What Are Good Links for SEO? (Benefits + Best Practices)
Landing at the top of Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs) can drive serious traffic to your website, resulting in a meaningful impact on your bottom line. Getting to that coveted top spot generally requires a combination of technical SEO, on-page SEO, and plenty of backlinks.
But what kind of backlinks do you need to be building? Not all backlinks are created equal, so today we’ll dig into which links will really help you meet your SEO goals. These are good links: links that boost your rankings in Google and won’t get you in trouble for shady SEO practices.
What Are Good Links?
First, let’s start with the basics. What is a backlink?A backlink, also known as an inbound link, is a hyperlink on a website that points back to your site. Any text can be used for the link, and it can point to any page on your site.
If you’re new to the world of SEO, get ready to start hearing about backlinks a whole lot. They are one of the fundamental components of any successful SEO campaign.
That’s because Google heavily considers the number and quality of backlinks when calculating the PageRank of a webpage. This ranking determines where a page will appear in Google’s search results.
Since 75 percent of people never look past the first page of the SERPs, improving your PageRank enough be among those top results can significantly increase the traffic to your site.
Since more backlinks mean a higher SERP ranking, you should try to get as many backlinks as possible right? Pump those numbers up!
Except, it’s not that simple. The “pump those numbers up” strategy of the early 2000s led to all kinds of unworthy sites manipulating their rankings by creating a huge volume of backlinks that didn’t really indicate the value of their websites.
With shady link-building strategies, lots of bad links were created. This worked for a little while, but Google caught on (as they always do!). As a result, websites that built a large volume of bad links either had their rankings dramatically reduced or were de-indexed altogether. In other words, they were removed from Google’s search results.
Today, building bad links will yield the same poor results. It isn’t just a question of pumping those numbers up with a high volume of links, but also ensuring they are quality links. Good links are those that indicate to Google that your content is valuable, informative, interesting, and on-topic for your niche or industry. They are also built with sustainable link-building practices that won’t get you thrown in the proverbial Google jail.
Good Links and SEO
Google’s algorithm is always evolving, and it’s a full-time job to try to stay on top of every new update. Most people don’t have time to follow every single update, which is why focusing on building good links from a variety of sources through above-board, sustainable means is the way to go.
Even if Google tweaks its algorithm, your links will still be supporting your SEO links because they’re good links. If instead, you try to trick the algorithm with sketchy backlinks, you can count on getting punished for it eventually even if it works for a little while.
Benefits of Good Links
Any business that operates online – which is to say, just about every business today – can benefit a great deal from improving its SEO performance. That’s exactly what good links can help you achieve.
Here are some of the ways good links will help your business.
Improve SERP rankings
The most direct benefit of gaining more good links is that they will help you climb those SERPs. With the majority of people never bothering to click on the second page of Google, getting on the first page can drive plenty of traffic your way.
Link building does take time, resources, and money if you enlist the help of pros to help you do it, but it also prevents you from having to rely entirely on ad spending to drive traffic to your website.
It can take a while to see results from SEO techniques, but that also works in your favor once you reach the first page of Google. Once you’ve put in the work and built lots of links, you’ll enjoy the fruits of your labor in the form of traffic that you don’t have to pay for from motivated visitors.
Boost your E-A-T
In addition to PageRank, Google has another internal algorithm known as E-A-T. This acronym stands for expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. While the exact mechanism of this algorithm is unknown to those of us outside of Google, it does appear to play a role in page rankings.
It’s always helpful to remember that Google’s goal is to provide searchers with what they’re actually looking for. It aims to deliver the best, most relevant results for users. A high E-A-T score should naturally indicate that your website is worthy of one of those top spots.
Getting mentioned and linked to by relevant, authoritative websites in your niche is an excellent way to signal to Google that your content demonstrates expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness.
Reduce the risk of getting in trouble with Google
Sometimes, bad links happen. You might have engaged in some link-building practices that you’re not proud of in the past, you might be the unfortunate target of a third-party attack to damage your rankings, or one of the websites linking to you might get in trouble with Google, implicating you by association.
