Anyone who wants to score higher in Google will automatically end up building backlinks to their website. Looking first you end up with free link building tips and eventually you also look for cheap link building. But if you consider link building as a long-term marketing tool, you will automatically see a different ROI and also a different cost. This article delves into the costs of link building: pitfalls, revenues and practical tips.
Why link building? Google's search results are 50 percent determined by links. Google sees them as votes: a website with many relevant votes ranks higher in Google. Links you get, you earn, you build and you can buy.
Free link building
There are a number of ways to get free links:
- Sign Up with relevant company guides and start pages;
- It questions from your physical partners (such as customers, suppliers and associations) to a link;
- It place of links on other pages and websites that you manage. Social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for example. Or separate landing pages and product sites.
- Linking internally on your website: they are just as important for Google.
But this is not really link building: there is no building. Only the logical places are entered. Free link building does not exist.
Earning links: content marketing
Getting rich asleep by getting free links to your website does not exist. You have to earn them. When you post a super good article or piece of content, there is a chance that your visitors will share it via social media, an email and sometimes a link from another page. Articles on Bloeise, for example, are regularly used by students who quote Bloeise as a source. That is content marketing.
Do you want to attract people to your website with content and earn links? Here some options:
- Write lists: 10 tips for, 5 pitfalls for, 8 reasons why. Lists work because as a reader you will tick off what you do know and learn new points.
- Answer questions: look at your target group. What questions do they have? What are they worried about? What answers are they looking for before they want to consider your product or service?
- Interview: your colleagues internally or your customers. In particular, talk about the business: trends, opportunities, threats and new developments. That is real information that people are interested in.
Do you focus on companies? Then be sure to read this longread b2b content marketing.
Linkbuilding: where should you pay attention? Fourteen points!
You want to get started with link building. After reading a first article "10 Linkbuilding tips" you immediately start building links. But unfortunately that can turn out to be disastrous: Google has strict rules and looks at the following fourteen aspects:
- Do-follow and no-follow. This tag tells Google whether or not the link is 'a vote'. Sometimes you name a competitor in a story and you don't want to vote for it. Google also expects a certain number of no-follow links to your website. Are they not there? Then Google suspects that something is wrong.
- Paid links.Paying for links is a no-no. If you already do it, for example because of traffic, then Google expects it to become a no-follow link. Now, of course, Google has no insight into payment data, but they are master of recognizing certain patterns.
- Anchor text. The text link that you click on. If all your links only have nice keywords as anchors, that is a strong signal to Google that someone is doing link building. Google also expects anchors such as: click here, website or company name.
- Domain. The link must come from a website or page that is related. It must be in the same 'knowledge domain'. A link to a butcher of a hairdresser is less valuable than that of a sheep farmer.
- PR rank. An outdated concept that you often hear: named after Google founder Larry Page. It is a number on a scale of 10 which indicates how large a website is via an algorithm. For example, Google is 10, Nu.nl is 7, an average municipal website is 5. Per step it was a factor of 10. Why is this outdated? Google has not provided this ranking since November 2013. Only older sites have a PR rank. A link from a PR-5 website gives much more value than a link from a PR-2 site.
- The age of the domain also counts. The older the domain that is linked to, the better.
- Will your website immediately get 40 links with beautiful keywords within a week? Strong signal to Google that linking is taking place. Google expects a organic growth: occasional, irregular and varied.
- Number of links per domain.Google finds a website that gets 10 links from 10 different domains more interesting than a website that gets 100 links from the same domain. (a domain is a website url).
- Unique IP addresses. A web builder often uses the same server for multiple customers: shared hosting. Great for hosting, but the links from all those sites are worth less than when other IP addresses are used. Google even looks at the groups of IP addresses of a provider.
- Number of links on the page. A page with 100 outgoing links passes 100x less link value than a page with only one link.
- Place the link on the page. The first link on a page gives more link value than a link at the bottom of the page.
- Size of the link. The size of the font is also important. Ditto for images with a link.
- Social media. Links indicate popular content. Social media messages too! A page with many links but no links on social media, does Google frown again.
- The whole of backlinks to your website is called a backlink profile. This must alternately are: do-follow and no-follow, sites with high PR and low PR, various anchors, from company guides, partners and also social media. Therefore never focus on one way of link building.
