Link building or off-page SEO is an essential part of the search engine optimisation (SEO) process. Also, link building is known as the extended hand of content marketing.
Link building is the skill that pushes websites to the top of the search engine results pages (SERPs). In its core, it means making other sites link to your site. When a website links from their site to another site, it shifts a bit of “power”. That power, the value that is passed from one page to another, is in the SEO community also called ‘link juice’.
Link Building Over the Years
Link building is not a new skill, and it became apparent that pointing out to a website is worthy 12 years ago.
In 2008 Google’s webmasters pointed out that there’s a value in natural links, and that relevant outbound links can help credibility.
Since that day, the foundations of link building haven’t changed – getting a link from a trustworthy website, referring to your content is the number one goal of all link builders and SEO specialists.
Natural links mean that a website is pointing out to your site because they are referring to it. It can happen anywhere – a mention of the brand name on a partner’s website or a blog that links back to the website, mentioning it as a resource, that are all common examples of external links.
Business Benefits of Link Building
Natural links push your website to appear more frequently in the search results; they affect a website’s domain authority (DA).
Domain authority is a metric developed by Moz, an SEO software company. They defined it as a search engine ranking score that predicts how well a website will ranks on search engine result pages (SERPs).
A DA score ranges from one to 100, with higher scores corresponding to a more exceptional ability to rank.
Many factors influence the DA, but outbound links are one of the most powerful ones.
When you’re getting links, your link profile becomes richer, which is another benefit of link building.
A link profile is the quantity and quality of backlinks that point to a website. It should consist of different types of natural links:
- Brand links. When your brand gets a mention, it often includes a link to a homepage. However, anchor text (the text you select to link) is always a brand name.
- Authority links. When your brand or product, or an opinion gets published in news sites or popular blogs that have many visitors and influence, these links are called authority links.
- Anchor text links. Every online business should have a list of keywords to target. When they get a link with that anchor text naturally to specific pages, it improves the specific pages’ ranking and overall link profile.
Other benefits like brand exposure, creating high-quality content and increased visitor traffic depend on the link building techniques conducted.
Link Building Best Practice
Link building is becoming more challenging every year as more online businesses are seeing its value. Still, it’s not impossible.
When you are building your links, there are some key best practices you should always follow and some you should avoid as they can hurt your business rankings.
1. Don’t’ buy links
Search engines value only natural links. Bought links can be harmful to websites as a lot of them are placed unnaturally or on websites created for the sake of selling links (also known as link farms)
Google guidelines are clear on buying links: bought links are considered as spam, and you can get penalised from Google.
2. Don’t get links from unrelated websites
The way that link building works is that one website voluntarily shifts a bit of their power to another website.
If a website is about, e.g. fruit, it certainly has much content about fruit and search engines see it as a place where a lot of fruit knowledge is shared. If another website is selling bananas, a link from a fruit website would be beneficial.
But, if a website is selling shoes, a link from the fruit website isn’t relevant at all.
Bottom line, getting links from niche sites is relevant while getting it from unrelated websites, not as much.
3. Quality content is always the right way
Creating and promoting quality content to the right audience is still the number one thing to do in the world of digital marketing. When you continuously keep publishing detailed guides, opinion blogs or any other form of content that is relevant to the target audience, you’ll be soon considered an expert in your niche. Based on that, your content is shared, mentioned and linked to.
4. Get quoted in round-ups
Round-up articles are the pieces of content that cover a topic by including the thoughts of many experts in one article.
Round-ups not only gain you external links but also additional PR exposure from the authors of the round-up articles.
5. Monitoring brand mentions
Brand links are an essential part of a link profile. When your brand gets mentioned in a blog or in an article, you can contact the author and politely ask them to link back to your website.
The links gained like that are natural links as someone did mention your brand as they liked it enough to write about it.
Build your SEO strategy
Link building is as essential a part of SEO as optimising your content. Neglecting it and not always working on diversifying a link profile is a mistake that website owners can’t afford to make.
Every website is different and needs a tailored approach, depending on your niche. If you need any additional advice ask our SEO team and we will be happy to help out.