The entire internet is connected through links. Without links from one website to another, it would be very difficult to navigate the internet. When you come online, you may enter Google.com or Facebook.com directly into your browser, however from there you probably follow a series of links from one website to another. If a friend sends you a link on Facebook, you check out the link and then that website links to another link and before you know it you’re 6 degrees of separation away from where you started.
Back when Larry Page and Sergey Brin were students at Stanford University, they realized that this architecture of the web was very important in determining which sites were most popular and relevant. The result of this was Google, and more specifically Google Page Rank. The more inbound links a website has, the more important it is. It’s not just a matter of getting as many links as possible though, who is linking to whom also plays a large factor in the algorithm.
There are a couple main factors when evaluating where to get links from.
Link Building Factors
SEO Link Authority
The general principle behind link authority, is if you were to throw up a site that had no links pointing to it and it was relatively new, this site would have very low link authority. On the other hand, a site like CNN.com or Time.com, are both sites with a lot of authority because their reputation is very strong. You want to get links from sites with a lot of authority. A link from an authority site passes on authority to the websites that they are linking to.
SEO Link Building Relevance
Link Relevance refers to how related the website that is linking to another website is. For example, if you have a website about dog food and it’s linking to a website about poker, that’s not a very relevant link. Understanding that links are considered votes, a vote from a dog food site to a poker site doesn’t carry much weight. Search engine’s understand that competing websites aren’t always likely to link to each other, however a relevant link can be from a website in a complimentary niche.
If a website about learning how to play poker links to a online casino that offers poker, that would be considered a very relevant link. Focusing your link building campaign on getting high authority, relevant links will ensure that you have a quality link profile to your website.
SEO Link Building Diversity
Link Diversity means the diversity among the types of links that are linking to you. If the only type of links you have are all from web directories, then that may be seen as an attempt to manipulate search engine algorithms. A site with a natural link profile will have links from many different types of sites including social networking sites, web directories, blogs, forums and related websites.
Always try to make sure that if you’re doing a concentrated link building campaign that you try and get a wide variety of the types of sites that link to your website.
SEO Link Building Velocity
The velocity of your link building means how quickly you get links to your website. If over night you get 100,000 links to your website, then you don’t ever get another link – it might set off some red flags with the web spam teams at search engines. Natural link building campaigns acquire links over a period of time and continue to do so consistently. If you’re doing things by the book and you’re not buying paid links or other forms of black hat SEO, typically link velocity comes naturally and is not something you need to worry about.
Link Building Sources
Now that we understand a bit about the theory of link building, it’s time to talk about where you can actually get links to your website.
Links form Web Directories
Web directories have been around since before search engines, and at one time they were the prominent way to find websites. There are all kinds of web directories, from paid to free, and general to niche. Directories can provide your website with a solid base of links as a foundation. By nature a directory will have categories and if you submit your website to the appropriate and relevant categories, it helps search engines understand the theme of your website. For example, if a search engine finds your website in the Shopping/Clothing/Accessories/Watches/ category of several different web directories, the search engine will have a solid understanding – based on the inbound web directory links alone – that your website sells(/Shopping/) watches(/Clothing/Accessories/Watches/).
If you can get your website listed in web directories that are manually reviewed by humans for quality, then you will be listed with other good quality websites. This is another “tell” to search engines that shows you’ve been listed in a directory which lists high quality websites.
Creating Backlink Properties for SEO Link Building
There’s also nothing wrong with creating your own second tier properties for the purpose of linking back to your website. If you’re creating value and making a unique property, it’s a great way to take control of your backlinks and have the flexibility of being able to make changes to them. There are different types of properties you can make to link back to your website, including web 2.0 properties and standalone domains.
The most important part about creating backlink properties is that it’s quality over quantity. There’s no sense in making 100′s of properties that offer no value and can’t hold their own. 1 quality website that serves a purpose outside of linking to your website will out perform 100 non quality websites in the long run.
Forum and Blog Link Building for SEO
Posting on related forums and blogs can not only be a great source of backlinks, but it can also generate a lot of traffic to your website as well. Being apart of the community should be considered an essential strategy, even with SEO aside. With that being said it can also be a very tricky aspect as you don’t want to be considered a spammer or offend the community in which you’re trying to establish a presence.
When you’re posting on related forums and blogs you want to make sure that you’re offering value to the community and not spamming just to get your link all over the website. If you outsource this task you especially have to keep a tight leash on your employee until they have proven that they know how to portray the image you want.
Creating Linkbait for SEO Link Building
Creating linkbait on your site is about creating content that people want to link to. People aren’t going to link to average sales copy, people will link to content that is funny, interesting and/or unique. Coming up with unique ideas to post on your site and having people link to it for you, is the ultimate way to get high quality inbound links to your website.
Black Hat SEO Link Building
Black hat link building is basically defined as anything that is against search engine webmaster guidelines. Going forward black hat SEO link building is becoming more difficult and less effective as search engines continuously improve their algorithms. We do however strongly believe that you need to know what the current black hat spammers are doing for their link building campaigns in order to know what you’re up against and how to spot it.
Overall, our link building section at Upzee.com is intended to be an overall guide on how to build links to your website without breaking the webmaster guidelines. The benefit of doing things by the book is building long term web properties that aren’t effected by new search engine algorithm updates. Websites that use white hat link building are not at risk of being penalized or banned by search engines.