The rules of link building
Nice piece of explanation by Cyrus Shepard from MOZ (known from the MozRank):
It will be clear to you: Google is not at all happy with link building! The only reason that Google allows it somewhat is if it value adds for the readers. Value is the fifteenth point and the most important! So no cheapest car insurance! left just like that Apply for a mortgage! in a sentence Buying a bike? place. It should help the reader further, such as the link above about b2b content marketing: it brings you to the best article in the Netherlands on that subject. (seriously)
There are still a number of points where you can rate an incoming link, in addition to PageRank:
- TrustRank: a score of 0-10. Developed in 2004 to combat spam sites. Reliable sites provide 'trust' with a link to your site. But link yourself to unreliable sites, then it will cost you 'trust' again. (source: Combating Web Spam with TrustRank)
- Domain authority: a score of 0-100. Predicts how well a site will score in Google. Created by MOZ. There are 4 factors on which DA is determined: the prestige of a website and the authors, the quality of the information displayed, the information and website that are central and the competition around a subject.
- Page authority: like domain authority but for a specific page.
- MozRank: also conceived by MOZ, a score of 0-10. It gives the link popularity score On. You increase this figure by getting links from popular or semi-popular pages.
The best free tool for finding the Domain authority, page authority and MozRank is CheckMoz.com. Make sure you provide the correct URL, including HTTPS or HTTP, WWW or without WWW.
Cheap link building or quality link building?
Cheap is expensive. But you don't want to hear that. So we go into cheap link building, but with the knowledge you have gained above.
You come across this ad and click on it. And what else do they promise?
We go through it step by step:
- Domain authority.
- Also rings domain authority.
- Number of links on the page.
- Important for SEO, but only indirectly important for link building.
- .Edu and .gov domains are interesting, but it's mostly about it number of links per domain.
- There are 500 characters around your own content: so it will be somewhat relevant and value
- Unique IP addresses.
- A result.
Look again at the list above of the aspects to watch out for. No follow? Growth? Anchors? If you suddenly get 30 PR 6 links with do-follow link in one day on the same beautiful keyword, cheap link building works very counterproductively (does not give you a bag).
Link building costs
What does qualitative link building cost? For that you first have to look at the ROI: what it yields. The following six points are important:
- It search traffic per keyword.
- The position of your website in Google: the higher the more chance of clicks.
- The impact of link building on your position in Google: the quality and quantity according to the points above.
- The CTR of your website in the search results: do people actually click on your result?
- The relevance of the Google traffic for your website: do they click away immediately?
- The conversion that follows. You can measure that with Google Analytics. A keyword such as "hotel texel Christmas 2016" has a low search volume, but every visitor who enters it on your website scores. Conversely, a keyword "online marketing" has a huge amount of search traffic, but this rarely comes to any conversion.
A good link builder therefore also performs keyword analysis, points out the titles and meta-descriptions of your pages and verifies whether you have set up Google Analytics properly. A good link builder delivers quality, and quality costs money. For example, consider the costs of one link: finding a suitable partner, sending an e-mail and following it up quickly takes 20 minutes. Cheap link building is by definition not manual link building.
Link building packages or a link building subscription?
Qualitative link building needs time. A quick hit & run does not work with link building: you have to build the links steadily. For this, link building is a continuous task that you add to it. Do you want to outsource link building? Then do not choose 'link building packages' but a 'link building subscription': these ensure steady growth of your backlinks.
Parties that offer link building packages usually have hundreds or thousands of websites under their management that are of poor quality and often totally irrelevant. For them it is a matter of starting the software, automatically adding links and making money: they make no effort at all for you. The link building packages are often scalable: more money means more links. They are therefore 'spammy' and precisely for which Google has created the Penguin algorithm. With this Google recognizes their behavior and your nice new links become toxic and result in a penalty from Google (not good). Link building packages are often cheap ... but as the Americans say: 'if you pay peanuts then you'll get monkeys'.
Link building with a guarantee does not work
A party that is guaranteed to get you in first position in Google is fooling you. It will succeed in the short term, but not in the long term. Google changes the different algorithms that determine the positions every day, and looks at at least 200 different factors. Nobody has any influence on all these factors.
A linkbuilder can only do an 'obligation of effort': for these costs I do this and this for you and that has yielded results for others in the past. Typically you can get to the first page, but that also depends on the keyword: "car insurance" is, for example, a keyword with ridiculous competition. As a link builder, you cannot state that you are in x position for x amount. The best thing is if a link builder runs your test with one keyword and shows the impact on the position.
Cheap outsourcing link building?
- First find out which keywords are interesting for you and optimize your page, technology and content. That way you will quickly get your website in the top 30.
- Then start with link building: what can you do yourself with a little time?
- Immerse yourself in the ins and outs of link building: convince yourself to go for quality.