You’ve spent a good deal of time building your backlinks using legitimate, white hat techniques. You’re linking to quality sites, and they’re linking back. You’ve even disavowed the links that aren’t doing you any good, and you developing really good, optimized content. So why aren’t you ranking higher? What’s going on?
Thing is, it’s not quite enough to insert good links and build good backlinks; you also have to make sure those backlinks are getting indexed by search engines. This doesn’t all happen automatically - it involves a little effort from your side. But it’s effort that is more than worth it!
Step 1 - Check what’s indexed and what isn’t
While it doesn’t just all happen automatically, plenty of the indexing is automated and happens organically. Before you start implementing all kinds of processes, see what links are indexed and which aren’t. There are a number of online tools, some free and some paid, which allow you to monitor your backlinks and see what’s happening with them.
Top tip: While you’re at it, check which links are follow,and which are no-follow. While no-follow links aren’t an SEO disaster, you want them to be in the minority.
Step 2 - Work on quality
The higher the quality of your backlinks, the more likely they are to be automatically indexed by Google and to help your SEO rankings. This means it’s better to have backlinks from well-respected, authority sites that themselves rank well. But it’s not just about link quality. Your content quality also needs to be as high as possible, so that search engines recognize you as a quality site - this helps get links indexed.
Step 3 - Disavow
The worse the quality of your backlinks, the more likely Google et al are to ignore you and not index your links, or to rank them as poor quality, which pushes you into search engine purgatory. Poor quality backlinks do you zero favors, and it’s up to you to disavow them. Here’s how.
Step 4 - Watch out for grey hats
There are plenty of “tricks” to improve your indexing, and all of them are risky. These include using a Web 2.0 platform to backlink to your own site, or filtering it through a company that does this for you. It’s not black hat, so it won’t necessarily cause you to get relegated to search engine purgatory, but it is risky. If you can avoid this, rather do.
The simple fact is, building really good SEO takes time and ongoing effort. It isn’t just a matter of cramming in links and keywords, it’s a matter of building trust and authority over the course of several months or even years. The more time and effort you put into developing quality, optimized content, the better and more organic your backlinks and your indexing are going to be.
If you want help getting your SEO up to scratch and want to stay white hat about it, get in touch.
What tips did I miss? Leave a comment below.