- By Nikki Verbeke
- 4 July 2022
Link building is an SEO based method with the goal of building a network of links to a page to increase traffic and authority. In SEO terms, we call these backlinks.
Why is link building important for SEO
You can think of a link as a recommendation between two websites. Having links from important and relevant websites will carry more weight than links from websites operating in a different sector or websites set up specifically to build links, called link farms. The more links Google finds from authoritative, relevant websites, the stronger the signal will carry weight. Thanks to these links, your own websites will gain authority and, consequently, visibility.
Link building requires a lot of effort and should be applied continuously if possible. A “natural” link profile is one that grows steadily and consists of different types of links.
Since link building takes effort it is better to start this process as early as possible, this will benefit your website greatly in the long run. Obtaining links is not easy. Often authoritative sites will expect some kind of compensation. Think of bloggers or influencers who receive a product package and write an article about it. The only way to obtain links without extra effort is to create good content that your target audience enjoys sharing.
What do you need to do to get backlinks?
Whereas links from authoritative websites have a positive influence on the authority of your own website, links from spam-like websites will only worsen your own authority. So be careful with large amounts of links from spam-like, irrelevant websites (e.g. link farms). They are more likely to affect the visibility of your website in a negative way.
How to obtain backlinks?
- Guest blogging
Write valuable content on third-party websites and incorporate a link to your own within this content.
- Contact relevant websites
Contact owners of relevant websites and ask them to link to you. A website can be relevant in 3 ways; based on topic, location or target audience. Known options are dealer locations of vendors, local sponsorships or blogs related to the topic of your website.
- Spontaneous backlinks
Sometimes you get backlinks without having to do anything at all. Bloggers often create content about their experiences with products or services to provide relevant content for their own blog.
- Online business directories
There are a lot of online directories where you can submit a business website. Be sure to pay attention to the authority these websites have before you decide to submit a website. Websites with low authority and excessive outbound links will have a rather negative impact.
- Check out competitors
There are a number of useful tools that allow you to analyze the link profile of a competitor’s website. See which links could be interesting for you and talk to the owner of the website to place a link to your website.
“A picture paints a thousand words”. Your website visitors will be more inclined to share images than text. Provide an attractive display of interesting data and watch your content spread across the Internet.
What constitutes a “good link”
Six elements determine whether a link will have a positive or negative impact:
Strive to get backlinks from websites that are in some way relevant to your website. (cfr. topic, location or target audience)
Is the website that your link is on reliable? You can verify this by:
- Does the website use an encrypted SSL connection?
- Are there positive reviews to be found about the website?
- How long has the website been online?
- What about the ratio of outgoing to incoming links?
- Where is the website hosted?
The placement of the backlink is very important. It is best to place the links at the top of a page (above the ‘fold’). It is a signal to Google that the link is important to users and not just set up to send Googlebot from one website to another.
- Authority Rating
The authority rating is a metric developed by MOZ. It is an indication of the overall importance of your website. Aim for an authority rating of more than 30 for a normal company website. Scores higher than 60 are only found on newspaper and television websites, social media networks and of course Google’s own websites.
You can check the authority rating of your website here:
- Anchor text
The anchor text is the clickable text of the link. The anchor text is a signal to the subject of the website. Diversity is important. Make sure that not all links to your website use the same anchor text.
- Follow or no-follow
By adding a no-follow attribute to a link, you avoid passing value from one website to another. With this in mind, you would think that every incoming link should be follow and every outgoing link should be no-follow. However, nothing could be further from the truth. It is incredibly important that your website’s link profile looks natural. Only follow or no-follow links is an indication of an unnatural link profile and is more likely to have a negative impact. So make sure you have a healthy mix between links with a follow and links with a no-follow attribute.
Like any SEO strategy, there are a lot of “black hat” or malicious techniques that you can employ in link building. These strategies may provide short-term value (sometimes even a lot), but more than likely, Google’s constantly evolving algorithm will eventually notice this strategy, resulting in serious consequences. After an update (in the first 6 months of 2022, Google already released 3 different updates) you might find that you have become completely invisible overnight. In that case, you probably face a manual penalty and you will have to spend a lot of time and effort communicating with Google officials, cleaning up your website and rebuilding some authority. It can easily take several months before your website is once again designated as non-malicious by Google. Needless to say, this will be detrimental to your online revenue.
Link building is not sufficient
If you want a website with optimal visibility, link building alone will not suffice. Fresh, unique content, strong SEO and a logical structure are equally important. Do you want to know what the possibilities are for improving the visibility of your website or webshop? Feel free to contact us for an informative consultation.