Chapter One: SEO (Search Engine Optimization), How Does it Work Exactly?
The term SEO (Search Engine Optimization) has been used extensively by many online marketing agencies for a long time. It is therefore not surprising that you now read for the umpteenth time about optimizing your website to score higher in the search engines. On-site and off-site search engine optimization techniques. You may be aware that SEO can be divided into the following two categories:
- On-site website Search engine Optimization (To be influenced by providing the website with good content, HTML tags and user-friendly architecture).
- Off-site search engine Optimization techniques (aspects such as good quality links from other websites, the extent to which you talk about your company on social media channels and the trust that exists in your products/services
What do you already know about SEO?
You have probably heard and read a lot about Search Engine Optimization in the past. A nice fact is: It’s ALL true! It is correct that…
- The use of SEO helps to make a website rank high in the search engines.
- High rankings in the search engines (often) for additional visitors are going to take care of.
- More visitors can indeed result in more potential customers.
- But what do you need to know about SEO?
- Here are a few points that you may apply because it is recommended to you, but can be counterproductive. Google always assesses websites more humanely and manipulation is now guaranteed to be punished
- SEO is more than just placing a lot of keywords in texts (more keywords means no better ranking).
- Link building by putting as many links as possible on other websites works against, you! Only good quality links have a positive influence.
- SEO is not magic, but a matter of learning to understand search engines.
- SEO requires not only time but also commitment, creativity and knowledge.
- SEO starts with you and not with an online marketing company.
- SEO is free when you do this yourself, but time is money.
- You can learn to execute SEO in the right way.
- SEO is tailor-made, so not available in packages.
- SEO, as it was still successful three years ago, does not work anymore! The algorithm of Google (calculation of your position in the search results is based) changes regularly. If you still work according to the old SEO principles, you may find that when you update the algorithm, you will drop significantly in the search results in one fell swoop.
Does SEO apply to my website?
This is a question where every entrepreneur or marketer has to stand still before anything is done online. Of course, SEO can be used for almost every website. But do you need SEO at the moment? We do not ask this question to saddle you with question marks. But what you need to be aware of is that the use of SEO without a clear online objective is a chance operation that can waste a lot of time, money and energy.
When does SEO apply to your company?
Your company is ready for SEO if it meets the following three criteria:
- You want to generate more leads (for example, quotation requests / completed contact forms) and sales via your website.
- The online marketing objectives have been established.
- Your target group is looking for your products and services through the search engines.
If one of the three points mentioned above is not up to standard for your company and you are still going to work with SEO, then the chances are that sooner or later you will stop your efforts due to a shortage of results.
Search Engine Optimization Cost
As indicated earlier, Performing SEO, if you do it yourself, is free. If you hand it over, you pay a search engine optimization agency for their time, knowledge and expertise. An average online marketing company asks between € 75 and € 85 per hour. The final SEO costs, therefore, depend on:
The amount of time you want to stop yourself in the SEO activities.
To what extent are you willing to hire a search engine specialist?
Chapter 2: How People Deal with Search Engines
One of the essential elements in setting up an online marketing strategy for SEO is empathy for your audience. The moment you understand what your target group is looking for, you can achieve and maintain it more efficiently. In general, three types of organizations can be distinguished about search via search engines.
- ‘Do’: this group is actually out on buying, contacting etc.
- ‘Know’: this group is looking for information.
- ‘Go’: this group is looking for a particular website you want to go to, e.g. Facebook, a football club etc.
The most crucial question that search engines ask themselves is: Do the visitors on the website get the information they want? The responsibility of the search engine is to show relevant websites to their visitors. So ask yourself clearly why the visitors come to your website and deliver it. Google is the number 1. What is also striking is that only 3% of internet users on the desktop do not use a search engine. This means that they go directly to a particular website. The rest of the internet users to use search engines. A good ranking in Google is therefore of great importance.
Chapter 3: Reason for search engine marketing
An essential aspect of search engine marketing is making your website easy for both visitors and search engine robots. Although the search engines have become increasingly smart, they still cannot read a web page as a person can. SEO helps the search engine understand what is on the web page and how the page can meet the wishes of the visitor.
Imagine. You place an image of your company. In the description you use abbreviations. The search engine does not understand the abbreviations. How do you ensure that the search engine optimally understands your website? Understanding the possibilities and limitations of the search engine provides that you place your content in a way that the search engine follows. Without search engine marketing a website can be invisible.
The limitations of search engine technology
The search engines index all pages. Below are some problems listed:
- Content that cannot be found in the front. An example is a site where the content can be found after you have logged in.
- Duplicates of pages are a problem because the search engine sometimes has trouble finding the original page.
- Poor link structure can ensure that the search engine does not link all pages together.
- No clear alt-text and description when using media can cause problems when indexing.
- In addition to problems with indexing, the search engines may have difficulty linking search queries to the content.
The technical details of search engine friendly web design are essential, but search engine marketing will be necessary to get a good ranking. The search engines do not have any formulas themselves that can gauge the quality of the content on the web. Instead, the technology behind the search engine relies on the relevance and importance of the content by looking at the response of the visitors, what they discover, what comments they make and what the content links to. That is why it is essential that there is talk about the content and there are references.
