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A very sneaky backlink building technique that big publications use
Ever wonder why big publications always turn up in search results for multiple, highly popular keywords?
It's of course, because of the huge authority those domains built over the years. Old Google Page Rank hasn't really gone why, you may think it is dead and buried, but the truth is that Page Rank mutated into multiple private "authority" indicators like Moz, Ahrefs or Semrush.
Their authority scores still rely on one major indicator factor: number of dofollow backlinks. Google also maintains backlinks as one of the most important ranking factors.
The main point is: dofollow backlinks play a huge role when it comes to organic traffic, probably the most important role of them all if we are looking at big publications. With just this "authority" they can rank with decent content on any competitive keyword out there without breaking a sweat.
So how did major publications built such a huge domain and page authority, how did they manage to get so many dofollow backlinks?
First, let me explain what a dofollow backlink really is. A "dofollow" backlink is a normal link without a nofollow attribute. I call it "dofollow" because I see this as the opposite of nofollow, but in truth, only the nofollow label exists, and this nofollow attribute tells search engines crawlers NOT to transfer any page/domain authority to the link it points too.
For example, if you have a blog or a website and you want to link to another blog without giving them "SEO credit" you will use a nofollow attribute in that link. ex: (rel=”nofollow”>Anchor Text<)
In essence, this was created by search engines as a way of giving people the option to sell links or link to dubious sources without having to pay the SEO consequences. It's like not assuming any kind of responsibility for the link you are subjecting your users too.
But of course, for SEO experts and SEO savvy people, the nofollow attribute is much more than the way to sell links without getting penalized. It has also become a very sneaky way to gain dofollow backlinks, the kind of links that do transfer SEO authority, the link you really want to get!
Do major publication ever give out dofollow backlinks?
Almost never. In fact, most of them have a site-wide protocol to maintain ALL outbound backlinks with the nofollow attribute.
WHY? Because they want to keep all that tasty SEO juice to themselves, why would they share their authority?
So how exactly do major publication manage to gain all this authority without giving anything back?
By being sneaky of course! It not upfront dishonest.
A growing link building trend for big publications involves the following:
1. You write some glowing, over the top review, simple straight out "ass kissing" on some companies services, products or even about a startup.
Of course, you won't publish this review on the front page; you publish it in some category or listing page, nothing special. Your link to that company's website but you make sure those links don't transfer any authority, meaning the links gonna have the nofollow attribute.
2. You contact that specific company, letting them know you just written the most positive review of them.
You may or may not ask them upfront to publish a link back to the article's review page or whatever page you want as long as you link back.
3. Most companies out there will brag about this "review" on the /in-the-press page or even share it on social media and other company controlled online spaces.
Most of them won't bother to implement the nofollow attribute when linking back to the major publishers. Some won't do it out of respect, and some won't do it because they have no idea what a nofollow attribute is.
4. Profit. A lot of profit. Why? Because while you aren't giving anything back, others blindly share their authority with you.
This results in top ranks on top competitive keywords even if your content and the overall website is mediocre. And of course, it will results in a lot of organic traffic on which you will cash in big time, pig time!
What is the future holding for sneaky backlink building tactic?
Well, as long Google will keep dofollow backlinks as one of the most important ranking factors this "abuse" will continue by major publications which will get even bigger.
But I think the value of backlinks in SEO will fade away with time. Google and other search engines will eventually find ways to replace this ranking factor. The Rankbrain update is proof of that, and I think the most important ranking factor in the following years will be direct traffic.
You don't even need to have Google Analytics; Google will figure out how much direct traffic you are getting, just like tons of SEO tools can do at the moment.
The amount direct traffic or social media traffic you are getting will tell Google a lot about how popular is your website among users and why it should be a win to rank you higher on certain keywords in their search results.
What do you think about all of this? Let me know in the comments below!