I’ve said it many times before and you’ve likely heard it from other sources as well, “Content is King”. If we believe this to be true, then link building also called a backlink is most definitely the queen of seo. The reason you must have more than just quality content is that Google (and other search engines) evaluate both the number and quality of websites that link to your web pages. This is a fundamental component (the foundation upon which the search algorithm is built) of how and why one website ranks over another.
The basic precept of the search algorithm is that websites with more backlinks must be more popular than websites with fewer backlinks. It is important to also remember that search engines also evaluate the anchor text containing the link. Anchor text is the text contained in front of a hyperlink from one page to another. For example: I want to link the word “backlink” to another page so I might do this: backlink. The word “backlink” are now highlighted and underlined which indicates that they link to somewhere else. You can see that this link links to the Wikipedia article about back links. Because Wikipedia is considered by so many people to be an authority, many people link to it like I have just done. It is for this reason that when you Google the term “backlink” the number 1 result is this Wikipedia article.
It is true that building good, original content will compel others to link to your website and that over time Google might conclude that you are an authority. But, the process of gaining and maintaining powerful search rankings is extremely competitive. If you want to rank well you must have great content and quality backlinks. For this reason, if you are serious about search engine optimization, you should proactively and aggressively build links.
It is also important to remember that not all links are created equally. While quantity is important, you should also focus on building quality links and relevant links. Relevant links come from sites that are related to your business or content topic. For example, if you run a used car dealer massachusetts, getting a link from AutoTrader.com is better than getting a link from this blog post (but every link counts so getting one from both is even better!) Quality links come from popular websites generally considered to be trusted sources. The two primary tools I use to measure popularity are Google’s page rank (PR) and the Alexa ranking system. PR gives you a rough idea of how much google considers a site to be an authority. Alexa gives you a rough measure of the traffic volume a site may receive. Having this information allows you to make an informed decision about a potential linking partner. As a general rule, you should look for quality and relevant linking partners that have a PR and/or an alexa score equal to or better than your own.
Link building is very time consuming. It may even cost money if you use a service like a link broker or a pay-per-post network. One of the more time consuming tasks is requesting one way or reciprocal links from other websites. Basically this requires you to reach out to the potential partner via e-mail and (very politely) asking for a link or you can suggest a barter situation where you can link to them if they link to you. It is important to know that today reciprocal links can negatively impact your SEO strategy. There is more to it than exchanging links. Google looks for this and can penalize you. NEVER have a direct link exchange from the same page. For example, if I put a link on the homepage of this website to the homepage of your website and you did the reverse it could cause a problem for both of us. The better method would be for you to ask me to link to a page on your site which is relevant to my site and reciprocated by giving me a link to a page on my site relevant to some content on your site(confused yet?).
Another method of link building is to use blog and forum comments. In many cases, however, search engines like Google either devalue or do not count blog and forum comments as links toward your page rank. Some do and some do not. It is important to know which is which. It also does not mean that the ones that do not count are unimportant. A mix is good because it is natural and natural is good.
Sending online press releases via companies like prlog.org and free-press-release.org is another effective way to build links. Many online content creators use press releases as a source for article ideas. Generally, when people use your release as a source for an article, they will also provide a link to your website. Other times, content aggregators reproduce and redistribute your content and keep your anchor text in place.
The easiest way to build links is to simply buy them through link brokers and pay-per-post networks. However, it is worth noting that many search engines have policies against the use of paid links as a means of boosting PageRank. If caught, Google will devalue the link for PR purposes. There are, however, other benefits to buying links such as a means to drive traffic or even basic branding purposes.
Thanks for taking the time to learn your craft. In my next article I will be discussing Google Analytics. Please comment and REMEMBER: There are NO stupid questions!