Link building is an essential factor in any SEO campaign. Whilst on-site SEO can suffice for some basic campaigns, linking is a key tool if you want your website to gain and maintain high SERP’s for your target keyphrases.

What Are Links?

Basically, when a website includes a clickable link to your site, this is similar to clicking “Like” on Facebook. In short, another website is saying they like your content, and they consider it relevant, interesting and useful.

One common misconception is that all linking is good – this is not the case, and Google have guidelines on what constitutes a “good” link. Their search algorithms analyse links and factor the data into the SEO ranking process they use.

Some classic things Google look for in links (in no particular order):

  • Where the link appears – whose website, which page, where it leads to. Ideally the two pages should have relatively similar content, but this isn’t always the case.
  • The reputation of the website where the link appears – if a site which links to you has a bad reputation, the link can do more harm than good.
  • The “anchor text” – if a link just says click here, you might miss out on the opportunity to make the link more attractive, for example, by using a link such as SEO Blog.

A Brief History Of Link Building

When Google first began analysing websites for ranking purposes, one of the earliest and simplest ways was to see who links to a site. Hence, Larry Page invented “PageRank”. Compared to today, the method was a straightforward probability equation, the result of which is expressed logarithmically on a scale of 0 to 10 (10 being the best).

Since those early days, the ranking analysis algorithm’s used by Google have increased in number, complexity and accuracy. Despite this, linking had remained a key focus and is reported to account for the largest proportion of SEO ranking factors (different sources quote that up to 70% of Google’s ranking factors may be influenced by external link architecture).

Link Building Methods

There are different ways to link-build. Some smaller companies may find it more cost-effective to link build themselves. Although slow and not always successful, the money saving is obvious.

Larger companies and marketing agencies will generally employ the services of a specialist link building company. Whilst Google prefer linking to be natural and carried out as a completely altruistic act, link building can be done this way providing it mimics “natural” linking as much as possible.