If you want your website to rank on Google, you must recognize the importance of link building and develop an effective strategy for earning high-quality links. Link building is the process of building one-way hyperlinks, also called backlinks, to a website. The goal is to boost your rank in search engine results. Successful link building is one of the top three most important ranking factors to increase site visibility in search results. Increased visibility significantly impacts the amount of traffic your website gets, and more traffic usually means more conversions.
Why Is Link Building Important for SEO?
Link building plays a vital role within SEO to drive organic traffic; thus, the need for quality, relevance, and authenticity is huge. To succeed long term, you have to focus on those three terms.
I get asked this question so often I have forgotten how many times I’ve had to answer it.
Link building helps Google discover content through links to different pages. Additionally, by evaluating the pages it discovers, it determines which ones are the most relevant. It’s like popularity in high school – being popular is not just about having a lot of friends, it’s about having many friends who also have lots of friends. This same concept applies to link building.
Focus on Quality over Quantity for Link Building
You should always strive to get links that you did not ask for by putting extra work into making your website worthy of citing. A link-worthy site is viewed as an authority on its subject matter. Therefore, when other high-quality websites link to your site, you’re more likely to rank well in search results. In addition, high-quality links are more in-demand than ever due to Google’s sophisticated algorithm that terminates low-quality links. Thus, your main goal should be to focus on quality over quantity when it comes to your website.
Due to users’ manipulation of PageRank, Google had to step in to fight those users who were boosting rankings by building low-quality links. To do so, Google started making frequent updates that filter out these abusers. As a result, many link-building techniques were discounted, such as submitting your website to web directories to get a link in return.
Although it can be challenging to get high-quality backlinks, you mustn’t resort to just any types of links to improve your SEO. Doing that may lead to a violation of Google’s link scheme guidelines and hurt your site. Here are some examples of link schemes:
- Exchanging goods, services, or monetary incentives for links or posts that contain links
- Link exchanging (you link to someone, and they link to you)
- Creating links via automated programs
If you violate these guidelines, you may get lucky, and your links will just be ignored, only resulting in a waste of time and money. However, you may end up getting penalized by Google, even having your whole domain removed from Google’s index. If that happens, your chances of ever getting your site indexed again are slim to none.
What Are the Benefits of Link Building?
In addition to improving rankings and increasing traffic to your site, link building has other advantages, including:
Reaching out to other website owners goes hand in hand with link building, and of course, the main goal is to get a link from it. Still, it also helps you establish long-term relationships with key industry influencers, which can be very useful in the future.
2. Sending referral traffic
Getting linked from a highly visited website will increase your site traffic. When it’s also relevant, it increases the likelihood that your new site visitors will include potential customers interested in your site.
3. Brand building
With good link building, you will improve your brand’s relevance and garner more authority amongst your competitors. Thus, content creation can help you build your brand.
Link Building Strategies for SEO Campaigns
You can use several different link-building strategies to improve your SEO campaigns, including:
Branded Link Building
Branded link building is one of the most important strategies. It involves looking for other websites that mention your brand or your website, either positively or negatively, and trying to find opportunities where you can turn some of the worthy mentions of your brand into backlinks. Often, all it takes is a courteous email to the person who mentioned you, asking them to add a link. Make sure you demonstrate how the link adds value to their readers, so it’s a positive and simple decision for them to make.
It may not always result in getting a link added, but those you do get will make it worth your while for a minimal amount of effort.
Competitive Branded Link Building
This process is like branded link building, but you are looking for your competitors’ mentions instead of your own. This strategy is helpful for new brands that don’t have many websites mentioning them.
The purpose of finding websites mentioning or linking to your competitors is to allow you to approach site owners to see if they are interested in linking to your website as well. Of course, you don’t want to approach every site a competitor is mentioned on; you still have to use good judgment in determining whether it’s a quality site that will help improve your visibility. However, competitive branded link building is a process that you should consider using regularly, quarterly works great for many brands.
Guest blogging is one of the most popular tactics for link building. With this strategy, you offer content to other websites accepting articles, news items, library posts, etc. Keep in mind that whatever you submit should be unique and not be submitted elsewhere and should follow their guidelines to the letter.
The end goal for this tactic is that they link to your website in the article or the author’s bio. However, even if they don’t, it’s still worth building a relationship and potentially getting linked in the future. It may also help you increase your online portfolio, which you can use when submitting to other bigger websites.
Always consider websites with a domain authority (DA) score above 20 if you are starting. If your brand is more mature, you may want to aim even higher.
Final Thoughts about Link Building for SEO
High-quality links are needed more than ever now due to Google’s sophisticated algorithms. Conversely, low-quality links can result in negative consequences, even being removed from Google’s indexing. As a result, quality should be your primary goal in link-building efforts. The best way to get other sites to create high-quality, relevant links to yours is to create unique, relevant content that will gain popularity online naturally.
In every link-building SEO campaign, you should have a keen eye and be selective with the sites you work with or represent your brand. Creating compelling and informative content and working hard to find reputable and relevant link-building opportunities will help identify your brand as a subject matter authority – and that will improve your bottom line.
James is an SEO consultant based in London. Working with clients around the world to get more traffic from search.