This is a very common question that is asked time and time again by marketers, website developers and business owners. In fact, there’s so much to consider when it comes to SEO that this is sometimes a concept that is overlooked completely.
But the question is, do link echoes and link ghosts actually have any effect on your SEO? Or is it just a case of overlooking this point and focusing your attention on other, more relevant SEO concerns? Let’s find out.
What Are Link Ghosts?
Quite simply, link ghosts are links that have posted to your website in the past, through such forms as social media posts, guest posts on other blogs and referrals, that have since gone, been deleted or in other ways, no longer exist.
There are many reasons this can happen, many of which are out of your control, such as the website being deleted, the post being removed, or a website’s policy to remove outbound links after a set amount of time.
What is a Link Echo?
In short, a link echo is exactly the same as a link ghost; it’s just another name for it.
The Effects of ‘Dead’ Links on SEO
Google, the search engine giant, knows that a link was pointing at your site from another source. In short, even though the link has now gone, the effect remains the same, despite the actual source now not existing.
While this means that your SEO ranking will be maintained, even after links have been deleted, this can actually benefit some businesses as it is suggested that temporary links on high-quality websites may positively affect your SEO ranking.
Imagine you operated a travel-based website and one of your content posts was temporarily linked via Lonely Planet. Even though Lonely Planet might delete the link, do the effects of that link remain the same? There are many websites that use this technique, from custom writing services like UK Writings to the HuffingtonPost and Forbes.
Of course, it’s all well and good saying this, but as a business owner or website manager, you’re going to want proof. Well, Moz, a leading SEO platform for websites and businesses tested out this theory.
During the test, they tested several pages. They applied a couple of inbound links from certain sources and, as you would expect, it then bumped the pages up the search engine results page. When those inbound links were then removed, the results were quite surprising, at the time.
Darren Johnson, an SEO expert for EliteAssignmentHelp, explains, “Expecting the pages to then drop in their results page positions, the pages then held their ground, or only dropped one or two positions. The positive effects of having inbound links were still relevant. This is now an extremely important SEO study to have taken place that all marketers need to know”.
The technique was tested on eight pages in total, and the effects were the same on every single test. In fact, the pages tested remained high on the search engine results page for several months, even after the test had been finished.
This means that businesses and websites will be able to maintain a high SEO ranking using the techniques of link ghosts and link echoes. As mentioned above, this could mean that even if you get temporarily linked from a high authority website, you can still enjoy the benefits for many months to come.
“When content is deleted, it’s been proven that the backlink effects stay. However, that doesn’t mean that you should be posting content and then taking it down again. The longer you leave it up, the longer you’ll see the effects” shares Matthew Sharpe, a marketer for Paper Fellows.
Of course, ranking high in the search engine results pages means more people will see your website and your page content, resulting in more traffic and therefore more revenue. Being high in these results pages for several months will do wonders for the online visibility of your business and website.
Actionable Step Forward
So, with this information in mind, you might be wondering what to do with it. Well, there are many ways you can approach this information, the most effective of which would be setting up partnerships and agreements with other websites, especially high authority websites where they can link back to you.
The most common way you’ll be able to do this is to get in contact with them and set up an exchange of blogs or link backs. Alternatively, the website you’re trying to work with may already have a system in which you can contribute articles to the blog, as long as they match their required guidelines.
It may be tempting but try to avoid spam posting links through forums and comment sections of high authority websites. Not only will these comments or posts be seen as spam by the readers, but they could also get you blacklisted from the site which will have a negative effect on your SEO.
When you’re adding backlinks of your own, perhaps to websites that you’ve partnered with and you’re giving them a backlink, you can add the link in a professional format using tools such as Cite It In. It’s also worth remembering that the longer the content is uploaded and backlinked to you, the longer you’ll be at the top of the SERPs.
With this in mind, try to minimise the number of errors in your content, according to CopyBlogger, quality and clear content is more shareable and grammar mistakes keep your content from spreading. So be aware of your grammar by using sites and resources like State of Writing or Via Writing. This will also minimise the risk of the content being taken down, therefore rewarding you with more traffic and a higher ranking. You can also use tools like Grammarix to check the grammar in your content.
As you can see, link ghosts or link echoes are actually quite an effective marketing and SEO tool when used in the right way. When you’re creating content, and planning your content marketing strategy, bear this fact in mind so you can boost your website’s traffic to the best it’s ever been!
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