So what really is link building? You’ll hear people talk about it all the time. Ask for SEO services from a company, and chances are, the first thing that any company will tell you is that they will work on building links to your website. But what exactly is link building? What makes for good link building as opposed to links that don’t help you?
This is exactly what we’re going to go over today. We’re going to show you how to build links that work, as well as teach you what methods provide results and which methods don’t help you out at all. Before we start, I want to caution you that the methods we’re going to teach you work, so don’t get distracted by fancy software that promises the moon but doesn’t deliver results.
So what is a link? That’s a great question, and surprisingly a lot of people get the answer wrong. A link is when one webpage links to another. This can be a webpage linking from the same website, which is called internal linking. Or it can be a link from a different website which is known as a back link.
Link building, is the act of gaining more of these links pointing to your website. Building internal links is part of what we call on page search engine optimization and building links from other webpages is known as off page optimization.
Google uses these links to determine how well your website should rank. The theory behind Google’s algorithm is that the more popular your webpage is amongst authority websites, the better it should rank. Therefore, when you have more links pointing to your website you should gain more traffic from Google. This has been the basis for search engine optimization ever since Google became popular.
Building powerful links
When you’re building links to your website, there are a few things that you want to look for. Over the years, Google has constantly been releasing updates and improving their search algorithm. This means that not just any link will rank your website. Google now understands that some people will spam the Internet with links in hopes of ranking their own websites. Thus Google has released updates to try to keep this from happening.
One thing that Google looks for in your link building is if the links come from similar content. For instance, if you have a website about dog training but all of your links come from websites that talk about blenders, Google will not give you as much credit for those links. But, instead, if you have links from articles about dog training that point back to your website, you would receive a lot more trust in your authority from Google.
Anchor text are the words that you use in your link to point back to your website. Using anchor text, is another way for Google to figure out what your content is about.
Back in the day, you could link back to your website using anchor text that matched the keywords that you wanted to rank for specifically. Unfortunately, you can no longer do this, and if you try to you will trip a Google penalty that may hurt your website.
Instead, you need to have anchor texts that talk about your subject without exactly matching your keyword.
For instance, instead of linking with the keyword “dog training” you could link with the keyword “dog training tips and tricks.” This still lets Google know that your website is about dog training, but it keeps your keyword for being over optimized and keeps you on the good side of Google.
This, by far, is one of the number one reasons why I have seen websites unable to rank for keywords in Google. It is almost always because anchor text has been over optimized.
If you’re able to gain links from other websites that Google considers an authority you will also become an authority in Google’s eyes.
Take for instance Wikipedia; you may have realized that Wikipedia seems to rank for almost every keyword. This is because Wikipedia has a lot of authority in Google’s eyes. So, if you want to gain authority as well, you need to gain links from websites such as Wikipedia, or other powerful, well-known websites in your niche.
This will tell Google that your website is powerful and should be well known as well.
Building up your website authority will make it much easier for you to rank for keywords in the future.
In fact, you will notice that certain webpages of yours will start to rank without any back links, this is when you know that your webpage is quickly becoming an authority to Google.
What types of links can you build?
There are thousands of different links that you can build pointing back to your website. However, certain links are more powerful than others. Here we’re going to go over a few links that will help you quickly rank your website.
Links from authorities
These are the most powerful links that you can gain. A link from a webpage, in your own niche, which is already an authority will tell Google that you should be an authority as well. You can gain these links by e-mailing different web owners and offering them something of value for their readers.
For instance, you could create some kind of content that would help their readers, and then let the website owner know about it. Another method you can use is broken link building, this is a method that we have a guide on, and I would recommend you take a look at, if you’re interested in learning about these types of links.
Site wide links
These are links that are sometimes placed in the footer or header of the website, and will supply you a link from every page on someone else’s website. These links have been penalized by Google and can be quite toxic. We would recommend staying away from these links if at all possible.
