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Backlinks are hypertext links for Internet users to go from website A to website B. They are also used by crawler robots in order to explore the web and discover new pages or websites to be indexed.

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Backlinks are used to develop a website’s popularity in order to obtain better organic ranking. They are proof of a website’s relevance. Search engines analyze links that point to a website as a popularity index. The more backlinks a website has, the more popular it is. However, quantity is not everything, these links must be qualitative and meet certain criteria.

Definition of Netlinking

Netlinking refers to all the links from external websites that point to a website. A netlinking strategy is based on generating external links from websites sharing a common theme and with a good reputation in order to improve a website's reputation on Google. Indeed, Google highlights websites with a high reputation in its search results.

The objective is therefore to gain popularity, positions, as well as traffic.

Criteria of a good link

First of all, not all links carry the same weight in Google's eyes. Several criteria will determine if a link is judged qualitative or not. Here is a list of the elements to follow, along with some examples:

  • the source page a backlink must come from a web page with the same theme as the source page. There must be a logical link (yes!) between the source and the recipient.

If a bike seller links to a hair salon website, the relevance between the two is a bit far-fetched.

The theme of the referent site in brief

  • the quality of the source page : the link must come from a popular page i.e. one with a high PageRank. We consider that a link is good if it comes from a page that has a Trust Flow of at least 40 (this score varies from 0 to 100). So if a site has a high authority and mentions you, well you gain credibility in the eyes of Google and increase your authority as well.
  • the position of the site on Google : indeed if there is a proof of trust granted and visible by Google, it is to give you a good place in the search results. It is a criterion more and more taken into account by SEOs since it is also synonymous with traffic.

The contextualisation of the link in brief

  • where your link is located: each page of a site does not have the same importance and therefore the same strength or weight. Thus homepages are often the strongest pages since they receive the most external links. It is also important to pay attention to the location of the link on the page. Indeed it must be contextualized, that is to say located in the editorial content of the page and preferably at the beginning of the page.
  • diversification of sources: this criterion corresponds to the quantity of links. The rule to follow here is very simple: it is better and more effective to have 100 links from different sources than 100 links from a single site.
  • the choice of the link anchor : the text of thelink anchor i.e. the clickable part on which the link is set up, must be relevant to the theme i.e. describe and correspond to the content that the Internet user will find on the destination page. It is important to avoid over-optimization of link anchors, in which case you could be penalized by Google. This means using the same anchor containing the targeted keyword on each backlink.

Links examples

Very good link the anchor is perfectly contextualized, within a paragraph, which talks about the same subject as the landing page.

netlinking-illustration-tres-bon-lien

Good link the anchor is not perfect (we’d have preferred having the anchor on the word “mattress” instead of the brand name “Tediber”) but it’s still contextualized i.e. in a paragraph that talks about mattresses.

netlinking-illustration-bon-lien

Medium links these anchors are average or even useless because they are not contextualized. The link should have been placed on a relevant anchor in order to influence the page’s position on a specific keyword.

netlinking-illustration-means

Bad links the anchor to which the link is affixed is useless, and not interesting because it’s not a strategic keyword.

netlinking-bad-link-anchor

Follow and Nofollow links in brief!

The importance of dofollow vs. nofollow

Let’s quickly remind you that a dofollow link on the web means that search engine bots (like Googlebot) follow that link to the following pages, and thus give reputation to the pages linked from that link in their algorithms. Conversely, it’s possible to add a "nofollow" attribute to tell Google not to follow the link. In this case, the source page’s reputation is not passed to the link it sends traffic to. Therefore, it’s essential to put the netlinking links in dofollow so that they are visible to Google, and so benefit your SEO strategy.

How do I know if a link is dofollow or nofollow?

When a link is in "dofollow", there is no particular indication. It’s only when a link is in "nofollow" that you have an indication such as “rel= “nofollow” in the page’s HTML code on which the link appears. To check a link on a particular page, “right click” and then “inspect”. 

DoFollow:

netlinking-lien-dofollow

NoFollow:

netlinking-lien-nofollow

The best netlinking strategies

Which page to link to?

Guest blogging: using blogger notoriety to boost SEO

Guest blogging is based on inviting experts to post on their blog to provide original content. It’s a free source of content for the blog. And the guest blogger benefits most of the time from a dofollow backlink, and thus gains visibility. In addition to that, the guest blogger positions himself/herself as an expert. This practice is carried out by influencers or bloggers who have a near or similar theme in order to make a win-win exchange. 

Content marketing and linkbaiting

This is the most natural netlinking technique, which is why it’s also the most difficult. This strategy is based on content production so that bloggers or webmasters who read your articles want to spontaneously link to your website. It’s therefore necessary to write original, unique and qualitative articles, which is no small task! Here are some content ideas to attract those backlinks:

  • Try a product or test a tool: then, mention the product’s brand or the tool’s creator in your article
  • Write a “best…” list, and contact the brands or websites you have mentioned
  • Write an article that summarizes a conference or congress, and inform the conference speakers

Sponsored articles in brief!

