Link building is one aspect of search engine optimization that every blog owner needs to be familiar with. Actually, if you do it right, you’ll be a lot more than just ‘familiar with it. You’ll dream about it every night! Here are the basics of link building to improve your site’s SEO.
Benefits of Using Link Building to Improve Your SEO
Indexing: Anchor Links coming in from other blogs or websites make it easier for the search engines bots to find and crawl your content, so it can be included in their index.
Ranking: The search engines also perceive those incoming links as a vote of confidence and trust from the originating site. You link to other content because you like it or you trust it enough to share it with your readers. If the originating site has higher rankings than your site, then the backlink helps boost your rankings, too.
Traffic: Since you’re linking from one site to another, your links will be visible on the Web and people can follow them back to your site.
Some Basic Link Building Terminology
Before we get into how you can build links, we should discuss a little about what they are and what they mean for your site and the search engines.
Anchor text: Anchor text is the part of the link that the readers sees on the page. For example, if you click here you’ll visit my website. However, using a generic term like ‘click here’ for your really defeats your purpose. The search engine bots follow that link from one end of the other and they use the information they find to help identify your website. For that reason, you should use keywords as the text for your links.
Dofollow links: A dofollow link carries more weight with the search engines because it means the site where the link originates is recommending your site. That site is actually telling the search engines to follow that link and your link is even more valuable when you use keywords for your anchor text.
Nofollow links: Nofollow links are also crawled by the search engines but they’re given less credit because the originating site isn’t recommending your link. While it might seem like a waste of time to go after nofollow links since they don’t carry as much weight, it’s important to maintain a balance in your link building so you don’t look suspicious to the search engines.
Backlinks: Generally, when someone is talking about link building, they’re talking about backlinks. Incoming links, inbound links, links that lead back to your blog – they’re all the same thing. They’re just other terms for backlinks.
The reason they’re so important is because the search engines use them to determine the popularity and credibility of your site. If you have a lot of different links coming in from a lot of reputable sites, then they figure you must be doing something right, otherwise all of those people wouldn’t be linking to you. However, having a lot of backlinks isn’t necessarily a good thing. You want anchor text backlinks that come from quality sites and those sites should be at least somewhat relevant to yours.
How To Get Backlinks
Comment on relevant blogs: Most blogs will allow you to link to your website when you leave a comment. Be sure to use anchor text in your link and be sure to leave a comment that adds something to the conversation. Blog owners know exactly what you’re doing and they’ll delete your comment if it’s not relevant.
Article marketing: Article marketing is one of the best ways to build long-lasting high quality backlinks because those links will be coming from a reputable site with a high page rank. Be careful to follow the directory’s rules for link placement and use keywords for anchor text.
Web 2.0 properties: Sites like Squidoo, HubPages, and Wizzley are even better than article directories. They have a high page rank and you get more control over the number of links you can use and they’re placement. As an added benefit, you can easily update these sites if your links change for some reason.
Avoid automatic link submissions, paid link exchanges and links from questionable sites. Using software to automatically generate backlinks, whether through bookmarking, commenting, article submissions, etc., is pretty much a waste of time. A lot of your links will end up on poor quality sites so they won’t be worth anything anyway, and they may even disappear after a few days or hours.
Paid link exchanges are also a no-no because they’re against Google TOS. And before you pay someone to build you a lot of links fast, find out where those links will be coming from. If they’re coming from porn sites or gambling sites or some other questionable site, you could end up in trouble with the search engines.