by Tamy Bond
Link building, or link-building, is the process of finding and adding valuable links both to and from your website. There is no doubt that building links which point directly to your site (backlinks) is an important part of any SEO strategy. Wikipedia explains it this way “In the field of search engine optimization, link building describes actions aimed at increasing the number and quality of inbound links to a webpage with the goal of increasing the search engine rankings of that page or website.”
Why is link building important?
Link building is a vital part of SEO because it can help build credibility and gain trust in the minds of your viewers. For instance, if you visit a website or business that no one recommended, what is the first thing you do? See if there are reviews or links that validate their credibility. Somehow, there is added value in what others say. It’s part of our human nature.
However, the main reason to build links is to improve your page ranking. Google states on their site: “In general, webmasters can improve the rank of their sites by increasing the number of high-quality sites that link to their pages.” Everyone wants to rank on the first page of the Google search results and link building is one way to help get there.
What are links?
Links are basically an easy way to share information. Simply put, it is the ability to click through to information that is relevant. It’s a way to connect the dots for people and lead them to the information they want and need. There are three types of links or linking: outbound links, inbound links and internal links.
Outbound links are links that go from your site to another external site. For example, if I accept Paypal payments on my site, when I click to pay with Paypal, it is a link that takes me to a page on Paypal’s website. In the url, you will see Paypal.com/xxx. An outbound link is any link that takes me off your website and onto another, so it is considered an outbound link.
Inbound link are links that go from an external site to a page on your site. So, if I have a Google Business listing with my website listed, when someone clicks on the link on the Google Business listing, they are sent to a page on my website. In the url, you will see mysite.com/xxx. An inbound link is any link that comes from an outside source.
Internal links are links that stay on my site. They are webpages or sections of a web page that I created because there was valuable information and I wanted to tell my viewers more. Internal links maybe my contact page, product or services page, or a blog post. In the url, you will see mysite.com/xxx. An internal link is any link that comes from my own website.
How to build links with minimal cost
There are many places to look for links to your website. The key is to keep looking. There are always new directories, websites, and places that will link to your web pages if you just keep searching. Remember the best way to make SEO work for you is if it is never finished!
- Create content that promotes – create compelling content that people want to share and tell others about.
- Submit to directories – find directories for your category or type of business, list on their site.
- Reviews – ask your clients, friends, partners, people who know you or have used your service to write a review for you. Search out bloggers and ask if they would review your product or service and write a blog post. Then, link their blog post to your site – and vice versa.
- Direct links – ask friends, partners, complimentary business sites to link directly to valuable information or quality content on your site.
- Reciprocal links – when asking for a link from someone return the favor. It is common practice to trade links when there is helpful information that can benefit both parties. This is a win-win situation for both.
Now we know where to look for links, Let’s discuss how to build links on my own site.
- Anchor text – This is the actual text used to link to a page. If you are asking your viewer to Click Here for More Information, it might be more valuable to actually tell them why they should click through. Your anchor text may be more weighted by search engines if it includes real content. For instance, Click Here to Learn How To Build a Website. The second link is more precise and inviting while at the same time improving our ranking advantage for the phrase “How To Build a Website”.
- Quality Content – Search engines are always scanning for good quality content to rank. Make sure the content you are linking to is high-quality and trusted. Search engines are getting better at recognizing when you are trying to fool them, so your content will factor into their ranking.
- Link to Other Pages – Most of your link building will be to promote traffic to your home page. Make sure to include links that will generate traffic to other pages on your website as well. This will add to your overall score for your website as well as help your visitors gain the best information first.
- Launch a Keyword Campaign on Your Own Website – Keyword campaigns are simple but time consuming. Since search engines use these words to find your site it is well worth the effort. Write a list or do some keyword research for the best words to use for your Internet presence. Incorporate these words into your content. Be sure to use phrases and grouping as well as single keywords. Rather than using the page links given by your page builder which often don’t make sense, use keywords in your page links.
There are factors we can’t control when using outside links, but the good news is we have full control of the links inside our website. These can play an invaluable roll in our overall ranking with search engines. Learning how to build good quality links both in and out of your webpages will be a great tool to build your overall search engine optimization strategy.
Building links can be time consuming, but is well worth the effort when your page rank begins to climb!