Link Building is the Core of the Google Algorithm
Link building is one of—if not the—most important components of an SEO campaign. Despite what you may read online, links are the foundation of the Google algorithm. When you perform a keyword search in Google, there are specific reasons why certain websites show up at the top of 1 million plus search results. While there are hundreds of factors Google uses to determine the ‘value’ of your website, your backlink profile is extremely important.
Once you build a website, you want to be found! No matter how optimized or interesting your website may be, at some point you’ll realize the key to ranking is accruing relevant back-links. This is often where the confusion, and frustration begins for many business and website owners. Besides the issue of actually finding someone willing to link to one of your pages, there are also a dozen little rules regarding which links are acceptable and which will harm your SEO efforts rather than help it. It’s extremely important to realize that there is no way to ‘trick’ the algorithm, you have to abide by guidelines set forth by Google if you want to rank. Simply put, you have to play the game by their rules if you ever want to win.
It can all be a little overwhelming, but link building doesn’t need to be a monumental challenge. By taking advantage of helpful resources and adding links at a natural pace, your site can move up the ranks quickly… with Google’s blessings. After all, Google was founded on the ability to display the most relevant websites for specific keywords and terms.
What Is Link Building?
First, it’s important to understand what back-links are and why they are so important. Search engines analyze a number of important factors when examining any given webpage. Artificial intelligence is quickly reaching the point where Web crawlers can assess the value of written content on their own, yet a slew of metrics are based on real time and the way in which users spend time on your website.
Back-links are links that direct a user to your website (from any alternate domain/source), and they can be found in the text of a blog, the comments in a thread or be placed in an image. Back-links should not be confused with internal links, which have their own benefits but only move between the pages of a single domain.
The Purpose of Link Building
Google likes links. In fact, the quality and number of links directing to your website help the bots understand which websites are the ‘most important’. How Google defines ‘importance’ is a course within itself, as the algorithm is comprised of hundreds of metrics used to gauge the overall importance of a website. Just remember, that Google became what it is by providing users with answers to questions, and links help the bots find the most relevant results in an attempt to answer the users question, or search query.
A page with no links pointing to it isn’t ‘important’ for a bot to index and often gets left at the bottom of search results. At one point in time the number of links was very important factors in ranking your website, but as the Google Algorithm grew along with the number of online users, other metrics became more important to help ensure Goggle delivered accurate results to reflect what people were actually searching for. Besides the number of links, the type and quality of links is now more important than ever.
Using Anchor Text Within Link Building
Besides establishing importance, back-links are also highly valuable for their keyword potential. The HTML tag used for linking allows URLs to be hidden behind different text, which is used to describe the content in question. This is called anchor text.
There are different types of anchor texts, and depending on the nature of your company and your goals, different types will be utilized. For example, a URL Anchor Text consists of at least part of the URL for your website (ie visit Paulteitelman.com), while a Branded Anchor Text (visit Paul Teitelman’s website) consists of at least part of the company name integrated within the hyperlinked text.
A Changing Link Building Landscape
Once upon a time, back-links were indexed indiscriminately from any source that would host them. Articles were scraped and spun to pass plagiarism sensors and then posted hundreds or even thousands of times over as a cheap source of links. The quality of your website wasn’t nearly as important as the quantity of links, and getting a very basic website to rank was possible. Poor quality search results provided a poor user experience, as the algorithm has constantly been updated to improve the user experience by providing accurate, relevant search results.
On the other hand, links deemed to be ‘bad’ can actually do much greater harm than good, resulting in penalties from Google for manipulating search results. Today, the algorithm is vastly superior in its ability to decipher ‘quality links’ from ‘bad links’ making the importance of working with an experienced SEO provider ever greater.