Do different social links have different values for SEO?

There has been a lot of debate around whether social links can influence SEO. Google itself has gone back and forth on this issue, first stating that social links are important before dismissing them as ineffective when it comes to influencing website rankings. So, what do you need to know about the value of social links for SEO? Let’s take a look. 

What is a social link? 

Social linking is the practice of linking to your website via social media platforms and is often categorised broadly as social SEO. Sharing links to your content via social media can help to boost your brand recognition and drive traffic to your site. 

But a key thing to realise about social linking is that it might not have a direct impact on the ranking of your site because all links are based on their reference weight. For instance, links from Facebook and Google+ are non-follow links, which renders them ineffective from a ranking perspective. 

What’s more, Twitter links use a redirect feature and only send links to a specific resource after a 301-redirect. As such, the practice of social linking doesn’t have a direct impact on your site’s ranking on Google. But that doesn’t mean it’s not valuable for SEO, as we explain below.

Is social link building a valuable SEO practice? 

When you invest in a social SEO strategy, one of the advantages is that you’re likely to increase traffic to your website. Sharing links to pages on your site can increase the number of people who visit your website, particularly if you have a decent following on social media. As such, traffic increases can undoubtedly boost your website’s rankings. 

What’s more, investing in an effective social media strategy can help with your site’s appearance on a Search Engine Results Page (SERPS). This is because Google and other search engines use social signals to rank your site. 

Another advantage is that social links contribute to the authority of your site. If search engines recognise that people are sharing your social links, they interpret this as authenticity and the fact that your content is credible and worth sharing. Social links can also help with your site indexing, which is a notoriously slow process for new websites. 

So, when it comes to SEO value, social links are undoubtedly valuable, but they won’t necessarily boost your site’s rankings by themselves. Therefore, you need to include social links as part of a broader SEO strategy in order to realise their value. 

Building effective links for your website

Your website’s rank is impacted by both inbound and outbound links, so it’s really important to invest in a link-building campaign that helps to increase your search engine visibility. As mentioned, social links are also valuable, but for different reasons than inbound and outbound links, so you should act to cover all bases. 

At Footprint, we help businesses execute effective link-building strategies and appear prominently on Google and other search engines. Contact us today to find out more about how we can help your business and keep in touch with our latest news via our blog.

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Telephone

02071831022

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FootPrint, 8 Lee Street

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© 2022 All Rights Reserved.

Footprint is a trading name of Footprint PR Ltd

The Disavow Tool: How & when you should use it

Spammy links have long caused webmasters a headache. But with the disavow tool, you’re able to do something about the links that are detrimental to your site’s health. Here, we introduce the disavow tool in detail and explain how and when you might use it.

What is the disavow tool?  

Back in 2013, Google announced that it had launched the hugely anticipated disavow tool. Fundamentally, the disavow tool enables webmasters to remove spam links that they once acquired, which can improve the overall health of their site. 

The tool is available from your Google Search Console, and it allows you to actively discount the value of an inbound link to your site. However, it’s not quite as simple as that, as Google warns that disavowing links can actually have a detrimental effect on your site. 

Let’s take a look at when and how you can potentially use the disavow tool to your advantage. 

When should you use the disavow tool? 

The main reason why you should consider disavowing links is to protect your site from spam. Spammy links harm your site’s reputation, which then have a negative impact on your site’s ability to rank on Google. 

People create spam links for a number of reasons. It could be a competitor trying to drive down the trust value of your site, or there could have been some recent changes in a Google algorithm that influenced your site’s trust. 

When you’re constantly receiving spam backlinks, it can have a hugely negative impact on your SEO, which is why the disavow link can come in handy. But as mentioned, Google cautions webmasters against using it, stating that “if used incorrectly, this feature can potentially harm your site’s performance in Google Search results.”

How to use the disavow tool correctly

Your first job is to create a list of backlinks to your site that you wish to disavow. You can do this using a platform like Ahrefs or Backlink History to help automate the process. Unfortunately, there’s no easy way to determine which links are inherently good and bad, as Google isn’t clear about this. 

Therefore, you need to use your judgement and investigative skills. Begin by visiting each of the sites you think are questionable and consider how harmful they really are. If the site seems suspicious based on its content, structure, or any other red flags, you might decide that you don’t want it linking to your site. 

