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With most businesses now reserving 35% of their marketing budgets for digital campaigning, companies must keep a sliver of that open for SEO. Maintaining a strong SEO campaign takes diligence and can eat up a budget quickly. Maintaining backlink quality is a major factor in maintaining your SEO ranking.

Since the internet is still fundamentally an information sharing tool at its core, backlinks are important in creating networks of information between sites. As sites age, backlinks drop off and links die. If the information on your site is linked to dead links, search engines will penalize you for having bad links.

If you’re managing the SEO for a small company, every single element of optimization makes a big difference. Low backlink quality causes search engines to drop you in rankings. Follow these 7 tips to make sure your backlinks are on the up and up.

1. Set Up Alerts

While you might have the time to manually check your links when you first start out, it’s not a sustainable practice for most companies. If you’re updating your blog a few times a week with a couple of backlinks in each post, you’ll be creating an unmanageable workload in a matter of weeks.

You could be checking 100 links just in the first month, compounded each month after that. If you’re also running a business, you don’t have time for that.

Fortunately, there are several tools that offer automated alerts to check through your backlinks. You can get a browser-based tool to store links and domains for you. Some backlink checkers will cost you a monthly premium but they will often allow you customization.

Other tools are available for a one-time fee and will allow for robust and flexible data reporting.

No matter what tool you use, make sure that you follow through with the alerts you receive. If you don’t fix your links, an alert doesn’t serve much of a purpose

2. Check Often

Make sure that you stay on top of keeping the links that you have. While you can get a lot of data and alerts from tools, they need to be managed constantly. If you’ve lost a link, you need to figure out why it was lost.

Perhaps it was just moved or the URL name was changed. If you can recover the link, you’ll find you won’t lose your ranking. If you choose reputable backlinks, they will have less of a tendency to fluctuate.

Even the most reputable sites perform maintenance and cleanup from time to time, which can give the appearance of instability. Make sure your links fit in with the terms of service of search engines. If they violate, you’ll be penalized along with them for linking to them in the first place.

3. Look For Dead Links and Watch Rebranding

It’s time-consuming for you to find a set of backlinks that you trust and offer value to your own clients. Once you’ve got a list of links with strong backlink quality, you need to make sure that you maintain them.

To avoid losing links, make sure you’re using companies who are either extremely stable or that have recently rebranded. Linking to a company following a rebrand means that your links will stay afloat for several years.

If you have a page on your site that could be replaced with any dead links, link to your own page. It’s not quite as valuable as backlinking, but it’s better than using dead links.

Get ahold of the webmaster with the dead links if you have a relationship. Otherwise, this could be a great opportunity to start a relationship. If a web host knows that you’re linking to their site, they might be more diligent

4. Know the Value of Your Links

Search engines rank sites based on speed, keywords, sitemap, and backlinks among other things. These elements form a complete picture of how relevant your site is and the kind of “brand authority” you have to potential search engine users.

Backlinks make your site look reputable, especially when your links are connected to other reputable sites. Your site should link to other reputable sites within your industry. If you link to spammy or promotional sites, search engines will know and lower your value among other search results.

5. Keep It Relevant

The quality of your content is ultimately the deciding factor of how well you’re ranked. Producing good content means that other sites will link to you and your content.

It can be a vicious cycle: if the backlink quality of your own content slips or if you don’t post frequently enough, your rank could slip. Other hosts might remove links to you and you could begin a tumble down in the rankings.

Give users good content when they finally hit your site and you’ll stay high in the rankings for your industry.

6. Build Relationships With Bloggers

If you find a site that you think is reputable, build a relationship with the site owner or webmaster. Tell them that you backlink to them often and if they experience any downtime, URL changes, or they shutter, you’ll be the first to know.

Other bloggers love to share links so make sure you stay in touch and you’ll be in the loop about any changes to your favorite sites to link to.

7. Update Your Links Often

When your blog ages at about 5 years or more, you should go through the links on your most popular posts and trade out the links. Take any old links and find a newer page to link to. Even if you stay with the same domain, finding more relevant content is good for all parties.

Backlink Quality Is Important To Your Visitors

Believe it or not, people really do click those links that you put on your posts. If they hit a dead end, they may get frustrated or distracted and then leave your site. Maintaining high-quality backlinks isn’t just good for SEO; it’s good for customer service too.

If you’re ready to take a new approach to managing your backlinks, contact us for tips on which tools will be perfect for you.