So, you’ve created content that people around the world are searching for. You go over the article and see that you’ve answered all questions your audience might have. Also, search engines can understand your content. Congratulations! You’re knocking content creation out of the park. However, this doesn’t mean the article will rank in the end. You have to establish authority if you want to outrank other websites that have covered the same topic.
If you’re new to the content world, you’re probably reading this article with a confused expression. How can you even “establish authority?” Well, you can accomplish this by earning links from authoritative websites, improving and building your brand, and focusing on your loyal audience. And this is where link building comes in.
But, what is link building and why is it important for you? Stick around because we’ll answer this and many other questions! We’ll start with the basics now.
Link building is an important part of SEO. You can write the best piece of content, but without search engines following at least one link to it, that outstanding post will probably never be admired by readers. For Google to notice your post, it needs to find links from other websites. Obviously, the more links it finds, the better. That’s why you need to set your sights on link building.
But, what is link building? Well, link building refers to the marketing efforts to acquire hyperlinks from other websites to your own. This is one of the most powerfultools to get higher rankings for your website. Namely, if various high-quality links lead to one of your pages, Google or other engines will mark it as a popular or meaningful article. As a result, they will rank it higher!
Furthermore, all marketers and content creators should be interested in link building. Through it, you can drivereferral traffic and boost your site’s authority. Although there are numerous techniques for building links, SEO experts tend to agree that it’s a difficult process. Therefore, if you master link building, you’ll be several steps ahead of your competition.
Why Is Link Building Important?
Why would anyone build links? Well, because it can impact how Google ranks their web pages. Google’s search algorithms are complex and always evolving. But, regardless of the changes, backlinksalways play an important role in determining how your site ranks for different keywords.
For this reason, SEOs largely focus on building links because links show Google that your website isworthy of citation. So, in the marketing world, more backlinks = higher rankings. Even Google states that:
“In general, webmasters can improve the rank of their sites by increasing the number of high-quality sites that link to their pages.”
Your biggest takeaway should be that your content will rank higher if external sites link to your pages!
You need to remember one thing: alllinksaren’tequal. Some have more value than others. So, a link from an authoritative website is worth more than a link from some small website. For instance, if you own a small tech company, it’s better to get a link from a software review section in the New York Times than from some sports website. It’s easy to choose sites you’d love to be featured on. However, it’s difficult to get these coveted websites to link to you.
The Anatomy of a Good Link
If you’re new to link building, you probably don’t know what a link consists of. That’s why we’ll get down to the nitty-gritty of what makes a good link. Below is a picture showing how the search engines see a link:
And we’ll now tell you what they can interpret from the above:
Start of link tag: Also known as an anchor tag (that’s why it has “a”), it indicates to the search engines that a link to some page is about to follow.
Link referral: The “href” part means “hyperlink referral.” Of course, the text in the quotation marks is the URL to which you’re linking. This part doesn’t always need to be a web page. For instance, you can insert the address of a file or image.
Anchor text of link: Anchor text is the text readers see on the page and they need to click on it to open the link. Usually, the text stands out from the rest of the text to make it more eye-catching. Link builders often use blue color or underline it to signal to users they should click on it.
End of link tag: It indicates the end of the link tag to search engines.
After this crash course in the anatomy of a good link, we can go a step further and examine different types of links.
Types of Links
The answer to the question “What is link building?” wouldn’t be complete without the mention of types of links.
For link building, quality is the most important thing. Google actually penalizes sites that build low-quality links. Until recently, SEOs were able to teeter on the brink of the risky side of link building. However, Google is no longer lenient towards spammy link building techniques. Here, we’ll show you what types of links you should build:
Let’s delve deeper into these two types.
We’ll start with the king of links — editorial links. Basically, you don’t pay or request these links, i.e. they result from good content and stellar marketing techniques. This process is much more efficient because you don’t need to ask anyone to link to your site. Nevertheless, you still need to give them a good reason to link to you.
For instance, you may have created great content that many people have become aware of. They’re sharing it on social media and other platforms, driving more traffic to your site. Then, a site owner becomes aware of your blog post and acknowledges its value, linking to it in their own article. This is hard to achieve which is why editorial links are valued today. Google often singles out these links as great examples of link building.
This is the most common link type in the industry. It’s mainly used by small and unknown businesses. Essentially, you would need to contact a website owner or blogger to see if they would link to you. But you need to give them a good reason to do this, so don’t create weak content that won’t attract anyone. You can create guest posts that align with the editorial context of that website.
What’s more, another part of this is contacting relevant people. If you get in touch with bloggers who don’t have any link with your industry, you’d be wasting their and your time.
We bet that, when you asked yourself “what is link building,” you didn’t expect that there is so much to it!
Follow Links vs. Nofollow Links
As you know, when your page gets an inbound link on another website, you’ll get an SEO boost. Google takes note of these links, counts them and checks which websites they appear on. During this process, Google concludes that your page must be really good if a lot of websites are linking to it. Therefore, your page will get preference in the search engine because Google wants to deliver the best content to its users.
This means that follow links are those links that Google takes note of and uses them to determine your page rank. If appearing on an authoritative website, the link can help you land higher in the search results. This is because the website owner is basically saying “I’m linking to this page because I want to and you should boost it.”
On the other hand, nofollow links don’t impact the search engine rankings whatsoever. These links have a “nofollow” tag on them to make sure that your page doesn’t get any SEO boost. With this tag, Google realizes that it shouldn’t help your page rank higher. In general, nofollow links are used for advertising and blog comments.
Ranking Factors for Link Building
If you want to contact a web owner to have them link back to your page, it’s important that you take certain ranking factors into consideration. As we want you to excel at link building, we’ve prepared four most important ranking factors:
PageRank: This is a Google Search algorithm that rates the quality of a page. Always check the PageRank of the page your link is coming from.
Relevance: Don’t build any links if you haven’t read the content of a specific page. If you want to get a link from that page, determine whether the content surrounding your link is relevant for that page. If the page sheds light on news and you’re going to link it to a dog training website, this would be a waste of your time.
Quality of Articles: For link building to be effective, the quality of your articles needs to be high. Be completely honest with yourself and be your own judge. You can ask yourself how valuable your content is, are people reading the content, and are they sharing it on social media.
Traffic: Does your selected website have a lot of traffic? After all, the link can attract the exact number of visitors as the page it’s posted on. You can influence your link’s click-through rate (CTR) by knowing whether the website has a huge amount of traffic or not.
Once you consider these ranking factors, you’ll be one step closer to achieving success in the link building world.
Link Building Is Worth Your Time
Link building requires time, persistence, and effort. However, if done right, it can boost your SEO and drive more traffic to your website. If you decide to try it out, don’t give up immediately. It won’t be an easy ride, but if you reach the end of the journey, the results will be so impressive that everything will be worth it.