You then need to create a txt file containing the links that you wish to disavow. Your txt file should meet specific guidelines, and you have the opportunity to add comments to the file if you wish to inform Google of your reasoning for disavowing the links. 

Thereafter, you can upload your file to Google and await their decision, which may take several weeks. We can’t stress enough how important it is to investigate links before disavowing them, as you need to guard against ruining all of the good work you’ve put into your SEO strategy in the first place. 

Avoiding spammy links in the first place 

While there’s not a great deal you can do to prevent spammers from linking back to your site, you can be mindful of link quality when working on your backlink-building strategy. Low-quality links with little trust will harm your site, so you need to avoid poor-quality paid links that are likely to do your site more harm than good. 

For advice and guidance on how to build high-quality links that will improve your site’s rankings, get in touch with the Footprint team today.

Telephone

02071831022

Address

FootPrint, 8 Lee Street

London, E8 4DY

© 2022 All Rights Reserved.

Footprint is a trading name of Footprint PR Ltd

The Internal Web: The importance of linking internally

Many SEO technicians focus their energy on building backlink profiles without realising the importance and value of linking internally. Below, we explain what internal linking is, why it’s so important, and how you can begin building links within your site today.

What is internal linking?

Internal linking is the practice of using hyperlinks to connect the different pages of your website. It’s a helpful SEO tool, as it can: 

  • Encourage people to stay on your site by visiting different pages 
  • Aggregate authority on a particular topic within your niche or area of expertise 
  • Improve the way that the Google algorithm ranks your site 
 

Why is internal linking important? 

Effective internal linking can help to boost your SEO performance in several ways.

When search engines crawl your site, they will look at links on your site to include in their index. The more links that exist between your pages, the more likely they are to add pages to the index, ensuring your content can be found on search engines. 

Google also views links as a way of discerning what related information you deem to be important when creating content. This can help lift your position in search rankings. 

Ultimately, you can look at internal linking as a way of informing Google of other relevant content throughout your site. 

What are the different types of internal links? 

It’s possible to create different types of internal links, depending on what you hope to achieve. These include: 

  • Relative links take you to different pages on your site. 
  • Root relative links are shortcuts that can lead to multiple parts of a site’s homepage.
  • Deep links direct the user to a page within the same domain. 
  • Content-based links take you to other pages on the site to offer more context on a particular topic.
  • Site-wide links include links in sidebars that appear on each page of your site. 
  • Image-based links exist in the alt text of an image. 

For most people, content-based links are the easiest and most useful. They allow you to expand on a particular topic by redirecting your page viewers to another part of your site. 

This lowers your bounce rate and keeps people on your site for longer, which is helpful when it comes to boosting your domain authority.

How to use internal links to your advantage  

The key thing to remember when it comes to internal links is that they should be helpful. There’s little point in linking to other pages just for the sake of it, as you don’t want to confuse people who visit your site. 

To get started with internal linking, it’s easy to look for opportunities to add naturally helpful links within the body of your content. 

For instance, an article about the origins of organic coffee could naturally link to your online shop where you sell the coffee that you have introduced in the article. 

Another great way to get started is to add links to the bottom of your blog that invite your site visitors to find out more information about the topic. 

Finally, don’t go crazy with the number of internal links that you include on your site. If your post is littered with links, it will be confusing and off putting to your users and may come across as spammy to the Google algorithm. 

If you’re hoping to create a successful internal link-building profile or would like any other tips on how to improve the SEO of your site, reach out and say hello – we’d be delighted to help you. 

You can also keep up to date with all of our latest SEO tips and tricks by checking out our blog.

Telephone

02071831022

Address

FootPrint, 8 Lee Street

London, E8 4DY

© 2022 All Rights Reserved.

Footprint is a trading name of Footprint PR Ltd

Social Bookmarking: Are they important to a trusted backlink profile?

Given that there are more than 1.7 billion websites active on the internet, using every tool at your disposal is crucial if you want to get your business out there. Here, we look at social bookmarking and how it can help drive traffic to your site.

What is social bookmarking? 

