If you are just starting on your search engine optimization (SEO) journey, you may have heard about link building. Link building is a crucial part of SEO and plays a significant role in how your site ranks on the search engine results page. 

Use this guide to learn more about what link building is, why it matters, how you can build links on your site, and the difference between good and bad links. 

What is link building? 

So what is link building? Link building is the act of getting quality websites to link to your site for the main goal of increasing your search engine rankings. Links from another site allow more users to find their way to your site, increasing traffic and potentially increasing revenue. More links can also increase your site’s domain authority, another factor in where you rank in the search results. 

Why does link building matter? 

Link building is a vital part of any SEO strategy. Links from another site tell search engines that your site is trustworthy and an authoritative source for a topic. 

These links act as “votes” for your site from another and tell engines like Google that your page should rank higher in the results. Links are a big part of the Google results algorithm. According to Moz, link features make up about 40% of Google’s Algorithm. 

As mentioned above, link building can lead to more traffic to your site, leading to even more benefits for your business. According to a study by ahrefs, the higher the number of domains pointing to a site, the more organic search traffic is brought to that site. 

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How to build links

Before you need to worry about building links to your site, you have to ensure that you have content on your site that others will want to add as a link. Your site’s content should fulfill some need for a searcher.

Searchers may be looking for something to entertain them, teach them something new, give them unique information, or provide them with something useful. Common types of linkable content are research, expert opinions, or impressing visuals like infographics and video. 

Once you have content on your site that others will want to use or share, you can begin to build links to your site. There are a number of ways that you can build links to your site. Ways to build links include

1. Adding a link 

You can go around to different sites and add links to your site. This practice tends to happen with sites like directories, social profiles, or blog comments. While this way of building links is very easy to do, it doesn’t add as much SEO value to your site, and you should not implement it as a first choice.

2. Asking for links

You can also directly ask another site for links. There will be times that a site may use your content without linking to you, or they may have a dead link that you can help them replace. 

You should only use this tactic when you can provide the other site with a reason to link to you. You don’t want to just ask for a link because you need more links. You need to make sure there is value for both parties in the linking interaction. 

3. Earning links naturally

Of course, you can earn links without having to ask for them or add them yourself, but your website has to be seen and have quality content first. Common strategies to get people to link to your site without trying to include linkbait, podcasts, and interviews. 

4. Buying links

The least recommended way to get links is to buy them. The links you can buy are typically low-value and risky. Buying links can get your site penalized, so you should avoid the practice. 

5. Preserving links 

To ensure that your link-building efforts are never lost, you need to ensure that you preserve your links. If you notice that links are missing, you can reach out to the site they were on and request to have them re-added. If your own pages are now 404 links, you should redirect the page to a more relevant page or restore the page. 

Good vs. bad links 

Now that you know what links are and how to get them, you need to know the difference between a good link and a bad link. 

Good links

Good links are those that are given to your site by a site with good authority. The links are relevant to the content on the page and have strong, descriptive anchor text. Good links are rel=”followed” links that pass link authority from one site to another. 

Good links don’t have to be requested or bought and come from a relevant site that many people trust. They pass the most link equity to your site and have the most significant impact on your SEO efforts. 

Bad links 

Bad links come from spammy sites. These links do not appear to be trustworthy or relevant to the content of the page and may result in Google penalizing your site. 

If you notice bad links to your site, you should ask for them to be removed or changed to a rel=”nofollow.” If that doesn’t work, you can create a disavow file.

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How to tell a bad link from a good link

If you can’t determine if a link will be good or bad from looking at the site alone, you can use different metrics. These metrics will allow you to determine if going after a specific site link is worth the effort. These metrics include:

1. Domain strength

Different companies can determine the strength of a domain. Google lists domain strength as PageRank and gives a score from 0-10. Moz calls domain strength “Domain Authority” and ranks a domain on a scale of 0-100. Both aim to determine how trustworthy a domain is. A higher domain strength leads to more influence on the search results page. 

2. Page strength 

Page strength is similar to domain strength in that it determines how trustworthy a single page is. Higher page strength has similar effects to domain strength on link building. 

3. Number of links 

As mentioned above, the more links a site has, the better. When looking to get a link from a site, examine the number of backlinks they have accumulated, and make sure they aren’t all spam! 

4. Number of linking root domains 

The number of linking root domains is even more important than the total number of links. More linking root domains show that the site is more popular across a broader range of the internet. What is better? Ten links from the same site or one link from ten different sites?

5. Relevance of the linking page 

You don’t want to try to get links from pages that aren’t relevant to your site. One of the main points of link building is to increase traffic to your site. If you are getting links from sites that aren’t relevant, you probably won’t increase your traffic. 

Want help with your link building? 

If you want help with your link-building efforts or have more questions, feel free to contact IndustrialFX! We have generated over 1 million qualified leads for our clients and are ready to help you with any of your digital marketing needs!