The Do’s and Don’ts of Link Building in 2024

The Do's and Don'ts of Link Building in 2024

Links are essential to SEO and affect your ranking in organic search results. However, not all links are SEO or Google-friendly. A website with low-quality or poor links will rank lower in SERPs, defeating the goal of an SEO program. Your website’s ranking may be improved by links from high-quality websites with a good reputation, solid organic traffic, and trustworthy signals. When other well-reputed websites link to your content, you earn credibility, which goes a long way with Google.

Quality links and content can help you rank high in Google. Nevertheless, Google keeps a tight check on links and disregards links that do not appear natural. This is why it is essential to learn what links to use to avoid running down your marketing budget or eventually receiving a penalty from Google. In this post, we will explore different kinds of links that Google ignores and the ones it tends to reward.

Types of Links to Avoid

Google does not favor all kinds of links; in such cases, bad and low-quality links can impact rankings. Below are some types of links Google ignores or doesn’t reward.

Links from Categorically Irrelevant Publishers

Relevance is one of the most significant factors in Google’s algorithm, valid for paid and organic traffic channels. However, Google considers relevance when matching search results to user queries and calculating how backlinks will affect a website’s rankings.

For instance, a website that focuses on gardening services should not receive a significant number of backlinks from websites that offer legal services. If so, Google will quickly recognize that these links do not represent genuine votes of confidence and may determine the links to be manipulative.

Links from Spammy Directories

Users can now discover businesses and websites of every kind using online directories. However, these directories are now plagued by spammers trying to gain an unfair edge in the SERPs by adding their websites to as many of them as possible, given that most are free and easy to obtain. The directories predominantly loaded with links from spammers are considered low quality and tend to be ignored by Google. Consequently, the websites that they link to are also considered to be of low quality.

It is not surprising that Google does not prefer websites with a link profile replete with spam links from low-quality directories. Therefore, instead of looking for link spam from low-quality directories, stick to directories with a good reputation. This includes popular citation sources like Yelp, Apple Maps, Merchant Circle, the Better Business Bureau, etc. These are real directories that exist for more than just SEO.

Links from Social Forum Sites

Social forum websites such as Reddit and Quora are excellent sources of links coming from user-generated content. However, Google has not historically given these links the same weight as those from other websites. This is because anyone can create a profile and start inserting links into posts, but the links may not have much value to Google and won’t usually benefit SEO.  Also, it is possible that they are not as trustworthy or relevant as connections that come from other relevant sources. Having said that and following the latest Google update in March 2024, we know Google is leaning more into user-generated content from sites like Reddit and Quora as we see these domains ranking higher in result pages. But it’s not likely Google will reward the nofollow links from these sites given how easy it is to post a link on them.

Other social media websites, such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, also don’t lend much value in terms of link equity. If anyone can create a profile, write some content and insert links, everyone would be an SEO expert. With that said, content on social media websites should be used for brand development and engaging with your customer base instead of an SEO play.

Links with Misleading Anchor Text

Readers are the intended recipients of a website’s content and the links provided in the content. They click on the anchor text because they believe the link will provide the information that is relevant to them. In this case, a link is not considered if the user thinks the information is misinforming after clicking on the link. Undoubtedly, Google will penalize you and decrease your website’s ranking if it detects links with misleading or overly spammy anchor text. The most effective method is to use the appropriate anchor text in areas where readers can obtain helpful information. By doing so, they would regard your website as a reliable information source.

Types of Links Google Rewards

Links contribute to rankings, so your site’s ranking will improve in proportion to the number of links you build, sticking to a quality-over-quantity plan. Hence, knowing the types of links you require to enhance your rankings is essential. The following are some links that Google tends to reward.

Links to Editorial Content

Editorial links are natural links in an article, blog post, or other online material. They are earned by other websites that recognize the value of what you offer. Editorial backlinks are earned through the quality and relevance of your information. They are frequently interpreted as a vote of confidence in the legitimacy and authority of the information you create.

These hyperlinks are often not paid for or requested by the website’s owner; instead, they are posted by the author or editor of the content in a completely natural manner. They are typically included because the author or editor believes that the website that is linked to is pertinent to the reader and provides them with value. They are positioned within the context of the article.

This is quite possibly the best way to earn links to your website; develop great content and earn natural links. However, this is much easier to accomplish if you run a website like Nerd Wallet versus a local HVAC company’s website.

Links from Websites with Significant Authority

Authority is a term SEO providers use to inform how Google evaluates a website’s trustworthiness. Several factors determine a website’s authority, including the number and quality of website links and the history of the website / brand. Earning links from a website with high authority and trust in Google tends to pass link equity to the receiving site and thus increase rankings.

To increase your website’s authority from websites with established authority, you can focus on working with publishers related to your service / products. Provide publishers with content they can use on their websites that will link to yours. Additionally, participate in expert round-ups to earn authoritative links from high-value publications. This is typically accomplished through services like HARO link building, a website that connects publishers with journalists from various publications.

Natural Backlinks

When it comes to search engine optimization, natural backlinks are essential. When other website owners discover that your content is valuable, they will voluntarily provide you with links to their websites. Keeping this in mind, the most effective method for acquiring the most natural backlinks feasible is to provide content of the highest possible quality. If it offers genuine benefits to your audience, other websites will acknowledge this fact and will be interested in linking to your website. There are different types of content to include, such as an educational blog post or new research. The objective is to generate exceptional content in terms of both its quality and usage.

Closing Thoughts: Elevating Your Linking Strategy

Web links are vital to your website’s ranking in natural search results. You should now know the many links that may bring down or reward your ranking on Google. Therefore, if you want your website to rank higher on the search engine results page (SERP), use links that Google favors and avoid poor-quality links. By adhering to the best standards for web link building, you may add credibility to your website and allow Google to rank you higher.