The importance of high quality link building has never been more higher in SEO - a fundamental signal search engines use to determine how well a page should rank in it's SERP.
What is link building & why is it important?
Link building helps search engines determine what your website content is about. Link building has become an increasingly time-consuming process as search engines like Google have added and changed their algorithms to make it a bit more fair to the website masters building relationships that add value for the users. (Gone are the days where paying someone to add anchor text backlinks spamming your website around the internet improved your search engine ranking to great effect)
The need to understand and implement high-quality link building is essential if you’re going to compete and thrive online, and that isn’t going to change any time soon.
The link building process
The process of link building is the process of gaining links (hyperlinks) to pages on your website. These can be internal links from your own website to link relatable content together or external links (backlinks) that are links from a totally different website.
Search engines use bots to crawl the internet – these bots crawl over a whole website looking at various parts of content. Crawling helps search engines such as Google categorise your website and one important aspects that Google look at is hyperlinks.
Link building should take into account:
- the referral location (where the link is pointing to)
- Anchor text (the word or phrase being used to link to another page)
- the relevance of the referral location to the parent location (does the page you are linking to relate to the current page)
- If linking to an external page, what are your reasons for linking to this page (For example, is the content related? is the link sponsored? should the link be ‘nofollow‘? etc.)
- When building relationships with other webmasters and receiving links, check their Domain Authority and Page Authority as well as the content relevance
What do links mean to search engines?
Links are useful for search engines to identify new web pages and help them determine how well a page should rank their SERP.
Hypertext links are what have been interconnecting useful related content and resources ever since the invention of the World Wide Web – providing a ‘web’ of information. It is a good chance that a link to another page or resource is going to be related content. With so much content for search engines to sift through, a hyperlink will ‘jump out’ to crawling bots to go ahead a scan the referral location. The content of the pages will give the search engine an indicator of their relevance and will rank accordingly.
Which features are important factors?
It is thought Google ranking factors take into account nearly 15% of page-level link features – the third highest ranking factor taken into account by the search engine behemoth. It looks at PageRank (page auhority), TrustRank, quality of link sources, anchor text distribution, quantity of links.
Don’t be fooled by Black Hat SEO Tactics
You may or may not know, but there are SEO providers that perform ‘black hat‘ link building. This is generally frowned upon with the aim to deceive search engines into thinking a piece of content is relevant. These links appear spammy and can appear in paces such as unmoderated blog comments, fake press releases with optimised anchor text, social media posts, directories, guestbooks – pretty much anywhere anyone can comment, post and edit information. Since 2012 and the penguin algorithm released by Google, these practices are fortunately being cracked down on. In more recent algorithm updates, Google has began devaluing and even penalising these types of links. Be careful!