We’ve entered a new era of SEO; Google is getting smarter. We believe link building teams need to get smarter too.
For the past 10-15 years, the goal of SEO was to manipulate or outsmart Google using tactics like anchor text manipulation, link farms, PBNs, etc. in order for your content to rank. We believe these days are over.
Google has released a series of updates over the past few years focusing on prioritizing helpful content and page experience over sites that are using manipulation tactics. Businesses that don’t optimize their SEO strategy to align with what Google wants are on borrowed time.
The future is user centric link building. User centric link building aligns the three actors that make up a link building relationship: Google, publishers, and businesses.
Google has made it clear that it will prioritize sites that are utilizing an SEO strategy that is built around the end user experience.
That means content that answers questions with links that are helpful in the reader’s journey to understanding new topics and ideas - not forcing links to product pages that don’t provide value with unnatural, over-optimized anchor text.
For publishers this means creating content that answers user’s questions, not just creating keyword optimized content to rank.
For businesses, in addition to creating useful content, it also means a link building strategy that is user-centric, helpful, and aligns with both Google’s and publisher’s incentives.
There is a common misconception that link building needs to be sneaky or there isn’t a way to build links that are in the good graces of Google.
We build links on a daily basis on some of the most well-known websites in the world that are aligned with Google’s quality guidelines and don’t pose a threat to your business’ organic traffic growth.
However, to adopt this way of link building that is sustainable, effective, and safe, you may need to adjust your thinking around building links.
The key to building user-centric links is relevancy. The goal should be to answer the reader’s questions by adding more context to abstract ideas in the form of a hyper-link to an informative guide or resource.
That means that building links to product or commercial pages shouldn’t be the goal.
Can a commercial landing page help answer a reader’s question? Sure, but it’s rarely the case.
If we’re aligning with both publishers and Google, then the goal should be to link to a high-quality informational article on your site. This will be relevant and useful to the reader.
To optimize your own SEO strategy, you can then internally link to a buyer intent page from the informational piece.
That way you are not only capturing leads on the informational piece as it ranks, but you are also increasing rankings for all your content.
We often get asked if we can optimize certain anchor text. We don’t believe in over-optimizing anchor text. First, Google advises to avoid optimizing anchor text:
Also, we believe links should be placed contextually in articles in a way that makes the most sense to the end reader.
Editors know their users best, so we let the editors of the sites we’re building links on decide how the link fits best in their article.
The anchor text will always be relevant, but will not look forced or leave footprints that can signal you’re building links in a way that doesn’t align with Google’s quality standards.
When we talk about relevance, what does that look like in the context of how we build links?
At dofollow.io, we shoot for page to page relevance. For example, if we're building links to a page that talks about link building, then we would reach out to sites that talk about more general marketing & growth concepts. In practice, if there was a site that talks about marketing, then surely there would be a page that talks about SEO. Any page that talks about SEO in a general practice context would mention link building.
Our goal would be to get that site to link to the resource that talks about link building on a more general SEO article.
If you think about the purpose of contextual links, it's usually to add more context to abstract ideas. Instead of the SEO article writing a bunch of copy explaining link building, they can link to an external guide that explains it.
It's important to remember this as we build out links. The linking article will not always be about your exact topic, but it will always be relevant, natural and make sense for the end reader.
It's important to remember that dofollow.io is NOT a link marketplace. We believe link marketplaces represent everything that is wrong with the SEO industry.
If you're able to pick the website, the landing page, the anchor text, etc. do you really think that website has any sort of respectable editorial process? That website will link to anyone with $50. Those are the exact types of links that Google is actively devaluing and penalizing.
For this reason, we don't have a process for our clients to pick links ahead of time. We do fresh outreach for all of our clients; we can't guarantee any links. However, you can see the links that we build in real time. If you ever see a link on your report that you're unhappy with; we will take it off the report (and offline if possible).
Ranking on Google is a team effort of great content, a technical infrastructure that is SEO friendly as well as high quality, relevant links. We focus on high quality relevant links that meet the highest quality standards & align with Google’s SEO guidelines.
We will never guarantee a ranking increase because it would be unethical to do so.
However, if you have tight technical infrastructure and keyword driven content in addition to our link building efforts, there is no reason you will not see results.
Your overall SEO efforts should be measured in ranking increases for relevant keywords within a reasonable amount of time (Google recommends 4-12 month timeline when working with an SEO agency, but it depends on a variety of factors).
There are three pillars of SEO: content, tech and links. All three of these have to work in concert to have a successful SEO strategy. It’s important to note that we’re not a full-service agency; we specialize in building links.
In terms of links that means that all links should meet the highest quality standards. That's where we come in.
We look at link quality in the following ways:
We will always optimize for these factors, and this is what you can measure us on.