What is link building?
Link building is a discipline of SEO like keyword research or page optimisation. The main idea of SEO is to drive positive signals to the site, Google looks at over 200 of these and gives a different weight to each depending on their importance. Links from external sources are one of these. Google tends to favour these with a high to medium importance. This is probably one of the oldest positive signal search engines have been evaluating, going back to the days when it was acceptable to spam keywords on a page and make them match the colour of the background.
Today link building still has a very similar objective as before, to send positive up votes to a website in the form of external links. It acts sort of like recommendations from one site to the other, telling google that this content that is being linked to is of high quality, is popular and that the linking site would like to share with their audience.
Early days of link building
Being very similar to PR link building sometimes is hard to understand. In the early days of SEO Google used to give websites with a high number of incoming external backlinks and low count of out links a higher backlink score than websites with low number of incoming and a high number of outgoing links. In the early days of search engines Google used to release how their algorithm used to work and how to improve results in their SERPs. The company has even gone so far as to patent these early versions of the algorithm giving us even more idea of how it works. From this were born all the black hat and spammy techniques that some veteran digital marketers might remember… Does buying bulk links sound familiar?
Long story short the way that search engines in particular Google treats these links has drastically diminished over time. That’s not to say that they no longer give positive return on investment, it’s just much lower than it used to be. You never know you might be 2-3 links away from taking that number 1 spot in the SERPs. How did Google treat these links originally? Simple, well not really it’s a very complicated equation but simply put Google used to assign 1 point to each incoming link, this would bring the total score to the site being linked to +1 and the site linking out -1. This score is called PageRank, the higher the PageRank the higher you had a chance to rank in Google for your target terms.
Why do we build backlinks?
Simply saying: we build back links because we want search engines to give our content that final push and get it right to the top of search result pages. When you have finally sorted out all of the major technical issues with your site and poured your life savings into some amazing pieces of content you want it to convert or provide the value it deserves to organic search traffic related to your target terms. This will depend on a case to case basis but long story short an extra high-quality link never hurt anyone.
A good way to find out how much of an impact link building will have on your rankings is to conduct an analysis of search result pages for your top keywords. Using a tool such as Ahrefs or Majestic will give you a good idea of how many incoming links each of your competitors have. Once you know what to aim for you can start the outreaching activities.
Common link building techniques
There are hundreds of link building techniques you can get started with right now. The best part is that many of them are mostly free or budget friendly and only really cost you your time. I split these into 2 types and listed a few to give you some ideas on where to get started. 1 thing to remember is that there are always white hat and black hat ways of everything you do in SEO, that is why it important to read up on any guidelines put together by Google to help you stick to the right direction and avoid penalties.
- Content guest posts
- Content sponsored posts
- Product review
- Top 5/10/100 lists
- Directory and citations
- Useful links section
- Social profiles
- Social media posts
- Forum posts
- Blog comment section
Now that we’ve taught you so much about Link Building, go and grow your website’s ranking. If you need any tailored advice or assistance with your link building, please don’t hesitate to contact us.