Moz considers links to be the “streets between pages.” Other SEO leaders consider links to be “votes”—in this manner, an external website that links to your website is essentially a vote for your business. And to win the search engine results race, you need to have the most votes.
One of the most important things you need to know about links is that they’re an important ranking factor for Google. To understand this, it’s important that you understand how ranking works. To non-SEO professionals, Google seems to be a massive search engine mystery. When Google provides search results, it scans every webpage of your website to create an “index” of what that website is.
If you want your website to rank, there’s no way around building an effective link building strategy. Here’s what you need to know about linking strategies when it comes to your blog:
Understanding Ranking Factors
Think of ranking factors like the back cover of a book, or a table of contents. There are over 200 ranking factors, and Google uses these ranking factors to determine where to place your website on search engine results. For example, the keyword in the title tag is a ranking factor. Similarly, speed is a ranking factor and can be affected by different types of hosting.
All 200 of Google’s ranking factors are important. This is especially true for links, which proves to Google that other people find your website useful. According to Copyblogger, the link popularity of any single page accounts for roughly 22.33% of the components of Google’s ranking algorithm.
Avoid Broken Link At All Costs
The more broken links you have, the lower your site will be ranked. A broken link is a link that no longer works. And once you’ve accumulated a few broken links, it can give your website some serious damage. Broken links can be internal or external, and there are a few reasons why a link might be broken:
- The webpage was moved or renamed, but the internal links weren’t changed
- Links to content (like images, files, PDFs, or videos) have been deleted
- A webpage has been deleted
- Link rot has occurred, which is when the website owner has lost interest and no longer maintains the website. One study found the average lifespan of a webpage was 9.3 years
Use Link Building Tools
Chances are, you aren’t an SEO professional and don’t know the ins and outs of linking. Perhaps you’ve started a business recently and want to attract more leads. Fortunately, there are plenty of link building tools to help you. A few includes:
Ahrefs is one of the most comprehensive link building tools on the market. With its Site Explorer tool, you can generate a full report of backlinks for any website. This backlink profile will show every website that links to the URL, the anchor text that was used, and the overall backlink strength. Not only can this provide valuable insight into your own strategy, but it can also help you “spy” on your competitors.
Broken Link Checker
As previously mentioned, broken links can have a negative impact on your SEO, as well as your user experience. Broken Link Checker is a Wordpress plugin that makes it very easy to identify potential broken links on your site. The plugin will conduct is an extensive search across all web pages and show you which have broken links. Directly from within the plugin dashboard, you’ll be able to fix any link without having to toggle between each page. It will also make suggestions for updated links.
Link Prospector allows you to organize link building outreach opportunities. It can create content development and outreach reports, PR reports, outreach reports, and conversion reports. The goal here is to make the process of link building much more seamless by connecting the dots. Simply choose your report type, enter a few keywords or key phrases, and it the tool will spew out a slew of link building opportunities.
Link Quality Is Critical
Building high-quality links is not an easy task, and it’s because of this that many business owners try to cut corners. You can’t just get a link from a terrible site and think that it will count as a vote. Google’s algorithms are smart enough to understand when links are spammy, and it could really have a counter-effect on your SEO. The quality that Google expects to include the following:
- The link is relevant
- The article doesn’t have any human value
- The links point to spammy sites, like online casinos or payday loans)
- The links don’t have any central relevance (which is when links point to sites in different verticals)