Link building is increasing your site’s visibility by getting a bunch of other sites to link to you. However, it is not that simple. The traditional method of link building is dead.
Traditionally, people would get links back (back links) to their website spread over every corner of the internet. However, Google caught on. Although Google will never reveal their secrets, there are a few things we know:
- Links carry weight. Even no-follow links have value.
- Links can help or hurt you.
- Links from content rich sites help.
- Linking from bad sites hurt.
Link building is a pull marketing strategy meaning you’re enticing people to find your product or service.
Let’s explore what a bad site is. Bad sites are those that:
- Have little to no content
- Contain bad content.
- Are not updated regularly.
- Have too many links.
- Have too many advertisements.
- Contain malicious code.
- Is blacklisted.
- Links to many bad sites.
Google ranks sites based on its own secret metrics. Fortunately, you should be able to tell. Would you go to this site normally? If not, it probably isn’t a good site.
Google gives value to sites that link to good sites over bad ones. Therefore, “link farms” lower their own site value by linking to sites with no regard to the value of the site they’re linking to.
A great way to determine if a site is good is how it ranks on Google. Does it show up on the first page for keywords you’re looking to rank in? How about complimentary products and services?
Additionally, Google generally loves .edu and .gov sites. If you can somehow get these top level domains to provide you back links, you’ve received gold.
Besides that, Google keeps emphasizing they value content rich sites that are updated regularly and perform well on all devices. No matter what games or strategies a site plays, if its goal matches Google’s, it will continue to rank well. In other words, they will provide great links.
As an aside, "link juice" is the value a link gives to a site it links to.
Link Building Strategy
There are essentially two good long term link building strategies that still exist today.
The first way is more time intensive. If you create guest content on other sites, you typically get a link to your own site. This is a great way to build links because you’re linking from another site and are helping to ensure that site has quality content.
However, the downside is that this strategy takes up a lot of extra time. Not only do you have to create the additional content, but you also have to find the sites and negotiate with them.
The best strategy, if you can, is to get shared. If other sites link to you because of the quality of your content, you have link gold. This requires vastly less work for you. However, you have to first create the content worth sharing.
Since this is ultimately Google’s goal, your site will continue to rank well in your SEO under this strategy.
Link Building Conclusion
The old strategy of paying to obtain links to your site is a dying practice. That’s for good reason! Above all, Google is looking for quality content. Therefore, you should work to get links from sites with that quality content.
The strategies listed above may take time, but they’re tried and true. Additionally, they’re not going anywhere. Google has said this is what they want and the direction they’re going. Therefore, it’s the best way to utilize links to your site.
Richard is the managing attorney for Law Plus Plus, a local small business law firm. As managing attorney, he helps small businesses and nonprofits startup, creating the contracts, and navigate the legal needs of businesses. Some of his practice areas include: corporate, contract, mergers & acquisitions, corporate litigation, and estate planning.