A lot of businesses who’ve advertised their sites and services (through guest blogging) on my blogs through the years have – in the past 6 months – contacted me. There was a common thread running through all the emails I received from these people. They all said that their sites had been badly ‘slapped’ by Google for incorrect linking and wanted me to remove the ‘do-follow’ element of the links I’d previously put on my blogs pointing to their site.
While my blogs are all high-quality, sites with original content (and high PRs), these webmasters and businesses were willing to give up my links in order to be ‘seen as doing the right thing’ where Google is concerned. Even though they had paid someone to write the articles (with their links) I’d published on my site, they were willing to part with the money and the ‘do-follow’ part of the link in exchange for a more natural linking process. Unnatural linking is a thing of the past. Natural linking is officially in. And here’s how you can link naturally within (and to) the guest posts you write so that Google doesn’t see it as spam linking. So what’s the secret to natural linking?
You don’t need to disguise your keyword
It’s great to use synonyms of your keywords so you’re not using the same words and terms all the time. In fact, this is required if you’re to have a finished post that doesn’t sound key-word-stuffed. Stuffing keywords into a post may work for the search engines for a short period of time, but it won’t benefit your readers. And when you consider that search engines follow people (not the other way around), you’ll see that it’s important to satisfy your readers first, then search engines second.
You don’t need to disguise your keyword/s in order to achieve natural linking. You can use them within a sentence as a long-tail strategy. A long-tail keyword is something like the following: if your main keyword is losing weight, your long tail keyword may be something along the lines of – ‘learn how to lose weight without going on a diet’ (for example).
Long-tail keyword linking is as natural as it gets because it doesn’t exist before someone searches for it. This means that no one is competing with you for that keyword. It also means that when you link that phrase from another site it looks very natural to search engines. You can use this long-tail linking strategy for main keywords and sub keywords with an unlimited combination of other words in a sentence.
Whenever someone searches for your topic with words you’ve used in your link, your article will be shown in the search engine results. They don’t look spammy, paid-for, or unnatural. And you didn’t have to disguise your keyword. You just used it alongside other words to your advantage.
The one (vital) thing to do when linking naturally
In the past a lot of writers were asked by their clients to take advantage of SEO by linking to precise keywords within a post. Writers have also done this in the past in an attempt to get their own sites highly rated. SEO has been so overdone and manipulated in the past, that Google has severely slapped the collective wrists of the writers/bloggers involved.
Keywords are linked within articles and in the bio sections of guest posts in hundreds of different ways. It’s still okay to link keywords, but because no one quite knows to what extent Google is frowning upon this, other alternatives have to be used in the meantime. One of these alternatives is to use your brand or company name in the link.
Use your keywords in the bio section by all means. This is a great strategy to get people to recognise your brand or company name with your keywords and services you offer. Remember that you always need to be clear about how your services are relevant to your readers’ needs, what you write about, and where you guest post.
The one thing you must do when linking naturally is use your brand or company name to link to your site (at least half the time). This is what people who link to you of their own accord would do, so when you link to yourself, this is what you should do too. You could write your bio like this:
Example: L. Writer blogs about losing weight. If you want some more information about weight loss, healthy eating and maintaining regular physical activities without joining a gym, check out her site: ‘Healthy Weight Loss’ (you would link to the company’s name, ‘Healthy Weight Loss).
Pay attention to your own site and what you’re actually linking to
In order to link naturally, you have to spring clean your own site. What pages are you linking to on your site? Are they pages full of ads and pop-ups? You’ve done the hard work to actually get a link to your site, but what are people seeing when they arrive there?
Because Google will be crawling the pages you link to over and over again, they need to be in tip top shape. More importantly, the eyes of readers will be reading what you’re written on said pages. Remember that you’re actually placing more importance to pages you’re linking to, this means these pages will be viewed more and landed on more than other pages on your site. Some questions you really need to ask yourself when you’re pointing links to pages on your site:
- Is the loading time acceptable?
- What are people seeing when they first land on the page?
- Are pop ups taking over when people land on the page?
- Will first time visitors actually benefit from the information I have on this page?
- Am I repeating content on this page?
- Have I linked to this page with randomly varied terms (keywords and phrases)?
- Is this page a solid resource for readers in my niche?
The material you’re linking to needs to be credible
Continuing with the last of the questions listed above, let us look at your readers and what they actually get from the material you link to.
Never forget your readers. If you write with your readers’ benefit in mind your article will be high-quality and will make use your keywords naturally. You won’t need to give a second thought to natural linking. It will just happen – well – naturally. Think of it as a kind of natural SEO.
If you’re linking to a full resource page of about 2,000 words there is no denying that you would’ve used most of the important and searched terms in your niche. Build your portfolio, your brand and your eventual exposure by linking to quality pages like the one described in this section. Do your research, get extra information and always try to include original material with each article you write. Use graphs and other media if possible and link out to pertinent (external and internal) pages you think your readers will enjoy. This is the kind of page your readers will want to link to willingly.
Lastly, put on your editing cap and edit your article (scroll down to the middle of the linked page for editing tips’ collection) to the best of your ability. No one wants to link to a badly written page because we all feel that what we link to reflects on us to some extent. Put your best foot forward and get some natural linking from others who respect and like your work.
What other ways do you use to link naturally? Please share them in the comment section.
Anne Lyken-Garner is team member on this blog. She a published author and works as a blogger and web-editor. If you need more time to concentrate on your writing/blogging and need someone to take care of your editing needs you can hire Anne to do this for you. You can see what she does on this page.