Netlinking, also called “link building” or “external linking”, is a fundamental SEO technique to improve the natural referencing of your website and position it in the top 3 search results on search engines. But it is a practice that requires an excellent understanding of SEO…
According to specialists at the local search summit organized by Whitespark the two most important factors for a website’s local organic ranking are on-page content optimization (34%) and link profile (31%).
What is netlinking in natural referencing and what is it for?
Netlinking is an SEO technique that aims to create qualified external links pointing to your website to improve its visibility and SEO. These incoming links, also called “backlinks”, are relevant for Google to establish the reliability and relevance of the content of a web page or website. Netlinking can be considered as a “vote of confidence” from one website to another. It works on the same principle as in “real life”: if your friends and family tell you about a great dentist, it will increase your trust in them. The principle is the same for Google: if sites external to yours talk about you through a web page including a backlink, this will increase Google’s confidence in your site.
For example, a mention of your website in a directory that provides a link to a page on your website is a backlink.
This technique is useful for SEO because it improves the natural referencing of a website. In practice, if the number of relevant links to your site or webpage increases, it will increase Google’s trust in it. This means that it will improve the positioning of the site or page for the keywords that are relevant to it.
For example, if your site offers immigration assistance services and sites listing various immigration resources mention you with a link to your site, Google will understand that your site is relevant to people looking for immigration assistance. Thus, the positioning of your site for keywords such as “immigration help”, “immigration service” or even “immigration resources” will improve. You will therefore have better visibility on the internet and therefore receive more visitors to your site. And therefore potentially more conversions!
However, as you will have understood, it is not simply a question of obtaining a link, it is also a question of relevance. Not all links are good for SEO, as we will see later in this article. That’s why you should consider hiring an SEO agency like Hamak or internalize this skill.
What is a good link?
In general, a good link is a link that makes you want to be clicked. This must be integrated into specialized content that is related to the field of activity of your website and which provides additional information to users.
For example, if a page talks about culinary recipes and a link points to kitchen equipment, this one makes perfect sense. Conversely, if a link from the recipe page points to a shoe site, then the link is of no interest to readers and will not be clicked. If Google is not able to make the relationship between two sites or pages linked by a backlink, then the latter will have no impact. Worse, it could even lead to sanctions, as we will see later.
In addition, the context in which the link is embedded must be considered. You should know that in addition to the thematic relevance, the position of the link in the web page concerned is strategic. A link located at the top of the page will probably bring more traffic than a link at the bottom of the page.
What are the links to avoid?
Creating a quality netlinking strategy necessarily involves analyzing bad links. Bad links or toxic links can be harmful to your SEO link profile and negatively impact the natural referencing of your website. Some tools such as Semrush or MOZ can help you identify these bad backlinks.
Several factors can cause a poor quality link such as:
- The hosting site is linked to fraudulent sites;
- It is obvious that the link was created in such a way as to influence SEO;
- The link is never clicked by Internet users;
- The two linked sites have no thematic relevance;
- The two linked sites have no geographical relevance.
Google is sensitive to poor quality links. The search engine is continuously improving its inspection algorithms to always deliver the best content to users. A bad link can lead to penalties that will take the form of a loss of positioning of the site for its relevant keywords. These losses of position will lead to a drop in traffic on the site and therefore inevitably a drop in conversions.
However, in practice, it is rare for Google to penalize a site for poor quality links, for the simple reason that the managers of a site do not always have control over the creation of links that point to theirs. . Indeed, many sites have, without their knowledge, links from dubious sites, such as sports betting or pornography sites. As a result, Google will have a strong tendency to ignore these low quality links.
Even if there are very few penalties in the end, you will not benefit from it and you will have lost time, and even sometimes money (when you pay for a link). That’s why it’s important to be careful when linking to external sites.
The process of acquiring relevant links to your website involves three steps.
- First, you need to identify link opportunities. To do this, different techniques are available to you:
- Use tools that will help you find interesting linking opportunities. For example, the SEMrush tool offers backlink possibilities.
- Analyze the link profile of your competitors using specialized software. One of the reasons for the better positioning of one of your competitors may be their well-developed link profile. To catch up with him in the natural search results, you can acquire links that he already has.
- Do manual searches based on your main and secondary keywords to identify blogs or media that cover related topics. This technique usually takes more time and effort to find sites that would be relevant to host your link.
- Find broken links and suggest similar content that could replace it. It’s a win-win tactic because the hosting site no longer has a 404 link and your site gets a quality backlink.
- Look for mentions of your website without a link to your site. You can contact the sites in question to ask them to add the link next to the mention of your site. More rare, but very effective!
Once your list of website opportunities is complete, you need to analyze their relevance according to different criteria:
- Domain authority. Authority shows how much search engines trust the website in question. Moz is a free tool that tells you the authority of a website.
- Website traffic. You don’t want to acquire a link on a site that receives very few visitors.
- Geographic relevance. Think about the geographical match between that of your website and that of the hosting site. A link will be of better quality if it corresponds to the same geographical area.
- Thematic relevance. Above all, the link will be effective if the host site deals with the same subject as that of your website. For example, a site that offers auto parts and has obtained an external link in an auto blog will see its SEO improve.
It is the synergy between these different elements that defines how positive (or not) the impact of a link is.
Once you have determined the most relevant link opportunities, you must contact each of the websites to offer them to share your content. It is important to personalize the approach email to promote communication and have the opportunity to find your backlink on the website you want.
Developing your website’s natural link profile takes time and should be a long-term goal. Naturally, the acquisition of external links will take several months and even several years. It is therefore important to space out your acquisition of links over time and to make a plan of your strategy several months or even a year in advance to be well referenced.
Your strategy should start with defining the objectives of your SEO strategy. Which pages do you want to highlight thanks to the netlinking ? For which keywords do you want to be referenced? How many links will you create each month?
Thereafter, it is necessary to identify which are the most relevant subjects for your target audience in order to create content and bring websites in the same theme to publish it.
Finally, human relations are essential to ensure the sustainability of your strategy. Indeed, establishing relationships of trust with experts, bloggers and journalists in your industry will be a key advantage in facilitating the publication of your content on external sites and thus obtaining greater visibility within your target market.