Social bookmarking is the act of saving a web page to visit at a later time. Using a browser-based tool, you can tag a website and visit it again later if you wish. This is a viable alternative to saving social media posts directly to your browser bookmarks. 

Provided you have an internet connection; you can access a site that you have saved via a social bookmark at any time, from anywhere. Lots of people use social bookmarks as a way of gathering and accessing content that inspires and interests them. But how can this help your SEO?

The SEO benefits of social bookmarking 

When used correctly, social bookmarking tools can be an effective way of building your presence online, as bookmarks help Google and other search engines to understand the content on your site. The benefits of social bookmarking include: 

Backlink building 

If content from your site appears on a bookmarking site, it creates a backlink to your website. Social bookmarking backlinks are considered high quality by Google and will help your SEO. 

One of the best ways to drive traffic to your website is to build legitimate, trusted backlinks, and it will help you rank higher on search engines. The fact that social bookmarking boosts your domain authority means that you can rank for relevant keywords more easily. 

Speed of indexing 

New sites often experience difficulties when it comes to indexing. Search engines crawl the web looking for new data and updates, and when Google stores the data, it is referred to as indexing. 

It can take a while for Google to find fresh content on a new website, but social bookmarks help Google’s bots identify your content more quickly. Therefore, it speeds up the indexing process and helps your content rank more quickly.

Increased traffic 

Social bookmarks can also increase traffic to your website. When your content is stored on a social bookmarking site, people typically click the link and access your content. 

If they discover content that is engaging and informative, it will likely result in many more website views a month, which will help your numbers significantly. 

Social bookmarking best practice 

As is the case with all of your SEO tactics, there are a number of things you need to think about before attempting social bookmarking, as we explore below.

Site authority 

There are lots of social bookmarking sites out there, but there’s little point in wasting your time with low authority sites. Posting your content on spammy sites will actually harm your site’s rankings and hinder your SEO. 

The likes of Twitter, Reddit, and Pinterest are great places to get started with social bookmarking and come with the relevant authority to ensure your content isn’t at risk of being marked as spam.

Complete your profile 

When you create a profile on a social bookmarking site, make sure you complete your profile. The information you include should be consistent with other content you have shared online. 

This will help search engines index your site and ensures consistency of brand, no matter where you share information about your business. 

Engage 

Once you’ve created a profile on a social bookmarking site, be sure to engage with your audience and followers. Share your content regularly and take part in discussions. 

Social bookmarking is most effective when you’re active and engaged, so it’s best to choose one or two platforms that you can regularly maintain instead of spreading yourself too thinly across multiple sites.

The bottom line is that social bookmarking can be an effective component of any backlink-building strategy. Discover how Footprint can help you build a legitimate, high-quality backlink profile for your business today. 

Telephone

02071831022

Address

FootPrint, 8 Lee Street

London, E8 4DY

© 2022 All Rights Reserved.

Footprint is a trading name of Footprint PR Ltd

Do online directories still have value as backlinks in 2022?

SEO companies and individual web developers have been using online directories to build backlinks for a long time now. But is this still a viable SEO tactic in 2022? 

The death of directories? 

When the internet first arrived in our lives, very few people and organisations actually had websites. As the number of sites slowly started increasing, so too did the presence of web directories. 

Directories played an important role because it was necessary to recall the name and URL of the website you wanted to find. After all, these were the days before keyword searching via Google and other search engines became possible. Therefore, directories like Yahoo were established, which listed websites under various categories and subcategories, making it easier for people to find what they were looking for on the web.

As websites became more and more prevalent in the early 2000s, search engines started to emerge as a viable alternative to web directories. Typing a keyword into a search engine is much simpler and time-efficient than scanning through a web directory to find what you’re looking for. 

The key difference with search engines is that they are powered by algorithms, which ultimately decide how and where a specific website would rank. Google powered to the forefront of everyone’s consciousness, replacing the likes of Yahoo! at the top of the tree in a relatively short space of time. 

Are web directories still used today?

Although web directories have been usurped by search engines, they are still used by some people, albeit not for their intended purpose. People quickly realised that web directories could be used for link building, as you could pay a relatively small sum of money to be featured on the first page. 

But this led to a huge problem with people and organisations spamming web directories, and Google now penalises people who rely heavily on web directories as a primary source for their SEO strategies. 