Guest post links
Guest post links have gotten a lot of attention because Matt Cutts blogged about them recently. These links are extremely powerful when done correctly, and can be placed under the links from authorities category.
The basic idea is that you write a good piece of content for a powerful website in your niche. You supply them with a piece of content and they agree to link back to your website through that piece of content. This gives them free content and you a good link, and is a great trade that helps both parties.
Google has recently been targeting services that supply guest post links. We recommend that you try to contact authorities in your own niche without using any service to figure out how you can supply them with guest posts. This way, you avoid being penalized when one of these networks are taken down by Google.
Take a look at these videos about what the google team thinks about guest blogging.
What is Google’s view on guest blogging for links?
Does Google take action on spammy guest blogging activities?
How can I guest blog without it appearing as if I paid for links?
What should I be aware of if I’m considering guest blogging?
Blog comment links
These links were over spammed back in the years 2009-2010. Since then, Google has done a lot to keep these links for being too powerful. Most of them are marked as “no follow” these days.
However, despite these penalties, comment links can still be powerful. Building “do follow” links to your website from niche related blogs can still provide amazing results.
We recommend you find authorities in your niches and leave relevant high-quality comments that point links back to your website. You will be surprised at the kind of results that you can see from these types of links.
These links have also been spammed to death. Because of this, Google has also penalized websites that are over optimized with these types of links. These links, however, can still be powerful if used correctly.
By leaving a link back to your website on a niche related forum, you can still build some authority in the eyes of Google. The other plus is that these types of links can build a lot of traffic to your website, which is why we recommend building them as a supply of both traffic and link juice.
Social media includes websites such as Facebook, Google Plus, LinkedIn, and other such websites. They are becoming increasingly popular among web owners because they provide some great links as well as traffic back to your website.
If you are looking to gain a lot of links back to your website, we suggest writing a great piece of content and then spreading it around on social media. Then all you have to do is sit back and wait as your piece of content goes viral, and you start to receive many links and lots of traffic back to your website.
The other plus of social media is that sometimes other websites will pick up your content and post as well. This often means that you can gain some of those authority links that you should be after. Every search engine optimization campaign should have some form of social media promotion.
Deep linking is when you have a link pointing back to your website that is not pointing to your homepage. These links will help you rank individual webpages on your website and gain a lot of authority; we would recommend building these as often as possible. These links can be any of the types of links listed above, and can help your website become more powerful.
Internal linking is something that, unfortunately, many websites don’t focus on. Google heavily relies upon internal linking, in fact, websites with good internal linking rank much better than websites without them. If you need an example of good internal linking on websites, just take a look at Wikipedia or Amazon, as they are chock-full of these examples.
We would recommend sitting down and going through your website to figure out what internal links you should build. Once you begin, you will quickly find that you will be ranking higher in Google and gaining a lot more traffic.
Internal linking in our opinion is just as powerful as extra linking and is much easier to do. If you don’t currently have any internal linking on your website, you’re most likely not getting the results that you should be getting with the effort, they’ve put in so far.
Here are few questions answered by Matt Cuts:
In conclusion, link building is still the heart and soul of search engine optimization. If you currently would like to master the Google algorithm in game results, you should do your best to understand the above types of links.
As Google continues to evolve, it has become apparent that more links are not always better, but instead higher quality links will always result in better results. This is why you should focus on the hard to get authority links as opposed to using software to gain hundreds of links at a time.
By following these tips, you will start to see results, and be able to gain traffic consistently for free for many months at a time. There’s a good reason companies are willing to pay hundreds and thousands of dollars to have this work done for them, and that’s because it works and provides some amazing results.
If you’re looking to increase the power of your website, you need to sit down and create a plan of how you’re going to build these types of links. In a few months’ time, you’ll be glad you did and will be enjoying yourself as you stroll to the bank.
If you have any questions about the basic concept of link building, please leave a comment. For more link building insight please follow me on twitter and Google+