Entries Tagged 'Link Building' ↓

The Value of No-follow Links

nofollow links

Links are a vital part of your search engine optimisation strategy, but it can be a frustrating practice.

How many times have you written a superb article for a website only to be told their policy is to give no-follow links.

You want to scream, right?

Before you tell them where to go, stop and think for a moment.

Ask yourself why you wrote the article in the first place?

You wrote it because you want to show yourself as an expert in your field and spread the word about what you do.

Granted, a follow link from such an auspicious website would have been very welcome, but a no-follow one could be just as valuable.

No. bear with me on this one.

OK, so you won’t get any link juice, but you will get something else.

The website in question agreed to publish because they were impressed with your writing and felt it was something their readers would enjoy. That means they think you’re a thought leader, which is how their readers will see you too.

Once they read your article the chances are they’ll check out your author’s bio at the end. They’ll want to know more about you and so will follow the link to your website.

Boom – you’ve got increased traffic.

Once on your site they’ll have a poke around to see what you do and what you can offer them.

See where this is going?

You may not get a dribble of page rank juice, but you will get new visitors to your website, opening up your business to a whole new market.

That’s pretty cool.

You see, links aren’t just about juice, they are also about building a reputation and that’s worth its weight in gold.

When Is A Link An Unnatural Link?

link building

You’ve probably heard a lot about unnatural links. Google is getting pretty hot these days at penalising sites that use them, so what exactly are they?

In basic terms, an unnatural link is one that exists purely to manipulate the page rank or search engine results of your website. Plus, any links that are placed on a website without the site owner’s permission.

Example of an unnatural link

If you’re still unsure, this illustration should help.

You’ve just been to a health spa and had a fantastic time. You decide you want to tell other people about your experience and write a blog about linking to the health spa, that’s OK. But if you wrote about it because they were offering you a free weekend or set of treatments, that would be classed as unnatural (unless you mark the link as a nofollow).

So the best way of looking at it is so long as you’re not being financially motivated to use the link, you should be OK.

It’s not all amount money

Having said that, there are other motivations that can cause people to use links unnaturally.

When your website needs an SEO boost, it’s very tempting to hunt out websites to link to that will give your search results a much needed lift.

This is equally bad as the scenario outlined above.

That means that if you are linking to another website purely to improve your search results you could be on shaky ground.

Before you link ask yourself whether you would still want to recommend the company or blog if the search engines didn’t exist. That will help you decide on what your true motivations are.

A level playing field

The whole point behind Google’s linking policy is to create a world where everyone is equal.

If it didn’t exist, the only websites that would feature highly in the search results would be the ones that could afford to buy the best links and that’s not good for the consumer.

But what about Google Adwords?

Good point.

But as it is Google’s accepted form of selling links it’s likely to remain. The main distinction between this and other forms of buying links is that it is open, above board and involves an invoice. Plus, because the links are segregated from the organic listings in the search results, it is obvious to all that the companies involved have paid for their link.

Link building will always remain a contentious issue if people try to fiddle the system. The guidelines are very clear, so what’s the point in trying to pull a fast one? Sooner or later Google will find you and penalise you.

Don’t be tempted to flout the system. Link build with dignity.

Author: Sally Ormond, Copywriter at Briar Copywriting and cycling enthusiast.

Link Building is Still an Important Ranking Factor

The search engine optimisation industry has been hotly debating the relevance of back links in search engine algorithms.

Some SEOs believe that social signals have replaced links, making link building techniques (such as article marketing) irrelevant to today’s internet marketers.

Certainly, social signals are important, but links will always play a dominant role as a ranking factor – at least for now.

If you don’t believe me, here’s Matt Cutts:

Links are here to stay, but there’s little doubt that ranking factors are getting more complicated.

Google wants to provide the best possible search experience for its users, therefore (whether you like it or not) it will continue to tweak its algorithms.

