Chapter 8 – Link building in SEO.
Link building has been a point of focus for all SEO masters. When it comes to optimization there is lot importance given to it. It may not be everything but it definitely is a major chunk of optimization. Before we get into link building and how to go about it, let us first see what is link and why is it so important in link building.
I guess everyone using the internet is aware of what link is so I would not dare to define it. However, I would like to discuss the types of link. There are two types of link one is bare URL like www.Google.com and another one is an anchor text link. Anchor text are link which is embedded in words with the code. An example of anchor text link “Google”. The code of this anchor text will look something like this <a href=www.google.com>Google</a>. Here Google is the word on which point to link www.google.com.
Long before when search engines like Google were not there or where in their primitive stage and a lot of people were not aware of it. The only way to access a website was to know its URL. People used to find new pages by clicking on a link provided on existing web pages. Web sites would provide this link to new web pages which have important information which may be beneficial for users.
When search engines came into being they too used link to find new pages. Their spiders used to start crawling existing pages which they have crawled and then follow the link on those pages to find new pages. Gradually search engines found that if more links are pointing to a web page it would mean that that web page has important content. This assumption was on the basis that if a web page has important content the people would like to share it with others and to do so, they would put a link on their website pointing to web page having that content.
This factor was included in the algorithm of ranking of the web page by search engines. They would count the link pointing to the web page as votes. More the links point to a web page more is the vote count for a web page and higher would the page rank.
Many a times you would see the term backlink used for link building. It is said so because it involves the process of creating links on websites other than yours to point it back to your website.
Let us recall what we have discussed so far about the importance of link building or to say why should we build a link. Let me jot it in points:
- Links helps to drive traffic to our site as people follow the links from other websites to find important content.
- Search engines use the link on existing pages to find new page.
- Search engines use the quantity and quality of link to calculate the importance of a web page. It is an important factor in the Google algorithm for page rank.
In last point I used the term quality along with quantity. Why quality and what does does quality link means?
Humans are meant to be lazy they always try to get success with ease. When it was discovered that pages with a high number of link rank higher, several techniques were used to exploit this, most of them were black hat techniques. Links which used to occur naturally were now being forged. People started using software to spam internet with their link. Some even started selling links. They would create several websites just to put links on their website for money. The result was again a total chaos, web pages with with low quality or irrelevant content, but with high link started ranking higher. This again resulted in high user dissatisfaction.
This called for a reaction from Google and this is exactly what it did. All web pages with unnatural and low quality link were penalized and deprived of ranking, web pages created solely for link were banned.
Google still counts link as vote, but they have added an additional parameter to it that is quality. Recent update in google algorithm has changed the way link building was done. Earlier you can simply use software to spam internet with thousand of link and watch your rank grow. However, now it has become a bit tough.
Also, Google wants links to be natural. Suppose if there is an article on a web page which is quite good. People will link to it naturally and number of links to the page would grow gradually. It will not get thousand of link in a day or a month unless the article is a news which affects the entire world. So if you are acquiring thousands of links in a day or month you are actually alerting Google about possible spam and inviting penalty.
By now you must be pondering and would have a lot of questions about link building. Let me guess some of your questions.
- What is a quality link?
- What approach should I take for link building?
- How to get quality link?
Let me answer first two question here as both of them are related. While giving answer I would like to classify the link type which we are aming at:
When we talk about quality link we mean it should be from website which have high page rank. Before trying to obtain link from a website you can check their page rank using various tools available online for example you can install plugins like firefox page rank checker, Chrome page ran checker or use online tools such as MOZ open site explorer. These tools give us a lot of statistics in terms of website rank domain authority and other stuff which will help you to judge whether this website is good to get links from.
While link building campaign our aim should be to get links from high quality sites. It may not be easy to get links from such website as they may not link to relatively new website unless we try to prove that we have got quality content which may be beneficial for their readers. It may take some time, but if you are able to get a few links from the top PR website it would really help to boost your ranking as Google will give more weightage to 3 or 4 link from high quality websites than 100 links from low quality websites.
Try to get links from trusted source. Web sites like Wikipedia, CNN.com and BBC.com are trusted website people trust information provided by them. So if they link to your website it would increase the credibility of your website because they would link to your website only if they find credible information on your website. So if you manage to get such link it will not only be high quality link but will also be high trusted link which will further boost your authority as a website.
While link building our aim should be to get relevant link not just link. Suppose if you have a website which sells Toys, so getting links from blogs which is about “How to make cupcakes” will not make sense and would not benefit in the long run. However, getting links from blogs which talks about how to make your kids starter would not only make your linking relevant, but if done effectively will drive traffic to your website.
Keyword anchor text optimization:
When creating backlinks with anchor text we need to concentrate on what text we choose to optimize for. Earlier it was easy, it was popular belief and was also right to some extent that if you want to rank for particular keyword create backlink using keyword as anchor text. Again, this too was exploited to such an extent that it becomes a nuisance. Google decided to put too much of link with the same anchor text as spam. So now you need to be versatile in creating anchor text links. Creating backlink with keyword anchor text should not be more than 5% to 7%.
When your website grows in popularity and people will start linking to you in such scenario, it will not be possible to keep control on anchor text link that they create but there has to be a conscious effort from your end that you can diversify the anchor text as much as possible.
Link building for traffic.
Link building not only improves your page rank but also helps you get traffic. If done effectively it has resulted in huge traffic an even sometimes amounting more traffic than search engines. Out of many ways of link building guest blogging is one of the effective ways to build quality link. There are many websites which will allow users to create links on their website for posting a quality content on their website also known as guest blogs.
Guest blogging not only helps you to build your brand and of your website, but also if you do it write an share quality content it will let users of this website to follow the link on this website and come to your website for more useful content. Such traffic is also known as referral traffic. So link building not only gives you page rank but also gives you referral traffic.
Now that we know what is link building and what is its importance, let us discuss how to build links in a way that it not only incorporates quality but also drives traffic. There is no one rule or strategy to link building. Which change in Googles approach how they see links now the approach to link building has changed as well. To get success in link building all you need is creativity and hard work. People have experimented with new methods of link building which have benefited them and many share their innovation. So if you search around the internet, you may come across various methods of link building.
You would also get people who would try to sell you something which will automate the process of link building and driving a thousand or millions of traffic to your site. I would suggest you be cautious of such trap. Driving traffic means driving money to your website if someone has a software or a formula to drive huge traffic he would keep it for himself and become millionaire rather than selling it on the internet for 100 bucks or so and allow others to become millionaire.
So lets see what works best. This chapter is already becoming lengthy and covering different link building techniques will not only make it never ending but you may lose focus as well. So again as usual I have decided to put that in blog posts and you will find the links below. Benefit of putting it that I can share new methods of link building as a new post and remove old ones which are not relevant any more.