Let’s face it, keeping up with the ever changing complexity of the SEO you use in your struggle to get your website ranked well in the SERPs is hard work, but of course absolutely necessary. You already know your site needs to look great and have fresh, relevant content, be designed so that it’s easily crawlable by the Googlebots, optimized for page speed, use great well-researched keywords, compelling meta descriptions and title tags, be secure, and be optimized for mobile devices. All of these things have been important to Google for years, and neglecting any of them can hurt your rankings.
But don’t get so caught up in all of those things that you forget to work on building quality external links to your site. Organic traffic like external links is important because search engine algorithms look at them as up-votes for your site from third-parties, a measure of popularity, and they carry a lot of weight. Another reason Google likes them so much is that they consider external links to be one of the most difficult metrics for a webmaster to control and manipulate, and thus more honest.
How Not To Get External Links in 2018
There was a time back in the day when a lot of people got external links to their site the easy way, buy buying them, or by spamming. And for a long time, that worked quite well.
But not anymore. Google caught on to that some time ago and these days using those methods is a risky business. A site that gets caught using such tactics as spamming will probably be punished by Google with a manual action, and they’ve gotten pretty good at spotting it. Not that it doesn’t still happen, go to any blackhat forum and you’ll see tons of people engaging in it, sharing tips and methods for doing it or selling links. But again, it’s risky. Natural earned links are the best way to go for quality links and for staying out of trouble with Google.
Why Organic Traffic Is Important
For the website owner, organic traffic, like that derived from external links, is simply the best way to generate the highest number of clicks, conversions, and sales. It’s much more valuable than paid traffic brought in by advertising and social media. That’s always been true to a certain degree. Links placed on a website, blog, or forum that a potential customer is familiar with and trusts carry more weight than links coming from an advertisement where they know they’re being enticed to buy. And the best thing about it is, it’s completely free.
What Makes A Good External Link?
All the big search engines consider some basic metrics to assess the value of of an external link, including:
- How trustworthy a linking domain is
- How popular the linking page is
- The relevancy between the source and target pages
- The type of anchor text in the link
- The variation between anchor texts between links to a page
- The ownership connection between the two domains
The are a lot of other metrics used, but these are some of the most important.
But maybe the most important thing is relevancy. Google is really big on that these days. The most valuable links coming to your site will be from related sites, from relevant content, and be relevant to your users.
All of this certainly shouldn’t be taken to mean that you should lessen your paid marketing efforts. But make the effort to grow your organic external link base and you’ll be rewarded with better rankings and more sales.