The way search engines ‘rank’ changes continuously. How the search engines develop is uncertain and unknown. What is certain is that it remains essential to go along with the changes. To increase traffic and improve visibility, it is necessary to keep abreast of the latest developments and to enable assistance from professionals with experience.
Chapter Four: The Basis of Search Engine Friendly Design and Development
Search engines are still limited when it comes to crawling and interpreting websites. A web page for a visitor is not always the same as for a search engine. In this section, we discuss some fundamental and technical aspects so that the search engines can properly crawl and index your website.
- Indexable content
The most important thing to get well indexed in search engines is the correct use of HTML. Flash, images, videos and other non-text content cannot yet be indexed. However, there are always ways to work around here so that something can be indexed, but I will not go into detail here. Many websites are not yet optimally protected against non-index content, visit seo-browser.com to view your website as a search engine does.
- Crawlable link structure
Besides the fact that search engine must-read content, it is also essential that these can follow the links on your website, for which an explicit link structure is significant. The spider of the search engines will crawl all internal links but also all external links. An error in your link structure and it may be that for example 100 pages are not indexed. To give a concrete example page A has internal links to page B & C, B & C links to D & E. However, before the spider gets here, it first has to crawl pages B & C if there is an error here than these pages will not be crawled and also not indexed. Your page may still be as search engine friendly as he likes, if there are no links to it, it will not be indexed.
The A href = part is the first part of a link; it is used to open the link, then the URL location of the link or more plainly the page to where the link will point. This part ensures that your link text becomes clickable. Finally, the link is closed with the </a> tag. Of course, the left can contain many other elements, but this is the basis of a structured link.
Why are some pages not available?
- The underlying pages cannot be reached because a form must first be filled in
- Referring to a blocked page to the left using the robots.txt
- Links in flash, java or other non-indexable plugins
- Links on pages with a quantity of poor qualitative links
Keywords are, as already indicated, an important element when it comes to indexing a page. By one or more keywords, your page will appear in the search results. You may take the golden rule, the more detailed or detailed your keyword, the easier it will appear in the search results. I give an example:
VW Golf 5 to 98,100,000 results
VW Golf 5 to 10,000,000 results
As you can see, this is a huge difference in results; if you take your keywords a bit more specifically, also called longtail keywords, this will take less work to rank on premium keywords. If you are niche or sector oriented, try to distinguish yourself from your competitors by using these longtail keywords, which are more specific and will, therefore, attract more targeted visitors.
Are you willing to go a step further with your search engine optimization, keep these points in mind:
Use the keyword in the title tag.
Let the keyword come back at least 2 to 3 times in your body text of the website. The more extensive your text, the more you can let this come back
Use your keyword at least once in the alt attribute of an image.
Place the keyword in the URL of the relevant page.
Place the keyword at least once in the meta description of your website.
Chapter Five: What is link building?
Link building is obtaining relevant links on other sites that refer to their site. Link building aims to attract more visitors to the website. Also, link building is essential for findability in Google. Google sees the links from other websites to your website as votes. If you get a lot of votes, you also get more appreciation from Google. This rating ensures that your website scores better in search engines than websites with few backlinks.
- Qualitative links
The internet is based on links between websites. All websites are linked to a large network; the Internet. Link building is obtaining good, qualitative links to your website. Such an (external) link can be seen as a vote on your website. Search engines reward websites that have received a lot of votes from other websites, so your website will increase in search results.
- Quality links
When collecting external links (link building), it is not just about the number of links to your website. The links that you receive must be relevant to the subject of the website in the first place. You can approach sites yourself and ask them to place a link to your website. You will be linked to your site more quickly if your site contains unique and valuable information. If you have collected a lot of external links, this will have a positive effect on your position in the search results. A link from a popular website has more value than a less popular website. Also, it is also essential which text is given to the link. This text is called the ‘anchor text’. The anchor text of a link is the clickable part of the text link. This gives visitors and search engines a hint about the subject of the page you link to.
Link bait is a way of link building where you do not explicitly ask for a link, but “fish” for a link. With link bait, you attract the attention of other internet users with the aim of placing a link to your website. This could, for example, be a newsworthy article, a useful tool or an exciting video.
- Internal links
With internal links, the links within your website are meant. The internal link structure is essential for search engine optimization. With the inner link structure, you can tell search engines which pages are the most important. With internal links, it is also essential that you provide a relevant anchoring text to the link.
SEO link building
The short explanation of link building is: collecting links from other websites to your website. Search engines index the internet in the way that a regular user also surfs the web; clicking on links and going from one page to another and from one website to the next. But that is not the whole story about SEO link building! If it only concerned collecting as many external links as possible, link building was simple. However, Google looks at many more things than just the number of links:
- What is the quality and authority of the page with the link on it?
- Is the subject of the page where the link is related to the subject of the page to which the link refers?
- Does the website where the link is on contains good content, or is it only built for link building?
- What is the total link profile of your website, is there a natural pattern?
- What is the total link profile of the website with the link on it?
- How many other external links are there on the page?
- Is there an anchor text in the link, is it a text link?
- Can the link be followed or is there a so-called ‘no-follow’ attribute included in the link?
- Is it a direct link or is it via a referral?
- Is the link on a working page in your website or on a 404 error message?
- Is it a paid link?
- Are all links going to the homepage or subpages?