The main reason why web directories won’t help your SEO a great deal is because they don’t add much value to users, given the amount of spam within the sites. What’s more, web directories are no longer actively managed as they don’t generate anywhere near as much income as they once did. In other words, they’re not really a viable SEO tactic.

The heyday for link building via web directories is undoubtedly over, but they might still have a minimal impact on your overall page rankings, in the same way, that any other site that links to your site does. 

But the key thing to remember is that Google doesn’t look favourably on web directory listings, and posting backlinks to directories is not likely to have a positive impact on your SEO. 

To explore link-building strategies that work, reach out and speak to one of the Footprint team today.

Telephone

02071831022

Address

FootPrint, 8 Lee Street

London, E8 4DY

© 2022 All Rights Reserved.

Footprint is a trading name of Footprint PR Ltd

Drop the Anchor: Anchor text best practice explained

Anchor text is the clickable text in a hyperlink, and it can make a big difference to your SEO. As well as directing your audience to a specific resource, the anchor text provides search engines with integral contextual information about the content of the link’s destination. 

Dropping the anchor 

The anchor text on a website is the visible words displayed in blue by a hyperlink, which enables you to direct your audience to a specific location on your site or elsewhere on the internet. Search engines use anchor texts to rank a page based on what they perceive it to be about. Therefore, useful, descriptive, and relevant anchors can help your site rank, even if certain key phrases don’t appear within the text itself. 

There are several different types of anchor text to be aware of: 

Exact-match 

If your anchor text includes a key phrase that mirrors the page it is linking, it is deemed an exact-match. For example, ‘anchor text’ linking to a page about anchor text. 

Partial-match 

This is anchor text that incorporates a slight variation of the key phrase, such as ‘anchor text best practice’ to a page about anchor text. 

Branded 

You can also use the name of a brand as the anchor text. For instance, ‘Footprints’ directing you to a published article on the Footprints blog.  

Naked link 

Some people use naked links as an anchor, which is just a website URL with no integration. For example, www.footprintpr.co.uk is a naked anchor. 

Generic 

It’s also common to use a generic phrase as an anchor on a website. The likes of ‘click here’ or ‘read more’ are examples of generic anchors. 

Images 

In the instances when an image is linked, the search engine will look to the text within the image’s alt attribute when deciding upon the anchor.

Anchor text best practice 

Anchor text should be succinct, relevant, and not generic. It should also not focus too heavily on your targeted keyword. Although there’s no correct length for anchor text, your goal should be to keep things as concise as possible. 

You should think carefully about how to concisely describe the linked-to page, as well as which word or phrase would motivate users to click on it. 

Link relevancy is also really important as far as anchor text SEO is concerned. Search engines will consider how related page A is to page B, and a relevant and concise link will improve the chances of both pages ranking for queries relevant to their topic. 

Google determines link relevancy by considering the topic of the source page and the content of the anchor text. So, links that point to content that is related to the topic of the source page are deemed as more relevant.

For example, a page about the best exercise bikes will be more relevant in the eyes of Google when it links to a gym’s website than when it links to a site with information about women’s hair products. 

Search engines focus on anchor text variations and consider them as indicators of what the article is about. This will then influence which search queries it will be considered relevant for. So, to ensure your links are relevant, make sure your anchor text is as descriptive of the target page as possible. 

What’s more, following the Penguin algorithm update, Google decided to examine how keywords are being used in anchor text. When too many keywords are used, it can raise suspicion, as it potentially highlights to Google that the links were acquired unnaturally. That being said, it’s still a good idea to use keyword and topic-specific anchors for the most part, but variety is key. 

When it comes to internal link building, make sure you’re not over-reliant on keyword-heavy anchor text. Google might interpret too many internal links with the same anchor text as spammy behaviour, so bear this in mind when creating your text for your internal links.

Contact us to learn how Footprint can help your brand’s SEO or if you have any further questions about anchor text best practices. 

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02071831022

Address

FootPrint, 8 Lee Street

London, E8 4DY

© 2022 All Rights Reserved.

Footprint is a trading name of Footprint PR Ltd

Nofollow links: Are they worth your time & effort?

