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Technical SEO

What is Link building? How important is it important for SEO?

By definition, link building is gaining links from other websites to your own. Increasing the authority and driving referral traffic of a website is crucial for marketing and business owners.

Why build links? It is complicated and always evolving how Google determines which sites rank for which keywords, but backlinks remain an important factor in how it determines which sites rank. Link building is one of the main tactics used in search engine optimization (SEO) because it indicates to Google that your site has quality content that is worth citations. Websites earning higher rankings tend to have more links.

Building links to your website can be done the right way or the wrong way, however. You should only engage in natural link building if you value the long-term viability of your site and business. This means engaging in the process of earning links rather than buying them or otherwise acquiring them by manipulative means (black-hat SEO is one such tactic)

Why Link Building Is Important for SEO?

Google ranks websites according to how many links they have. According to Google:

“Increasing the number of high-quality websites linking to a website is recommended in order to enhance its ranking.”

Think about owning a website that promotes wind turbine equipment that we sell. Other wind turbine equipment manufacturers are competing with us. Link popularity is one of the factors Google considers when ranking our pages.

Links aren’t the answer to everything

According to the introductory chapter, if you want to rank #1 in Google, all you have to do is build more backlinks than the page ranking there currently.

To a certain extent, that is true, but in reality, things are a little more complicated. There are many factors search engines consider when ranking pages, other than links not being equal. You may need to mix these variables according to the type of search query that you want to rank for.

You shouldn’t blame this guide if your page ranks poorly despite building a lot of links. Instead, find out what other ranking factors may be at play.

The majority of link building tactics and strategies can be categorized into four categories:

  • Adding Links:

This is known as “adding” a link to a website that doesn’t belong to you. Here are some examples:

  • Business directory submissions;
  • Social profile creation;
  • Blog commenting;
  • Posting to forums, communities & Q&A sites;
  • Creating job search listings;

You can easily build links using those tactics. Consequently, those links have very little value in the eyes of Google (and can be flagged as spam in some cases).

Apart from that, these kinds of links hardly give you any competitive advantage. The fact that you can manually place your link on a website doesn’t mean your competitors can’t do the same.

In any case, you shouldn’t ignore these link-building tactics completely. Your online business can actually benefit from each of them for reasons other than obtaining links.

  • Asking for Links:

In this case, you contact the website owner you wish to link from and tell them why you should be linked from their site.

For these types of strategies, the “compelling reason” is crucial. They have no interest in you or your website (unless you are a celebrity) and thus have no motivation to assist you.

Ask yourself first: “What’s in it for THEM?” before you ask them to link to you.”

As an example of this category of link building tactics and strategies, here are a few together with the “compelling reasons” that they’re based on:

Guest blogging: Make their website more useful by writing articles.

Skyscraper technique: Make them aware of a better resource than what they’re linking to.

Link inserts: Provide them with a link to further information about something they briefly mentioned.

Ego bait: Describe them or their work positively in your content.

Testimonials & Case studies: Provide positive feedback regarding the product or service.

Link exchanges: If you agree to link back to them, offer to link back to them.

Resource page link building: Provide them with relevant resources based on their existing lists.

Broken link building: Identify and correct a “dead” link on their page.

Image link building: Make sure your image is credited.

Unlinked mentions. Request that your brand’s mention be accompanied by a link.

Link moves: Request that an existing link is changed.

All of these strategies seem interesting, don’t they? You’re likely to be faced with harsh reality as soon as you send your first email request.

  • Buying Links:

We don’t recommend buying links!  It’s likely you’ll waste a lot of money on bad links that don’t affect your rankings; at worst, your website will be penalized.

Despite this, we wouldn’t be doing you any favors if we didn’t disclose that many people in the SEO industry “buy” links in all sorts of ways.

As such, if you want to risk your website’s well-being by buying links, please seek advice elsewhere about how to do this “safely”, because here at Ahrefs we don’t teach it.

  • Earning Links

Link exchanges are when other websites link to the pages on your website without you having to request it. Unless you have something truly exceptional, it’s unlikely you will be mentioned on other websites unless you have something truly outstanding to offer.

Links won’t work if people don’t know where they are. Even if your page is awesome, you’ll need to promote it. You will have a higher chance of getting links to your page the more traffic you receive.

The following are some tactics and strategies in this category:

  • Linkbait (or linkable assets). Data studies, infographics, maps, surveys, awards.
  • Podcasts / interviews / expert roundups.
  • Content promotion.

Final Words:

In this article, we discussed everything you need to know about link building, which is an important factor in SEO. Any questions you might have can still be asked by sending us an email or calling us. 

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