So, if you want to keep ahead of the ranking game, don’t try to out smart Google, just stick to giving your readers what they want:

  • Great content, products and services that your customers want
  • A responsive website
  • Interaction with the social channels relevant to your market and customers

Above all, abide by Google’s rules, forget keyword stuffing and writing content that’s aimed at the search engines, and create a web presence that’s designed to give your customers what they want.

Sally Ormond – Copywriter, Briar Copywriting Ltd


Bad Link Building: Google vs Halifax

Google is getting tough. Unnatural links are being penalised, but it’s not just the small businesses that are being hit, there’s been a few bigger scalps recently.

The one I want to draw your attention to is the UK banking chain, Halifax.

According to a recent article in CognitiveSEO, the UK’s largest provider of residential mortgages and savings accounts has felt Google’s wrath. Its link building strategy has been deemed as not being very Google friendly and is now facing a major online upheaval.

The article shows that the Halifax experienced a significant SEO drop at the beginning of February.

It would appear as though in December of last year, Halifax received a huge increase in new links – over 400,000, but only from 190 referring domains. Then, at the end of January, its number of lost links suddenly spiked. This was probably in reaction to Google’s penalty.

Unnatural links will cause Google to take a closer look at your website and if you have over 20% unnatural links you’ll be classed as high risk and will be flagged by the Google algorithm.

What happened?

After a bit of digging, CognitiveSEO identified 3 dodgy link building strategies used by the banking giant.

  1. 1.     Web directory links
  2. 2.     Easily pattern-able links
  3. 3.     Advertorials (paid posts)

You can read the full story here.

So as this case study has shown, no one is exempt from Google’s penalties and that’s why it’s essential you adopt good link building techniques.


How to Boost The Value of Your Content

Organic search and search engine optimisation are a huge part of your marketing strategy.  outward links

But how can you increase the perceived value of the content you’re producing for your readers?

Before we answer that, answer this question:

Why do you produce content?

Your answer is probably to create and attract links to your website.

Granted, that’s a big part of content generation, but do you also link away from your blog?

Before you recoil in horror, visualising your page rank slowly diminishing, outward links are important and this is why.

Useful resource

Outward links will help your readers’ understanding.

If you’re writing about a complex topic, linking out to another source that elaborates on what you’ve said will enhance your reader’s experience. Showing you are aware of the presence of other research will also enhance your reputation – you win, they win, everyone wins.

Top 10

Readers love top 10 (or how ever many examples you can come up with) resource or product lists.

It offers them a comparison of products/information that they haven’t had to research, saving them a lot of time. But on top of that, they are a great way to support your content and a solid relationship-builder with other bloggers and websites.

Crediting other research

Whatever you write, it’s important to back it up with facts and research. This will add weight and authority to your own work, increasing its value to the readers.

Plus, it shows you have read around the subject adding credibility to you as a writer.

Quotes and interviews

Extra kudos can be gained from using quotes and interviews with subject matter experts within your writing.

Using a well-known name within a particular industry will not only boost credibility, it will also attract readers, especially those that follow the expert. Plus, they may want to link to your article, so whilst you’re linking out to them, they may well link back to you.


A lot of companies are investing in colourful infographics and other graphical elements to illustrate complex subjects.

Linking out to these will boost the understanding of your readers and present them with new and exciting information formats.

Of course, if you use another company’s work in this way it’s essential you credit the original source.

Good for SEO

You’ve probably guessed by now that all of this outward linking is good for your SEO.

Granted, inward links are still more valuable, but linking out to quality sources of information will enhance your own standing.

SEO isn’t just about attracting links to your website. All the content you produce has to be written for the user in mind. Therefore, it should always enhance their experience and ‘go that extra mile’.

By linking out to other sources, you’re not only showing your depth of knowledge, you’re also enhancing the impact you have on your reader. So don’t be afraid to link out.


Author: Sally Ormond, Copywriter and MD at Briar Copywriting Ltd. Follow her on Twitter and Google+

Image courtesy of digitalart/FreeDigitalPhotos