Diversifying is an important part of creating a natural-looking backlink profile, so nofollow links are inevitably part of this even though they don’t directly impact SEO. The big question is, how can nofollow links positively contribute to your backlink profile if they don’t pass value?

Follow vs. Nofollow Links

The difference between the two is that follow links count as link points within Google’s algorithm so will pass value, whereas nofollow links do not. So, if not to pass link points, what’s the value of nofollow links (if there is any at all)?

The reason behind the creation of nofollow links comes back to Google’s mission for top page rankings to be earnt organically, and not to reward unnatural link building practices. 

The nofollow tag appeared in 2005 as a way to combat spam comments containing backlinks on blogs and news sites. As prior to this, all these links were crawled and assessed in the same way by Google, spam comments were functioning as value passing links on a huge scale. Consequently, all comment links were given the nofollow tag, so they wouldn’t affect page rankings through sheer volume. 

This also affects comments on social media channels (e.g. Facebook, Reddit) as all links on these platforms will be nofollow. This is again, to prevent the use of spam comments and accounts from driving PageRanks up via these channels.

Similarly, nofollow tags are applied to paid links (Ads, paid reviews, etc.) so that a website cannot reach the top page rankings purely by paying for backlinks. This, again, stems from Google’s desire to prioritise gained backlinks and is in place to prevent powerful websites from monetising the process of building backlinks.

When is comes to SEO

Google’s official stance on nofollow links is; “In general, we don’t follow them.”

There is a great deal of debate over the use of “in general” within this statement. It seems to be that in certain situations Google will crawl nofollow links, however, under no circumstances will Google use nofollow links to pass value to a page’s rankings.

It doesn’t necessarily follow that nofollow links are worthless though.

Firstly, Google assesses a multitude of different factors when looking at your website’s backlink profile. As the places in which organic users would link to your site would involve nofollow links, (social media, and blog/news comments,) a profile lacking nofollow links will seem suspicious as it lacks organic votes of trust.

Let’s say a website’s backlink profile is +70% follow links, Google could see this as a manipulated profile because it lacks diversity and penalise the website accordingly. So, a good mix of follow and nofollow links are needed to contribute to a natural link profile that Google will trust.

Secondly, directly passing value to PageRanks is not the only aim of backlinks. Google assesses content on a number of levels, so a nofollow link on a credible website (e.g. Forbes) will be taken into account when Google is assessing the value of your “brand mentions”. A credible network of nofollow links on sites with contextual relevance to your own website, will amplify your follow links and give Google further evidence to trust the authenticity of your site. Additionally, nofollow links on social channels show Google your website is being interacted with currently, and help to build a credible picture of your brand.

Lastly, traffic is always a good thing. Well-placed and relevant nofollow links can provide a great deal of traffic, just as follow links do.

Should I care about nofollow links?

In short, yes!

Nofollow links serve an important role in building a diverse and natural backlink profile. Whilst follow links are directly linked to Google’s PageRank, it’s vital that they are supported with nofollow links – or in other words, a balance between follow/nofollow. Nofollow links are also just as strong as follow links when it comes to driving referral traffic!

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02071831022

Address

FootPrint, 8 Lee Street

London, E8 4DY

© 2022 All Rights Reserved.

Footprint is a trading name of Footprint PR Ltd

Trust Flow & Citation Flow Explained

As Google takes the authority of a website into account when calculating PageRanks, domain authority is an important factor within SEO. Trust & Citation Flow are used as an indication of website authority, so we’ve broken down what they are and how to use them to assess domain authority. 

Trust Flow and Citation Flow are useful insights into how search engines assess a website, and can be important in improving your search engine optimisation both is analysing your own site and any sites used for link building.

Trust Flow

Essentially, Trust Flow is a numerical indication of how reliable a URL will be. 

Trust Flow is presented as a score between zero and a hundred which is an indicator of how good a page’s authority is. A URL’s Trust Flow value is calculated based on the domain it originates in, the quality of existing backlinks and links, and how it sits in comparison to similar trusted websites. The result is a qualitative analysis of the trustworthiness of a URL. Trust Flow, or variations of it, are used for ranking by all search engines.

