In SEO language, link building is an essential tool in getting organic traffic to your website. This, when combined with solid SEO strategies, valuable content, perfect on-page SEO tactics, good user experience, proves helpful in getting organic traffic towards your website.
These days it has become essential to maintain quality, relevance, and authenticity in link building. Low-quality spam link-building tactics could prove helpful to some extent. They will not work for an organization that wants to attain organic search success in the long term.
Link building nowadays is at par with great marketing and organizations which know that are able to attain success. Yet this does not mean that link building or all the tactics do not involve a technical side. This guide will help you in figuring out how to move about in the correct direction. Read on to understand each aspect, along with finding examples to help you out.
What Is Link Building?
Link building is the process in which you get links from the websites on your own. A hyperlink is how a user can move from one page on the internet to another. The search engines use these links to crawl on the web. They can crawl the links between two pages on the website, or they can crawl the links between two different websites.
Not all these links, however, are built for SEO. Some of them are created for other reasons, like journalists covering news story and linking it to another source. Or, it could be a blogger who loved their coffee machine and link to the retailer they bought it from on their website.
Getting links that you did not ask for is a bonus in SEO. It is something that you should be looking and trying to get over the long term. You can do this by making your website rather link-worthy. This you can do by launching a great product or creating great content that you have referenced to other websites.
Aside from this approach, you could also unveil multiple link-building techniques that let you build your authority and increase the chances you have to rank well.
Components Of Hyperlink
To understand the importance of link building, you should understand how a link is created, how a search engine sees these links, and what it interprets from these links.
Start of link tag: Also known as an anchor tag, this begins your link tag. It tells the browsers and search engines that this is followed by a link to something else.
Link referral location: The “href” means “hyperlink referral,” and the text inside it shows the URL to which your link is pointing. This doesn’t need to be a webpage. It could be the address of a file or image to be downloaded. At times, you may see something other than the URL starting with the # sign. The links will take you to a specific section of the URL.
Visible/anchor text of link: This is that text that users will see on that page. To open the link, they will have to click this one. The text is formatted such that it stands out in comparison to the other text that surrounds it. It is often blue in color or underlined, which shows that the link is clickable.
Closure of link tag: This shows the end of the link tag to the search engine.
Importance Of Links In Search Ranking
There are two ways in which a search engine uses the links:
- To find out new web pages that they can later use in the search results.
- To find out how well a page will rank in the results.
Once the search engines have crawled the pages on the web, they could extract its content and add it to the indexes. By doing that they could decide if the page is good quality enough to get a high ranking for those keywords. When they start to determine this, the search engine will not just have a look at the content of the pages. They will also see the number of links that are pointing to the page from the external websites and the quality of these websites. So, the higher quality websites that link with you give you more chances of ranking well in the search results.
Using links for ranking is what made Google dominate the search engine market two decades back. Larry Page of Google invented PageRank, which Google used to find out the page quality based on the number of links that are pointing towards it. The metric they used for the overall ranking algorithm and was a strong sign to show the page quality. It meant that by adding this into the algorithm, Google could include more helpful and related search results than its competitors could do.
It was effective because they based it upon the idea that the link could be seen as a sign of confidence for a page. This means it would not get any links if it did not deserve them. When someone links to any other website, they are saying that the website is useful. Otherwise, they would not link to it at all.
But SEO people soon learn how to manipulate the PageRank and the search results as per the keywords. At that time, Google was more developed than the other search engines. Yet, it was still open to this manipulation as it could not distinguish between a high or low-quality link.
Google tried to find out websites that were modifying the search results by creating low-quality links. It then started issuing regular updates that were aimed to filter out those websites that did not deserve a high ranking and had poor links.
This also led Google to figure out multiple link-building techniques that were successful earlier. For example, submitting your website to the web directories and getting a link in exchange for that. This technique was recommended by Google at some point. Then the SEO guys started abusing this technique, so Google stopped paying attention to the same.
Google started penalizing websites that attempted to overuse techniques like these. This is often called over-optimization. This started in 2012 with its first update that was known as Penguin. This update targeted certain specific link-building techniques, which changed the process of link building. After this, low-quality techniques not only became a waste of time but they would destroy the chances of the website to rank at a high position. That is why experts recommend that you understand Google web admins’ Guidelines and craft strategies that will not be against them.
We are yet to understand the exact algorithm that Google uses to find its search results. Despite this, it is widely believed that links are crucial in the working of this algorithm.
It is believed that if all factors are equal, the volume and quality of the links that lead to a page can influence the rankings difference.
It is a given that if you can get high-quality links to the website, it helps you rank better and gather traffic. At present, the focus on quality is increasing, and Google is becoming quite adept at removing low-quality links. This affects the SEO guys as they have to ensure that their link-building tactics focus on quality.
7 Best Link Building Tools
1. SEMrush Backlink Gap Tool
Running a backlink Gap analysis is the first step in the link-building process. This is because you are using competitors’ insights to find out the opportunities of sites that are easily linking to others, just like you are doing.
You can use the SEMrush Backlink Gap Tool and compare the link profile with that of your competitors and find out those link-building opportunities that you had not discovered.
Enter the domain and mention up to four of your competitors and click on ‘find prospects,’ and you can find opportunities that are based on the domains that link to some other websites but not to yours.
2. Scrape Box
Scrape box is a powerful tool that you can use with some fixed Google Search operators. Previously, this tool was used by the black hat SEO’s and can help you also to get the results from SERPs rather quickly.
Instead of manually compiling a list of prospect URL’s you could use the Scrape box and remove the results and export it for you. You save time as you do not have to go through the results. You can now use this free time to contact prospects and ask them to link to the content on your websites.
3. Google Alerts
When we talk about link-building tools, you cannot ignore Google Alerts. This platform is compelling, and every link builder should know about it as it helps in:
- It alerts you every time someone mentions your brand online, and it showcases the opportunities that you should reach out to and convert your brand mentions into links.
- It tells you when content that relates to your keywords gets published online. This way, you can find journalists or bloggers that you could associate with and the topics that are viral.
- Informs you when the competitors are mentioned online. You can find in detail who is talking about them and why.
Journalists regularly look for quality businesses that they can mention in their articles. Publications have to back up their statements and comments with related sources.
One place that most journalists go to is HARO. This is a platform that connects them through emails every weekday. You can sign up as a source and get requests from the journalists into the inbox.
Have you found it challenging to find an email address that could lead to link building? It is very disappointing when you know that a prospect would want to share your content, but you cannot find the email address despite trying very hard.
In such a situation, the Hunter tool comes to your rescue. You have to enter a domain name or company name and click on ‘Find email addresses’. It will show you the list of emails for all people associated with the website or publication.
Even if you do not have an account, you can see the pattern for that domain. It is easy to know the email address even if you just know the journalist’s name. You will also see a list of sources along with the results. You can now confirm the exact email address or format.
Great content should be distributed, and savvy link builders understand that the more people who know about a newly launched piece, the greater is the chance of it getting the links naturally. If you know who to trust at this point to distribute your content, you are sure to succeed.
GroupHigh has built the world’s richest and comprehensive list of online blogs. You may use the list to find new prospects, find out influencers and trace other individuals who could accentuate your content.
7. Check My Links
Check My Links is a simple extension that crawls a webpage and finds out the broken links. The tool aimed to help the web developers find out if there are any broken links on those web pages. But it could also help the SEOs to trace opportunities for any broken link-building opportunities.
You could also check for broken links on the web pages and the sites you are looking to add a link on by using this extension and ensuring that the website is not linking to any dead pages.