Link building isn’t easy. That doesn’t mean it’s rocket science, it means it takes a lot of work if you do it right. Link building done the wrong way can backfire, resulting in a ban from Google altogether. In this post, I’ll discuss our ideas about getting more backlinks: link building from a holistic SEO perspective.
Before we dive in, if you want to learn more about link building strategies and other essential SEO skills, you should check out our SEO training! It doesn’t just tell you about SEO: it makes sure you know how to put these skills into actual practice!
How does a link help your page to rank well?
Let’s first discuss why link building is important for SEO. A link to your site helps in its ranking in four ways:
- It adds value to the receiving page, allowing it to improve its visibility in the search engines.
- It adds value to the entire receiving domain, allowing each page on that domain to improve its rank ever so slightly.
- The anchor text of the link and the surrounding copy is an indication to the search engine of the topic of the website and more specifically the receiving page.
- And obviously, people click on links, resulting in so-called direct traffic.
The value of a link for the receiving page is determined in part by the topic of the page the link is on. A link from a page with the same topic as the receiving page is of more value than a link from a page about an entirely different topic. Also, a link from within an article is worth way more than a link from a sidebar or a footer. And, in general, the more links there are on a page, the less each individual link is worth.
Link building has got a somewhat nasty reputation. Once people noticed that backlinks from other sites resulted in higher rankings, they began to abuse this. They got links from sites that didn’t have any topical relation with their own site. In other cases, people bought links from other sites.
These shady links polluted the search engines. That is why Google started giving penalties to companies that bought links or used links from non-related websites (Google Penguin was all about this). If you got a penalty from Google, it’d be serious: your site would disappear from the search results.
The bad reputation of link building comes from companies who were a bit too enthusiastic about shady link building techniques and got penalties from Google. Does this mean that you shouldn’t do any link building at all? Of course not!
Read more: Link building: what not to do? »
Link building is – or should be – an outreaching activity. That means that you have to contact people and ask them to write about and link to your website. Usually, you will get better results if you contact people personally. That means writing emails and press releases, making phone calls, talking about your product. If your product and content are good, there will be people who would like to write about it. Most bloggers and journalists need content, so presenting your products to them could very well make them happy too!
Link building as part of a holistic SEO strategy
Holistic SEO means that you’ll do everything to make your website the best: you should show high-quality information, provide an excellent user experience, have the fastest website and so on. Link building will get easier if your website offers a great experience, just like your products and/or services. It’s far more likely that people are willing to write about and link to such a site.
Link building should feel like a normal marketing activity and not like a trick. Do remember that link building should generate links that get your target audience to your site. Those are the people that will read your posts, subscribe to your newsletter or buy your products. Those people will make your business thrive.
Keep reading: 6 steps to a successful link building strategy »