- Has the number of links to your website grown (too) fast?
Link building: Ensure a Natural Link Profile
Building a good link profile affects your positions in Google, but that is more difficult and complex than it seems. Forcing work on as many links as possible, possibly outsourced to a link building agency that does that for you, can be counter-productive. The abuse of link building is heavily penalized by Google and can result on your website completely disappearing from Google. Good and severe link building can, however, give excellent results.
Chapter Six: How to Find High-Quality Links
Backlinks are links from other websites to yours. These backlinks always formed the basis of Google’s algorithm (SEO) because they were seen as recommendations. When Google first came into being, the basis of the rating system for showing search results was based on how many backlinks a site had. Google found that if a lot of sites link to a particular website, that website should have a high value and thus it is placed high in the search results. Each link was seen as a ‘vote’ for your website. These voices (backlinks) together determined your ‘website popularity’ and to measure this popularity of your website Larry Page called the so-called PageRank in life. This is a kind of rating of 0-10 for your website, which is only determined by the number and value of inbound links.
Terms in link building
Pagerank (PR) can be seen as a popularity rating from 0 to 10 that Google assigns to individual web pages. The higher the PageRank of a particular page, the higher Google catches it. Web pages can pass PageRank by placing links, making the receiving page more powerful. The page is leaking ‘link juice’.
- No Follow
The No Follow attribute was created to prevent spam. No follow links do not pass PR to the other site, and by including the no follow attribute at a link, the webmaster says: Google, I am not responsible for this link, so do not follow him. It reduces the chance that someone places such a link because he is not followed anyway. ‘Regular’ Do Follow Links neatly pass their PR to other sites. If you link to another website, you can make these links by default no follow (the fastest this goes with a plugin), and that’s how the PageRank value stays on your site. On the other hand, a good link deserves a ‘vote’, and the chance that the other webmaster will notice your quality link is quite big. You express your appreciation in this way, and you play in the spotlight with the other person.
- Do Follow
As a webmaster, you want links to your site, but then Google has to follow them. So you need do follow links, preferably from web pages with a high PR and few outbound links. Some webmasters have their website or weblog Do Follow. Google follows the links in the text and comments neatly. It generates a lot of reactions and visitors, and perhaps potential customers are among the ‘left-wing’. Finally, you earn money from people, not from search engines. If you let your site do follow, then moderating is essential.
Are no follow links still worthwhile?
Although Google does not follow them, readers may do that, and that will give you visitors. Also, Google looks at the diversity of your links. Backlinks with only the same anchor text or links that are only do follow are not credible.
What is a qualitative backlink now? For that you have to take into account some things:
If the site that links to you has nothing to do with yours, then Google does not find the link relevant and will therefore not yield much. For example, A link from a website about entrepreneurship to a website with marketing information is relevant and thus of added value. A website about gardening with a link to a website about marketing is irrelevant and will, therefore, contribute less to your ranking. Building a natural link profile ensures that you will not be penalized algorithmically or manually by Google due to backlink practices. A natural link profile means that links come from all sorts of different websites and refer to all sorts of different pages and articles on your website. Below you can see an example of such a natural link profile
- Anchor text
Google wants to know what a link to another website represents. Therefore a piece of text that is linked is qualitatively better than naming a domain name. Ensure that links from other websites do not all use the same anchor text. Previously it was good to make your main search terms clickable to your website. However, since Google’s Penguin update, anchor text over-optimization is being penalized. Here too, you now want to have a natural profile of incoming clickable texts. Below is the distribution:
Natural anchor text profile
- Title attribute
You can compare a title attribute with an alt tag with a picture. It is the title of the link. When you hang your mouse over a link, it appears. This title, as it were, shows the title of the underlying page and contributes to your findability on that word combination.
- Reputation of the source
This is an essential one; Google also looks at the reputation of the webpage (not the website) with a link backlink. If I get a backlink from a page on a website that does not have a strong reputation at all, it will not have any impact either. For example Twitter.com has a PageRank of 9, which is exceptionally high. Now you may also understand that when you point all your backlinks to your homepage, your homepage will also be the page that becomes the strongest on your website. If you have a blog then this is fine, your new blog posts are always on the homepage and immediately take a strong position. However, if you want to score specific search terms with particular articles, make sure that you have specific backlinks for those articles.
How do you get backlinks?
There are many different ways to get backlinks. Below we discuss the most critical and most common, and we advise you to use or not to use the link building technique.
To start your “link building,” you can log on to some start pages. Nowadays, this tactic is less potent than before. Because a homepage reports less value to each link, the more links there are on the page, some home pages are not very valuable. Also, try to pay attention to relevance by choosing a home page that is as close as possible to the subject of your website. You can even start a start page yourself, for example, one of the previously mentioned start pages. If you visit it, you will automatically see a button that allows you to start your page yourself. You can fill these yourself with links though you will have to comply with the guidelines.
- Article marketing
Another method to get backlinks is article marketing. Article marketing is a form of link building where you have your articles published on as many places on the internet as possible, with a link or canonical URL to your website. Through these articles, you get visitors by adding a link to your website under each article, or by making a few words in your text clickable to your website. This way you have an extra channel for visitors, but at the same time, you also work on the backlinks of your website. There are several places on the internet where you can place articles. Other users of Article Site may then take over these articles again and place them on their website if they have a shortage of content. Of course, they also take over your link. Note that you also do not use this link building method excessively, because that will make your backlink profile (as discussed earlier) unnatural.
