We’re going back to basics today. If you are a webmaster and are interested in getting your website to rank/appear at the top of the search engine results, then one of the very first things which you should understand is what is link building.
This (coupled with knowing how to do keyword research) is the single most important part of search engine optimization and getting your website or web page to rank atop the search engines. But what is link building? That’s precisely what we’ll delve into in this post to give you a better idea of what it is and why it’s done.
What is Link Building
Link building means linking to a particular web page from other web pages. Those web pages can be either on or off site, meaning those links are coming from the same domain or from a different domain altogether (see internal links and external links).
Links exist in a number of different formats:
URL Based Link – This is the most standard link. If I wanted to link back to the top level of this domain with a URL based link, it would look like http://www.convertingcopy.com/.
Hyperlink – A hyperlink is a text based link and looks a lot cleaner than the URL based link because there aren’t any of the prefixes or suffixes which are used in URLs. I’ll talk more about this later but hyperlinks are the most ideal kind of link to use from an SEO point of view because the text which you give in the hyperlink acts as a description of the content it’s linking to.
I’ve already used a number of hyperlinks in this post. Take the “see internal links and external links” for example. It’s a text based link which has my keyword phrase internal links and external links as the text and it’s pointing towards the corresponding URL on my site where I talk about those types of links.
A lot of word processors and similar softwares like WordPress or Microsoft Word allow you to create hyperlinks easily by highlighting the text you want to use and adding in the URL destination for it. Alternatively, the code for the hyperlink reads: <a href=”URL”>keyword</a>
Image Link – An image link is exactly how it sounds; an image which also serves as a clickable link. Like the hyperlink, we can add an SEO element and give the image an alt text and title attribute using our keywords to help the targeted URL rank for the keywords we choose and supplied (see alt text vs. title).
Why is link building necessary to rank well? This serves as proof from external domains especially that your web page and website has content which is worth linking to and sharing. We as users of the internet are really the ones doing Google and other search engines’ jobs for them in part because when we read something which is of high quality and worth sharing, we link to it in one form or another.
This is why social proof (see what is social proof) is beginning to play a greater role in SEO these days, because by clicking on a “like” button on a video or a story which we read on a blog site, we’re literally telling Google that this is good content. Google uses links and social proof as virtual thumbs ups to determine what deserves to rank at the top of their search engine results pages (SERPs) to be seen and shared with the most people.
Therefore, as a webmaster, we want our content to receive as many high quality links (meaning links from reputable, high trafficked websites) as possible. Not only will it bring traffic from those sites linking to ours, but it will serve as proof that our content is worth ranking well and will subsequently help our content to rank well.
Now that we’ve identified what is link building, in a couple of days we’ll talk about how to link build.