Oh Google, you tricky little rascal! Links, are they good or are they bad?
This is the question on many webmasters minds. As the updates keep rolling in, and the penalties keep piling high for many webmasters, others are fearful of links all together now. But, they don’t have to be.
The truth, link building is still a solid foundation for SEO, but the rules have changed and webmaster must tread carefully.
Definition of Link Building
Link building is the process of acquiring links from outside websites that point back to your own. These links allow users to navigate from one page to the next. Google, and other search engines crawl the links that are pointing to your pages individually, and your entire website. Link building is one of the toughest jobs webmaster has, even before Google updated their algorithms.
The way a search engine notices a link points to various factors that are considered when determining if the link is good or bad, such as the anchor tag and referral location.
How Links Are Important To Search Engines
Links tell search engines that other websites find your website useful or relevant, so because of this, in the late 1990’s, when Google began to dominate the Internet, these links were used to rank a page.
Since a link was basically considered a ‘vote’ for a page, the more links the page had, the better.
Well, whenever there is a way to cheat the system, people will find it, and that’s exactly what happened.
Link farms and outsourcing links became an industry standard amongst the black hatter SEO enthusiasts, making it impossible for the good guys using them correctly to compete.
Luckily, Google figured that out and started penalizing websites that abused link building strategies, and in some cases, booted them from the SERP’s altogether.
Now, because of this, many people shied away from the link building process, fearing that they too would suffer the wrath of Google’s penalties. But, links are still playing a huge role in how Google rankings are influenced.
Take a look at 2015 Search Engine Ranking Factors in Google’s Algorithm from Moz.Com.
As you can see, links are still a valuable part of SEO.
Learning How to Create an Effective Link Building Strategy
Link building is an art, and no two link building strategies are the same. In order to incorporate a positive and influential link building campaign, you need patience, a high level of motivation, and knowledge, lots and lots of knowledge.
There are three basic types of links acquisitions.
Natural “Organic” Links
These links are given out by pages simply because they want to link to your site. These do not cost a dime, they take no effort on your part as far as creating an SEO campaign, but they do require great content that will compel another site to link to you.
This is an outreach type link, meaning you solicit a website or source to link to you by providing a valuable and compelling argument as to why your site could benefit them. This could be done by emailing bloggers to link to you, asking top-rated sites to link to your amazing content, or even trying to get your website content onto a public syllabus by soliciting a professor.
Self-created links are not nearly as valuable as organic ones, but they can be part of a link building campaign. These links can be placed when signing guest books, adding to forums or leaving behind a link on blog sites. This is often found to be a frowned upon act, sometimes penalized by Google with low rankings.
Obviously, the best links are organic, but they can sometimes be the most difficult to obtain. This is what Google wants in reality, having one organic link can be better than having several self-created or manual links. It is quality over quantity.
Types of Links
There are two types of links, internal and external. Both types of links can be hurtful, or harmful to your website, so tread lightly.
An Internal link is one that goes from individual pages within the same domain.
These links are useful for various reasons
- Visitors can navigate freely through a domain
- Creates an information hierarchy
- They create higher rankings within a website
The internal links help Google or other search engines crawl your website, proving that it is user-friendly, well- organized and informative.
An external link is a link that links to your website from another website.
These links are useful for various reasons
- Show popularity of a website
- Prove relevance for a website or its content
- Improves rankings within the search engines
There are many ways that external links can benefit a site, but there are just as many that are harmful to the website’s rankings or reputation.
Choosing a Link Building Strategy
This section will help you understand how links work, why they are important, and how they can be harmful. You will learn inside tips and tricks to get your website noticed by the search engine giants, in a good way!
So, are you ready to start your link building campaign?
Everything You Should Know About Links
- Update on Google and Backlink Strategies
- What the Head of Google’s Webspam Team says About Backlinks
- Anatomy of a “Google-Proof” Link
- The Search For the Perfect Link
- How to Increase Engagement and Get More “Good” Links
- Stop Chasing Links; Learn How to Make Them Come to You!
- A Beginner’s Guide to Analyzing Your Competitor's Backlinks and Keywords
- Tiered Link Building: Did It Survive the New Year?
- Natural Deep Linking: The Safest Way to Get Your Website to Google Page #1
- A Guide to Creating Content that Attracts Powerful Backlinks
- A Step-by-Step Guide to Generating Backlinks with the Broken Link Method?
- Advanced Backlinking: How to Get Influencers to Link to Your Website and Promote Your Content?
- How Buying Links Can Affect Your Off Page SEO
Already have a strong grasp on links and how they can work for your rankings? Move on…..
- PPC Marketing
- Why Marketing Is So Important
- Content Marketing
- Online Marketing
- Social Media Marketing for Success
- All About Blogging
- Security and Protection for Your Website
- Outsourcing for Success
- Keep Up With the Changes
- Products and Tools Under Review
- Helpful Tools and Tips
- SEO Tools
- Preventing Negative SEO
- A Look Back