- Press releases
Press releases work very well for your publicity but also for getting backlinks. You can fill a press release with links to your website (in moderation). Because you do this yourself, you also have the quality of your backlinks (anchoring text, title attribute) in your own hands. Just try to link to your website in an unforced way and also link to other valuable websites, so that your press release does not come across as spam. Your press release must be constructed in such a way that you would like thousands of people to read it because that is, of course, the intention!
The advantage of press releases is that these messages are sometimes forwarded to other news sites, and you automatically get more backlinks. These are some sites that you can use to post press releases on the internet
- Guest Blogging
A third possibility is to become a guest blogger on someone else’s website. You can then post your blog posts with a link to your website. Many website owners need good inspiring writers to supplement their weblogs because they simply do not have the discipline or inspiration to do that themselves. Through other people’s blog, you also reach a whole new target group, and you can also work on the brand awareness of your website and of you as an author. One way to find out which blogs are all within your niche is to use Google Blog search. Enter a keyword to which you would like to write on someone else’s website, visit the websites you find and contact the owners of these websites. Another way is to search via Twitter Search for people who blog about the same topics as you. Retweet and favorite a tweet from this person and send him or her a message in a relaxed tone. In this way, the first contact has already been made or has this person seen your name before. Then contact him or her by e-mail to post the blog post.
- Links from social media
Google has already indicated a while back also to look more to social media when it comes to search engine optimization. This means that links from social media will also get more and more impact. By processing social media on your website, you can significantly increase the number of links from for example Twitter, Face book, LinkedIn and Google+. That is why we would appreciate it if you would like to share this article via one with the social media buttons.
- Backlink Checkers
You can quickly check your backlinks via a good “backlink checker”, you have very simple for this, but also advanced tools and almost all of them give different results. You can get a first impression of whoever links to you with every checker. An example of this is the OpenSiteExplorer tool from Moz. For other alternatives you can simply click on “backlink checker”, and you’ll find something. Through backlink checkers, you can also check the backlinks of your competitors and thus see where they get their links from (and try to get a link here!).
- Internal links versus backlinks
Just a short moment the difference between internal links and backlinks:
Internal links are links that point from your website to other places within that website. Because they are on your own, they have less value. Of course, Google does not have as much confidence in your objectivity towards your website that they get the same value as backlinks. They do work the same as a type of recommendation. When you link from page A to page B page, A gives a kind of guidance to page B. The anchoring text is also essential for internal links. For example, do you score on a particular keyword phrase on the first page but not in the first place in Google? Then try to include an internal link to that article for a while in the new articles you post. Then make that keyword combination clickable. You will see that this affects your ranking in Google.
Chapter Seven: The Backlink Checker Tools
1. Backlink Watch
Despite this being a free backlink checker it delivers what you need. You will need only to check few of your backlink. This can be used when a site is still new. But there are a lot of ads on this website that will disturb your operation. You will need to wait for most of the ads o the site before you can perform your task.
2. SEO Profiler
This well-known SEO checker among webmasters. They claim they offer a complete solution to SEO and allow you to check the backlink of your competitors. According to SEO profiler, they have the most tools for the lowest price, as you can see on the SEO tool comparison page. Sounds like a beautiful story, but if you take the tool, you notice immediately that you see a lot fewer backlinks than for example the Open Site Explorer tool.
3. Majestic SEO
The Majestic SEO is a bit better than SEO profiler in term of functionalities.
4. Open Site Explorer
This was my personal favorite. Of course, this tool is pricey. You pay $ 99 per month, where you can thoroughly analyze a website for SEO optimization, and you can check backlinks of all the sites you want. Incidentally, you can also use this tool for FREE, but then you cannot see all the backlinks, and after having entered three different URLs, you can only use the tool even further when you pay. The backlink checker of the paid version works excellently (better than the other tools discussed above) and displays a lot of backlinks.
Chapter Eight: 7 Content Marketing and Link Building strategies
Link building is the placement of links to a website. It is a signal for Google that websites are necessary, which puts the websites in question higher in the search results. Before you can identify yourself with link building or content marketing, you must ask yourself who the audience you want to reach. Which channels do these customers use to reach others or gain new information? Are these social networks, for example, Google searches or informative websites? You will also have to check for yourself how the data will be distributed.
Which method is of added value for your company? It is often the company for which you apply these techniques. Some reasons you can consider deciding between these two marketing techniques.
- What are your goals?
If you want brand awareness or brand experience, content marketing is the best option. If you want high rankings and higher conversion, then link building is better for your company.
- Do you want to achieve long-term or short-term goals?
Here too, the short-term goals can often be achieved faster with link building, and the long-term goals can be better performed with blogs and building a ‘fanbase’. Google will increasingly move in this direction, and this will become more important.
