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A guide to

LINK BUILDING

Link Building Explained

As the name implies, link building is the process of building links or paths between your web pages and other, relevant web pages frequented by your audience. Link Building is achieved by embedding links (hyperlinks) to your website within content featured on other websites. This can be done in a number of ways, spanning a variety of content types, all of which you can explore with LinkMill. This process, when done successfully allows visitors to navigate from a trusted, root source (third party website/page), to your web page with ease. Tied into the various SEO practices and techniques utilised in web-based marketing, Link Building is a process that must be incorporated fully to work efficiently.

What is a Link?

A link, in simple terms is an address which enables users to navigate to a specific web page or destination. If you have ever used the internet, you will have encountered links, both those manually searched and those used in navigation while browsing.

Why Are Links Important for SEO?

Links are crucial to effective SEO as they form the building blocks of your online presence within SERP (search engine results page) rankings. Links allow visitors to easily navigate between web pages, discovering new content which is supported by sources they trust. Links in short, provide validity to your brand and search engines, particularly Google will rank you higher based on your perceived level of validity and authority.

Reading a Link

So, what can you tell from a link? More importantly, what information are search engines getting from your links?

The latter is extremely important to consider, as it allows search engines to read a link and interpret it’s use of key words relating to the topic or sector and rank this against current algorithms.

Links have their roots in coding and are displayed in a HTML format. This format is the standard ‘language’ which we use when creating any content for use on the web.  There are certain rules which HTML follows, one of which is breaking down content so that web pages now how to display the various elements to users. Links follow this same rule, but making sense of them can be difficult if you don’t have a basic understanding of HTML and how this works. Don’t worry if you don’t, we do!

Let’s take a closer look:

<a href=”http://www.linkmill.com”> LinkMill SEO Services </a>

This is a link, as displayed on the back end of a website. In other words, the side of the website that editors use to edit and upload content. Users will see this link very differently. However, understanding the structure of a link will make sure that your links display to your audience, exactly as you want them too. Understanding how your links will display will also benefit the SEO of said link, resulting in higher recognition and increased opportunity for exposure.

HTML typically uses brackets (<>)  to introduce the start of an action, and terminate that action in turn.

<a  is the anchor tag, ‘opening’ the action and alerting search engines that there is a link within this portion of content. href=”http://www.linkmill.com”> Is used to introduce the search engine to the URL destination. The term href is an abbreviation of hyperlink (link) referral, signaling that the URL which follows is the end destination. This is the destination at which users will arrive once they have clicked the link. LinkMill SEO Services is how your visitors will see the link displayed within the content. The use of HTML typically prompts the website to format this differently to the body of text, highlighting an accessible link to visitors. </a> uses HTML to close the associated action opened with 4. Opening and closing the link tag are important in not only to ensuring that the link works, but to allowing search engines to recognize areas for action and the content included in this action, allowing Google to rank this effectively when visitors are using Google search engines.

Google Rankings Explained

We have mentioned Google’s ranking system and how its AI algorithm uses this to analyse and dissect web links, web pages and, the content within them, but what exactly does this mean? The algorithm itself is very much under lock and key. However, much of the SEO practices used in marketing are designed to positively influence how the algorithm perceives a brands digital presence.

Google uses a number of processes which see it sort through all related web pages and add these to their catalogue, which as you can imagine is vast. This is the point at which google will rank pages based on the criteria within their algorithm. We know that the use of key words associated with relevant topics or sectors is a key component within this algorithm, as well as how and where we use these. Using key words, essentially allows google to recognize and relay the use of that key word back to users searching for similar or exact terms to those used. However, putting the capital I in AI, Google is devilishly clever, automatically distinguishing between key word usage in context, as opposed to key word cramming. If used, the latter is likely to negatively impact your Google ranking, doing lasting damage to your reputation within the ranking system.

Where do Links come in? That’s simple. As soon as you are actively competing in a digital marketplace you should be considering links and how to use these to refer tangible traffic to your website and pages. Not only this but you should be considering how to use these to bolster your authority. Links when used in this way, serve as a sort of recommendation. Achieving a high quality link supported by a trusted source is in essence, vouching for your brand as a similarly reliable source. The more of these you have the higher your will perform on Google ranking and SERP positioning.

