If you have ever looked into SEO you have probably come across the the term ‘link building’. One of the main reasons one website ranks higher in the search engines than another is the amount of quality links it has pointing to it.
Lets look at a couple of examples
John has a plumbing website which he has had for 10 years. He has completed basic SEO to ensure his services come up in the search results but doesn’t have many other websites linking to him. Due to this his domain authority is low.
Adam has also had a plumbing website for 10 years. He has completed the basic SEO but has also implemented a professional link building campaign. He has created lots of interesting content for people to read and has been contacting bloggers from relevant sites to his to write articles, has had press releases published online and has made interesting infographics about his services. Due to this his website has lots of relevant, quality links pointing to it, has a high domain authority and his website is much higher than John’s in the search engines.
So where do I start? How will this benefit my business?
There are basically two reasons it’s important to develop a linking strategy and continue to maintain it.
Firstly, the way people find things on the web is through links that point to a site, that contains content of interest to them. This being the case, you need to have links throughout the web to ensure greater opportunities for people to find your site. Of course the best place to have your link appear is in the results returned by search engines. Over 80% of all website traffic is the result of a prior search using search engines or by searching a content archive of some sort.
Second, back links are an important component of any SEO enhancement effort. Google determines the importance of a site by the number of other websites that link to it. This is called “authority”, and can be either domain authority (DA) or page authority (PA). The latter relates to an individual page within a site. It used to be possible to buy back links, exchange links, or simply make blog or forum comments with your link included. Not so any more!
Google algorithms now look at the quality of back-links. If the site you acquire a link from is of poor quality, your site will not likely gain any authority and could have your pages rank reduced if it happens too often. Concentrate on high authority links from relevant websites and you can’t go too far wrong.
Staying within Google’s guidelines
Google has a number of algorithms that check a website’s links and decides how good they are. The “Penguin algorithm” update is of most concern to anyone trying to develop an effective back-link strategy. Google will index a new site in their database. Both new additions to the database and revisited sites that were already indexed are assigned a rank for keywords the bot found on each individual web page. This rank determines where the individual page will appear among search engine results when the keyword is searched for. Google also looks at each external link it finds on a page and determines if it is a quality link or not. If it points to a quality site with relevant content that site will likely benefit from an enhancement in page rank. On the other hand, if the link points to a poor quality site both the site the link was found on and the destination site may be penalised by having page rank downgraded.
Google bots continuously crawl the web, revisiting websites in their database. If links to sites that are not in the database are found, they’re indexed and ranked. Those previously indexed are again examined and ranked. If the site has improved or declined in quality according to the algorithm’s parameters, its ranking is adjusted accordingly. What this means is that a site with a high page or domain authority can be downgraded at any time and vice versa. Thus constant vigilance must be maintained to assure external and internal links continue to work, that links to and from your site remain relevant, that they remain quality sites, that no external links redirect traffic, and so on.