- The knowledge of your marketing team
When your entire team focuses on keyword positions, link building and other optimization techniques instead of content marketing, do not try to move quickly to the other method. Pay attention to this shortly. Because Google is increasingly focusing on the visitor and relevant content, content marketing is what it will be about in the future. Link building is no longer as effective as it was in the past. Using interactive blogs, shares and likes, you will achieve higher positions in the future than to obtain links from other websites. Below are the various link building techniques:
1. Content Marketing for qualitative content
If you write good quality content, this can attract links in a natural way. When people are interested in the content on a website, they are more likely to link to this. That’s why it’s smart that the articles you write are of value for so-called long-tail search terms. These are search terms that are relevant to your website, but where there are less search volume and therefore less competition. It is not only about qualitative content; the user experience also plays an increasingly important role. It is, therefore, more important that your articles contain content such as charts, checklists and bonuses for the readers. Everything to improve the user experience for your visitors! And do you want to get the most out of your qualitative content? Do not only post blogs on your website but also manually put content on websites where your target group is active. This way you increase the reach of your company, and you are more likely to attract additional visitors to your site.
Listings on websites and in publications are an excellent way to build this status and ensure that people want to interview you. After all, you are an authority. But how do you ensure that you get these listings? The following tips will help you: Search for small websites in your market with which you already have a relationship and offer qualitative content for placement; Then find websites that regularly conduct interviews with other bloggers in the market in which you operate and contact them. Who knows, you can exchange links that contribute to your link profile; Approach journalists. These are always looking for a good story and would like to be approached. After an interview, always try to get a link on the website of the relevant journalist and spread the interview on your channels.
3. Guest blogging on external websites
A guest blog that is published on a website with few visitors and virtually no social media activity offers little-added value. It is therefore essential to research blogs/websites that attract many visitors. An article on such a site provides both visitors and a good, qualitative link. Utterly ideal if you can make an appointment with such a site that you periodically deliver a blog. In this way, visitors increasingly see you as an authority. Here too, qualitative content is the keyword. High-quality content is offered at websites with high authority. With moderate content, you do not even have to knock on the door anymore. So here is the chance of a nice interaction if you offer a strong article. They have new content for their visitors, and you build your link profile and brand awareness. This is a win-win situation for both parties.
Infographics are a good way to collect links and also easy to share. An infographic uses visual information to convey information. Many people find it more fun (and easier) to view information in this way. An infographic on the internet often works better than simple pieces of text. Smart is to include links in the infographic so that people are more likely to click through to the corresponding website. Although there are already a lot of infographics to be found, I think it is an excellent way to link building.
5. Internal links
Internal links are essential. It helps search engines to understand what pages are about and which pages are important on your website. It is also very useful because you have total control over it. Webmasters often forget the importance of this internal linking. Sad, because a link profile that works well ensures that the power of valuable links on the homepage also positively influence the underlying pages.
6. The link profile of competitors
An effortless way to find new targets for link management is to investigate the link profile of competitors. You can use Majestic SEO to examine the link profile of competitors. This allows you to map all backlinks to competitors’ sites. Then you can analyze which essential links your website is missing and which your competitor does have.
7. Broken backlinks
Backlinks are not always on a website and can disappear because the target pages no longer exist. Analyzing these lost backlinks is a quick and efficient way to strengthen the link profile. Once it has been mapped out which links have been lost and refer to a page that no longer exists, the links can be modified or possibly re-registered. The chance is relatively large that the links will be placed again and adjust the wrong links is, of course, a quick win!
Make the winning goal with link management
Link management is, as you have probably heard before, quite time-consuming! But if you do it well, it is worth it. You can compare it with a football setup: if you have a website that is technically well organized (defence) and where good content is on it (midfield), you can finish it with link building (strikers)!
Chapter 8: Broken link building as a tool for better SEO results
Your website is technically well organized, the content on the website is unique and distinctive, and you have built up a good link profile over the years. Web spiders have trouble getting through the website, and more and more visitors appear to end up on 404 pages. So this is the time to take a good look at the broken links and to limit the damage. But it can be even worse if your link profile does not look completely clean and there are many links from non-relevant or ‘spammy’ domains to your website. Broken link building comes in handy here and is not only a method to clean up your link profile, but also to find new entries for your website, do you want to know how? Then read on quickly.
What broken link building Involves
This way of link building is not something you do just as quickly because it consists of the following aspects:
- Broken links from your domain
It sounds like a no-brainer, but we still see it happening regularly. Especially on websites where the product range is often changed or frequently blogged, it usually happens that internal links refer to a product or category page that no longer exists and is not redirect. The visitor will thus end up on a 404 page by following this link. But outbound links can also result in 404 pages from other domains. These broken links are fortunately the easiest to solve. This can be done by running a crawl in Screaming Frog and going to ‘response codes’, filtering ‘Client Error 4xx’. So you immediately see where the bot on a 404 page came from a link on your site.
Backlinks that come out on 404 pages. You may have noticed in Google Analytics that many visitors come to your website via a non-existent landing page. But even if this is not the case, it may happen that you have backlinks to 404 pages.
- You can redirect the link to another relevant page on your website
You ask the webmaster of the referring domain to adjust the link to a well-known page of your website How do you find out which links these are? An online tool like ahrefs does most of the work for you. Under Broken Backlinks you can easily make a printout of all incoming links that have come out on a 404 page.
