Building links is among the top three ranking factors as documented by Google. This an essential part of off-page SEO that boosts your site’s online visibility. Therefore, investing your time in creating inbound links for your website is the best thing that can ever happen.
Links are HTML hyperlinks pointing you to another page on your site or a different site. There are three types of links that are very important in this guide;
Internal links are hyperlinks that point you to another webpage within the same domain. These links aim at keeping users engaged on your site for a long duration. Secondly, outbound links are hyperlinks that direct users to different websites. They provide users with more information about a certain topic. Lastly, inbound links/backlinks are links that bring referral traffic to your website.
Outbound links are pointing to other sites.
Visually, these how Inbound Links Looks like
Link building is a subset of SEO that involves getting other websites to link to your website as a vote of confidence for your site and content. These links will push up your ranking on Google search results. The more links you earn (especially from an authoritative site) the more trustworthy your site becomes in the eyes of Google.
Drive Referral Traffic
Earning backlinks from prominent websites is desirable. However, they’re difficult to come by. Why? Prominent websites have dedicated audiences whose standards you can’t compromise by mediocre content. Therefore, if your content is notable, you will earn an inbound link from such sites, which will drive referral traffic to your site. They will form part of your audience as long as quality standards are not at stake.
2. Boost your website’s authority
Websites that rank on Google’s top search results have one thing in common. They are all authoritative sites. Therefore, establish your authority by earning backlinks from authoritative websites within your niche. Those links will project your pages as the most valuable resources available for Google to rank. Your site will be judged by the number of backlinks it has. The more the number, the more authoritative it becomes.
Again, the search engine will discover your website much faster when it has backlinks. Remember, Google visits the authoritative websites more often than the new websites. When your website has backlinks from such sites, Google will discover your site.
Why builds links?
Have you ever read a blog without links? It looks boring and you feel suspicious of its content. Links (outbound) are a way of verifying whatever is being said to be true. Besides that, links (inbound) can boost your ranking on search engines.
Google uses links to discover pages and content before ranking them. If your pages have none of them, then you will miss the eye of Google. Therefore, link building should be a continuous process. Here is why link building is a top priority.
A vicious cycle of SEO
Most bloggers, when creating new content, they like linking their content to the top-ranking pages on the search results. People will want to associate their content with the best web pages available in the search engines. This then means the page earning an inbound link will always be above other pages in the search results. Why? Because it’s accumulating more inbound links.
Your rivals are building links into their baskets
Imagine you’ve published invaluable content that has gone rival. Your piece of content will earn backlinks that will propel it to position #1 on Google search results. The people you will outrank will reciprocate by fighting back. They will build links for their websites and their content to keep their positions #1, #2, or #3 respectively.
Don’t seat to celebrate your top-ranking performance, you will be surprised to see your content descending to the bottom position. To reclaim your top position from your rivals, link building must be a top priority in your off-page SEO matrix.
The best and the bad approach to building links
Search engines have been advancing with time. Each time they roll out new updates, they do so by reviewing their guidelines. These are the rules and regulations that ensure equity and fairness to every player in the field. Whoever breaks the rules is punished or excluded from SERPs.
In link building, there are two approaches. Now it’s up to you to decide which fits your business.
Black hat Approach to building links
This approach includes manipulating Google algorithms by going against the guidelines to earn an undue advantage over your competition. This approach doesn’t care about the needs of the user. They entice the search engines to give an undeserving ranking. However, this approach is short-lived and you risk being penalized by Google.
How to build links using this approach
I don’t recommend this approach because you might end up buying low-quality links which may get your website penalized by Google. Buying links includes an exchange of links between two or more spammy websites. Authoritative websites don’t sell or buy links. They earn their links organically by publishing stellar content, that is shareable among their communities.
Hacking competitor’s website
This an unethical way of building links. Some unscrupulous people hack the website of their competitors, intending to add links to their websites. If you intend to leverage on desired results for long term, then avoid black hat approach at all cost.
This entails playing by the rules of the search engines. This approach aims at solving for the web users before the search engines. This means it will provide a user with the most accurate search results. Link building under this approach include;
This is the most acceptable and natural way of creating links. You came up with the most relevant, researched, and actionable resource that website owners will love to share with their audiences. Such resources could be case studies, infographics, surveys, or podcasts, and the list is endless.
Content with case studies appeals to most online readers. They etch such findings in their memories, and they will reference your content on their sites. Consequently, content with visuals does pretty well, especially infographs, charts, and images. Including them in your content will earn your backlinks which will drive referral traffic to your site.
Embrace many formats with your content. Content creation is an art. Be unpredictable. Surprise your audience in different formats of your content. This move will earn you a good number of backlinks that will push your ranking higher on Google.
Add and Ask for Links
Adding links may have very little impact on improving your rankings. However, the approach is still relevant by driving traffic to your website. This involves adding your links manually to other sites. For instance, adding your link to a local business directory, social media profile, or insert your link on a blog comment section.
Asking for links is whereby you prospect for link through guest blogging opportunity. You reach out to website owners and convince them of the opportunity to publish content on their blogs. However, securing a guest blogging opportunity, you must prove yourself beyond no reasonable doubt that you are up to the task.
This one gives emphasizes building broken or lost links. In the event, a page that linked to your site is updated or is deleted, that link can get lost. If such a link drove the most traffic to your site, you can request the site owner to restore it. Therefore, instead of wasting a lot of energy preserving old links, I will advise you to spend that time creating new links.
How to Identify Good Links
When building links, not every link is important and they don’t carry the same weight. These parameters will help you assess the significance of a good link.
Strive to earn links from prominent websites if your goal is to appear for Google’s top search results. Such links carry more weight and will propel your ranking higher and much faster. On the flip side, acquiring links from new websites. Those links carry inconsiderable weight in them, and they may send no traffic to your site at all. Besides that, these links do not influence your ranking.
Prominent websites are deemed authoritative, and if you earn a link from such sites, your website will find a soft spot on Google. That means they will crawl your site because Google crawls prominent websites often. Ultimately, your site will not only appear in Google’s top search results but also gain significant referral traffic. That’s not the case with the new website. If you target new websites for link-building opportunities, you stand to lose the above benefits.
The more backlinks you accrue from authoritative sites, the more you push up the domain authority of your website.
In your link-building efforts, try to earn backlinks from topical relevance blogs. These are blogs in your niche or industry. These links will be an affirmation that your content is good. Avoid the urge of earning links from anywhere. For instance, if you’re running a blog about ‘Lactating mothers’ avoid earning a link from ‘The best pesticides ’blog. Get links from related blogs that talk about ‘Infants and motherhood’.
Consequently, a link from an unrelated site will confuse the search engines from discovering your site. Whereas links from related niches pass more authority to your site.
Dofollow vs Nofollow links
Links act as votes. In a democratic country, it’s expected that a person with the most votes is declared a winner. Similarly, links pass a vote to a piece of content that they link to. But that’s not the case with every link.
Furthermore, Dofollow links are the only links that can pass a vote to the web page that is linking to it. While nofollow links do not pass such votes to a linking page. Pursuing nofollow links doesn’t add much value to your site. For example, any link you add to a blog comment section is a nofollow link. They don’t bring referral traffic to your site. Therefore, adding your link there is a waste of time.
In conclusion, link building is a crucial component of SEO that you should monitor from time to time. Google will discover your website and pages through pages linking to it. Therefore, without them, your site will be invisible. In your link-building strategies, embrace white hat tactics to avoid unnecessary penalties from Google. Feel free to share with us in the comment section.