Google ranking works, in part, using these links. Calculating the quality of a source (website/page) based on its key word ranking and the rate and quality of its external links. So, the key take away is to understand that a number of factors will influence your Google ranking but achieving high quality links, consistently is sure to boost your overall SEO and traffic rates.

 

Measuring Success

What makes a high-quality link? How do we measure the value of potential links and sources? How do we measure the success of our link building?

Much like with other SEO practices and techniques, this is all down to metrics; tools that allow us to measure and track campaigns and actions to assess the results of these efforts. These metrics give us insights into various elements of a brand’s digital presence, from an overview of the entire domain to specified details relating to campaigns and links. In order to gain an effective and accurate insight into the success of link building, we can monitor and analyse several elements, assessing how these work in sync.

Link Volume

Measuring link volume or the number of links a webpage/website has built is incredibly useful when understanding how a domain/website ranks. This metric can be utilised as a strong comparative tool, allowing to compare authority between competitors, as well as comparing results and growth between campaigns. Measuring frequency of links, ties in with assessing link quality. This allows marketing teams to establish the most rewarding channels to focus their efforts, identifying gaps, trends, and opportunities for development.

Link Quality

When successfully building links as part of SEO practices, frequency is simply not enough to produce effective results. Without relevance, quality and context, no matter how frequently a link is shared it runs the risk of by passing the target audience for that niche. That being said, reputable sources can sometimes bridge this gap, due to the authority they possess as a source.

There are two elements to consider when assessing the worth of a source, and investing time in pursuing this; targeted convertible traffic and general exposure. The first, generates genuine traffic from within identified pockets of the target audience.  The latter, benefits general brand awareness while simultaneously aiding the conversion of potential customers, outside of this primary audience.

When assessing the quality of a link, never underestimate the power of niche. It’s not uncommon for a smaller group of avid enthusiasts to be much more valuable than a wider, more generic audience. For this reason, investment in both areas is important to create not only awareness and authority but to generate traffic and tangible customers.

Link Origin

While achieving consistent, high quality links from reputable and authoritative sources is undoubtedly beneficial, done incorrectly this will make little impact to the overall ranking of a website.

Link Origin refers to the source of the link, rather than the frequency of the links shared by said source. While it is a qualitative metric, similar to link volume it is calculated differently and as such highlights different data. This reveals a more accurate ranking of a website’s general popularity and the authority this is developing.

Context and Placement

Google, as we’ve mentioned is devilishly clever, getting more intelligent still with its every growing AI capability. One of the ways that Google measures the value and legitimacy of a link is through its placement and positioning within a webpage. The more accessible and pronounced a link is, the more Google will value it. This boils down to visibility, if a source is proudly sharing your link within the body of content on a specific web page it validates it much more than if it were hidden on a less visible part of the page. Google can also use this as a tool to determine organic links from low quality paid links that appear in the same position throughout multiple pages.

Benefits of Link Building

Strong Networks

It is no secret that in order to achieve successful link building, brands rely heavily on key voices of authority within their industry. Reaching out to these voices/sources means a brand essentially marketing their content and brand as a whole, to a voice that can amplify theirs. In doing so, as well as hopefully achieving high quality links and endorsement, brands are simultaneously building networks with these figures.  A prolonged and sustained relationship with key figures will translate from initial link building into being a trusted and respected source to them personally. This will not only benefit the legitimacy of a brand within their audience and potential customers, but will likely result in further organic shares from the voices themselves. In short, successful outreach to these voices is a double whammy for brand awareness, recognition and authority!

Brand Recognition

The more voices sharing positive narratives about a brand, the more it will boost that brand’s presence. Even more noteworthy so, when these are trusted authoritative voices within the relevant industry. Link Building serves as a brilliant tool to ensure that a brand’s knowledge and expertise is reaching their audience. Building a recognition for the brand amongst the most authoritative and knowledgeable sources relating to this content/niche.  This not only allows potential customers to realise the relevance within other’s content but recognize and note the brands organic content within their own website and digital channels.

Targeted, Convertible, Traffic

 

Again, highlighting the importance of quality and relevance, this is a benefit of successful and considered Link Building. Link Building within the correct spheres, audiences and niches. High quality links will get a brand’s content seen by many, while relevant links will get the same content seen by key members of their audience. Combine the two? That’s a recipe for a rise in targeted, convertible traffic from potential customers.