What Is Link Building?
SEO and link building have always gone hand-in-hand, but the importance of building good quality links has never been higher.
It’s often the single reason that one page ranks higher than a competitor’s, so you need to understand the importance of link building as part of your SEO campaign for online visibility.
Whether you’re new to link building or have been doing it for a while, this article will help you understand why it’s important. You can link build yourself, or you can look for a link building service with great reviews to help you get started.
What Is Link Building?
Link building is the process of building links from other websites back to yours. Search engines crawl the links between pages on your website and between entire websites.
A link to your site tells Google that your site is a quality resource on the subject. Sites with more backlinks usually earn higher rankings from Googles.
There are several techniques that you can use, but link building can be one of the most time-consuming parts of SEO strategy. Not all links are created equal either.
Why Is Link Building Important For SEO?
Link building is an important part of SEO because it helps search engines to find new web pages and determines how well a page should rank in the SERPs (search engine results pages).
When you work on building links, your focus should be on earning links because you have created great content that your users want to share, not just for search engines.
Link building is one of the most important ranking factors for Google, alongside:
- On-page SEO and content optimisation
- Trust and authority of the website
- Site loading speed
- User experience elements
White Hat Vs Black Hat SEO
When you’re link building, there is a right way and a wrong way to do it. For viable links and a strong performance for your website, your link building tactics should be natural and follow all the guidelines set out by Google.
White hat SEO is when you use organic link building tactics to improve your online visibility. These techniques are recommended by Google, but they do take more time than Black hat techniques. White hat SEO link building could include:
- Guest posting
- Promoting your content
- Creating infographics
- Building online relationships
- Commenting on authority blogs
- Using website directories and business listings
Black hat SEO techniques are unethical practices that help your website to rank faster. Google frowns upon these methods, and if they find that your methods violate their guidelines, your site could take a hit in the search rankings, thanks to a penalty. These penalties could cost you the rankings you’ve earned fairly, and take a lot of time to remove and recover from. Black hat SEO techniques include:
- Hidden links
- Link schemes
- Doorway pages
- Keyword stuffing
- Automatically generated content
- Abusing structured data
- Anything malicious or spammy
Follow Vs Nofollow Links
You can add attributes to links to tell Google to ‘count’ this link. These are called follow links, which Google sees as a sign your site is worth linking to and is trustworthy.
There is also a ‘nofollow’ attribute that can be applied. This tells Google that it shouldn’t pass on any PageRank to this link. To put it simply, you are telling Google not to trust the link and that it shouldn’t be counted in your backlink profile.
However, nofollows are more useful than you might think. Nofollows allow websites to gain complete control over the links that are added to its pages.
Before nofollow links were possible, Black hat and spam SEO techniques were rife, with people trying to artificially boost their websites. When nofollow links were introduced, most spammers stopped bothering to post irrelevant links, as they know they won’t get a follow link.
You will still see spammy blog comments and websites, but it has definitely reduced how common the practice is and weakened the effect that it has on more authoritative websites.
If you’re not sure when to use them, nofollow links can be used in:
- Blog comments
- Yahoo! Answers
- Wiki pages
- Guest book comments
- Guest post signatures
There are all places that you can freely post and add links to. As you can’t really moderate every single spammy link, you can choose to automatically add a nofollow attribute to all links on your site that are posted by other users. This can help to cut back on spam, without you needing to do any extra work.