Link Building & Why It Matters
Most people who manage a website have heard that they need to link build. But many are confused as to what exactly link building is and why it matters so much. This description should help to clarify a few of the broader and more important points to consider, and should ease some of the tension for anyone moving forward building up their websites inbound link profile.
What Is Link Building?
The technical answer to what link building is:
Creating relevant, authoritative, and quality inbound links which point to your website for the purpose of raising keyword rankings, overall site rankings, and generating traffic to your website.
The laymans answer to what link building is:
Consider the whole of the internet to be an actual physical room filled with only 100 people. If you walked into that room and asked, “What are the best running shoes on the market?” You will have some of those people make recommendations as to who you should speak with, while the quality and trustworthiness of those recommendations depend upon who is speaking.
Let’s say in total 50 people respond to your question. 2 of them were recognized and skilled competition runners, 5 of them have written books on running, 8 of them were recreational runners, while the remaining 35 people had no noteworthy running experience to speak of. Of those responding, who would you trust most?
You would probably trust the opinion of professional runners first, the authors second, the recreational runners third, and everyone else last. In essence, the professional runners opinions will way far more than everyone else’s because they are the authority on the subject. The weight given to the two opinions of the professional runner will be much heavier than all 35 people combined who knew nothing of running at all. Perhaps 1 professional runners opinion is as good as 3 of the authors, or 3 of the authors as good as 5 recreational runners.
This example and the numbers used are purely arbitrary, but explains clearly enough how link building is used. Each of the people in the room has a “score” associated with their knowledge on certain subjects and topics, and that “score” changes for each person as the topic changes. A professional runner may know nothing about dog training, and as such, their opinion on that topic would not matter.
The people in this example represent websites, their recommendations are links. If you owned a shoe store, it would behoove you to be recommended first by the professional runners, then the authors, then the recreational runners. It would do you very little good, and may even be damaging, to be recommended by people who have little to no knowledge about running. Because in the end, what is the worth of their opinion?
In this sense, you want to find websites who deal in the same things your website deals with, is trusted overall based on their authoritativeness and expertise, and other people refer to it often when dealing with those same or similar topics. Then when someone enters the room and asks a question about something you deal in, only the best recommendations come forth. The number of these recommendations and the quality of them determine your overall ranking in Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs) for certain keywords and keyword phrases. In this way, by building your quality recommendations (links), SERPs will direct traffic to your website.
The Components of Links Search Engines Consider
When determining the value of a link, there are numerous factors that Search Engines take into consideration. As such, you need to keep them in mind as well when building up your inbound link profile. Currently, those factors include what follows below, but as time progresses, there will no doubt be other factors included. As an example, social media has in recent years taken more of a prominent role in providing link value than ever before.
Website Traffic & Popularity
- The more visitors a site can generate, which alludes to the sites overall popularity, provides more value to the links received from them. The Wall Street Journal has thousands of visitors every day, is often linked and referred to by a wide range of websites. As such, the value of their links, in part due to their overall popularity, is one of the most powerful links you could receive.
Website PageRank & Domain Authority
- PageRank (PR) and Domain Authority (DA) are link analysis algorithms used to assigns a number which dictates a sites (DA) as well as individual pages (PR) overall importance and trust on the internet. PageRank is ranked on a 1-10 scale, while Domain Authority is ranked on a 1-100 scale. For reference, Google (Google.com) has a Page Rank of 10 and DA of 100. Wall Street Journal (wsj.com) has a Page Rank of 9 and DA of 99. When building your inbound link profile, you always want to shoot for receiving links from the highest PageRank and Domain Authority websites possible.
- As mentioned before in the running shoes example, you want to receive links from websites that deal with the same subjects and topics that you do. If you sell antique furniture, and your link profile is filled with links coming from websites that primarily deal with automotive issues, there is no real obvious reason why those two sites should be dealing with each other. Now a few irrelevant links here or there may not become an issue, but if your inbound link profile is filled with these unnatural links, Search Engines will provide less value for those links because they are not associated or comparable in any way. If this becomes a glaring issue, your website can even be dinged for having a spammy link profile, decreasing your sites value, and lowering your Search Engine Ranking overall.
Anchor Text Used
- Anchor text is clickable text in a hyperlink, in essence the link you want to receive from a website. Through keyword research, you should know what keywords to focus on for specific pages on your site. The more links you receive from quality sites which have targeted keywords used will raise the overall rankings for certain pages based on those keywords. So anchor texts should target keywords while linking to pages associated with those keywords.
- When writing articles and guest blogging for link building, the authors of the articles and the sites they are known to write for have a value associated with them which can provide an additional value to your link. The more prolific and well known the author is, and if they are known to write for quality websites, the more additional value that would be given. This value has only recently been given weight for links. But this makes sense when you consider an article written by Barrack Obama compared to Joe Schmo concerning politics would have more clout and weight behind what he is saying.
Social Media Sharing
- We all have heard of Facebook, Twitter, Google +, and other big name social media sites. It has only been in recent years that the social media engagement surrounding a link has been given value. It’s not as though social media shares themselves constitutes a link, but those shares provide additional value because search engines recognize social engagement. As such, generating any action through social media surrounding your links is a must in today’s environment.
Keeping It Current
- Finally, you can gain 100 quality links in a week, and that would be well beyond great. But if a year passes, and you’ve not received any more links, the value of your previous links will decrease. The reason being that Search Engines would believe your site to have lost relevance, importance, and as a result, trustworthiness because nothing new has occurred in a long time. No one has recently linked to you, which in part means no one has recently trusted or referred to your site. So the game of link building needs to be ceaseless, you can never quit simply because you think you’re ahead. Beyond that, your competitors are doing the same, so it’s not only a race against Search Engines to show them your up to date, but also against competitors sites as well.
If you need help link building or coming up with a proper link building strategy, be sure to Contact Us today. Our in-house SEO experts have the knowledge and ability to help with the most difficult problems regarding link building and SEO.