Depending on how long you've had your website, chances are that you've received a random email from a business that talks about link building and backlinks.
There are many different ways you can build links to your website, and there's a lot of confusion around SEO in general.
So, we wanted to talk some about SEO basics, how link building is done, and what's considered best practice to help you get started!
What is Link Building?
Link building helps to improve your website's ranking in search results. The more inbound links your website has, the higher your website will rank. The higher amount of links and the quality of those links (the site that is linking to you is also seen as reputable), the more authority your website will build.
When done incorrectly, it can lead to penalties with search engines. This is why it's important to only create links from reputable, relevant websites.
How to Build Links?
To get started with link building, create a list of websites and directories that are trusted and relevant to your business.
Next, start reaching out to the owner of the website and ask them to link to your website.
This is done by either creating or suggesting content that you could write that the other website owner would want to link to.
Directories are usually the easiest to get started with since it just involves creating an account and filling in your information (think YellowBook, Yelp, Google My Business, LinkedIn, Facebook, Etc.)
Link Building vs Backlinks
Link building involves creating links to your website that come from another website. This is achieved through social media, directories, writing a guest post, or if you're a web designer, having your business credited for the design in the footer with the link.
Backlinks link from other websites back to your website. This type of link shows that the website considers you to be a relevant and trusted source.
Link building is beneficial, but backlinks are typically seen by search engines as being more valuable.
More on Backlinks
Backlinks are important because they help search engines understand just how popular your website is and how it is relevant to certain keywords.
There are two types of backlinks you should know about:
DoFollow Backlinks - The most valuable type of backlinks that tell search engines to follow the link and count it as a vote for your website.
NoFollow Backlinks - Do not signal SEO value, but they are valuable for driving traffic to your website.
The distinction between these two is how search engine algorithms will treat the link.
Building High-Quality Backlinks
Content creation is the driving engine behind creating backlinks because it is what encourages another site to want to link to you.
Acknowledgment Backlink - Often used when sponsoring an event, linking to a representative, or providing credit.
Free Tool Backlink - By providing a useful took such as a calculator, for example, you are encouraging website owners to share your tool as a helpful resource.
Editorial Backlink - Usually used when crediting your content (this is often used for an article or an infographic), or when a company representative is quoted
Guest Blog Backlink - Providing well-established websites with a guest post is a great way to include an editorial backlink on your website.
Comment Backlink - Genuine and relevant comments on comment with a backlink is a great way to add value and build links. Just make sure you do not overdo it or do this in a "spammy" manner.
Business Profile Backlink - This is another name for your directory backlinks (digital profiles on business listing sites, social media, review sites, and industry directories).
Webinar Backlink - Sites can embed a webinar (or a webinar recording) in their page with a link and mention to your brand. This tactic is similar to blog promotion and is just sharing content that is in a different format.
Guest Post Bio Backlink - If a website doesn't allow guest blogging backlinks in the content, they'll usually provide a link within the author's bio.
Badge Backlink - Create a badge or an award that recognizes an achievement or status. When those badges are displayed on that person's site, they'll link the badge back to you and your program.
Press Release Backlink - When you have a newsworthy announcement, a press release can be a great foundation for your PR and marketing efforts.
Backlinks to Avoid
Paid Links - Google does not like the buying and selling of links and has stated that doing this can negatively affect a site's placement in search rankings.
Not Newsworthy Press Release Backlinks - Creating a press release just for SEO purposes is frowned upon and can have a negative effect on SEO.
Low-quality or irrelevant links - Profiles and forum posts on websites that aren't seen as trustworthy or relevant can be viewed as spam and have a negative impact on your SEO efforts.
Which Approach Should You Take?
Ultimately, it comes down to what will work best for your business. SEO involves a lot of tweaking to see what works best for your specific business at that specific time.
The best thing you can do when you're just starting out is pay attention to what your competitors are doing. Make a note of what works and doesn't work and keep this in mind as you develop your marketing strategy.
Try a few different strategies and track your efforts to see which gives you the best results!
Need Help Creating Your Marketing Strategy?
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