While it may sound a bit complicated, link building is in essence very simple. A link or hyperlink is simply a connection between two sites. So if you are on a website and you click on something which takes you to another site, then that’s a link. Link building is then the ongoing project of getting lots of these links on external websites to connect to your site, and it’s another important piece of the puzzle for an effective digital marketing strategy.
It’s important for a few reasons, and there a plethora of benefits your website can enjoy from having a professional link building strategy properly implemented.
Firstly, the more links leading to your website, the more traffic your website will receive, all else being equal. Just like more roads to a city mean that more people can access it, so too with websites and links. Potential clients who would otherwise not have come across your services are more likely to find it, and since the exposure is simply greater it will help build your brand across a broader audience.
Not only does link building help people find you, it helps search engines find as well.
Search engines primarily work by looking for keywords. For example, if you were to search for “London jeweller” there are likely to be millions of results, as many, many websites will have these terms on one page or another. In order to determine the rank of these sites, other factors come into play, one of which is the number of high-quality links to the website in question.
Simply put, a high quality link is like a recommendation to Google or Bing or whichever one you prefer (Yahoo anybody?….I thought not), so the greater the number, the higher the rank.
However, not all links are created equal, so ensure your SEO strategy involves only building high-quality links to your site.
The emphasis here is on high quality. Low quality and spammy links fall under the umbrella of “black hat” SEO tactics, which is to say that they violate the guidelines of search engines in order to rank higher. As search engines get smarter, they become more and more proficient at weeding out these tactics, and punishing accordingly. A number of high profile companies (including BMW and Forbes) have been penalised severely for employing these tactics, and it can even go so far that the search engine won’t show that website at all, so failing to ensure their quality can mean major losses to your business.
Don’t neglect the fact that high quality links are easier to get, and easier to maintain, if your site has content that provides real value to customers (see my previous post), which is to say something that people will actually want to link to.
Link building is a tricky process, yet essential when building a solid digital marketing strategy, so make sure that the company you choose to work with has you covered in this area. It is an area well worth investing in as ultimately it will redirect much more of the right kind of traffic to your site while building your brand and expanding your customer pool.