a topic
4. Write and submit
5. Edit and Publish
If you want to get to the top of search results and stay there, valuable link building through guest posting is the way to make your site an authoritative one.
SEO doesn’t bring in results overnight, but long-term, it will help create a sustainable business with a conveyor belt of inbound traffic, leads and sales.
If you’re paying for link building, then you may be getting little or no value from the links that are being generated. Just follow the advice above to check the quality of the sites that are linking to you.
Google now favours quality links, which means one web link from a credible source can be worth the 50 links you paid for previously – so make sure you are getting value from your link building strategy.
You can use free tools like Ahrefs to check your backlink profile and DA rating.
If you’re too busy running your business, we can help you audit your links and build the right link profile to strengthen your position online and on Google.
P.S What to do with existing your links
Some people have messaged me asking about their current links out on the internet.
Well, some links may devalue your ranking because they are on low DA websites that have no relevance, so you should consider removing them in that case.
You might find the originating website has blocked the influence of the links by making them ‘NoFollow’ Links.
This can be manually or automatically set by the host, which lets Google know that it shouldn’t use the link for PageRank.
There’s a number of reasons why sites do this, mainly to stop getting spammed with links, which was the common practice a decade ago to manipulate search results.
If you have ‘NoFollow’ links, then it might not be a bad thing as Google isn’t calculating your ranking score with these anyway.
On the plus side, these links can help build-up an honest diverse link profile, so your site can seem more natural.
There’s always a chance that the ‘NoFollow’ links also generate a ton of traffic to your site and who knows, if Google sees traffic coming from a particular link, it might actually value the link.
Have you paid for link building,? If so, how did it work out for you? I’d love to know your thoughts. Leave a message or message me online @jacobdeenuk