- Removing inbound links
Not so long ago it was confirmed what every SEO consultant actually knew for a long time: links are an important ranking factor. Unfortunately, there is also regular abuse. That is how we regularly find out that we come across sites with ‘less clean link profiles’, so to speak. One of the first steps for us is to analyze this link profile and remove these links from spammy websites. Of course it’s easy to reject these domains in Google Search Console, but Google itself indicates that you first have to pay attention to removing the links. In addition, the rejection of links in Google Search Console obviously has no effect on results in other search engines. Are you in doubt about a link? You might want to consider giving the link not directly to your website, but to another external page that links to your website again. This prevents a direct link from a questionable domain, but gives the link value of the already existing link an extra boost.
- Recover returned backlinks
It is possible that a link to your website for whatever reason is no longer active. It is therefore always advisable to keep track of all incoming links. Here are automatic tools for. Is a link removed? Then check why the link is removed and whether you want it back. Sometimes it is a small mistake that the administrator did not mind and so the link has also been given back.
- Broken outbound links from other domains
Looking for new targets in your industry? Or do you just want to help a helpful webmasters? See if a page, or even better: a whole domain has links pointing to 404 pages. There are 2 ways to find out. Checking a page for broken links is easy with the Check my Links extension in Chrome. To check an entire domain, the online tool and our friend ahrefs come back around the corner. Again, they make it easy for us by putting all outgoing, broken links in a list in just a few clicks. We can benefit from this in several ways. So you can choose to inform the webmaster and who knows he is also kind enough to put a link back for your helpfulness. But what works much more effectively: do you see that a linked domain or page is linked? Then the chances are often that there is linked to this URL from multiple domains. Place this URL in a backlink checker voilà’: you have just found a (large) number of new targets. Handy!
The power of broken link building for your SEO
It happens regularly that domains are no longer being tracked and are eventually discontinued. The link profile of these domains is potential opportunities. Links to these domains are all dead and therefore are not favorable for the manager of the source. Is it a domain in your industry? Analyze the link profile once and who knows, there are new targets for you. Pointing at the broken link is often a nice entry. For what belongs to what finally.
Chapter Nine: How to Build Powerful Links With Email Outreach
Worldwide we carry out around 2 trillion Google searches each year. After all, you want your website to be at the top of the search results when people carry out a related search. Link building (placing or obtaining links to your website) is still one of the essential SEO methods to get a higher position in the Google search results. The acquisition of qualitative links is sometimes quite difficult and frustrating, as we know from experience. You will probably recognize the disappointment when many of your link building emails remains unanswered. No response means no link.
- A link exchange request that companies cannot say no to
From our experience, we now know something about what works and what does not. What in most cases, in any case, does not work is the copying and pasting of the same message. The reason that auspicious link building costs time and energy is that every time a personalized e-mail has to be put together. In our experience, bulk emails are only effective when they are sent to partners within their network or to sites that are used explicitly for link building.
To make a ‘good’ outreach e-mail a ‘great’, you must combine genuine engagement with humour and a clear message with your e-mail. That is easier said than done. Every well-written link building e-mail can be divided into seven parts. By each component, we explain how you step by step make a link exchange request where companies cannot say no. To make it a lot easier for you to realize many qualitative links to your website in a short time, we have compiled this complete ‘how to’ guide. When you use our 7 step system for setting up outreach e-mails, you will not only notice that you get considerably more response, but also that the entire link building process will be much more fun and less monotonous.
- Personalized e-mails
What in most cases, in any case, does not work is the copying and pasting of the same message. From our experience, we have noticed that standardized e-mails are only effective when they are sent to partners within their network or to sites that are used explicitly for link building. But when you want to get those precious links your outreach e-mails have to be an attractive combination of sincere involvement, sharp humor and a clear message.
This is also the reason why successful link building takes some time and energy: you have to put together a personalized e-mail every time.
- Getting the basics in order
But before you start working with our system, you first have to have the basics in order. This means that your e-mail is entirely error-free regarding spelling and grammar. Because you are not the only one who sends outreach e-mails to sites with a link page, an e-mail full of spelling mistakes will immediately stand out negatively. Are you confused by the spelling or grammar? Use tools such as Grammarly to check your e-mail texts before sending them. The structure of your e-mail must also be useful. Move in the shoes of the person you are going to post the e-mail to. How would you like it if a completely unknown person sends you a message and in the first sentence you ask for a favor or start a whole story about himself and his or her company? Add to this that you have dozens of unread (similar) e-mails in your inbox, that day you also have to pay attention to other tasks and appointments and have no idea what a ‘link exchange’ entails and how that continues your business. Do you not want to have this e-mail moved to your spam folder or trash faster than later?
- Convince readers with the AIDA method
Marketing models such as the well-known AIDA model help to prevent this problem. AIDA is an acronym for Attention, Interest, Desire and Action. With the AIDA method, you can structure your e-mail text in such a way that the recipient wants to read further and eventually proceeds to the desired action (in this case placing a link on his or her website). By hitting hundreds of others with the door in the house and immediately starting with the link exchange request, you start with the last step (Action). After all, you assume that you already have the attention and interest of the reader, even before he or she has opened your e-mail! To prevent the horse from tugging behind the car, the structure and content of your e-mail text should be:
- First, draw the attention of the reader (Attention),
- Then get him or her interested in your proposal (Interest),
- Then get the reader over the line by giving him or her the feeling that they cannot drop your proposal (Desire),
- And finally urging him or her to act (Action).