A Trust Flow of higher than ten is recommended if a website is selling links or sponsored articles. Putting backlinks on websites with a Trust Flow lower than five can negatively impact your website’s authority and own Trust Flow.

Citation Flow

Contrary to Trust Flow, Citation Flow assess the popularity of a URL without factoring in quality.

Citation Flow is also a score between zero and a hundred and can predict the potential influence or reach a URL will have. Citation Flow is calculated based on the number of backlinks your URL has, and also accounts for the Citation Flow of the URL the backlink originates from. Although this is not a qualitative analysis, a backlink from a URL with a high Citation Flow will positively impact your own Citation Flow as it is based on popularity. Backlinks from URLs with high Citation Flow and low Trust Flow will still improve your Citation Flow, but will negatively impact your Trust Flow at the same time. 

The Golden Ratio

The ratio of Trust Flow to Citation Flow is important when assessing a URL’s reliability and potential benefit to your own website. A ratio of one or more is best, as it shows a site is as qualitatively reliable as it is popular, however, a ratio higher than 0.5 is considered good in terms of quality and popularity. 

If a URL’s ratio is below 0.5 this shows poor quality as the Trust Flow is largely outweighed by a high volume Citation Flow. This can be an indication that the URL in question has used spam tactics and low-quality backlinks to build its Citation Flow.

Improving Authority

In order to improve your website’s domain authority and search engine rankings, it is crucial to work on your Trust Flow and Citation Flow. The higher these values are the better you will rank, provided your Citation Flow is not inordinately inflated in comparison to your Trust Flow.

As Trust Flow is a quality-based metric, building up your website’s Trust Flow can take time. Creating authentic backlinks, on sites with high Trust Flow will help improve your own score.  One good-quality backlink is more valuable to your Trust Flow than several lower quality ones. Keeping backlinks within the topic of your website and avoiding irrelevant backlinks can also help. For example, if your website sells phones, linking to other technology sites is useful, but linking to a site selling groceries would not benefit your Trust Flow in the same way.

If your Trust Flow increases, Citation Flow will also increase, however the same is not true of the reverse. Citation Flow will increase naturally from the flow of traffic from wood quality backlinks. Internal linking (linking to other pages within your website) can also benefit your Citation Flow score as search engines do assess the flow of traffic within your website. So a well-structured and easy-to-navigate website will, inevitably, boost your Citation Flow.

In short, Trust Flow and Citation Flow are an important measure of your domain’s authority and are benefitted by quality backlinking which creates organic traffic. 

 

Telephone

02071831022

Address

FootPrint, 8 Lee Street

London, E8 4DY

© 2022 All Rights Reserved.

Footprint is a trading name of Footprint PR Ltd

Where should I point my backlink profile?

Your backlink profile is hugely important when it comes to Search Engine Optimisation. Aside from focusing on the referring domains, the backlink’s destination on your own website is an influential factor in the value the backlinks have.

Diversity

A key factor with backlink profiles is diversity. This doesn’t just apply to the referring domains, but also to the destinations of the backlinks on your own website. 

More often than not, backlinks will point to a website’s homepage. This is good for when you are first building your website’s SEO presence but as your backlink profile progresses so should your link diversity. 

Ideally, you want backlinks leading to a variety of blogs, landing or product pages, as well as your homepage. Obviously, this is dependent on what your website does, but whether you’re selling a product or sharing information, diversity is still important to your backlink profile.

That isn’t to say that you need to make sure every page on your website has multiple backlinks – some pages might not be suitable for backlinking, but it is important to have a good mix of pages within your backlink profile. 

 

Relevance

There needs to be a relationship between the website destination of your backlink and your anchor text, the actual text hyperlinked on the referring domain.

Search engines will assess the relevancy of your anchor text to the target page and factor this in when evaluating the quality of the backlink. Ideally, you want there to be a direct link between the anchor text and the content of the destination page. For example, pointing a backlink towards your homepage from an anchor text mentioning a specific product will not have as positive an impact as linking to that specific product page. Equally, anchor text containing specific keywords from the content of the destination page (e.g. the title of the page) will be far more effective than a generic call to action, such as ‘Click Here’.

