In order for online entrepreneurs to use SEO link-building techniques freely, a short tour into the difference between white-hat and black-hat SEO link-building is necessary to start doing it properly.
What are the good links?
The link leads to a relevant website.
You get a redirect from an online store to a landing page on breeding ferrets. Clicking on the link should lead you to either one of the pages of the brands presented in that store, a blog of the leading supporter of that brand, or a webpage on how to correctly and safely shop online. More often than not you will be familiar with the page you land on, because its a self-sustaining internet unit and the search engines trust it.
The link leads to quality content
Some may imagine link building as a Matrix intro of ones and zeros which is interesting only for search engines. In reality, link-building is not possible without the human touch.
A responsible optimizer never puts the link in as a URL somewhere at the bottom of the page. It is carefully positioned inside the text or the description of the product. That allows the reader to smoothly follow the bit of useful information behind the link. The information could be:
- An Interview or research about the product or material (used in manufacturing) of the supplier, whose products you sell.
- Surveys or reviews that reflect the experience of the people who already used your product.
- Hot news and new items from the manufacturer whose products you are selling.
- Video: users value when you provide them with new quality channels with relative information.
The link needs to spread
A good link-building specialist is a little bit of a psychologist. He is able to think like the user and understand what will make him leave the link to your website on a different channel. So what can make him do that?
- Call for exchange of opinions on social networks.
- Appeal to respected bloggers and vloggers.
- Invitation to guest blogging.
Exactly! All the familiar requests for reposts, offers to link to the page on your Facebook page or web page, links to Instagram stories and links to a survey – those are all part of healthy link building.
It is indeed that easy. Organic growth of your links prioritizes your user’s experience instead of the search engines. Their interest and desire to share them on the web – that is the fertile soil you need to be taking care of.
How does a link from a black-hat SEO look like?
Remember the annoyance you felt when you clicked on the link and it moved you to a completely different resource than the one you were expecting? Remember when you clicked on the link and it opened a different browser window, or better yet, several with advertisements to improve your potency?
Well, there you have it. That is exactly what a black-hat SEO specialist does. The negligent attitude towards the user experience can easily be noticed because the human factor in the optimization of such web pages is unnecessary.
The link does not look trustworthy
It doesn’t matter to a black-hat SEO specialist where the link will lead. Filling your monitor with pop-ups, windows without the top bar and the “close” button, and fishy websites that offer online casino services and promise you massive wins – that is their goal.
The link came from a link-farm
Link-farms are a chain of links artificially created for one goal – to link to each other raising their weight for search engines. Such websites are usually made with minimum quality and maximum speed and as such, they all look the same and lack any real purpose. Search engines have long since learned to recognize such websites and to blacklist them.
The link does not work at all
Everyone knows the tale about the naked king and the charlatan tailors who sewed a suit made of air. Black-hat SEO works in a similar manner, if his relationship with the client is only short-term and the client himself is unfamiliar with search engine optimization. The client receives a whole list of links and keywords that will supposedly be used. He is shown the SEO mistakes on his website after which he sees a committed nod and hears the magic words – we will fix everything.
The links do not lead anywhere, keywords are nowhere to be found as well as the texts themselves and nothing was fixed. However, the client does get a chart with a barely upward rising traffic line and a promise that this is normal in the first month.
The demonstrated growth, however, is superficial and temporary. It is only there because a small part of the budget was invested in contextual advertising instead of actual link building and that only works as long as the money comes. A small input is enough to simulate minimal progress typical for early-stage search engine optimization. When the money is up, however, neither the new user base nor the black-hat “professionals” are anywhere to be found.
The client is disappointed and blames the whole SEO hype for wasting his money.
Because of this, you need to remember: a good expert will always provide a detailed description of what was completed as well as explain the principles of his work. He will give you access to all the metrics so that you could watch your website rise to fame in real time. Furthermore, a good SEO agency will never agree to work on a short-term basis because search engine optimization is a marathon and not a sprint.
