Website vital signs: inbound links

2014 has been a year of learnings for our web team. In a previous post I mentioned that our SEO strategy was to create great content for people to share and link to. This simple strategy worked very well for us for a number of years and got us high up the first page of Google for many of our key terms.

But over the last few months it's got much more complex. I've already blogged about the number of indexed pages. Now I'd like to share our back link learnings.

My old understanding was that links coming through to your site were critical and they all had different levels of Google influence. So a link from the BBC was 10 out of 10. But a link from this blog maybe 1 out of 10! 

What I didn't realise is that some site linking to your site could be damaging, and carry a negative score. So it's not about quantity, but quality.

Keep your back links clean

Regularly cleaning up your back links is now an essential part of managing your site. There are tools available that will categorise links for you into something like 'the good, the bad and the ugly'…. but you're left with the manual task of contacting site owners and asking them politely not to link to you anymore.

We are still in the early days of doing this and it will be interesting to find out how A) we write the email without upsetting anyone and B) How people respond, and whether they take offence that their site isn't good enough to link to ours!

Supposedly there are people out there who will do this dirty work for you, but I would prefer to do this in-house and minimise plus manage any negative brand experiences.