Everyone keeps talking about link building for SEO. And while there is no doubt about the potency of links on the webspace, it is essential to note that these links function differently. Hence, any business looking to build an online reputation must know the right links to put in place. The wrong links can take you from point 10 to 0 in a blink of an eye. Yes, links are that powerful!
This comprehensive article will discuss all there is to know about Link Building for SEO. The aim is to help people get familiar with links, what they can do, and how to maximize them in driving leads and sales. Remember, the main aim of a link building strategy is to boost leads and sales.
Let’s start by taking a look at what Link Building is.
Link Building – the basic definition
When you do link building for SEO, you are basically directing external links back to your site. SEO ranking is dependent on a couple of factors, and ‘links’ is top of the list. The more the quality of your backlinks, the higher the relevance and authority of your website from Google’s perspective.
Link Building is crucial to SEO. Apparently, there are several benefits of link building in SEO. However, they all fall under these two primary reasons:
- Links are a crucial ranking factor in SEO – the chances of ranking high in SEO depends on the quality of the links.
- Google Bots rely on links to discover or trace content – content without links may be invisible to Google.
From the above, it can be deduced that it is only high-quality links that get the job done. The question, now, is that “What makes a link high-quality from Google’s perspective?” Let’s find out the answer.
High-quality Links vs. Low-quality Links
The basic difference between high-quality and low-quality links is authority. A link is considered high-quality or authoritative if it comes from a website that is trusted by visitors and the audience of that website, as well as Google. Such trust is bred by the constant verifiable, well-researched, and informative content this website puts out.
Like attracts like. Therefore, these links attract inbound links from other highly rated websites, recording high engagement in the process. These authoritative websites offer a lot of link juice or Page Rank – a specific value that flows through their links.
The Page Rank of an authoritative website is passed through its links to the linked pages, thus helping the former rank higher. PageRank is essential because it is one of the foundational features in Google’s Algorithm.
Apart from the authority, another factor that makes a link high-quality is the relevance of the source website. If you are sourcing links from a website whose content is highly relevant to yours, then the links will most likely be high-quality links with a high PageRank score.
Going by the words of Andre Weyher in a recent interview, it is safe to say that Google prioritizes relevance over authority. Weyher, who is a former member of Google’s search quality team, opined that “…getting a link from a high PageRank page used to be valuable, today it’s more the relevance of the site’s theme in regards to yours, relevance is the new PageRank.”
Conversely, low-quality links are sourced from poor websites with zero or low authority. Such websites are known to manipulate search rankings. Hence their links will do more harm and zero good to your link building efforts. Avoid them!
The conclusion here is that links from authoritative websites like Forbes.com will offer a much profound impact compared to links from an unknown site or blog.
Essential Links for SEO Building
Anyone serious about their SEO link building must focus on three types of links – the Inbound, Outbound, and Internal links.
Inbound Links or Backlinks are links from other sites to your site. Internal Links are links on your own website, i.e., links to your own content. Outbound Links are links from your website to other websites.
You may also see links in link building for SEO categorized as Dofollow or Nofollow links.
- Nofollow links are links with a bit of inscription (usually an HTML code) showing that the site owner will like to withhold its authority and rank from being passed to the target site. This means that the target URL will not rank any better, despite having a link from a highly authoritative website.
- Dofollow links are the normal links that pass the authority and SEO rank to the target site. That is, the authors of these links do not withhold their PageRank, and will contribute to the improved ranking of the target site.
Having listed the most important links for SEO, let’s see how you can actually build links.
How to build links for SEO
By building links for SEO, you want to add more links to your website. The objective here is somewhat multifaceted, but it is largely about improving your SEO. Building links require a couple of essential assets – services, products, news, content, and more.
Like every other important SEO strategy, link building requires a proper preparation. And one of the best ways to prepare for successful link building is to have excellent content. After all, these links you want to build will always point back to these contents. When you build links to high-quality content that visitors find reliable and valuable, it will improve your reputation from Google’s perspective and that of your visitors.
It is not difficult to put great content in place. Start by devising a good content marketing strategy. You will also need to come up with excellent and appealing headlines that will correctly describe your content on search engines. Keyword optimization is also essential to increase your chances of getting listed in search engine results.
All these may require excellent copywriting skills; feel free to use the services of a great copywriter. Lastly, illustrate your content better with accurate and appealing images. If it helps, integrate lead magnets and resources like eBooks and more into your content strategy. Valuable resources breed more links.