The seven parts of an appealing outreach e-mail
Any link building or outreach e-mail can in principle be subdivided into the following seven components:
The subject line
The reciprocal service
When we apply the AIDA principles to each part, we step by step become a link building outreach e-mail that no company can say no:
1. Subject line: The very first thing that readers of your link exchange request to see is the subject of your e-mail. If this is not good, the other components will also make little difference, since it is very likely that the message will go directly into the trash or spam folder.
2. Greeting: Make sure the greeting is personal and friendly. So no ‘Dear Sir’ or ‘Dear Website Administrator’, but ‘Hi!’. The correct greeting shows that you have at least some knowledge about the person you are sending the mail to.
3. Intro: In the intro or opening of your e-mail you show that you know the other party, you are allowed and trust them and that you are involved in what they do. You can look at news about the company on their blog page or one of their social media channels, and to respond to it in a lighthearted manner.
4. Request: Keep the question short and to the point. Indicate which link you would like to have placed and made this link easy to click and share. It is also perfectly possible to exchange the parts ‘Request’ with each other, depending on the request and the context.
5. The reciprocal service: Requesting a link (or any other type of listing), without offering anything of value to it, will lead to little positive response. Identify an area where the other party may need help and proof that you can return value. The approach must be that you not only ask for value but also offer value back.
6. Conclusion: Close the e-mail by being humorous and unpredictable and by showing genuine interest and empathy. The aim here is to make the mutual connection between you and the other party visible. Try to find messages based on their blog or social media messages that the other party can probably laugh at.
7. Signature: The signature may seem to be a trivial part of your e-mail, but it does affect the overall impression your request conveys. Make clear in your signature what your position is within the company and process easily recognizable links to your website and your LinkedIn page.
We naturally hope that you can take further steps in improving your online visibility based on our guidelines. To help you a little further, here are a few additional tips:
- Think about the time of sending. Various studies have shown that Tuesday morning around ten is the best time for sending outreach e-mails. Other days on which you can do fine outreach are Wednesday and Thursday.
- Dive into the theory and principles of persuasion. After all, it is essential that your outreach e-mail convinces the reader of the importance of placing your link on his or her website. For example, read about the seduction principles of Chialdini.
- You do not have much to do with all these tips for creating your link building e-mail when you cannot find potential link partners. Although there are several ways to find relevant partners (for example via SEO tools like Majestic) you can use the search very easily via Google find related websites that have a link page. As the first word in this search, you always use the subject where the websites you are looking for must pass. To get as many relevant results as possible, it is useful to alternate the last word from the search ‘links’ with words such as ‘link partners’, ‘partners’ and ‘collaborations’.
Chapter Ten: White Hat SEO vs Black Hat SEO
The terms White Hat and Black Hat come from old Hollywood westerns. In these films, the hero always wore a white hat, while the villain wore a black hat. This is how SEO works: the hero is the SEO specialist who honestly makes the website more valuable and easier to find. That is White Hat SEO. On the other side are the crooks, with their Black Hat techniques. These are purely technical tricks that do not add any value for the visitor.
White hat Link Building
White hat link building complies with Google’s guidelines to influence the position of the search engine legitimately. The opposite of this form of search engine optimization is black hat SEO, and that can be penalized by Google. There is also an intermediate form that is classified as grey hat SEO.
Examples of White Hat SEO
- Target website to visitors
It is known that Google places a lot of value on websites that focus on visitors and in that sense optimize the site. Developing a good content strategy is an example of this. Just like being active on social media to interact with the target group interactively. The natural scoring of a website does not happen from one day to the next, but focuses on the long term. after all, it takes a while before Google sees that a website has acquired authority on a certain topic.
- Keyword research
Researching search terms is always a good idea. This makes you findable for your target group.
- Provide quality
If you place good articles, people will want to link to this. Your texts are unique and match the language of the target group. Google recognizes this and takes this into account in its ranking.
With white hat SEO, it is probably essential to pay attention to the quality of a website. There is not only a valuable content of a website but also the loading time of a site. White hat SEO certainly deserves preference, not least because the guidelines from Google are followed. At black hat SEO the chance of success seems attractive in the short term, but in the end, this technique will always have the necessary consequences, such as a penalty from Google.
Black Hat Link Building
The most notorious SEOers are the black hatters. What black hat SEO entails is everything that is not allowed according to the search engine guidelines but still produces good results about the ranking of a website. Google has by now become very good at detecting these black hat tactics. When Google discovers this, it is immediately penalized with a penalty. So it is a risky way to make a website stand out in Google. It is not sustainable. However, it can yield a lot of results. For most black hat activities it is not the question whether you will be penalized, but when. Sooner or later it will be detected, and you will have a penalty on your pants. Sure ‘black hatters’ know that they will be caught, but in that short time span in which they rank very well, they deserve so much that it is worth it.
Examples of Black Hat SEO
- Keywords spamming
You write texts with as many keywords as possible. This will make your text unreadable to people, but you’ll get high in the rankings.
In cloaking, you show the search engines a different page than your visitors. You lead Google, as it were, to the garden. Of course, Google does not like that.
- Identical pages
You can also create different versions of a page, where the content is the same, but you use different keywords. That seems smart, but it is not fair.
