When it comes to SEO, we often mention the creation of external links as the most important criterion as being referenced by Google. But what is link building really about? What are its fundamental principles and practical applications? And above all, how can such a strategy really benefit your website and your business? Is link building really essential in your web marketing strategy?
What is link building?
It is not for nothing that link building is considered by marketers as a primary criterion in SEO. And the main reason is that external links give a lot of information to search engine algorithms, including Google. External links make it possible to evaluate:
Your reputation on the web
The principle is rather simple: the more external sites that point to yours, the more likely you are to be considered a search engine relevant website. This quantitative criterion is at the base of any link building strategy, but we will see that it is a principle that must also be qualified in the sense that it is not the only thing that can make a difference. Indeed, other more qualitative criteria complete the perception that search engines will have of your website and provide real relevance and consistency to the way websites are referenced in general in the search engines.
Relevance to your keywords
Keywords are still important in SEO. And in link building, it will be necessary to focus on the text that will be linked to your external links, because they will have a real importance in the way the algorithms will associate your keywords with your content and your site. Here, we will talk particularly about the anchor text, that is to say, the text that will be specified in the link itself. However, it should be noted that all associated content, for example, the article that will quote your website as a reference or descriptive phrases around this link, are also important. These contents are in particular an indispensable indication for the robots of the search engines; to better understand the subject of your website and its field of action,
The seriousness of your site
Be aware that the quality of your links, including the authority of the sites that point to yours, gives a particularly important indication to search engines for its seriousness and credibility on the web. This is a data that may be essential, especially if you do not want your website to be considered a spammer for the algorithms.
The freshness of your content
We notice the inclination of Google to want to provide relevant links for users! Indeed, the more external links that point to your website that are recent, the more the algorithms will consider your content as a fruit of topicality which seems logical: it shows that your information has been relevant enough to be quoted recently. Thus, more “fresh” links will naturally replace older ones. This is why a link building strategy must be implemented over time, as external links tend to lose their weight and influence over time.
The social character of your content
Today social networks are at the centre of all users on the web and link building is no exception to this rule. Admittedly, this is a debate that is not fully agreed on among marketers, because the links from social networks do not necessarily have the same importance as the traditional external links today and especially to climb the search engines. Yet, everyone agrees that they are definitely important to your overall visibility, and it’s a safe bet that their influence in SEO will progress in the future.
We will, therefore, understand the practicality of a company on the web to build a link building strategy to adequately multiply its external links, so valuable from an SEO point of view. Not only do they have an impact on your visibility, but they also give more traffic, more conversions and of course, more sales.
Link building: a short or long-term strategy?
A link building strategy is therefore at the heart of any SEO strategy. Indeed, the external links give precise information to the search engines, which allows your website to increase in the search results. Nevertheless, quantity does not always mean quality! And it is better to consider a link building strategy over time if you want to get the best results. And there are two main reasons for this:
The first is that a link of authority will always be worth more than 10 links from lower authority sites. It is, therefore, better to focus on these key sites because quality links will have a direct impact on your results, allowing your link building strategy to have better ROI.
The second reason is that it is best to avoid being spotted by Google as a “spammer” site, which could happen if your website does not comply with Google’s quality guidelines. Building links automatically (or paying for them for example) can bring many problems, from the warning email to real penalties that can be detrimental to your site.
It should also be noted that some criteria can very well be two-way in the efficiency of your link building, everything depends on how these are exploited. For example, it is better not to overuse keywords in your anchor texts, because in excess they can make Google’s robots think that your site has tendencies to spam on directories or blogs. In the same way, guest blog posts do not necessarily have the same influence on SEO as a few years ago. They would even tend to penalise your site if ever the site on which you publish isn’t niche relevant or if the site in question is part of a link farm.
Understand that Google is developing more and more ways to spot these types of fraudulent tactics and that it is better to follow the guidelines set rather than having to repair the damage after a penalty.
The basics of a good link building strategy
Offer quality content
You should understand: the basis of a link building strategy is related to your content. The more it is attractive to users and other sites on the web, the more likely it is to get quality external links. This is why in this context, a blog updated with regular and interesting content is absolutely essential.
The odds will be in your favour for your link building strategy if you create articles that will become real references on your subject of expertise. And just as you will develop your SEO strategy, your link building strategy can also be implemented naturally. Working on titles, proposing list items or offering a new approach to a current topic, all this will allow you to develop your external links naturally.
But you can also increase your external links through your content in a variety of ways. For example, by creating practical and comprehensive guides on your topics of expertise, which can become a reference that blogs will quote and link to you with pleasure. You can also publish unpublished study results in your field to be quoted as a reference.
Solicit the right partners
In the same way, do not hesitate to think about the quality of the blogs and the sites that you will explore in your search for external links. As we have seen, not all links are equal and it is better to focus on authoritative sites for your keywords and your industry. To judge the authority of a site, you can use the MozRank which allows you to discover the popularity of a site on the web or the Domain Authority of Moz which informs you of the potential of a site to be regarded highly by the search engines.
In addition, do not hesitate to customise your requests for external links as much as possible: the more impactful your speech will be, the more webmasters will have an interest in publishing your link. A good practice is, for example, to integrate a specific article at your request, especially if it supplements the information of one of the articles published on the blog.
You can also find ideas for partner sites by researching your keywords, or by studying the external links of your competitors (those who will be placed above you in the search results, of course). Do not hesitate to contact popular sites or press sites; These are difficult targets to convince, but they can be particularly rewarding for your SEO!
Broadcast exclusive visuals
Beyond text-only content, visuals can also be important in your link building strategy. Exclusive images or infographics, for example, can enable you to generate an impressive number of external links in record time. Visuals are very powerful and can complement your SEO strategy by making you appear on different platforms like Pinterest or simply Google Images.
Use social networks
Although social networks can be the source of some external links for your site, they are also a great opportunity to increase visibility and that of your content on the web. Do not hesitate to strengthen your presence on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn so that blogs or important players in your niche can more easily locate your site.
Think long-term efforts
In general, it is better to consider link building as a strategy to be pursued in the long term by striving to stay away from “shortcuts” that promise short-term results. It will indeed be better to always favour quality content, as part of a global web marketing strategy, rather than spend unnecessary sums to buy external links that would be purely artificial. In the same way, it will be preferable, to lay the foundations of the strategy, to find relevant and specialised directories rather than to subscribe to general interest-free directories
Not to mention the fact that search engines develop new technologies every day to be able to more effectively detect the “bad” external links, in order to always offer real relevance to Internet users, etc.
A final word on link building
There are many ways to develop external links right now, and they all can somehow, have a positive influence on your SEO. It is therefore up to you to sort through these tactics to ensure the feasibility for your business, but also the respect of your values and those advocated by Google in the guidelines that the search engine requires.
Link building can be of fundamental importance to the visibility and the traffic of your website, but it is nonetheless an effort to be done over time and in a disciplined way to integrate into a real strategy of growth for your company.