You may be one of the many people that have asked or wondered about the answer to this question. In our years of working in the SEO industry, it’s rare that a company or client wants to know if this is a good idea. Instead this is a question we get from other digital marketers; specifically, those looking for shortcuts when it comes to search engine optimization strategies. If you’re asking this question because you heard or read that someone else has succeeded with this type of link building, the truth is… it probably actually happened. However, does that mean you should follow the same course of trying to acquire web 2.0 backlinks? Or could there be a downside to this type of link building tactic? The short answer is… long term, there is a right way and a wrong way to get these kinds of links; but a better question is… will it be worth it in the long run?
Although doing a Google search for just about any keyword will clearly show an SEO worth his/her salt that quality backlinks are still one of the strongest ranking factors being used for ranking high on page one. This is despite the fact that many people will make the claim that “backlinks are dead” or that they’re not important. While we’re not going to get into that discussion here in this article, we will focus on trying to aid any of you out there that might be wondering if it’s worth it to save so money on your link building tactics by acquiring backlinks from web 2.0 websites.
So… Is It Possible That Web 2.0 Backlinks Can Help A Website Rank High On Page One Of Google?
That depends on the industry you’re competing in and the keywords you’re targeting. Not only do you have to take a look at the types of backlinks your highest ranking organic competitors have, but it’s important to get a sense of the strength and relevancy your target website already has. If you’re trying to rank a brand new website that lacks content, a good user experience, and relevant backlinks… then there is no amount of web 2.0 links that will help your site rank in most industries. Instead, you’re probably much closer to getting a penalty from the search engines rather than page one rankings.
Below, we’ll outline some of the characteristics your website and organic search competitors should have before you start thinking about investing your time and energy into web 2.0 backlinks:
1) Focus On Web 2.0s That Are Relevant & Have Relevant Backlinks
One of the loopholes people try to use when doing most forms of link building is they focus on the link metrics associated with the domain they are getting a link from. Looking at things like Moz DA/PA or Majestic TF/CF is great, but only when those metrics are coming from a site that is relevant to yours. Additionally, more than making sure that the website linking to yours has relevant and related content, the backlink from the site will be even more impactful if it’s backlinks are also related to your niche.
How does this have anything to do with the pursuit of web 2.0 backlinks? Simply put, if you create a new web 2.0 just because the root domain of the platform has a high Moz DA… it’s going to have very little impact on most SEO campaigns. Instead, you’ll have to focus on building new web 2.0s that have unique and useful content that is related to your industry along with backlinks from relevant websites pointing to those web 2.0s to get the best results.
Another option you have is to find expired web 2.0s that already have backlinks that you can register and take ownership of. The method of doing that will be discussed in another article, or you can simply do a Google search and find plenty of tutorials on how to do that by either outsourcing it or doing it yourself.
2) Target Keywords That Have Multiple Sites Ranking Top10 That Have Weak Ranking Factors
When it comes to using web 2.0 websites to strengthen the backlink profile of your site to rank better in the search engines, it’s important to do keyword research first. Not only do you want to identify the keywords that are related to your website that you’re trying to rank, but you also need to make sure that the level of competition for those keywords isn’t so strong that your pursuit of these types of backlinks ends up accomplishing nothing.
Some of the most important factors to look at when trying to determine how competitive a keyword is to compare the below list of items on your website vs the top10 ranking sites for your target keyword(s):
Word Count / Content – If your content doesn’t measure up to what’s already ranking well on page one of the search engine in question, there is no amount of web 2.0 backlinks that will make your content outrank the sites already ranking well. So, in reality, it’s not just the number of words, it’s the search intent that users have when typing in the keyword(s) you’re targeting. In short, just make sure the content on the page you’re trying to rank and build links to deserves to rank on page one of the search engines by comparing your page’s content to what’s already ranking well.
Domain Age – Although the “Google Sandbox” is no longer a term that we see used a lot as it relates to SEO, there’s no question that the age of a website plays an important factor in how well it ranks in Google and other search engines. For that reason, if you have a brand new website that is thin on content and all of the top10 ranking sites are anywhere from 7 to 14+ years old… it’s important to assume that you’re probably not the first person in the last 7-14 years that was pursuing that keyword, and based on that alone you’re probably better off targeting keywords that newer sites are ranking for in the SERPs.
The number of Referring Backlinks To Ranking Page – This should be obvious, so we’ll leave it at that.
The number of Referring Backlinks To Ranking Domain – Some domains are so strong that they need very little to no backlinks at all to rank on page one of Google for many terms. Think of a site like Amazon.com or Wikipedia.org. With so many backlinks from high-quality websites, sites like these often rank well regardless of how many backlinks they have pointed to a page ranking on page 1. So if all of the domains ranking on page one have 50, 100, or 400 links and your site has none… look for a new keyword to target with web 2.0 links.
Number & Type Of Social Signals (mentions / likes / shares / favorites / etc.) – Since 2009, plenty of case studies and reports have shown the impact that social signals have on organic rankings. In short, they’re a measure of trust that search engines are using to determine if a domain is popular and supported by consumers on social media platforms. If your target website is lacking in this regard, but the page one competition is not… focus on that prior to building backlinks.
On-Page Optimizations For Target Keyword(s) – This should also be obvious, but unfortunately is ignored many times when strategists are making SEO link building plans. If your site isn’t optimized or measuring up to the optimization level of top ranking sites… you might want to address that before building links to your target page; whether they are web 2.0 links or not.
3) Don’t Make Web 2.0 Links Your Primary Source Of Backlinks
At the end of the day, web 2.0 sites are usually not the types of links that the highest ranking websites are using to rank well in the SERPS, so there is no reason for you to solely depend on such a strategy just because some SEO has reported that they’ve been able to do so successfully. Far too many digital marketers have relied on these types of backlinks, and more often than not end up acquiring a search engine ranking penalty. Based on all of the factors above, it’s probably obvious that link building using web 2.0 websites is a lot of work; so, in reality, you might as well pursue targeted backlink opportunities from reputable sites.
For those of you out there looking for a quick way to create a stronger backlink profile with little to no budget, web 2.0 backlinks can help in uncompetitive niches, from a search engine optimization point of view. However, for those of you looking to use a piece of software to automate this backlink strategy… sure, you might get some positive results, but you’re putting yourself in line to end up with a search engine algorithm penalty.
It is for these and many other reasons that we rarely, if ever, recommend that web 2.0 backlinks be used as a primary link building tactic for a website you care about. If you have a different opinion of what we’ve discussed, or you need more information about anything mentioned above… leave a comment below or send us a message on our contact us page. Nomvo!