In two months time it will be 2016 already, and yet many (link builders) are still worrying about the fact that they are getting more nofollow links than dofollow.
But does it really matter?
Three years ago, SEO is all about getting dofollow links, but that’s not the case anymore.
I remember when I was still a link builder. I always get excited every time I’m getting an alert that my guest article is already published, but there were a couple of times when my excitement turned into dismay after finding out that my links were nofollowed.
It will take me a few more hours to convince Google Webmaster to make the links a dofollow, and sometimes, my efforts to convince them won’t work.
It was really hard during those times.
The good thing about working in an SEO company is that everyone (even your boss) understands how Google Webmaster works, the trends as well as how things change, like when Google PageRank started to become irrelevant.
Hence, we learned to value the nofollow links, and you should too.
When link building is more than just about getting tons of PageRank juice
Over time, I learned that there’s more to link building (or link earning) than stressing yourself out just to get followed links – a link is created for something way more important.
1. To help bots better crawl the web
There’s no way Googlebot can crawl the web if there are no links pointing from one website or webpage to another, and even if it’s a nofollow one, Google Webmaster will still use it as if it’s a bridge connecting two places.
So, if you have links from other websites, chances are Google or other search engines will easily find and crawl your website.
2. It’s saying “Hey this is a relevant source!”
We put links because we want to give our readers other resources.
It could be resources that are also inside our website, or resources from other sites, either way, the purpose is the same – to give our audience endless options to learn more about the topic we’re discussing.
It is also one of the main reasons why we all want to get backlinks from quality websites such as The New York Times, Huffington Post, and Moz because we know that they only link to quality, relevant content.
3. Increase in traffic
In relation to my point number two, just imagine getting a link from The New York Times. Expect one of the best things that can happen to your site – increase in traffic!
Because The New York Times has tons of daily readers, chances are these readers will click the link that is pointing to your site, and will then find you relevant.
But even with links from well-known sites, it shouldn’t stop you from aiming to get backlinks (whether a dofollow one or not) from other websites with few traffic but are very targeted.
Why? Because it can also lead you to having targeted traffic as well, which is better for conversion.
4. Increase in sales
And if you have a targeted traffic, then your chance to convert audience to customers will definitely increase too.
If we will look closer, we’ll find that a simple link can actually bring awareness, which will lead to visits (or traffic), and soon to profit. And it can happen even if your links are nofollowed.
In fact many companies get almost 100% of their traffic and sales from links on social media, which is by the way nofollowed.
How to convince people to click on your link
Now, the real challenge is not how to acquire dofollow links, but how your links will be clicked, and eventually convert.
1. Proper link placement
Placing your link in an article, whether it’s a guest post or an article that will be published on your blog, should be planned well.
The best practice for link placement is to put your important link on the introduction. It’s because people don’t really read anymore – the attention span is shorter, and the readership is dropping off after the introduction, so the chances for your links to be noticed and clicked when you placed them on the middle, or end note are little.
2. Use longer anchor text
Anchor text has been abused by many SEOs – who wouldn’t when you know that it’s one of the most effective ways to rank on Google for particular keywords?
I remember how anchor text used to be so short and keyword centric.
But not anymore. Those times are over.
What’s more effective now is the use of long anchor text that is action oriented, and of course, an anchor text that will not disappoint – it should give your readers an idea of what they may get if they click on the link.
3. Don’t put too much links
There’s nothing wrong with giving out resources, but too much is not healthy as well. You don’t want your article to look like a link farm.
While there are no perfect number of links or CTAs, successful blog posts have an average of 10 links per post.
4. Minimize distraction
Although minimizing distraction is not something you can do especially with guest posting (because obviously, it’s out of your control), you can include user-experience as part of your criteria when prospecting.
Quality websites with less distraction such as ads, links and images on the sidebars are a good choice if you want your links to be noticed. In the same way, it is a best practice to make your own website free from any distractions to keep your readers’ eyes on your content, and in content links.
I’m sure that links will always have value both for search engines and people. It’s just sad to know, especially for some SEOs that the goal is still to manipulate search engines, and not to give value and better user-experience; thus, it is still too much of a big deal to acquire dofollow links.
But over time, all SEO strategies that we invested too much time in will have no value anymore, and the battle will be all about who has better and user-friendly content.