If you’ve followed our content enough, you’ve probably noticed that we repeat one thing fairly regularly: “SEO doesn’t work that way anymore.”

The reason we’ve been able to effectively consult and execute on SEO work is because we go out of our way to keep up with best practices and ultimately do what is best for our client and their ranking strategy.

So with that in mind, I’d like to touch on a few misconceptions and questions about backlinks, guest content (and content in general), and how to make the most of them.

Where should I put a backlink in a guest post or article?

Back in the day (yeah, I said it, and now I feel old) link location mattered a whole lot more.

There was conventional wisdom that the earlier in a piece of content a backlink showed up, the more weight or value it had. That conventional wisdom does not still apply in 2021 (and for future readers, I can almost guarantee it doesn’t apply to you now).

Search engines are primarily concerned with content quality and user experience; the “first paragraph” stuff is a technical SEO strategy that won’t get you anywhere anymore. Now, it doesn’t necessarily hurt you if the link happens earlier on, but the general idea is that the impact is perfectly neutral.

What DOES matter is that it’s within the content body. Links in a footer, menu, or even sometimes an author profile, won’t generally have the same impact, if any. But when a good link is naturally included in amazing content, what matters is that it shows up in the content body, not where in the body it lives.

Should I use keywords in my anchor text?

Yes, but don’t try too hard. What do I mean by that? Let me give you a couple of examples, and you tell me what reads better:

The first one shoe horns in this “anchor text for SEO” keyword; it reads like garbage and this is pretty easy for most people who know a thing about SEO to spot. This isn’t exactly a surefire way to a penalty, but the reality is that Google’s smart enough to figure out what the content is about without you stuffing exact match keywords into your anchor texts.

It matters more that the content on both ends are relevant to each other, high quality, and that the anchor text is natural. If it’s overly keyword heavy, or forced, it CAN work against you.

Case in point: don’t worry so much about stuffing keywords into anchor text.

Side note: this applies to keyword density as well. If your post is about financial tools for millennials, don’t stress about getting that exact keyword in 8 times. If your content is good, it’ll occur naturally and you shouldn’t have to worry about density or match types.

What are naked URLs, and should I use them?

Naked links, or naked URLs, are links without any anchor text, like this: https://invalley.com

Google has openly stated that without anchor texts, context for the link is more difficult and we can reasonably imply that it may be less impactful. However, as with anything else, use when appropriate.

Resource pages, bottom of your content sourcing, etc. As with anything else, using this in a straightforward way that’s natural is the key here. Don’t go out of your way to avoid or prioritize these.

Should I build multiple links in the same piece of content or the same URL?

There’s really no reason to bother making this a priority. Again, think about how far the algos have come. We’re past the days where that’s going to trick a search engine into giving you higher DA or “more link juice”.

If you truly, legitimately, have a good reason to build a second or third link in the same piece of content, and you believe it’ll help content quality, sure go for it. But mostly, don’t get stuck on the idea that it’s going to bring you double the results.

Putting it all together:

We’re big on practicing what we preach. With our premium links, we focus on what matters most: content quality. Does that mean we ignore keywords, or basic SEO value? Heck no, our job is to help you rank higher after all.

But it does mean you can always rely on us not to get hung up on the things that won’t help you, or might even hurt you these days, and that at the end of the day your content is going to be stellar (and your link totally white-hat).