What is SEO link building?
If you're a business owner who is interested in improving your website’s visibility and ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs), then link building is an essential SEO tactic to incorporate into your digital marketing strategy. Link building is the process of actively obtaining links from other websites to your own website in order to increase its domain authority (which Google takes into account when displaying search results). This has the effect of improving your rankings overall. Let's take a look at the basics of link building and why it matters for SEO.
What is SEO link building?
Link building is the practice of actively generating links from external websites that point back to your own website. These links are one of the key factors that search engines use when determining how highly ranked your website will appear in SERPs. The more high-quality links that point to your website, the higher it will rank in search engine results pages, which can lead to more visitors and customers for your business.
Typically, these links are obtained through providing an external website with a relevant and engaging article or blog post that is relevant to their readership and your services, the content of which to include a hyperlink to your website. Due to the demand and value of links, many sites may charge a fee, though there are many free link opportunities out there and prices can often be negotiated. PR coverage can also lead to gaining external links as some publications may choose to include a link in the piece to your website.
How do links help my website?
Link building helps your website performance in multiple ways. First, it increases visibility in SERPs which can result in more organic traffic for your website—and potentially more conversions. Second, having reputable sites such as publications or industry leaders linking to your site builds credibility and strengthens your brand identity. This leads to higher customer trust levels which can result in more sales or leads for your business. Thirdly, link building creates opportunities for collaboration with other businesses who have similar interests and goals as yours; which again can lead to increased visibility and potential partnerships that could benefit both parties involved. Lastly, when done correctly, link building improves web page relevancy which can affect search engine ranking positions positively.
Are all links good links?
It’s important to note that not all links are created equal — a sound link building strategy will focus on obtaining high-quality, relevant links from authoritative websites with good domain ratings. For example, a link from an established news site or blog will carry much more weight than a link from a low-authority website with little traffic and a low domain rating, or directory listing. When researching which sites to target, you can use several SEO tools such as Ahrefs to determine the domain rating and look at other backlinks the site has generated.
Google is a lot more clever than you might think - it is constantly updating the way the algorithms work in order to reward legitimate websites who consistently work on a sound SEO strategy and penalise those who are cutting corners. User experience is at the core of Google’s updates, as it wants to ensure it is delivering relevant and valuable search results for anyone using their service. For this reason, Google can be quite strict on the content and the links you produce/secure while link building. For those with limited time and resources, things like link farms or offers like ‘link for a link’ may be tempting, however, Google may penalise your website for securing links in this way and it can even reflect badly on your brand. Before agreeing to any link, you should take time to ensure the site is worth pursuing.
Internal links vs external links
When it comes to link building, there are two main types of links you should focus on — internal and external. Internal links are those within your own website that point back to other pages on the same domain (e.g., linking from an article page back to the homepage). The benefit of internal linking is that it helps Google understand the structure of your website, including which pages are more important. Internal links can also be used to point users in the right direction and help you fulfil objectives, such as keeping them on the site longer and eventually making an inquiry. For this reason, internal linking can be a powerful aspect of your overall link building and SEO strategy.
As mentioned above, external links are those from other websites outside of yours pointing back to content within your domain (e.g., linking from a popular blog post about digital marketing back to an article about social media marketing tips). Together, both internal and external link building is one of (if not the) most important factors in a successful SEO strategy.
The challenges of link building
Requiring the time to research, outreach, agree/negotiate, and write content for link building can make it somewhat time consuming, however, there are plenty of online tools to help streamline this process. Over time, you will get quicker at identifying potential link opportunities.
As with all SEO, it takes time to see results from link building, it takes time for google to implement the positive effects within its algorithm. Finally, as you are dealing with external websites, sometimes you may be let down when sites decide to not publish your piece, or publish it without including a link. If this is the case, you can always go back to the publication to request a link be added in, but it may not always happen.
How can I get started with link building?
Link building is an essential component of any successful SEO strategy as it can help boost organic traffic and improve SERP rankings for targeted keywords. By focusing on creating high-quality internal and external links with reputable sources, businesses can increase their visibility online and generate more leads and sales in the long run. If you're looking for effective ways to boost SEO rankings for your business, and are not sure where to begin, contact a member of our experienced SEO team for a free SEO audit to see where you can improve your SEO and get started with link building.