You may be thinking that valuable content is the only thing a website needs to be successful. Unfortunately, you’re not entirely correct.
Quality content is important, and you do need it. But how is anyone going to find your work if it’s just sitting on an island in the internet? A connection is what is linking one site to the next, and you need a bunch of them to run a high-traffic website.
Connections to other sites work like bridges that connect traffic. A website is an isolated spot in the net, and you need bridges and ferries so people can get access to your beautiful island. The connections we’re referring to are called links.
Link building is the process of cultivating a large pool of connections to and from your website. Not all links are the same, though, and it’s actually kind of a tricky process.
What is Linking and Why is it Important?
Ultimately, the god of the internet is the search engine. Search engines determine who ends up where, who’s important and who’s not, who lives and who dies. Well, it’s actually more the algorithm that the search engine uses.
The algorithm that the search engine uses determines the position of a site by examining it’s relevance to the search. Of course, if you search “football,” the search engine will find millions of results.
In this sea of football sites, which links are deemed most relevant? The determining factor of this relevance is the quality and quantity of links that the site possesses. Links are the currency of internet popularity.
So, the question is how to gather the right links. It seems pretty simple, but there are a lot of others doing the same thing. Luckily for you, you’re getting the inside scoop on link building.
Understanding the nature of search engine optimization (SEO) is the first step on your way to a site with high traffic.
How Links Work
Different links have different value in the eyes of the search engine. Your position in a search varies depending on who you are linked to and what kind of links you have.
Link building is partially about the type of links you have, but is also significantly affected by which sites you are linked to. When thinking of where to start linking, you should consider two important factors.
The first is the content of the site you are linked to. Sites in your niche are going to hold more weight than sites outside of your content area. For example, if your website sells toiletries, you’re better off linking with a shower website than a glamour magazine.
Websites outside of your niche are still valuable, just not quite as relevant as those that are closely tied to your content. If the website is extremely popular but outside of your niche, it may be more valuable than a very unpopular inside your niche.
This leads us to the second aspect to consider, which is the popularity of the site. Websites with high traffic hold more weight with search engines because they are seen as more significant.
Linking with The New York Times is going to hold a lot of weight. Linking to an unknown blog is going to do little, if anything for your blog.
The next thing to consider is the type of link that you’re building.
Different Links and Their Value
Like we mentioned before, not all links hold the same value. Different links hold different weight, and some even do harm to the SEO optimization of your site.
Backlinks are inbound links that direct people to your site. By this definition, really any link to your site is considered a backlink. Backlinks come in a variety of ways, so it’s important to know which links to pursue.
You’re going to accumulate a lot of links when your site is present on social media. You’re link building every time you make a comment, like something, or share information on social media. These links are a dime-a-dozen and hold very little weight.
Attempting to post and share constantly on social media to build links may actually be harmful to your site. Search engines are very sensitive to sites that may be spam. Spam is the enemy of the internet.
When a site spreads itself around beyond the normal range it’s likely to get flagged as spam. So building links through social media can be useful, but be careful not to overdo it because you might lose a lot of credibility.
Inbound links to your site from other sites are called guest links. These are possibly the most valuable, and should be carefully considered. Guest links not only direct traffic to your site, but build up significant credibility for search engines.
These links are harder to come by at first, and we’ll discuss ways to build them in the next section. The most important thing to consider with guest links is who you’re associating with.
More popular sites are more valuable, niche sites are more relevant, and spam sites are a definite no-no.
Link Building Strategy
Building links can be very difficult at first, and you may not know where to begin if you don’t have any experience with it. First and foremost, you should set a list of goals.
Which sites would you like to be associated with? What is your goal for traffic within the first few months? Set some expectations for yourself and work to satisfy them.
Next, consider hiring an ad network. Ad networks spread your site around and don’t register as spam. This will significantly boost your traffic to start.
Also reach out to sites in your niche. Send an email or Facebook message and ask if they would consider linking to your site. This may require you to write a guest post for them, or do something similar.
Develop subscribers in an email list and send them weekly content. If you can get followers for your site, continue to provide quality content for them and treat them well.
Link building may seem like a stretch for you if you don’t have any experience doing it. That’s not true! Every person who ever had a website had to start somewhere.
You might still be asking, “What is linking?” If you’re looking for more information on how to begin developing your website through linking, contact us and ask whatever questions you may have.