Links rank in the top 3 most important Google ranking factors, along with content and RankBrain
61% of marketers say improving SEO and growing their organic presence is their top inbound marketing priority
41% of large companies consider link building as the most difficult SEO tactic
The Foundation: Links
Before we dive in, it is important to note that links are a foundational concept behind the Web. It can be easy to overlook the huge part links play because we see and use them every time we are on the web. However, links do not only provide a means of navigation but can be an essential factor that can help your SEO and page ranking. How is this possible? Through a strategy called link building.
So, what is linking building? Link building is getting other websites to place a link to your website on their website. While Google’s algorithms are always evolving, links are one of the top three factors for maintaining and improving page ranking. When you start link building, you start setting your website’s authority and page ranking on Google, which is a great tactic for your SEO. Do you know your SEO score? You can find out here.
Google has what it calls “crawlers” that they send out to scour the web for content which they then index. Once you are indexed, you are apart of their results for related searches based on your keywords. If Google sees several links that are pointing to you, they are getting a vote of confidence that you are a trusted site. So essentially the more links you have, the better right? Well yes, and no, but we’ll discuss more below.
Factors That Make Up High-Quality Links
As we all know, The New York Times is highly acclaimed and recognized. They have set authority and trust within their industry and Google which are two key factors. Being the powerhouse that they are, any link from The New York Times to your website will be far more valuable than that of young local magazines website. Another important factor that links need to have is relevancy. For example, if a car dealership website recently acquired an authoritative link from a website that is about dieting, it probably won’t don’t do much for them. An ex-Googler recently stated that receiving a link from a high PageRank used to be valuable, but today it is all about the relevance of the site’s theme in regard to yours. Authority, trust, and relevancy are the 3 factors your links need to have so Google can consider them.
Now you might not be able to get someone like The New York Times to link back to your website right away, but there are third-party tools that you can use to analyze other not as well-known websites. Some of the most popular are:
Building Links with Content Marketing
One of the best things about link building is that you might already be taking part if you have content marketing as apart of your SEO strategy. According to The Content Marketing Institute, “Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – to drive profitable customer action.” As you create content for your audience, you are also creating links that have information which in turn is better for backlinks. Research has found that there four types of content that work best when you are link building:
Visual Assets: Visual assets work because they are easy to link. These assets can be anything from demographics to diagrams, charts or any other visual piece of content.
List Posts: List posts provide a lot of value in condensed pieces of information. BuzzSumo and Moz analyzed over 1 million articles and found that list posts get higher shares than other types of content.
Original Research and Data: When you generate original research and data, you are providing new statistics and data that others can cite and link back to you. This allows other websites to cite your information and link the findings to their content which creates a backlink to you.
In-Depth Ultimate Guides: In-Depth Ultimate Guides allow you to make your website a resource that packs all the information about one topic in one place. With all this information, you can be seen as a “go-to” resource for that topic.
Black Hat SEO Practices
When creating your links, it is best to follow the basic principles per Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. Google will know that a link with a no-follow HTML tag will not count towards your PageRank. Any links that are from paid links, comments, forums, or anything that Google deems “untrusted content” fall under this. It looks like this:
Remember when I said that the more links the better? Well, that’s not always the case when you are link building. Link building is about quality over quantity. However, if you do choose to use spam techniques to manipulate your links, you will fall into Black Hat SEO practices. These practices have openly been denounced on Google’s Webmaster Guidelines and Bing’s Webmaster Guidelines. As a result of this, you will receive either a manual or algorithmic penalty. These penalties result in your page losing rank or your website being removed entirely from the search engines and affiliate sites.
Apart from your page ranking, link building can help your business build relationships with other relevant websites in your industry. All links that either point to your website or that you post on your website, helps you start building relationships with key players in your industry. Anyone that is clicking to your link from a related website can also be seen as relevant traffic which in turn can lead to new sales. Finally, link building can help build your brand. If done properly, you can even establish yourself as an authority in your industry as we discussed earlier.
This strategy can be time-consuming and there are no shortcuts for it. SEO strategies have so many factors, but link building can prove to be a strong and integral part of your SEO strategy. If you’re interested or have any other questions about how link building can better your website, reach out to our Digital Resource team today.