In the world of sports, players, coaches, and managers work endlessly to secure wins and improve their league rankings ahead of playoffs. In the world of search engine optimization (SEO), link building is no different. Link builders, digital marketers, and business owners work day-on-end to secure more links (wins) to improve their rankings and authority scores. The only difference is that link builders don’t get a shiny trophy at the end of the season… 🏆😥
If you’re new to the world of SEO and are having a bit of trouble understanding link building, allow us to explain!
This article will cover everything you need to know about link building, how it can help improve your page 1 rankings, and how link building can help your score points with Google.
Understanding link building
Link building, authority building, or off-page SEO are all words to describe the practice of “link building.” Link building is essentially any activities or efforts you take to increase the number of hyperlinks, or simply “links,” that are pointing to your website. There are three components of a link that are most important to link building and SEOs:
The link itself: Duh, the link itself is important! Ultimately, the destination of the link (where it points to) is most important to SEOs and link builders. We want to make sure that all links we build manually are pointing to strategic pages.
The clickable “anchor” element: The anchor element falls into one of the following classifications: anchor text, image, or icon. The links that you should generally go after are the ones with text or important images like an infographic or product shot.
The relationship attribute (written as “rel” in HTML): The “rel” attribute helps Google determine the relationship between the site doing the link and the site being linked to. Within “rel” attributes, there is a value called “nofollow” that essentially tells Google that the site doing the linking doesn’t necessarily “vouch” for the site being linked to. They are simply linking for informational purposes.
In 2019, Google introduced the “ugc” and “sponsored” attributes. These attributes were created to more precisely identify links on a page. The “ugc” attribute, short for user-generated content, helps Google identify links that are generated by users, like those found in comments or forums. The “sponsored” attribute identifies links that are paid for, such as in a paid product review or within affiliate links.
Great so that’s a pretty thorough breakdown of a silly little hyperlink, but why is it important?! Links are said to be important because they are essentially ways for Google’s algorithm to determine how trustworthy or authoritative a specific site is. Let’s think back to the sports comparison, the more points or games you win during the season, the better your team is deemed to be. It’s basically the same thing in SEO: the more links you have, the more authoritative your site is and the more rankings you receive. Another way to think about links is as votes of popularity!
We often reference this study completed by Backlinko. In it, they analyzed nearly 12 million Google search results and found that the pages ranking number one on Google had an average of 3.8X more backlinks than those ranking second through tenth.
Strategies for effective link building
Alright, so we now know that link building is important if you want to score points with Google and rank in search. So, how do you acquire them? There are various ways to build links, so we’ll dive into those here:
Produce great content, consistently
One of the best ways to generate backlinks is to simply produce great content on a consistent basis. There are countless examples of clients who’ve worked with us to produce consistent content that ranks. By publishing consistently, they’ve been able to see continued growth in their referring domains and backlinks as writers and searchers come across that content online.
Conduct cold email outreach
Another way to increase your backlink growth is by conducting cold outreach. Go out there and send your articles and content to writers, editors, and marketers who may be interested in linking to your content or sharing it on social media.
Amplify your content on social media and other channels
Next, amplify your content on each of your social media channels. The idea here is to get as many eyeballs on your content as possible that could potentially encourage people to write about it or search for your brand online in the future. This will help boost your backlinks and authority within search.
Broken link building
Broken link building is another form of cold outreach that can help boost your backlinks and score points with Google. We’ve recently written about this topic, but, in a nutshell, it’s the practice of looking at broken pages on your competition’s website that have links pointing to it. These broken links can create a treasure trove of opportunities for you to steal links from your competitors.
Build relationships with influencers or bloggers in your space
Finally, simply make friends with those who link most frequently, bloggers and influencers. By building relationships with influencers and bloggers, you uniquely position your blog to be top of mind for them as they write and create content. Additionally, it gives you a direct line of communication to share topics and articles you’ve worked on, increasing your chances of getting links to score points with Google.Score points with Google isn’t going to be the easiest task. You can think of them as a world-class athlete that has a lot of experience judging against websites and know exactly what points to give you. However, if there is one tip that can help you score with Google, it’s producing consistently and getting as many eyeballs on your content as possible.
Oh yeah, and also, it helps to have a digital marketing agency on your side as well, giving you the tips and tricks to succeed in this game called search engine optimization.