Of the opportunities and risks in international linkbuilding
The first time Campixx and the first time give a workshop. The unconference of 2013 was definitely exciting for me. Fortunately, I had a subject in my luggage that I deal with on a daily basis: international link building. I have taken this into opportunities and risks and now I would like to present you the results. The focus was on link building measures in France, the UK, Spain and Italy. Germany served as a comparison market.
A market with many opportunities or where is left-linking really fun?
The first question every linkbuilder asks is “What can I do with my actions in which time?”. Of course, this depends very much on the competition in the SERPs . In a competitive market it is relatively easy to get ahead with a bit of link building, but in a highly competitive market you have to invest a lot of time and money. The size of the competition essentially influences the number of domains . A study by Sistrix from 2012 provides the appropriate numbers.
Of the countries surveyed, competition is greatest in the UK . Not surprisingly, considering that the UK index includes not only British but also US and other English-language domains. The competition in Germany looks similar, which is why a domain in the UK and DE only averages 10 to 11 rankings in the top 100.
The situation in France, Italy and Spain is a lot more comfortable. Here the competition is lower and there listed domains come on average on 35-45 well-placed keywords .
Risks in international linkbuilding – what to look for
No matter which country you end up doing link building for: there are peculiarities everywhere that should be taken into account so that there is no danger of punishment .
Top-level domains and server locations
A careful choice of linkers gives you the opportunity to make it relevant to a particular country . So a French domain should have many links from French websites. But what if you only have .fr domains in the backlink profile? Is that still natural?
The answer is no. In France only about 34% of all domains carry the domain extension .fr (see chart 2). The reason for this is that until the end of 2011 only Frenchmen were able to register a French domain. In Spain, the figure is about 48% . So if you go purely from Germany, where the percentage of .de domains is much larger, then you run the risk of building an unnatural backlink profile.
The situation is similar with the server location . Again, you should not go out of Germany and suspect that all domains are always hosted in each country. The backlink profiles of Spanish and British domains are a lot more colorful. A normal online shop in the UK, for example, also has a number of links from domains that can NOT be explicitly assigned to the British Isles via the server location.
Anchor text distribution
Even with the link structures, there can be many peculiarities. A study by Webcertain has examined the anchor text distribution in several countries . The result: Everywhere the strongest focus is placed on linking with the fire . In France, however, this proportion is even greater, while the English people link above-average with the URL (see Figure 4).
Legal obligations to mark links
A tiresome topic in all EU countries is the discussion of whether links must be marked as purchased links . If it is a promotional item with links integrated, then the legislation is the same everywhere: advertising must be declared as advertising. Incidentally, the basis for this is an EU directive dating from 2005 . But what if it’s just a single link – is that advertising? Here a lot of interpretation is needed and this is different in the different countries. For the Italians and Spaniards, this is not really a topic, but in linkbuilding in France and the UK you find yourself quickly in discussions. For example, Article L.213-1 of the “Code de la Consommation” provides for two years’ imprisonment and around € 37,000 in France if someone violates the law. In the UK, the agency Handpicked Media was sued only in 2010, because this had a blogger network, where they sold without promotional labeling sponsored articles. No wonder that bloggers in France and the UK are very sensitized. Now one or the other may think: “I do not care, what interests me the risk of the blogger?” Far from it. Those who argue insensitive, among other things, provokes a shitstorm in the blogosphere. Here a lot of caution and negotiating skills are required!
Other countries other manners
Differences in culture and mentality also become apparent when agreeing on link cooperation. While the Spaniards are generally very relaxed and open to many ideas, our French neighbors are quickly reaching their limits. As the topic is not 100% fit, the money is not too fast on the account or there is the discussion about the attribute “article sponsorisé” in the center. In any case, more discussion and explanation should be expected here.
Conclusion: opportunities and risks in the UK, France, Italy and Spain
As the previous explanations have shown, link building in Italy and Spain is much easier and leads to success faster than, for example, in the UK. Nevertheless, there are certain peculiarities in each country, which you have to keep in mind. Top-level domains, server locations, anchor-text distributions and legislations are just a small part of the big picture.