As all SEO gurus know, good link building is one of the most important ways you can increase your website’s search engine rankings.
As Google says, “Links are one of the most well-known signals we use to order search results. By looking at the links between pages, we can get a sense of which pages are reputable and important, and thus more likely to be relevant to our users.”
However, when it comes to linking, quality is much more important that quantity. Ideally, your links should be from reputable and relevant sites as these will increase your overall ranking. Unfortunately, because links are so popular, they often become a target for spammers who create unnatural (i.e. low quality) links to your site, which have a negative impact on your ranking.
Fight back against low-quality links with Google’s disavow tool
This is where Google’s handy disavow tool comes in. While Google strongly urges webmasters to manually clean up as many unnatural links to their sites as they can, the disavow tool is another weapon in the arsenal against spammers, allowing webmasters to quickly and easily remove bad links at will.
How to build high-quality links to your site
Since having good quality links is so important for SEO, what are some practices for building good links? Here are a few tips to get you started:
• Aim to create high quality, useful content on your site. A website that offers valuable information will get linked more often from other sites.
• Get linked from authoritative, relevant and industry-specific sites. A link from a site that isn’t relevant won’t drive traffic to your site, nor will it help your page rankings.
• Learn what people are searching for in your industry and write content around those topics to drive more traffic to your site.
• Promote your content through social media channels, bookmarking sites, blog posts, etc.
Some New Year’s resolutions to increase your SEO
Not surprisingly, good linking revolves around the creation and promotion of high-quality content, since content is the single most important aspect of SEO. In addition to content, here are some New Year’s resolutions to help increase your rankings in 2013:
• Start your New Year’s resolution to be consistent. This means creating regular and ongoing content for your site, preferably articles no less than 400 words.
• Go mobile. With more users predicted to be online via mobile than desktop in 2013, businesses simply can’t afford to not have mobile-enabled sites, which are designed to load faster and render text and images correctly.1
• Go easy on ads, especially above the fold. An update to Google’s page layout algorithm, aka “Top Heavy 2”, will cause sites with too many ads above the fold to have their ratings affected.
• Do more guest blogging – it’s a great way to get exposure as well as linked from more sites.
As we head towards the New Year, good content will continue to be the single most important factor in getting your site linked from the kinds of sites that will increase your search rankings.
And with the introduction of Google’s new disavow tool, webmasters will have another way to keep bad links at bay. However, as Google warns, the tool is not enough. Webmasters will still have to remain vigilant against bad links while doing everything they can to increase the number of good links.
This article represents the views of the author only and not those of American Express.
Kathleen has a degree in marketing with over 10 years experience in the IT field as a database developer and web designer. As a freelance writer, Kathleen has written for several publications across Australia as well as for various business and hi-tech blogs online.