I think we can all agree, link building is not the easiest SEO tactic to understand.
So, if you haven’t bookmarked this page yet then do it, or download it, screenshot it, make notes of it, or do anything you need to do in order to memorise its contents because this guide has now become your link building bible.
Let’s start off by getting the boring who, what, where, when, and why stuff out of the way.
What Is Link Building?
First of all, let’s break things down, starting with links. Not to question your intelligence, but not everyone knows what a link is so the term link building will just send you into a whirlwind before we have even begun.
A link is what users can follow to go from one page to another. Links are also used by search engines such as Google to evaluate content on a page to identify two crucial things – authority and relevance (we’ll get into that later on).
‘Link building’ is the process of getting other websites to link to your website. SEO professionals, business owners, bloggers, and other website owners spend a lot of time, effort, and money on their link building campaigns in order to build their website’s authority so they can rank higher for their desired search terms.
Why Is Link Building Important For My SEO?
Speaking purely as someone who has worked in SEO for many years now, if I was given a penny for every time a client asked me if link building is really that important for SEO, I wouldn’t be sitting here writing this guide, I’d be busy with mimosas (yes, plural) on a beach in the Caribbean somewhere.
Following the Penguin update, Google emphasised the importance of link building in SEO by making it one of its top three ranking factors. This sent SEO-ers all over the world into a frenzy as they attempted to get their heads around Google’s 1996 PageRank algorithm.
It is important to note that the Darth Vaders of SEO who work in black hat practices are still being penalised by Google’s Penguin update for buying spammy and low-quality links as this update enforced quality over quantity within link building.
How Does Link Building Affect My Website?
The more links that point to your website that are of value (relevant to your industry, products/services and location), the higher your website’s authority will be – I know, it’s that simple.
We use a tool called Majestic to measure the number of backlinks and referring domains a domain has and, more importantly, to check the authority of a domain. Here’s an example of how Majestic works:
As you can see, we have a high Trust Flow due to relevance as most of our links are in the ‘computers/internet’ industry. Relevance is VERY important when link building in 2018, so say goodbye to black hat methods of buying links!
How Do Links Influence Search Engine Results?
Search engines use links in two ways:
- To discover new web pages
- To determine where a web page should rank in their search results
Search engines like Google use PageRank to measure the quality of a web page based on the number of links pointing to it. More recently, Google identifies the context of those links to determine how relevant they are.
Just Remember One Rule:
The more QUALITY (not quantity) links pointing to a web page, the higher authority of that page and the higher chance it has of ranking.
Keep an eye out for my next post to find out my pick of the best link building tactics and techniques.