One of the most misunderstood aspects of SEO is building links. Too many people engaging in SEO view link building as an exercise in quantity over quality. They go out and try to get as many links back to their website as possible. This could have the opposite intended effect on their website.
By accepting a few truths about building links to your website, you can avoid many problems and help your site rank higher in the search results.
Truth #1 – A Good Link Is Still Important
Too many “experts” have been announcing the death of building links over the years, but Google still likes them. That’s all you need to know right there. Whatever they deem to be important is all that matters when it comes to ranking your site.
Let’s face it, there are other search engines out there but Google is the biggest and most important one out there. What they say goes.
And since the search engines like backlinks, you should still be focused on getting good a quality link to your site. Search engines are constantly changing its search algorithm and there may be a time when backlinks are no longer a big factor when it comes to ranking. But until that happens, backlinks are still important.
Truth #2 – You Are An Excellent Source For Link Building
Getting a link from a high authority site in our industry can be difficult. Most of these big sites only want to link out to other high authority sites. But all is not lost.
You can (and should) link your content to other content on your site. You should include at least one link in every piece of content that connects to other content on your website. At the very least it will help keep visitors on your site longer and expose them to more of your message.
Truth #3 – A Bad Link Can Hurt You
Back in the dark ages of SEO (say 2009), many site owners would flood their sites with backlinks from dubious sites all over the world. Back then the source of the link didn’t really matter. So you’d see sites with hundreds of thousands of them from Russian gambling sites, adult sites, pharmacy sites. It didn’t matter. People were building links right and left to try and rank higher.
That is no longer the case. The search engines want to see a link coming in from relevant sites. If you are a roofer, you should have a link coming on from home improvement sites, remodeling sites, and sites dealing with construction. Having a link from a gambling site makes no sense to Google and you may get penalized for that.
Truth #4 – Anchor Text Matters
Anchor text (the word or phrase that is hyperlinked) is an important factor you need to consider while building links. Your company name will be the most common form of anchor text you should also consider diversifying your anchor text.
Going back to the roofer example, let’s say you received coverage from a local news site. You might want to ask them to use the phrase “Miami roofer” or “roofer in Miami” as the anchor text. This will not only give you more anchor text diversity, it will also help you rank higher in the search results when people search for those terms.
It goes without saying that you should find out what phrases consumers are searching for in your industry. This way you will always have a list of search term you can use for anchor text.
Truth #5 – Focus On Quality In Link Building
As stated before, you should be focused on obtaining the highest quality link possible. So what is a high-quality link?
Going back to our roofing example, a high-quality link you be one from a high authority site that is relevant to the roofing industry. In this case, it may be a home improvement site. Having backlinks from an article about roof repair from this site would do far more good for your search ranking than ten links from a site that has nothing to do with home improvement.
There are a number of page ranking tools out there that can help you determine the authority of any site you are getting a link from. Use these to help determine if the ROI is worth it.
Truth #6 – Best Practices Change
Search engines are constantly changing their search result algorithm. Because of this, what worked last year may not work this year. And what you are doing this year might get you penalized next year.
You (or whoever is handling your SEO campaings) must stay abreast of the changes that search engines are coming up with. Every search engine will announce any changes but it is up to you to look for them.
Building links can be a little time consuming, but the benefits are well worth it. Keep these truths in mind as you go about link building and you should not have any issues. Don’t forget, building links is crucial to a healthy site, but there are still other factors to consider. See Mike Farney’s post on getting to the top of the first page on Google for more information.