If you’ve done any research on search engine optimization (SEO) then you’ve probably read that backlinks are important. However, they can be scary too! You don’t want too few of them, but you also don’t want too many! You want links to your home page, but not too many! You also need to frequently check and rescind links you don’t think are “good!”
There was even so much backlash with Google’s Penguin and PANDA algorithm updates that people were being told that backlinks are bad (and I wrote about this two years ago in this article)! That’s just crazy talk, but this confusion and ignorance on the topic continues to resonate among marketers and aesthetic practices.
All this backlink and SEO advice can be overwhelming, so we’re here to set the record straight on some backlink myths, as well as offer some tactics to avoid.
- Don’t ever link out: Technically this is more about link building in general than growing your website’s backlinks, but a common misconception is that it’s bad to link out from your website or blog articles. The thought is that you’re directing Google away from your site, so you lose “link juice,” and that’s bad. Interestingly, some studies have even shown that linking out can be beneficial. I would advise to link out to reference a source, or if you’re mentioning an interesting study, thought, or angle on a given topic don’t by shy about linking out.
- Keep the percentage of exact match, branded and other anchor text links the same: There is no magic formula that says 30% of your backlinks should be branded (John Doe Plastic Surgery), 20% exact keyword match (breast augmentation Austin), etc. If you’re naturally building links then your percentages will vary, and you won’t have to worry about 100% of your links being exact match keywords.
- Don’t get links from directories: There are some low quality directories that are essentially link farms. These are to be avoided. However, there are many high-quality directories you should not only have a presence on, but be active on. Google+, Yelp and Real Self should be your focus for growing content and reviews, among others. With Real Self make get involved in the conversation as well by answering questions.
- Avoiding links from outside your niche: Google is smart, very smart in fact. However, I doubt Google can comprehend that a luxury clothing boutique and a plastic surgery center with a med spa could actually share the same target market. They’d likely look at the two differently, other than the fact that they’re local businesses. If your practice got a backlink from a partnership you’ve established, such as a luxury boutique store, you wouldn’t be penalized though. I think these types of partnerships are crucial for aesthetic practices, and the links from partners (even those seemingly outside your “niche”) will not only help legitimately grow backlinks, but more importantly, they’ll drive relevant traffic to your site. Focus on legitimate, real-life partnerships. These efforts will not only undoubtedly help your practice, but they’ll also lead to more quality backlinks.
Tactics that you should avoid:
Now that we’ve addressed some concerns, let’s discuss a few tactics that you should avoid. At best, these are merely a waste of your time and they’ll do nothing to help you. At worse, you could be penalized by Google.
- Placing links in a blog’s comments section: 98-99% the links I see are complete spam. You’re not growing your backlinks by doing this, you’re wasting your time. I think that you could innocently place relevant links on occasional and they’d still provide little value to your website. The one instance where you might gain some positive traction is if you’re a regular on a blog and people respect your feedback and dialogue. If occasionally you post links within your comments you could theoretically drive a high amount of traffic to the site you’re linking to. I think the benefit from that traffic would far outweigh any “backlink love” you’d get from Google though.
- Placing links in a forum: See above point about blog comments. The same applies here, especially the point about being a respected and established commentor.
- Paying someone to “place backlinks”: See my point above about developing mutual, long-lasting partnerships. If someone is asking for $$ from you for a backlink then they’ve probably solicited many others, and while they likely have a highly-ranked site (in order for solicitatation to be taken seriously), they are putting themselves at risk. There may be some small instances where this could work out favorably, but my advice is to focus on partnerships that don’t require you to pay for links.
- Getting involved with a link farm: Just avoid getting involved in any shady tactics like this.
I think many agencies focus too much on being overly precise with their SEO, specifically backlinks. Focus on providing patients with quality results, producing quality content about these results (blogs, videos, press releases, social posts, etc), and building quality partnerships. This combination will inevitably lead to more backlinks and boost your organic visibility! Of course, the right partner in the aesthetic marketing world can help you produce quality content, help that content to be found, and open doors to new partnerships.
It’s also worth noting that SEO is not dead! Google is leveling the playing field, but SEO in general is far from dead.
If you’d like to learn more about backlinks, or SEO in general, then I encourage you to check out our category of blogs on this topic. We also encourage you to reach out to us directly with any questions, or if you’d like a free consultation. Simply drop us a line here or call us directly at 877-673-7096 x2.