Link building has to be one of the most confusing and highly debated areas of SEO. Even many SEO professionals find it to be the most challenging part of their job. However, don’t worry – it’s actually not as complicated as it may first seem. The focus of link building has changed over the years, and nowadays natural and user-centric tactics work best. So, what is link building in SEO exactly and what role does it play in your wider SEO strategy?
What is link building in SEO - the basics
Link building is an SEO strategy where links pointing to your website are acquired. The purpose is to build up the authority of your website. When high-authority websites link to yours, they pass on some of their authority to you. In time, this increase in domain authority will hopefully result in increased rankings!
What is domain authority?
Domain authority is one of the factors contributing to SERP’s (search engine results pages). It is an unofficial score (developed by Moz) that is used by SEO professionals to estimate how likely a website is to rank. One of the biggest contributing factors to your domain authority is your backlink portfolio.
Black hat and white hat link building
First of all, there are a range of tactics that can be used to improve SEO. These tactics are often divided into white hat and black hat SEO tactics (as well as some that fall into the grey area, i.e. grey hat strategies). The same goes for link building. There are white hat tactics that work on your long game and are low risk, and there are black hat tactics that look for quick wins and are high risk. We recommend sticking to the white hat tactics, so you don’t risk being penalised by Google.
What’s even better, white hat strategies build your online presence in more ways than just rankings. They focus on bringing value and a great user experience, so they’re good for your brand and sales too!
How is link building done
The ideal situation is, when you produce good quality content, people will want to link to it. However, link building can also be done strategically to boost your SEO. For example, you can gain links with relevant directory listings, article submissions and community sponsorships.
Good link-building is a bit like online PR. The best way to do it is to look for relevant opportunities, such as websites that are central to your industry and have good reason to link to you. Then, contact them directly to ask if they would be willing to link to you. A good example is any professional associations that you’re part of within your industry.
On buying links
Most businesses have limited time and money, so buying links that point to your website can seem like a lucrative opportunity. However, buying links is actually against Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. Back in the day, you might have been able to buy thousands of dodgy, irrelevant links online and see a quick boost in your rankings. Nowadays, you’ll probably only get penalised.
The thing is, Google wants you to build links naturally. It wants websites to rank because they deserve to, not because there’s a lot of money behind them.
How link building helps increase traffic on your website
So, at the end of the day, what are we building all these links for? The end goal of SEO is always to bring more traffic to your website. Link building increases traffic to your website in two ways:
- By working towards increasing your rankings
- By bringing in referral traffic
Yes, all those links that you gain on relevant industry-sites also increase the chance of someone clicking through to your site. For example, guest-blogging on the website of an industry authority could be a great way to bring relevant traffic to you.
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