The Anatomy of a Great Backlink

While the concept behind backlinking is the same as it has always been, the practice of actually creating these links is a little bit different. In general, the current trend in SEO leans heavily toward authoritative sites written by experts, and backlinking practices reflect this.

A few years ago, a good backlink existed inside the text. Generally, the keyword in a text was linked back to the site that was built around the keyword. When a visitor reviewed the page, she could click the linked word to be taken to a site that would ostensibly provide more information about that keyword.

Today, this type of keyword-based linking is no longer preferred and can in fact be penalized by Google. The reason is largely because such links now appear spammy after several years of over-use. Readers are often reluctant to click on these embedded links because they aren’t sure where the link is heading and don’t know whether it’s safe and informative.

Instead of using keyword-based backlinks, focus instead on using links that are more academic in nature. You can build your links in many ways:

  • Link to a website by using its title or bare URL within the text of the article.
  • Use an obvious linking phrase such as “find more information here.”
  • Make a list of sources at the end of an article. Use footnotes if necessary. This lends a page a sense of authority by mirroring academic citations.
  • Reserve your backlink for your author biography at the end of an article rather than stuffing it inside the article itself.

The value of these links is that they make it clear to the reader what she is about to click on and why it’s valuable. In today’s virtual landscape, gaining the trust of visitors is your most important job as a website creator.

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