All About Link Building
What is Link Building?
Link Building represents the processes in which a webmaster tries to gather links from other websites to his own. Why should I start link building? You should build links because links are still one of the most important ranking signals in Google’s algorithm, and are likely to remain so in the foreseeable future. As you might know, links are the essence of the WWW (world wide web). They are ways of navigating the internet, inside a website or from a website to another. Links are also used by search engines’ (such Google, Bing, Yahoo) crawlers to navigate and make something like a chart of the web. Search Engine crawlers go through links between the individual pages on your website. They also follow all the links that go in and out from another website to yours and from your site to another. So, what you basically need while link building is that search engine crawlers land on your website from as many external sources (links) as possible. I believe that link building is the hardest part of the SEO, as it takes a lot of time and skill to do it well.
The Anatomy of a basic link
In order to understand links and how they are interpreted by search engines, I am going to explain a basic link step by step. 1. The starting link tag. This is how the search engine knows that a link to something is about to follow.
2. The Link referral (“href”) and the URL where the link is directed. This is not always a way to another page. It can be a way to an image or a file to download.
3. The anchor text of the link. This is a piece of the text that is visible for the users and the search engines.
4. Close link tag. This is where the search engine understands the end of the link. So, when you have a link to a website or another website has a link to you, the search engines can extract the content of those pages and add it to their indexes. So this is how search engines discover new pages and determine how well a page should rank in their results. There is also the possibility to block search engines from crawling a certain link by using the “nofollow” attribute. The link from our example with nofollow attribute looks like this: So, in this case, the link will be visible and accessible for the users but it will not be accessible for the search engines.
Not all the links have the same value
If a high ranked blog writes an article and includes a link to your website, that link is going to be much more valuable then a link on a low ranked blog. So, how can you receive valuable links? It’s simple! Create something worth linking to!
The most valuable links are the natural ones. If somebody has written an article about something you have created and puts your link there, it’s most likely many other will do the same because that means you have created something useful and qualitative.
Easier said than done. It requires skill, planning, research, creativity and hard work. This is the reason why most webmasters try to cheat the system and go with spam links.
What are Spam Links?
Spam linking is basically an unorthodox way of link building, by creating links on places like blogs, forums, link farms, directories, social media, article directories, etc.
The thing is that Google’s algorithms are getting better and better and they usually spot this spam links and they ignore or down rank them, so spam linking can do a lot of damage to your website.
Link spammers generally create links that are not merit based. Therefore, the links you buy from them may work for a while but ultimately will stop working.
There are also link-building companies, which are using mostly the link spam method. If you use their services, it’s like building your house on sand.
Link trading is also a bad idea. When it comes to link building, Google wants to see links that you’ve earned. They want to see links that you deserve because you have something of good quality to offer.
What is the safe way to link building?
The white-hat way is the safest and the best way. I know it takes a lot of time and work, but that is the right and fair way and it is more convenient on a long term.
I don’t say that all black-hat methods are bad, but for your website’s safety, I don’t recommend them because you might destroy rather then build.
Find below some common safe ways for link building:
- Try building a community which interacts with your website and with each other.
- Research into understanding what content your target audience is looking for.
- Create unique and qualitative content.
- Links from original images – Bloggers usually try to find good/targeted images for their articles. So, if they use an image from you, and they play fair you will get a link as the image source.
- Promoting your website to relevant groups of people by writing personalized messages.
- Use Guest Blogging – contact bloggers to ask if you could guest blog. If they accept, you can get a few links from the posts and also traffic (if the blogs are popular).
- Organize contests and giveaways – you can organize a contest for your audience in which they have to write articles about a product of yours or about your site.
- Use social media – Delicious, Digg, and Pinterest offer a bit of link equity through social bookmarks. Also if you have a Twitter account, then you’ve got 15 easy links from the Twitter profile links. Google+ shares also helps.
- Themes, Widgets, Plugins and Extensions – if webmasters are using your work on their platforms, you will get a links from every user.
- Answer questions online and give your link to the solution.
- Create a RSS feed if you don’t have one.
There are many other legit ways to link building, depending on your area of activity.
Link building is the type of activity that is never complete. You will link build as long as you have online activity.
Google algorithms will get more and more sophisticated and things will change in time, but I am sure that Link Building will always have a strong word to say when it comes to online marketing tactics and SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
Happy Link Building!