Search engine optimization, or SEO, is now an integral part of marketing. A successful and dedicated SEO strategy ensures that your business is easily found on Google, which can bring tons of new potential customers to your website.
Successfully climbing Google’s search results is easier said than done, though. An organically high ranking and optimized website can’t just be instantly purchased; you’re going to have to work to convince Google your website is worth a high ranking.
One of the essential elements of any SEO strategy is link building. Below, we’ll explain how it works and why it’s so crucial for your website’s SEO.
What is link building?
Put simply, link building is the process of getting other websites to link to your own website. These links that point users to your website are usually referred to as “inbound links” or “backlinks”.
While this may sound relatively easy at first, link building is generally considered to be one of the harder aspects of SEO. Ideally, the websites that link out to your site should be well respected, authoritative, or popular, and it isn’t exactly a breeze to be mentioned on high authority websites. But you may be asking yourself why gaining links to your website on outside sites is so important. Isn’t all of the work you put into your own website and content enough?
Links as references
It may help to think of inbound links as references or recommendations for your website, and ultimately your business. When Google “crawls”, or examines, your website to determine how it will rank for specific keywords, a big determining factor is the number and quality of links pointing to your website. These links effectively function as references or recommendations to Google, and the more high quality sites linking out to your website, the better.
Once we consider inbound links in these terms, it makes much more sense why Google is looking specifically for authoritative backlinks, as opposed to a banklink from just any website. For example, a recommendation from a Harvard professor or the CEO of a major corporation is going to carry more weight than a recommendation from the manager of a restaurant or store you worked at in high school.
The same idea applies to link building: a link to your website on NBC or ESPN sites will help your Google rankings much more than 10 backlinks listed across low authority online directories or websites.
It is important to remember that while link building helps your SEO performance and Google search rankings, it also brings you more referral traffic. The more links you have leading to your website, the more opportunities you’ll have for new customers to find your business. In this sense, high quality links on popular or well known websites are once again much more beneficial than backlinks from websites with little to no online traffic.
If you can score an inbound link on a popular website like Wikipedia, millions of online users will have a direct path to your website. If you are looking for help with your link building efforts, there are many services like Search Atlas that you can try out.
Build bridges in your industry
A proactive and effective link building strategy will bring your business in contact with influencers and other brands in your respective industry. While you may initially just trade a few messages back and forth in order to mutually gain a backlink, this opens up the possibility of building long lasting relationships, or even partnerships, with others in your market.
As more and more colleagues collaborate with your business and post inbound links to your website and content, your business and overall brand will build up a reputation as a leader in your field.