One of the basis of SEO has always been links or hypertext links. Linking is still a great deal in modern SEO but today linking is more tricky than it used to be. While years ago everything was about links, and everybody had a tendency to spam links everywhere, today these techniques tend to get you penalised and make you loose ranks and visibility in SERPs.
This is not a guide on what you should be doing, when building links you need to be particularly careful, Always keep that in mind.
What is a hypertext link and how is it composed
A hypertext link comonly known as a link is a protocole that allows a user to click to access another content. I will quickly explain the difference between inbound and outbound links, this post will take a deeper look at inbound links.
Factors affecting a link
- The domain age and PR
- The anchor text
- The link rel attribute
- The page content
Here is an exemple of a link code:
You can also add rel= value such as "follow" or "nofollow" as well as target values such as target="_blank" to open the link in a new tab. this exemple show a link embedding text but you can also use a link on an image.Code:<a href="http://www.exemple.com/exemple-page" title="the title of your link">your anchor text</a>*
Inbound links versus outbound links.
The difference is very simple, inbound links (also called backlinks) are links pointing to your site while outbound links (also called external links) are links pointing from your webpage to another website.
Natural links also called earned links.
Earning links is not something easy, it takes time and energy, but everyone can achieve this. If you create unique, interesting and well written content (this can be text, images also called infographics or videos) webmasters will want to share it and link to it from there website so their users will have access to this info. You will find lots of exemple on this forum when contributors share an external url giving a particular answer to a question. Why we do this*? First of all because it's quicker than rewritting the answer, secondly because the author desserve some visibility.
These naturals links will bring you juice and trafic allowing you to gain in visibility on SERPs as well as earn new leads. Natural links have a great advantage over submitted links because the anchor text will vary from one blog post to another.
Links exchange and partnerships.
Still an SEO technique, but you need to be carefull about it. Sometime ago SEO just had to do bilateral link exchange to see the website rise in rankings, but Google started to penalise this behaviour and link exchange is now against Google guidelines, but in modern SEO there is a way to still do link exchanges while not breaking Google guidelines.
One way to temporarly avoid penalty is called triangulation but this needs 3 sites at minimum. Using several websites makes it harder for Google to find a link scheme and penalise you for inbound links manipulation also called link exchange but in the end there are great chances that you will get caught, penalized, and even see your website de-indexed.
Here is a quick exemple.
Site A links to Site B, Site B links to Site C and Site C links to Site A
Comments links and spam
Spamming blog post comments to obtain a backlink as been widely spreed in the past, today lot's of Expert will advise you not to use post comments to obtain backlinks but the question is a bit more tricky than that. Using comment forms to obtain a link can be a good thing if you put much care in choosing correctly the posts on which you comment.
If an article talks about red shoes and your website offers a lot of information about red shoes, then semantic of the post matches the semantic of your content and you are safe. The other important thing is to look at the domain hosting the content, is it old, does it have trafic, does is respect Google Guidelines, etc.... If the page you wish to comment on matches these criterias then go ahead and post a comment (when I say post a comment I mean a comment, not only a link to your page). One last thing about comments, regards link over-optimisation. Do not optimise your anchors for specific keywords or (if you want to do so at your own risk) at least don't be stupid enough not to rotate your keyword expression otherwise you take the risk of been penalised.
I would recommend you NOT to use any automated program to submit comments as things can quickly get out of hand and you will loose more time asking for links removal or disavowing them.
Buying links as always been against Google guidelines, but when done correctly it still used by some in 2016 (Be really carefull with this). A lot of websites (Rocketlinks, Djokoo and others) offer sponsored articles backlinks. They match offer and demand by acting as a mediator between the demand (in this case you, person looking for backlinks) and the offer (generally bloggers, newspapers, specialised bloggers, etc...) As long as the transaction remains secret you should be good to go, the only problem that might occur is if Google can prove that the link was part of a transaction. So if you are going to use this technique do not abuse it and stay quiet about it.
Expired domains redirection
Purchasing Expired domains as always been used by SEO to pass juice and traffic to websites. I've never used this technique for any client website, but from what I can read online, some SEOs did obtain results and are still obtaining results this way. But with Google cutting down the access to PR, it's going to be hard to find domain that will provide a strong juice.
Buying an expired domain opens two possibilities, firstly a sitewid 301 redirection to your domain, secondly the opportunity to recreate the old website and point links to your main website pages
If I were to use expired domains, I think I would go for the second option, even if recreating a website takes time, I deeply think that this would be the best option.
Many say that directories should be avoided, but in facts directory links still work pretty well but as always you need to choose them wisely do not spam directories this will hurt you site in the medium term, first select the specialised directories, industrial, e-commerce, craftmans, etc then choose some local directories for your local SEO, last but not least submit your website to the main online directories such as DMOZ. When submitting to directories be sure to publish unique content, this is a long work so here is another reason to select the directories wisely.
There are others factors affecting rankings, like on page SEO factors see related posts. I'll create other threads regarding UX and accessibility as well as robots.txt and .htaccess soon.
On-Page SEO in 2016 - What you need to know
As always hope this helped.