What is Link Building and What are its Benefits
Link building is/are the array of different techniques that site owners, Search Engine Optimisers or even PR firms use to build links for sites/blogs.
The reason behind this is that Google has confirmed that links are one of the two most important factors when it comes to ranking search results in Google, the other one being content. While, I think that links are the most important factor, when it comes to growing a site's authority and increasing its rank through Google's SERP, there is no doubt of the immense importance of having quality links pointing to your blog / site.
In fact, it is utterly impossible to have your site find a notable rank in Google's search results if your site does not have any links pointing to it.
There are several strategies to build links, which you can try right now. But there are certain factors, that you need to keep in mind, when it comes to link building first.
Important Factors about Links
Previously, Google used to stress more importance on the quantity of links pointing to a site, rather than the quality. As such, several black hat SEO used spammy techniques to build thousands of low-quality links for their blogs and websites resulting in bagging the top search results.
This led, sites with low quality content getting better SERP and more traffic than the sites built by guys with low budget, who couldn't buy so many links.
So, if you had a nice budget, you could rank your blog higher just by buying links. But with the influx of spammy sites in its top search results, Google introduced Penguin and Panda algorithm, which effectively penalised these types of sites and brought their search results far below and under, if not banning them from the SERPs.
Anyhow, with the change in Google's algorithm, here are some important factors, you need to know and keep in mind about building links.
What's more important than the number of links pointing at your site?
It is the quality of the sites, which link to your site.
Instead of trying to get a great number of links pointing to your domain, try to get link(s) from a high-quality site.
For example, getting just one link from Entrepreneur, Forbes or Huffington Post is much more valuable than getting twenty or more links from sites around DA 30 (rough estimate).
No doubt about the fact that Google has downplayed the importance of the quantity of links pointing at your domain; but it is of no doubt that quantity is important as well.
However, getting a high number of links from different sites is more important than getting the same number of links from one site. Site variety is crucial.
Example: Getting 10 links from 10 DA 20+ sites is more important than getting 10 links from one site with the same DA.
Now, that I have covered the above two factors, another important factor is the relevancy of the sites you are acquiring links from.
Suppose, you have a blog on iPhone and you get a link from a high quality fashion blog; chances are your blog's SERP won't increase. In fact, you may even acquire a penalty as it will be an unnatural link.
Google is strictly against getting links from non-relevant sites and regards these links as spammy and non-relevant.
Try to get and focus on getting links from sites which match your site's niche. If you have a site where you blog about Android, then you need to get links from sites which post about Android.
You can go a little bit beyond and get links from sites which post on different tech stuffs, including Android. But never, try to get links from sites which have a completely different niche.
Link Anchor Text
Link Anchor text is the words that are hyperlinked to your site. It is in fact, one of the strongest signals that search engines (especially Google) use to rank sites.
Google has come out and said that having exact match anchor texts (that is, keyword stuffed anchor text) will lead to penalisation of the sites concerned and has actually done so, after the initial roll out of the Penguin algorithm.
What is exact match anchor text?
For example, if you had a post on the "Best phones of 2017" and wanted to rank for the same keywords, having links with the words "Best phones of 2017" is what is called exact match anchor text.
But Backlinko, in a study comprising of about one million search results has discovered that exact match anchor text has a strong influence over high rankings in Google's search results.
Due to this finding, I would recommend that you use exact matching anchor texts sparingly in links, but not stop it altogether.
Link Placement and Link Type
The placement of the links pointing to your site as well as the type of the links play a huge role in increasing your site's SERP.
In simpler words, having links in the footer or sidebar sections of other sites/blogs don't contribute nearly as much as when the links are embedded into the content.
Also, editorially placed links, that is links placed inside the content have far more value than links placed in sections like author bio or resource pages or commenting links in sites with do-follow comment sections.
Google has also stated that having links that are not editorially placed can be deemed as a violation of their guidelines.
➤Why is that?
Because, just about anyone can create author bio links or links from comments in other sites or blogs. But when you get an editorially placed link, what it means is that the editor vouched for the linked post/page.
As such, Google deems vouched for links to content more valuable than links that you can create at the press of a button.
Do-Follow and No-Follow Links
Do-follow links are those links which pass on its authority and pagerank to the sites that it links to.
Note: Google has stopped showing pagerank to the public but the factor is still used to rank search results.
No-follow links are those links which do not pass any link juice (authority) to the sites it links to. No-follow links are basically links which ask Google's crawlers not to crawl the sites which it links to.
In other words, no-follow links tell Google that the site does not endorses the linked content.
While Google does not count no-follow links as factors influencing link building for SEO, no-follow links may bring you traffic and recognition.
Also, as I said above, try to no-follow non-editorially placed links as Google penalises those types of unnatural links.
When you are building links for SEO, you should prioritize on do-follow links.
Building links is an on-going process. It isn't some thing that stops after you have acquired enough links. If your site stops receiving links for some time, Google will consider your site to have gone stale and have diminished in popularity and relevance. It is very important that your site keeps on acquiring links.
Now, over to you. Did you like this post? What do you feel is the most important take-away from here? Comment your thoughts and share what you feel!