1. What makes a link good or bad?
  2. Metrics to consider when choosing a donor domain
  3. Should you replace lost links?
  4. Is astroturfing (forum links, comments) a good way to build links?
  5. Are press releases useful for getting links?
  6. To deny or not to deny?
  7. Does it matter when you post a link on a commercial and free blog?
  8. Is there a fine line between SEO and PR?
  9. What's the best way to get links: hire an agency or build an in-house team?
  10. If HBO did a TV show about link building, what would it be like?

Link building is one of the most controversial areas of search engine optimization.

We all know what Google's guidelines tell us, but as practice shows, blindly following the instructions may not get you anywhere.

The thing is, you still need to have links pointing to your website to prove to search engines they're worth – and the number can vary by business niche.

Of course, you can of course get some backlinks, but that may not be enough.

Plus, even natural compounds tend to fade over time.

That is why there is link building.

It's a tough game with no strict rules and no common strategy for everyone.

There is always some room for interpretation when building links, and decisions are not based so much on dogma but on experience.


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Since absolutely every website in the world is fighting for links, the community of link building specialists unites people from all over the world, and women are an especially powerful part of this community.

For this article, we reached out to nine women who are link building professionals and asked them to share their experiences and perspectives on the most controversial topics in their field.

Please say hello to these SEO and marketing professionals as they help us crack some of the toughest link building questions.

What makes a link good or bad?

Google tells us the following about the general principle it uses to distinguish between good and bad links:

“Remember, our algorithms can differentiate natural links from unnatural links. Natural links to your website come about as part of the dynamism of the web, when other websites find your content valuable and believe it will be helpful to their visitors. This is where unnatural links to your website are placed to make your website more popular with search engines. "


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All clear and clear, right? Well, many SEO professionals claim that it is not that simple.

There are not all good and bad links; There are also perfect and ugly ones.

Perfect connection

  • Comes from a site that is neat, authoritative, and relevant to your niche.
  • Provides direct value to users.
  • Brings high quality referral traffic.
  • Helps you build authority in your niche.
  • The desire arises to click on it.

Like all other perfect things, perfect links are rare and extremely difficult to come by.

Most of the links we usually look for are just fine.

Good connection

  • Placed on a relatively strong domain.
  • His donor is more or less thematically linked to your niche.
  • Looks natural in the context of the website.
  • Provides you value and serves the purpose of your campaign.

Interestingly, when we asked the participants at our round table whether a link is of value if no one clicks on itthey said unanimously: "Yes!"

Behavioral factors aren't the only ones that matter to search ranking, although Google may consider a link's potential for getting clicks.

Bibi Lauri Raven on Link Building - Women in Search Engine Optimization

Bibi Lauri Raven puts it this way:

"ON A good link will help you achieve your goals no matter what the goals are.

For example, if your goal is to rank on a particular keyword in the short term and you don't care about the long term consequences, then spam links can be considered good links as they can give you quick results.

In the long run, however, you have to qualify the link as bad as this can increase the risk of losing this ranking. "


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Conversely, a bad link is the one that prevents you from achieving your goals.

What other signs tell us a link is bad?

Bad link

  • Connects you to a poor quality website.
  • Has nothing to do with your niche.
  • Looks forced and / or irrelevant.
  • The sentence wouldn't lose anything without this link – it's a bad link.
  • It brings you no value.
  • Looks (or is) commercial.

Alex Tachalova on Linking Building Questions - Women in Search Engine Optimization

According to Alex Tachalova, the most important question when evaluating the quality of a link is: Will this link grow in value over time or not?

The problem is that if you get links from mediocre and poor quality websites, you solve a link gap problem for today while that link won't help you tomorrow.


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However, there are things that are far worse. Here we come to links that are downright ugly.

Ugly link

  • Comes from a link farm.
  • It's completely uncontrollable and spammy.
  • There are tons of them!

Such links are not simply useless, they are harmful and can expose you to Google fines.

The discussion about the quality of links can be summarized as follows: It depends on your campaign and goals which links are good or bad.

Links from multiple directories can be very useful for local businesses. However, to others, they may not be as relevant.

Every strategic solution should be backed up by analysis.

Experimentation is not a bad thing. Try different techniques and find out what works best for you.

However, avoid creating ugly links that can cause you much more trouble than they are worth.


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Metrics to consider when choosing a donor domain

Even if you have a good understanding of a good and a bad relationship, you need a list of certain parameters that can be used to help determine whether the donor is worth the effort.

Almost all of our experts have recommended taking a closer look at:

  • How relevant is the website to your niche? (If you're selling dog food, you hardly need a link from a website that specializes in pump motors.)
  • Does the website look like a real one? Can you identify the authors of the articles and is new content published regularly? In general, does it look like someone is taking care of it?
  • How much organic traffic is it attracting from the keywords you're interested in (both branded searches and commercial keywords). You can check this parameter with special tools, e.g. B. with the competitive research tool from SE Ranking.
  • How authoritative is the website? This does not refer to the number of links, but to how good and relevant those links are that the domain has acquired in the past few months. Yes, you should take a look at the backlink profile.
  • What is the traffic dynamics of this domain? Are there any weird sudden break-ins and spikes? Sudden drops can indicate that the site was under penalty, and sudden jumps can be a signal of artificially propelled traffic.

