When it comes to the offline world, “backlinks” are things like traditional media, companies, and people. They promote and endorse a range of products and services. The more people there are recommending certain brands, the more popular that brand becomes.
This logic applies to how Google operates too; the more websites with a good reputation you have referring people to your website, the higher it shows up in the SERPs (search engine results pages).
In order to explain all of the benefits that come from investing in link building, this article focuses on the SEO advantages of link building, the basic definitions of what link building is, and the most fundamental components of the process of link building.
1. Why Link Building is Important and Why Links are Worth the Effort
Do you ever wonder how sites such as Wikipedia manage to rank so highly in Google? It’s because links are one of the most important parts of determining organic rankings, and Wikipedia have over 10 million of them!
Links and brand mentions are the two biggest reasons someone will visit a website. Links are important because they make your site more visible to search engines such as Google. You want your website to be visible to your target audience so that they can find your website when they need it.
2. Link Terms you Should Understand
Backlinks are links from another referring domain that point to pages on your website. Let’s say that we were to include a link to a page on Wikipedia. This would mean that Wikipedia would receive a backlink from us. We would become the referring domain, with Wikipedia being the referent. These kinds of links are also sometimes called incoming or inbound links.
- Internal Links
These are links that point from one page on a website to another page on the same website. These links are used to send users to different material and pages on the site. As they are an important aspect of navigation, these links are also important for SEO and are known to improve the organic search rankings for a webpage.
3. Link Building vs Link Earning
Getting organic links to your website helps to increase its authority, boost traffic, and gets your brand in front of new eyes. Earned links are acquired naturally. These aren’t something that can be built manually or automated, and they can’t be bought. Much like the name implies, these are earned links.
You earn links by creating valuable content that people want to link to, or by curating such content. There are some other ways you can earn links such as performing outreach, sponsored posts, and creating data-driven content.
4. Which Inbound Links are the Most Valuable, and What Makes them so Valuable?
There’s no doubt that the best kind of links is the ones that are put on sites with the potential to generate traffic. That’s because those links are more than just simple links. They can bring new potential users, customers, or clients to your website.
All websites in our inventory receive real traffic. Some websites get more than others, as you will see by looking at the list of sites we have.
5. Quality vs Quantity
Would it be better to get lots of easy links from sites with less authority, or would it be worth more to have a few links from more credible websites? This is a question we get asked a lot, and our thoughts are that having high-quality links is more important than having a high quantity of links, but which one is right for you may depend on your situation; your niche/industry, the kind of links your competition has, and several other important factors.
We personally advise on having a healthy balance between links from small sites and more popular ones. It’s worth having some links from sites that aren’t visited as often as places such as Wikipedia, rather than spending all your time and money trying to achieve something that you can’t.
6. Anchor Text
Having natural and diverse looking anchor text is an important part of website ranking. If you handle anchor text properly, you can appear on the top pages of search results, but if you go too far and over-optimize anchor text for keywords, it can do a lot more harm than good, as this can come across as unnatural.
The actual text of the anchor text indicates the subject of the content being linked to. It’s a good way of telling Google, “This is what the link is about”.
7. Link Relevance
Google is able to understand the content of a website and attempts to classify it based on what it sees. This means that relevancy is another important factor to consider. For example, links from Wikipedia on specific topics could be relevant for any kind of website, while a link from a website like Sky Sports would only be relevant for sports-related websites. If you run a site on animals and receive a link from a football website, Google is unlikely to award you much, if any link bonus, as the two sites are completely unrelated.
8. Link Authority
The very best links to have are ones from domains within your niche that hold a high authority. The authority of a website is determined by several different metrics including their popularity, quality, and the number of referring domains.