This is the fifth part of a multi-part series that explains the major factors of a successful SEO (search engine optimization) strategy. In this article, we will explain what is link building, how it relates to SEO, how to do it correctly, and link building schemes you need to avoid.
We Are All Connected
Link building for SEO is a process of acquiring links both internally and externally on your website. Search engines scan links both internally and externally to find relevance to the content the website is linking to. This builds the domain’s trust factor
Link building can be time-consuming processes for the amount of ranking consideration search engines provide.
Since content creation still has a larger impact on SEO, we recommend spending only about 20-30% of SEO effort each month on link building campaigns.
Work on the Inside First
When starting out a link building campaign its best to start with the content within your own website first. Here you can gain ranking points by interlinking posts with individual pages on your website.
Today, many websites are content management systems (CMS) so they have the capability of adding new pages/posts. With a homepage, individual pages, and post from a blog section; you should view this a pyramid of authoritative information. Placing the homepage at the top and individual pages below; then posts at the bottom.
As you place a link on a post to a page on your website, you give that page more supporting authority on what the content is about.
When link building within your website, here are a few tips to consider:
- Make sure the page you are linking too is relevant to the post you are writing about.
- When creating the link make sure the text is relevant to the content on the page you are linking to. This is called the anchor text. For example, if you are writing an article on a specific car model that is a convertible and you have a page all about convertibles then include text in your link that includes “convertibles”.
- Don’t overdo it; a few internal links per post. Search engines don’t like overkill or link directories.
Now that we have internal links set up in our posts to pages you might want to consider linking out in each post to other websites. This will help search engines establish the relevance and authority of the content you are presenting.
When creating external links follow the same tips as above and make sure the link and the anchor text is relevant to the post/page you are creating.
Getting External Links
Getting an external link from another website that points to your website will help build your website’s authority and incrementally increase your ranking in search engines. Getting links from authoritative sites often is a process of asking the site owner for a link to your website. If requesting offer them the ideal anchor text to put on the link rather than just the domain address. This will give an extra boost. Other times the links appear automatically when someone sees your site and writes about it and places a link pointing to your website.
Link Building Schemes to Avoid
Search engines do a tremendous amount of work to keep their integrity intact. Why? Because their primary income is advertising. If the integrity of the search engine is compromised then the ad dollars will run for the exits.
You might be approached usually via email of services or “favors” to build links on your website. Be careful a lot of these offers may ultimately hurt your SEO ranking, get a penalty from search engines, and even be banned from search engines. We believe link-building growth, is a natural, well thought out process that shouldn’t be rushed. Those asking for favors or visibility opportunities are well vetted before committing.
Below are examples of link building schemes you should avoid. These are known as black hat SEO methods. Reputable SEO agencies do not engage in black hat techniques because they understand the long-term effects of engaging in those activities. Although most of these black hat activities have been shut down, every now and a derivation of these show up.
Closed Link Networks
Very common and are run by businesses that provide black hat SEO services. Here they have an extensive network of fake websites. The business pays them to be on the sites so they go out and place them on their sites only. Over the years search engines like Google have discovered these closed link networks and shut down most of them but they still appear from time to time.
Link wheel scheme, people would connect through two similar sites before linking back to the original site. In concept, this scheme could be an authentic SEO practice, until marketers began to abuse the system. When this scheme worked, businesses that were alike would link to each other in an effort to build mutual content and help build each other’s SEO ranks. When it became abused, black hat marketers were building whole masses of small, useless sites simply to try to use them in a link wheel to build the rankings of their main site. Search engines like Google eventually detected and devaluing the links from these link wheel sites as well.
The original premise was that when a site was linked to from many other sites that must mean it was important. When website owners discovered this they went on a link building spree posting links that were relevant on every website they could find (i.e. blog comments, website directories, etc.). This worked for a time but soon became abused by people posting several links at a time. From hiding links using the same background color to entire websites created with just links mutual backlinking was the earliest of schemes to be banned from search engines.
Getting Local with SEO
Having a great content strategy from keyword research, knowing what your competitors are doing, and building a solid link strategy; your website is well on its way to an effective SEO campaign. In the next article, we will explain why local SEO is important in bringing Internet searchers to your business.