At the same time, there are metrics that are generally accepted but (according to our contributors) do not have a significant impact on search engine optimization.

Domain Rating and Domain Authority make this list.

Alex Khilova points out that DR can be tampered with and the ratio of inbound and outbound links (the basis of DA) does not always give an objective assessment of the referring domain.

Alex Khilova on link building and domain authority

The main reason for discussing the right donor metrics is this: There isn't a number that immediately tells you if a particular website is a perfect fit for you.


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Today, metrics are interpreted in the broadest sense as the quality of a domain, which is measured using various parameters.

You need to pay attention to different aspects of the website and in some ways create your own metrics system.

Now let's examine more specific yes-or-no questions.

Should you replace lost links?

When dealing with backlinks, you may have encountered the problem of your links disappearing.

The common perspective of our experts on this matter can be summed up in a short answer: Only replace backlinks if they are really good.

For a "really good link" you should evaluate your chances of restoring it.

If you have the contact information of a webmaster or donor page editor, try to get in touch with them.

When a really good connection is gone forever, don't cry about it. They will build new ones.

Is astroturfing (forum links, comments) a good way to build links?

Astroturfing link building is the practice of promoting your business by leaving comments on forums, blogs, social media, etc.


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It jumps into any type of discussion relevant to your niche.

Forum links are usually pretty easy to create, which is why there are usually tons of them out there.

According to our experts, whether you can use crowd marketing depends on your niche.

Ann Smarty building a link

Ann Smarty claims that it is harder for local brick and mortar businesses to capitalize on artificial turf.

However, for companies that sell online in multiple domains or even worldwide, crowd marketing can be an efficient way to spread the information about your product or service.


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Note, however, that such links can be of varying quality.

For example, links from semi-legal forums can only send the backlink profile of your domain as spam.

At the same time, there are never too many crowd links from relevant Quora or Reddit threads.

In short, crowd marketing can bring benefits.

However, you need to measure the impact in your particular niche and try to make it look natural and beautiful.

Are press releases useful for getting links?

Summing up the general consensus of our link building experts, Jen Cornwell said that press releases don't apply to every campaign, but they are a great tool nonetheless.

She gives an example to her client at a small local business whose press releases have been picked up across the country.

Jen Cornwell

As a rule of thumb, a press release works when it's real news.


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Then they can be picked up by reputable media serving both PR and SEO goals.

If you've already built authority on your company and people know about it, you can post messages about who you've hired or fired.

In most cases, however, nobody cares about such internal messages.

Likewise, your new product or feature would hardly make the news if your name wasn't already known.

Note that press releases that do not contain real news can only be published on the dedicated submission platforms.

Google often perceives them as spam, so such links can harm the perfect balance of your backlink profile.

So if you have real news, go for it. If not, try something other than a press release.

To deny or not to deny?

Imagine suddenly spotting a bunch of spam links on your profile.

Should you send a disavow file to Google?

Most of the specialists in our round table noticed that they are now rejecting them much less often than before.


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And the general trend is this: the higher the competition is the more spam links You get, and the more of them you have to turn down.

Helen Pollitt shares the principle she uses:

I'm not inclined to disapprove links unless I see a pattern of the website that violates search engine guidelines, or if a website has already taken some manual action to manipulate link building, disabling is likely required.

Helen Pollitt on link building; Women in SEO Q&A

As with most other link building decisions, depending on your niche and the particular characteristics of links, you should decide whether or not to opt out.


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If they are obviously spammy and potentially harmful, consider putting them in a disavow file.

Does it matter when you post a link on a commercial and free blog?

Google probably knows the difference between paid and free blog posts. For example, if a website has a page to write to us, search engines may recognize your posts as paid.

It's not necessarily a negative signal, however.

If your content is good and the website is relevant, it doesn't matter that you paid money to get it published.

Google won't immediately think that your content is useless and all of the links in it are bad (although you can sometimes get a manual penalty for trying to tamper with Google with sponsored links).

One of the cases Alex Khilova shared involved the use of commercial anchors on news platforms. The website was fined for this, but once the commercial anchors were changed to branded anchors, the ban was lifted.


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For this reason, it is important to post a "sponsored" tag for commercial links and to monitor the proportion of such links in your backlink profile.

So the answer is – not really, unless you don't mess around with it too much.

Is there a fine line between SEO and PR?

The more we talk about link building, the more we hear about “finding a perfect publisher”, “creating great content”, “putting a link in a nice context”, “getting in touch with the editor” etc.

It all sounds pretty similar to what we're used to calling PR.

We asked our experts whether SEO and PR are related and received completely different answers!

Akilah Thompkins-Robinson. SEO strategist

Akilah Thompkins-Robinson claims that PR and SEO have quite different goals.


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PR benefits from large publications with no dofollow links, while SEO doesn't get any of the passing buzz.

I mainly work with entrepreneurs who are also building personal brands. PR is more important to them because they want great links to be in the SERPs when someone searches for their name.