Bad links can mar your SEO efforts and adversely affect your SEO ranking. This is why you must ensure that every website linking to you is relevant, useful, and safe. You can check the value of links to your website (inbound links) by using various tools online.
SEMrush offers a Site Audit tool that helps you to track your inbound links while presenting their Toxic Score. If the toxic score of any inbound link on your website is alarming, you can get in touch with the link owners and ask them to remove these links. Alternatively, Google offers a tool that can achieve the same – Disavow Links. The latter is more suitable for combating large numbers of spammy inbound links.
Enough about the preparation, how about we consider some link building strategies?
SEO Link Building Strategies
Below are 7 top proven SEO link building strategies:
1. Building an Excellent Internal Link Profile
Internal links are links within your site, and they are crucial to a successful SEO strategy. With a good internal link structure, navigation becomes easier for both Google and visitors. Here are ways to achieve this:
- Add relevant internal links to the published content on your website.
- Update existing content with links to newer content periodically.
- Put up a sitemap of your website on Google Search Console using XML Sitemaps or Yoast SEO for WordPress sites.
2. Building Links with Broken Links
Broken link building is another excellent link building technique. Broken link building is all about detecting broken links on websites and pitching site owners to use your resources relevant to the content instead.
Broken links are those links that are not working. According to Raven Tools, broken links may be due to different reasons, including a change in the URL structure, a failure to redirect a moved website, or complete removal of a webpage.
3. Building Links with Reviews
Having sorted the internal links, you should also build inbound or external links. One proven way of doing this is Reviews. Because reviewers will always link to you, reviews can help you build links from authoritative links.
There are two options here – use online influencers or using independent review sites. Contact online influencers to review your new service and product. Just a few reviews from highly-placed online sources will get you impressive links and increased sales.
Alternatively, you can upload your service or product to independent review websites, including G2Crowd, Google My Business, and Facebook, among others.
4. Reclaiming missed Linking Chances
Do you know that your websites have been mentioned in certain places on the web without a link? You need to find out these places and reach out to the website owners, politely asking them to link you.
5. Identifying Fresh Link Opportunities
In addition to filling in places where your site has been mentioned with an actual link, you can find content that your link would work with. Once you find these content, reach out to the site owners and ask them to link your site to their content. Remember to pitch irresistible offers to the site owners, in either case, making them see how your links can be valuable to their readers and their search engine rankings.
6. Link Building via Guest Blogging
Time and again, guest blogging has been used successfully for SEO link building. Guest blogging is all about adding value to site owners in return for a link back to your website. However, getting the best out of guest blogging depends on how well you can choose your guest blogging targets. If you get it right, you can end up with a multifaceted and high-quality inbound link profile.
Start by finding the sites where you can submit guest posts. Reach out to the site master with your pitch and irresistible content. Come up with a bio that facilitating your lead generation and link building efforts.
7. Backlinks through Social Shares
You can get more backlinks to your website via social shares. While these may not influence your ranking directly, sharing your content on social media improves visibility and increase the chances of people linking to it. You can achieve this by introducing social sharing buttons on your site content at all times. If yours is a WordPress site, a handful of social media plugins will get this done.
We have discussed, at length, what you can do to build links for SEO. How about the things to avoid?
Negative Link Building Strategies
A lot of people are employing negative practices, either unknowingly or knowingly, in their link building efforts. These strategies used to be useful, but the evolving SEO space has made them ineffective, and more importantly, unacceptable by Google. These include:
- Buying, selling, or exchanging links (including paid posts) to influence ranking
- Low-quality directory websites with a bit of disguise that links them to several sites.
Google frowns at these, and if you persist, you might just forfeit your SEO link building progress.
The importance of link building to any SEO strategy cannot be overemphasized. Getting it right requires a lot of effort and commitment; hence, its reputation as a tough and time-consuming SEO tactic. However, this is justifiable if we consider the impressive results that come with a properly-planned and executed SEO link building move.
While at it, stick to “white-hat” strategies and avoid “black-hat” options. The latter option, despite bringing quick results, clearly unacceptable, and violate the guidelines set by Google and other prominent search engines. Plus, they are not known for long-term effectiveness: the search engines always find a way to identify and deactivate them.
SEO Link Building is an advanced DIY. Hence, it is safer and more cost-effective to outsource it. If you are interested in working with a reliable and experienced digital marketing agency on Link Building (SEO) for your business, TheITO is the place to be. Reach out via any of our social channels @theitoteam. We will be delighted to help.