- Buy links
Some agencies pay websites and bloggers money for a link. This is not allowed. Paid links should have a “no-follow” tag, so they do not count in the ranking of results. However, it is not the intention that you buy authority; Google wants you to earn it. For this reason, they expect that your paid links will give a no follow tag. An advertorial is an example of a paid link. The user must understand that it is a paid or sponsored link. There are also several websites that placed links to payment.
- Spam comment
Users and owners of weblogs recognize this. Nothing-to-say reactions, possibly in another language, with a link to a specific website. This is link spam, which leaves links in the comments. Although it often concerns no follow links, it has certainly been used extensively to gain a better position in search engines.
- Article spinning
This is a technique that was used a lot in the past, but that you can still encounter. Article spinning uses spinning tools. These are tools that generate multiple ‘unique’ texts based on what you provide, containing the desired keywords. The software uses, among other things, synonyms to dodge duplicate content.
- Link farms
In the past, a lot of use was made of so-called ‘link farms’. This is a web page or a group of websites that consists of a large number of different links. These websites are made to increase the number of backlinks of a website. The content mainly consists of links, the relevance and quality of such a link farm are therefore limited to the minimum.
- Microsites – low-quality website
Another frequently used method is micro sites. These are websites that often consist of 1 to 5 pages. These websites are focused on one or a few keywords. The desired keywords often appear in the content and usually also in the domain name.
- Negative SEO
Negative SEO means that a ‘black hatter’ targets his competitor by overloading his competitor with bad backlinks so that this competitor drops in the rankings.
Look Away From Black Hat Methods
Google is getting better at detecting black hat practices by webmasters. A penalty from Google can have significant consequences for your web shop or website. It is therefore wise to follow the guidelines of Google as closely as possible and regularly follow the developments in the field of search engine optimization. A white hat SEO strategy guarantees you the best results in the long term.
Consequences of Black Hat SEO and White hat SEO
White Hat SEO provides a findable site with valuable content. Search engines recognize this, which leads to a higher score in the search results. Black Hat SEO delivers disappointed visitors who drop out because you have nothing to offer them. This also recognizes search engines, resulting in lower rankings in the search results. This leads to fewer visitors.
Black Hat SEO promises quick results. But as with everything: “if it sounds too good to be true, it is probably not true”. Permanent results require a continuous effort.
Chapter Eleven: Advanced Link Building Techniques
Link building is still an essential technique for obtaining a better online authority for your website. Authority is playing an increasingly important role, and links are a big part of that.
1. Keep an eye on your competitors.
With tools such as Open Site Explorer and Ahrefs Site Explorer, you can easily find the latest links obtained from a website. In this you immediately see whether your competitor is also working with link building and which links this website has obtained. It is up to you to see if you can also get a link here, provided it is, of course, a good (relevant) link. It is important to do this from time to time so that you do not miss any links.
2. Share your content in a smart way
Do you regularly write interesting content and have you built up a permanent group of readers and clients? Then writing an E-book is an ideal option for obtaining links. An E-book is popular because it often contains unique and exciting content. An E-book is, therefore, a perfect opportunity to share content with your visitors. Here you can ask something in return. Other, related websites often want to publish your (unique) content. Here you can, of course, permit exchange for a link. The feasibility of writing an E-book depends on your target group and the market in which you go. However, it appeared that the content below is happy to be shared. So look closely at the possibilities for writing and distributing an E-book.
- Your research
- An impressive (success) story
- Practical tips Tutorials
3. Expand content from others
It may sound strange, expanding the content of another website, but this often offers a good opportunity to process a link in the content. Contact the webmaster with the question whether you can expand the content with more relevant information. In return, you can request a link to your website. The visitor can easily find this product by using this widget. The visitor completes some questions, after which he follows some steps to get the right product. This could, for example, be entirely shared on a dog forum where people ask questions about which food is suitable for their dog. You could also approach it the other way around, by contacting different webmasters with the question if they can use a widget. You could then build this in exchange for a link to your website.
5. Spread press releases
Besides guest blogging, distributing press releases is a smart way to share the news. Every company does have messages with a certain amount of news value. Turn this into press releases and send them. We still see that companies make too little use of this. Firstly, it is essential to create a list of websites and e-mail addresses that the news might include. If you have a good news article, you could send it directly to these addresses, where you could also offer to rewrite the message so that the content is unique. Do not forget to mention a link in the press release,
6. Find relevant websites thanks to Google Alerts!
Through Google Alerts you will be kept informed when a new page is indexed by the keyword you have specified. With this tool from Google, you will be automatically informed, and you will receive the new pages directly in your mailbox. It cannot be any easier. You can choose whether you want to receive the Alerts immediately, once a day or once a week. We advise to do it per week so that it takes as little time as possible. This way you can check once a week whether new pages have been added and whether it is possible to obtain a link here.
7. Activate your reviews effectively
View the possibilities to place reviews on your products or services on other relevant websites/blogs. Instead of a standard guest blog, you ask whether the administrator wants to write a review about your products and services. These are just a few ways to obtain links. There are many other techniques and strategies. It also depends in no small extent on the niche you go into, the competition and the target group. The link building process is never finished. Think of it as a process that always goes on and that you can always go through with.