However, most companies are not searched for by name first. They are searched for the service they offer or where they are located.

In these cases, they need good backlinks to move up the ranks because if they don't get ranked they won't see the benefits of PR work.

Meanwhile, Mindy Weinstein believes PR is a big part of link building:

I often work with publicists to secure links for my clients. It's important to take a step back and look at the bigger picture.

We want links because this is one of the many factors in the ranking algorithm and, as a result, can help us rank higher in search results.

This will give us more exposure and build credibility. PR is also about awareness and credibility.

Mindy Weinstein on linking buildings in SEO

Oddly enough, the truth is a little bit of both.


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PR involves a lot of work with the media and publishers, which is largely a work of public relations.

Good contacts are valuable for both areas. However, PR requires creating a story to pitch to the media, while a link builder can get a link from an existing page.

Our experts also shared some creative ways to connect with editors and webmasters.

Among other things, you will visit relevant rooms in the clubhouse. If you're really determined to get this link, call the deal number on the website and mention that you found a mistake that needs to be corrected.

Cool and crazy! The way we love it.

SEO can also benefit from PR as it helps get links from authoritative popular websites.

Unfortunately, it doesn't work the other way around. Not every SEO link brings PR value to the company.

So the final answer is two-sided: On the one hand, a good PR opportunity doesn't always match SEO score. On the other hand, everything is marketing at the end.


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The best way is to try to coordinate your SEO and PR efforts rather than proving the priority of one over the other.

What's the best way to get links: hire an agency or build an in-house team?

(Again) it depends on your niche and your goals.

The more competitive your market, the more control you need over the links. This can only be ensured by internal specialists.

Marya Kazakova is confident that it is much easier to work with your own team when a product or service is complex, requires lengthy onboarding and a certain type of positioning.

This increases engagement and allows you to maintain a deep knowledge of your niche.

It is a valuable treasure for pursuing link building goals.

Marya Kazakova on Link Building Public Relations: Women in Search Engine Optimization

This doesn't mean that it is bad to hire third-party specialists! Not at all.


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All of the experts who contributed to this article have experience with both hiring outsourced staff and growing their own team.

If you currently don't have the resources to build your own team but don't want to do all of the work, hiring a part-time freelancer might be the ideal decision for you.

The most important thing that is underlined by all of our contributors is that building connections means building relationships.

Try to make industry contacts, turn to specialists in your market and offer cross-marketing measures or any kind of win-win cooperation.

There is a great chance, through networking, you will meet trusted freelancers, agencies, or even people who are eligible for the hire.

However, make sure that you are not partnering with link exchange platforms, networks, or link farms. These relationships can have an impact on your brand.

If HBO did a TV show about link building, what would it be like?

Our SEO pros really unleashed their inner Aarons Sorkins with this one.


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Jen Cornwell offered a remake of Groundhog Day. In this version, Bill Murray's character Phil would try to get the black hat tactic working but fail.

An amazing article submitted to a major media company would become a game changer. He'd manage to break a time warp while expecting (really without high hopes!) For traffic to grow.

Alex Tachalova came up with an idea for the whole new world of link building, in which everything is upside down.

In a new reality, good links are considered bad while links from poor quality websites are the best of the best. One of the main characters will also be a crazy black and white hatter who remembered what the good connection is but he forgot.

The main character would have to get through all the fights and get the world of link building going again by finding the way to unlock the mad black and white hatter's memory.

Ann Smarty is sure that a TV show like this is definitely about superpowers because you really need them to get good links!


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There will be a select few who can work magic and the majority of the people who will try to fake it.

Bibi Lauri Raven insists on the show with a lot of blood: zombies, interdimensional travel, mythical monsters, drag queens and lots of word games.

It would be something like "The Splendid Adventures of Amber Poole" with Aleyda Solis as the protagonist.

Craig Campbell would be the joke article; a kind of Loki figure that messes everyone up.

Google would be that kind of Sauron Eye thing that turns everyone into zombies.

Everyone would basically try to murder everyone (which has nothing to do with real link building experience! Just to say.).

Helen Pollitt is also sure that such a show would have to uncover the downside of link building.

Hopefully it would help anyone who's seen what SEO is because all the specialists are fed up with explaining to their friends and family.

Alex Khilova took a completely different path and chose the scene of the French Revolution of the 18th century. The army would get into a battle for top positions.


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It would endure defeats and celebrate their victories. The soldiers would of course never give up and accompany their search with an uplifting motif of an adapted verse from La Marseillaise:

To arms, link builders!

Form your battalions

Come on come on

Leave our websites and posts

Let yourself be enriched with a flow of traffic!

Win links

As you can see, link building can be a lot more exciting than most people can imagine.


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While it involves a lot of routine work (choosing donors, monitoring spam links, pitching articles, contacting webmasters), it is also about strategic thinking and risky decisions.

The further Google's algorithms develop, the more creative link builders have to become.

We hope this article has helped you understand the logic of link building, even when it comes to really controversial issues.

Hopefully you've found some inspiration too and are ready to begin the battle for the best links on the web.

Let your websites and posts enrich with a traffic flow!

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