Sponsored articles 

Sponsored content is with no doubts one of the most effective netlinking methods, but also one of the most expensive. Sponsored articles are a great source of income for bloggers. These articles are written by the blogger or a copywriter, depending on the agreements. 

In the first case, you purchase the sponsored article directly from the website owner.  

In the second case, you purchase the article via specialist platforms such as Rocketlinks or Getfluence which will serve as intermediaries between publishers (bloggers and influential websites) and brands.

Some rules to follow

Before embarking on this strategy, it’s important to make a list of criteria that will help you decide from the multitude of partners available. You should pay attention to the following criteria:

  • The article’s size and the number of words
  • The tone used: in fact, depending on the target audience, it’s important to know whether the tone should be formal, familiar, humorous, etc.
  • The article’s theme: it’s better to choose a blogger or a website that already knows the topic, so that they use the right vocabulary 
  • Good examples: this last point completes the third one. It’s easier to illustrate what we say when we are experienced on a particular topic
  • The content must be SEO optimized: it seems logical but for the article to be well positioned it’s a step that should be checked and not be overlooked 

Expired areas

Purchasing expired domain names is a very interesting option since it gives you the domain notoriety. However, do not go for the most attractive ones without checking a few conditions beforehand. You have to be careful on some steps. In fact, it can be compromising to buy a domain penalized by Google. Here are some criteria to take into account:

  • Prefer old websites: this is a guarantee of trust in Google’s eyes
  • Availability (immediate or not)
  • Website’s PageRank
  • Trust Flow and Citation Flow metrics given by Ahref and Majestic SEO

The most controversial netlinking strategies

The PBN

Websites’ networks called PBN (Private Blogging Networks) are generated for the purpose of increasing a target website’s popularity. This practice consists of creating several websites, and linking to them in order to increase their notoriety, and then link from them to the main website. This technique is often associated with black hat seo and is prohibited by Google.

netlinking-illustration-pbn

This strategy works if it’s well done. It works if you manage to avoid being noticed by Google and/or the competitors who can report you if they discover the scheme through the Google's spam report tools. 

There are web professionals who use this practice because it works if it’s well done. However, it takes time, money (purchase of all the necessary links to gain notoriety), and is not viable in the long run because sooner or later the “hidden” strategy will be discovered, and everything will be lost.

Directories

It’s probably not the first time you’ve heard of it! This strategy is one of the oldest used by web professionals, is it still essential and effective?

Standard directories and link farms are to be banned. Also, this step should be done at the website’s launch to boost it a bit, we recommend that you get between 10 and 15 with good Trust Flow and Citation Flow. The massive link acquisition techniques used in the past are no longer to be followed, prefer directories that have traffic. 

Generalist directories are the most common, the concern being that they do not cover any particular topic, so their scope is very limited.

Here are some directories we have tested and recommend:

Being present in local directories is essential for local referencing. 

And among them, the essential Google My Business listing. It’s a business card, the one that gives you credibility with Google and Internet users. On this page, you list your contact details, opening hours, customer reviews, upcoming events and much more. To learn how to optimize it, download our white paper.

Forums and webprofiles

Webprofiles are forums or websites on which you can become a member. From this profile it’s possible to link to an external website. This type of practice’s downside is that the link is often lost on a page in the middle of nowhere, often in nofollow, and the webprofile is sometimes not indexed (because behind a login screen). 

The practice on forums is similar to that of web profiles: the link is added to a post on a topic, if relevant, then it’s a good link. Once again you need to make sure that the forum pages index correctly and that the links are dofollow links.

Comments

Nowadays most blogs and websites that have a comments section put the links in nofollow because of abuse (spam) related to past practices. However, don't be discouraged by the idea of using this technique! Indeed, if a comment is relevant, people will click on the link and you will gain traffic. In addition, having a proportion of nofollow links is more natural in Google’s eyes. It also helps you be less selective about blogs and websites’ choices to post on.

Press releases

Press releases are also one of the old methods SEOs use to easily get links to their websites. Some of them have been penalized by Google because they were too numerous, and because of the lack of quality offered. That’s why you should avoid those who have no editorial guidelines, little traffic, or who are full of over-optimized link anchors. Once these criteria have been validated, you will obtain quality, natural links, resulting from long-term work (demanding in terms of number of words written) because the contents are not always validated (they must be unique).

Conclusion

Now you know all the advantages and disadvantages of the different netlinking strategies. Some are more relevant than others depending on the sector and communication means. We recommend that you prioritize quality over quantity. It’s quite possible to do some of this netlinking work on your own. However, be aware that it’s a time-consuming work, sometimes off-putting depending on the technique used, but worth it in the long term! !

Netlinking is an essential technique in SEO, sooner or later you will have to get started. That’s why it’s important to carefully choose the partner who will support you throughout your project.

We are available to assist you in this process, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

   Article written by Louis Chevant

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