Similarly, backlinks do drive traffic and you want users to reach a relevant page after following a hyperlink, rather than then needing to navigate through your website. So making sure your backlink destinations match your anchor text should ensure users find what the anchor text promises and the end of the backlink and thus reduce your bounce rate. 

In essence, the key to creating successful backlinking that search engines will see as good quality is creating a diverse selection of relevant links. For more information on assessing the quality of backlinks and referring domains, you can visit our article on backlink audits.

Telephone

02071831022

Address

FootPrint, 8 Lee Street

London, E8 4DY

© 2022 All Rights Reserved.

Footprint is a trading name of Footprint PR Ltd

FootPRint’s Top Tips for Evaluating the Value of Backlinks

Aside from driving referral traffic, quality backlinks that point towards your website have a trackable effect on your PageRanks. We’ve collected our five best tips for assessing your backlinks to ensure they are having a positive effect on your website.

Referring Domains and Backlink Volume

The first thing to look at is the number of referring domains your backlinks are from and the total number of backlinks you have.

Variation is key here and ideally you want a wide range of domains with a few links on each, rather than a small number of domains with a lot of links on each. Too much of the latter (high volume of links : few domains) can be seen as similar to spam tactics by search engines. Whereas more diversity (low volume of links : many domains) is rewarded by search engines as the varied network of links suggests natural growth and a variety of votes of confidence from other sites.

Referring Domains and Authority

The second factor to consider in relation to your referring domains is their authority.

If a search engine sees a site as spam, any backlinks present are judged as poorer quality than those on trusted sites. Having backlinks which sit on spam sites with poor domain authority can negatively impact your own domain’s authority by association, and consequently lower your PageRanks. Assessing the Trust Flow and Citation Flow of the referring domain is useful for deciding whether it has value to you as a backlink. A backlink on a trusted site is positive for your site’s own Trust Flow and Citation Flow.

You can read more about Trust Flow and Citation Flow and how to analyse their values here.

Referring Domains and Relevance

In regards to referring domains, the last thing to consider is their relevance.

There’s little point in having backlinks on websites that are irrelevant to your own site. Not only will they be of little use in driving traffic, but search engines will judge the backlinks to be lesser in quality because the websites it connects are unrelated. So looking how topically relevant referring domains are can give you an indicator of their value to your backlink profile. 

This relevancy needs to be reasonably specific, there’s no point having a backlink to your website selling phones, on a blog about dishwashers just because they’re both under the banner of technology.

Anchor Text and Backlink destinations

Our fourth tip is to look at the quality of the anchor text, this is the text on the referring domain which is hyperlinked to your own site.

Assessing the anchor text on a linguistic level is useful because search engines look for unnatural phrasing which could be spam. If your anchor text has been made to fit a sentence in an unnatural way, it also makes users less likely to click on the link. So, making sure your anchor text is consistent with the style of the text it sits within will help improve the quality of your backlink.

Additionally, the anchor text’s relevance to the destination of your backlink should also be considered. As spam sites sometimes use irrelevant ‘clickbait’ anchor text to gain traffic, search engines will also look at the link between your anchor text and your website page the backlink leads to. Not only will relevant anchor text improve your backlink’s quality in the eyes of search engines, it will also reduce the bounce rate of your referral traffic.

Referral Traffic

Even if referral traffic isn’t the goal of your backlink, looking at the rate of referral traffic can give you an indication of a backlink’s value to your site.

If a backlink is producing a high volume of traffic it is worth looking at the anchor text and referring domain to analyse what’s working about that backlink specifically. High volumes of referral traffic can positively impact your domain’s authority and consequently PageRank. 

Equally, if a backlink is producing little or no traffic it is worth investigating the referring domain and the anchor text. If a link is producing little traffic and you find it to be of poor quality or a site with a low Trust Flow, it is better to remove it than keep it as its existence will not benefit your backlink profile.

Audit regularly

Auditing your backlink profile regularly is essential for maintaining it. 

Even if you have checked a referring domain before, if a domain’s Trust Flow and Citation Flow have changed, so will the value of any backlinks present there. Maintaining a healthy backlink profile relies on frequent monitoring to ensure backlinks are diverse, relevant, and of a high quality. 

Quality backlinks will always be more useful to your search engine optimization than merely a high volume of backlinks.

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