The link is unexpectedly productive
If the link starts bringing in traffic in bulk during the first month, time to get suspicious. Link building is a long-term commitment because good quality links are spread equally and in a proper dosage. Sudden hops in traffic usually point towards the dealings of black-hat SEO workers. Not longer than in half a year the rise will turn into a sudden and painful drop when the search engines will stop showing your website at all.
No black-hat SEO can fool the system and complex algorithms for long, because they evolve and get smarter, while the unscrupulous SEO-scammers cannot be bothered to change their schemes so long as it brings in high traffic and helps them milk their happy, naive clientele.
What is Grey-Hat SEO?
With the help of black-hats, this type of SEO is looked upon as a wolf in sheep’s clothing. For example, a SEO specialist, in his conversation with the client who already was fooled once, brings up the bad and scary words “link buying.” That is when the client puts down the phone, never to be heard from again.
In his mind buying links is something to be frowned upon and is only used by unprofessional SEO-scammers.
In reality, it is more complicated than that. Search engines optimization always assumes manipulation of search engine’s algorithms. The main goal of a SEO specialist is, after all, to pull your website to the top of the list, above your competition.
There is a difference between unscrupulous short-term manipulation that ignores algorithms and rules, and the slight and careful work with Google’s functionality.
Despite the rumors, link markets exist up to this day and apart from the cheap low-quality links they sell good, high-quality links which send you to:
- Respected authors’ blogs
- News websites
- High-quality websites
- Big, relevant online platforms
Buying on the market helps save time you would otherwise spend on finding the relevant high-quality resources and allows to more comfortably operate the link mass. Grey-hat SEO always carefully checks the links and prices they are bought for, while the black-hats simply buy low quality in bulk, not really caring if the links are in any way relevant to the client’s topic.
The act of buying links by itself is not bad as long as the links are high quality and relevant.
SEOHide for Link Building
Another example of grey-hat SEO is the SEOHide technology which allows hiding the links and SEO-texts in the web page’s code while still allowing them to interact with the search engines. Some users compare it to black-hat technology called cloaking – creating a separate, fully optimized website, that can only be found by the search engines and never by the user, who always sees a different page that is designed for user experience. However, if cloaking is a straight-up lie directed at the search engines, SEOHide does not allow for two different websites. Its goal is:
- Improve the UX-design of the website
The SEO-copy is not always easily adapted to the front-end elements of the website and by hiding it you help the user have a more pleasant experience.
- Simplify the management of the links’ weight
Link’s weight is the credibility of the link which is measured by the search engines’ algorithms. It measures factors like the age of the website, inclusion of tags and anchors, their place in the content of the web page, as well as the number of links on the website. The fewer links there are on the web page, the higher the weight of each one.
Thus, grey-hat SEO is a collection of legal “loopholes” to improve the position of the site, which is not a violation of the rules or deception of existing algorithms – and it is easy for any real expert to explain the principles of his strategy.
Trust and verify
What is the result? Nothing happens by the snap of fingers – this is not The Avengers movie – the link exchange will not take place without the intervention of competent specialists.
Building up linking, finding ways to link to your website and get links from relevant resources is a natural part of successful SEO promotion of your online resource.
In order to flourish on the Internet, your site just needs to “communicate”. Growth in key positions, lack of structural errors and high-quality, modern design are undoubtedly important elements, but only by link building they can be assessed by users and search engines since every good link is a valuable recommendation indicating that your site is worthy of visits and higher grades.
If you yourself are actively promoting your site on social platforms, create polls and open your YouTube channel – you are already engaged in link building. Even better, engaged in the safest and most natural link building there is. Therefore, do not be frightened if the SEO expert who advises you offers you assistance with building up the link mass – a good specialist always sees how you can improve the positive aspects of your progress and eliminate weaknesses that you may not notice, but which can greatly affect your progress.
Be attentive to details and do not allow ignorance to separate you from the new level of quality of products and services!