Netlinking : Backlink strategy

Definition and objectives of a backlink strategy

A backlink (also called incoming link) is a hypertext link placed on a web page coming from an "external" website which points to a page of your website.

The netlinking strategy consists in getting backlinks from quality external websites. The terms incoming links, inbound links or backlinks are equivalent.

The objective of a netlinking strategy is simply to promote your website on the Internet by improving its popularity and therefore its visibility for users who are interested in the content of your website.

Most backlinks are acquired as users find your website and decide to talk about it, linking back to your content.

It is also possible and accepted by Google that website owners accelerate the visibility of their websites by promoting them on other websites (press releases, sponsoring events ...).

However, be careful not to hunt for backlinks that could seriously harm your reputation and therefore your SEO. Your backlink should be as "natural" as possible.

What is a natural backlink?

A natural backlink is an incoming link to your website that you have made no efforts to obtain.

A natural backlink is established when the owner of a website or a blog decides, on their own, to link to your site because they believe their audience is interested in your content.

Here are some hints for detecting a website with artificial backlinks:

  • A website with too many outgoing links
  • External links in the footer
  • A page dedicated to outgoing links.
  • Outgoing links unrelated to the main subject of the linking site.

Penalized actions are :

  • buying links on a referring website or directory
  • a link exchange with a website, also called a reciprocal link. The referring website also asks you to place a link to it in exchange for linking to yours.

How to implement an effective net linking strategy?

To set up a backlink strategy or an efficient, sustainable netlinking strategy, a number of criteria must be respected.

1) The domain names of your backlinks must be of good quality

The "source" domains of the backlinks (incoming links) must be good quality domains. By quality we mean «with influence» and «popularity» regarding the theme you are targeting. Therefore, choose backlinks on a few websites which well known by your target rather than backlinks on a big number of websites far from the theme of your website.

Therefore, it’s not the quantity, but the quality of the backlinks which counts.

2) The variety of the source domains of the backlinks

The source domain names is very important for justifying the relevance of the netlinking strategy. The more backlinks you receive from different sources, the more credible you will look.

Indeed, some websites try to place backlinks on a large number of pages of the same website. Unless the different pages of the website linking back treat really different subjects always related to your website, this is useless.

3) Strong backlink Page Rank and source domain with few external links.

The source pages of the website making the backlink should ideally have a high PageRank (greater than yours or equal to it) and must also contain a minimum of external links. In fact, the greater the reputation of the source page of the website making the backlink, the more it brings weight and credibility to the page targeted by the incoming link.

4) Common themes for a good Backlink strategy

If you want the backlink to have a positive impact on your SEO, the targeted page and the source page should be very close from a semantic point of view. They should deal with a similar theme so that the incoming link should appear logical and natural. To define the link between two pages, search engines analyze the lexical context surrounding the tags of the exchanged links.

Also, by linking to websites dealing with similar subjects you can address similar communities, which could thereby bring you quality traffic that will convert more easily.

5) The backlinks should use the tag <a href>

The backlinks should be « hard » links, which means they should appear on the website with the classic tag <a href>.

Also, check if the backlink is marked as "nofollow", which will decrease its impact on your reputation.

Verify the method of inserting links present on the website which links back to yours. Avoid complicated techniques using javascript code on the onclick event.

6) Alternate content and link titles for the backlinks

A returning link <a href> on a referring website contains the following items on which you can intervene:

  • The URL of the page on which the link is placed
  • a link title which appears when the mouse hovers over the text.
  • the content, especially a clickable text.

For more details, read the article on URLs.

For example:

For full effectiveness of the returning link, fill out these three fields. Changing content and link titles are actions appreciated by the search engines. So avoid automatically placing the same text and the same keywords on your backlinks. You must be more creative than that !

7) Netlinking strategy and social networks

Right now, backlinks coming from social networks seem to be accepted by Google. Feel free to focus on this source of backlinks.

As part of your netlinking strategy, you should however avoid the promotion of each product or service that you offer so as not to « harass » the users. Concentrate on the important aspects and contents, which could be more attractive for your audience.

8) Links coming from blogs

The backlinks coming from blogs also contribute to the reputation of your site since they are advised by Google.

If you want the backlink coming from a blog to be efficient and win the trust of the community, be transparent and publish the messages under your real name or brand. Post messages regularly to become an expert in your field. Thus, this netlinking strategy will allow you to improve your reputation and to generate quality traffic on your website.