One important, maybe the most important, factor in search engine optimization is link building. Link building is the process of, well, building links to your website. In other words, it is getting other websites to post links to your website. Sounds simple, but it can actually be very difficult.
Why Is Link Building Important?
Link building is a valuable part of SEO because it shows search engines the credibility of your website. Think of an inbound link as a sort of endorsement for your page. If another website thinks your information is good enough to link to, you must offer something valuable. Endorsements from small blogs are good (as long as they aren’t spam), but endorsements from large, authoritative websites are even better.
According to Moz,
“Earning links from highly-trusted domains can result in a significant boost to this scoring metric. Universities, government websites and non-profit organizations represent examples of high-trust domains.”
Getting Started with Link Building
Getting sites to link to you is not alway as simple as asking (but sometimes it is!). Before you go out and try to market your website and gain links, you must first have valuable content
to share. Website are much more likely to link to you if you provide unique value. But that’s not enough. You can have the best content in the world but it is useless unless people actually see it. That’s where making connections comes in to play.
One good way to build a connection is to link to them, much like we linked to Moz above. If a website is paying attention to their inbound links (like they should), they will see that showed them some link love and they might do the same, these are called reciprocal links. While these are good, they should be used in moderation. If Google sees that you only have reciprocal links, they may think something is fishy. Be mindful of your links, they should only link to something if that page is valuable, not just because you agreed to link to each other.
Another way to get your content noticed is to reach out to people you think might be interested (Duh!). This includes emailing bloggers when you have relevant content. Be smart about this though, no one likes spam. Outreach also includes getting your website listed on appropriate directories. You must also exercise caution here because links from spammy sites can actually result in a penalty in your search rankings. But links from reputable directories, like a .gov for instance, are extremely valuable.
This is an extremely broad view of link building, but it should be enough to give you an idea on how to get started. We would suggest that you construct a link building strategy before jumping into it. But always keep in mind who you are linking to and who is linking back to you. It is also a great idea to incorporate PR to boost SEO and link building. The more authoritative the better, but that doesn’t mean local blogs are good places to start! Happy building!