Whatever the case, having a robust profile of good links should help protect you from action against your account based on one or two bad links.
Good Links Best Practices
By now, we’ve hopefully convinced you of the value of good links. Now, let’s get into how you can make get more of them, and avoid bad links along the way.
Ensure dofollow and nofollow tags are used correctly
These tags tell Google if a link should be “counted” towards a website’s PageRank. Links with a dofollow tag pass link juice to the website that is being linked, while those with a nofollow tag can still be crawled by Google for indexing purposes but won’t be counted otherwise.
Both on your website and on inbound links to your website, ensure these tags are used correctly. Google only wants authentic, natural links to be “dofollow”, with any kind of link that has been paid for or otherwise influenced getting the nofollow tag.
Of course, many SEOs engage in link-building techniques to generate dofollow links, but if a link is part of a sponsored post, the result of a gift, or otherwise wouldn’t appear organically, make sure it has a nofollow tag.
Conduct backlink audits regularly
A backlink audit will show you all of the backlinks to your website so that you can identify ones that might be problematic.
If you do catch some bad links in there, the first course of action is generally to ask the webmaster to remove them. This usually works, but if you don’t get anywhere with that method, you can also disavow links directly in Google’s console.
Note that this should be used as a last resort, and you should be able to demonstrate that you tried other methods to remove bad links.
Organic links are best
There are lots of ways to get good links, but the best possible links from an SEO perspective are generally those that occur naturally. In other words, your product, service, or content is just so great that people can’t help themselves, they just have to write about it and link back to you.
Create great content
So, how can you get those organic links? One of the best, most time-tested methods, is by creating fantastic content. Google itself advises webmasters to “create helpful, reliable, people-first content” in order to climb the SERPs.
What kind of content do you see on the top pages of Google when you search for keywords in your niche? What do you notice about it? Can you create similar content that is even better than the top search result? These questions can help you zero in on what kind of blog content, videos, or other content you should be creating.
Great content naturally gets shared, giving your rankings a lift even long after you’ve created the content.
Mix up the link text
Good links are varied links. If a bunch of websites link to you in the exact same way, using the same link text, it will look like the result of a campaign rather than organic linking.
Don’t provide keywords for websites linking to you to use. Instead, it’s better to let them use keywords that organically make sense in the context of what they’re writing.
Get links from high-DA sites
DA, or domain authority, is a ranking score that predicts how highly a website will rank in Google. You can use a DA checker to figure out the DA of any website. Focus your link-building efforts on high-DA websites, since these will provide the most link juice.
Good links can come from lower-DA websites too, but the higher the DA, the better from an SEO perspective (provided the website is relevant to your niche).
Study the competition
If you’re not sure where to try to get good links, take a look at the backlink profile of some of your key competitors. This should give you a hint about which websites might be likely to link to you as well.
A backlink gap analysis can help you identify some of these important targets.
Mix up homepage and deep links
The best backlink profiles are varied in many ways. We talked about having a variety of linking websites and using varied link text, but the pages they link to should also show some variety. It wouldn’t be very natural for every website to link only to your homepage.
Instead, try to build deep links as well: these are links to pages within your website other than the home page. For example, a website linking to content such as a blog post would count as a deep link.
Avoid sketchy link-building websites
If a website promises you results that seem too good to be true, they probably are. Link-building is a combination of science and art, and there aren’t really any shortcuts. In general, websites that offer link exchanges or quick links on low-quality websites that syndicate any content sent their way just aren’t worth it. More than likely, you’ll damage your rankings, leaving you worse off than before you started.
Enlist an agency to help
SEO can take a lot of time, and many businesses just don’t have the capacity to handle it in-house. If this sounds like you, consider getting an agency with proven success to help you stay on top of your SEO and to build you lots of good links, the sustainable way.
Good links are the backbone of a successful SEO strategy. Loganix can help you build more of them, while you focus on your business. Get started with an SEO audit to discover how we can help.