What is a Hyperlink?
Before we jump into link building, I believe that it is important for you to understand what a hyperlink is and what they mean to search engines. A hyperlink, or “link,” is used to connect one website to another for easy navigation between web pages. A link can be words or an image that will redirect you to a new web page or a specific section of a page that is relevant to whatever text or image it is embedded in. Hyperlinks are commonly used by search engines to discover new web pages or help rank websites.
The anchor tag indicates to a search engine that a link to another page is going to follow.
The link referral location starts off with “href” which stands for hyperlink referral. The URL that follows is the page location that the hyperlink will redirect you to.
The anchor text is what the hyperlink will show up on the page. Oftentimes this text will have some sort of visual indication that it is a clickable link.
The closure of link tag tells the search engine that this is the end of the link tag.
Now that you have a good understanding of what a hyperlink is, let’s move onto link building.
What is Link Building?
Link building is the process of increasing the number and quality of inbound links to a webpage. Search engines consider backlinks as recommendations to your site, and the more people to recommend your site through external links, the more trustworthy they think your site is. For that reason, search engines like Google base how well your site ranks off of the number of links to your website.
Kenny Trinh, the CEO of Netbooknews, has a ton of experience with link building and believes it is imperative to the success of your website. “Essentially, backlinks act as a vote of trust. The more high-quality backlinks your website has, the more likely it will earn higher rankings.”
Link building is one of the most important factors when it comes to the success and growth of your website. Unfortunately, link building is not as straight-forward as “the more links, the higher you rank” and that is why SEO specialists say that link building is the hardest skill to master. Search engines, like Google, have access to such advanced technology that they are able to take various factors into consideration when ranking sites. Some of these additional factors include the quality of the website it is posted on and the relevance between the two sites. Simply put, your link needs to seem like it belongs there. You don’t want to slap your link on any old website or in the middle of an irrelevant article.
We spoke with Swati Chalumuri the founder of Hear Me Folks on what all she takes into consideration when building links. She told us that “you need to keep some things in mind: the link should come from a valuable website, a website in your niche, and must be included in an article covering a topic similar to your website’s.” These are her key steps to having his website rank well in 2020.
Not only do backlinks factor into how well you rank on a search engine, but they are also used to discover new web pages. Google and other search engines “crawl” websites in order to discover different web pages so having your backlinks out there can help them come across your site more often. Despite Google’s complex and ever-changing algorithm, one thing that never changed is the importance of backlinks. That is why link building remains the key to success in SEO. Boosting your website’s credibility through the number of links to your site can be the difference between having your site rank on the first page of a search engine or getting lost in the mix.
Why is Link Building Important?
Increases Your Rank
Link building is important to the success of a website because, as we mentioned previously, it is the main ranking factor on every search engine. Most queries on the internet start out with a search engine and most people conducting these queries click on one of the first 3 search results. Since search engines place so much importance on links it is physically impossible to rank well with search engines without acquiring back links in some way, shape, or form. With that being said if you have a quality website with great information people may link to your website naturally without you having to put much effort into link building. However, that only works if people already know about your website. Most websites need to put their efforts into link building before they can get to that point.
Drives Website Traffic
Link building can also help to increase traffic to your website. Nandini Sharma from ProofHub agrees, telling us that “Acquiring quality backlinks is not only important to earn higher search ranking but also help businesses to drive more traffic and build a better readership base that will convert into a paying customer.” Building links can increase your organic traffic by improving your ranking on search engines, thus resulting in more clicks to your site (especially if you make it to the first page). The more links you get on high-quality sites with a high number of organic traffic, the more results you will see in traffic to your own website. Not only do you want these links to be placed on sites and pages that are relevant to your website so you aren’t penalized, but also to increase referral traffic. You want the content to be relevant to what you have to offer because we know the reader is interested in the article you are linked in (they clicked on it, didn’t they). If your link is relevant to the content, they are more likely to follow the link and explore your site as well.
Increases Brand Exposure
Other than helping your site to rank higher and ultimately increase your traffic, link building can also be beneficial for brand awareness. The ultimate long term goal for any website or company is to become a household name. Emily Garner, a content specialist for Blue Claw, agrees, stating that “Running link building campaigns works to increase brand awareness and make it more likely that you’ll become the go-to site for many customers looking for reliability and convenience.” The whole goal behind link building is to find external sources that will link back to you, or in LSEO’s terms “link back to our client’s site.” Eventually if you get enough quality sites to link back to your domain it can not only increase your non-branded organic traffic, but also your branded traffic due to the awareness and eyes getting put on your domain. The search volume on your brand can increase ten-fold.
What is the future of link building?
Google and search engines alike have been using links to rank websites since their formation, and the importance of links in ranking is not changing anytime soon. Many believed with the introduction of Penguin (a Google update first introduced in 2012) links would be obsolete. However Penguin just made it more important to get higher-quality links. Not all links are created equal anymore. So, moving forward the quality and relevancy of your links will only become more important. Search engines are relying on links to grade your EAT (expertise, authority, trust) and will continue to use this as the core of their algorithm in the years to come.
The future of link building stands in the creative ways you go about generating links. Yes, you can continue writing guest posts and publishing 3rd party content, but you need to get your creative juices flowing. Since Google and its competitors are paying attention to the quality of links, SEO experts are looking for more trustworthy websites to obtain links such as news sites, magazine websites, and big niche players. Now you may be asking, “How do I get links on such large scale sites?” That’s where creativity comes in. Link builders are taking advantage of sites like HARO to submit quotes to major publications. HARO is a platform in which journalists can submit queries to get a plethora of quotes and inputs from experienced professionals. It’s not as simple as signing up and getting to use a tool like HARO. You need to read their specific guidelines and master the art of communication since there will be a lot of back and forth.
Oksana Chyketa shared with us how the use of HARO was a game changer in her role as a marketer at Albacross. “HARO is one of the best ways to generate high-quality backlinks from authority news sites.”
HARO is not the only way to start building higher quality links, but you get the point, BE CREATIVE! All in all, the future of link building is bright, despite the fact that we can never fully predict what search engines will do next or how they will change. Fortunately for SEO, the only constant so far has been the importance of links. As long as you are staying on top of the trends, getting creative in the ways you acquire links, and obtaining relevant links, you are on the right track.