A presence on the internet is pretty much a requirement for any successful company in these digital ages. Billions of people around the world have been connected by this international network and use it for everything, from communication to shopping and working. That is why the internet has become one of the most used social arenas for people. If you want to reach people with your messaging and products, the internet is one of the best ways to do so.
But how do you reach people on the internet? It is not enough to simply create a website and then wait for people to come rushing in. The inner workings of the internet are much more complex than that. One of the methods that have proven very effective in increasing traffic to one’s website is called link building. Keep reading below to learn how link building works in practice, and how you can use it to realize your company’s ambitions on the internet.
Link building – a short definition
Link building is a process that opens doors, which leads to your own website. These doors are called hyperlinks (or simply links). Users of the internet use links to navigate between different websites, and so do search engines like Google, when they need to generate search results.
Link building often happens by itself when, for example, journalists write articles and refer to a related incident, when you link a product to a friend they simply must try and in many other cases. That is the dream for anyone working with SEO and marketing. But it is also a process that you can initiate yourself and maintain, by creating content for other websites that contain links, which lead back to you.
The result of link building is natural and organic traffic to your website as well as a stronger preference in Google’s search engine.
Search engines and links
One of the reasons that link building is so important is the way search engines function. When people are looking for something, they will use search engines like Google, Bing, DuckDuckGo, and many others to find what they need.
Search engines use links for two things: to discover new websites they can show in their results and to determine which results are relevant to the individual user. Of course, a company will prefer to have their website presented on the first page of a search, as often as possible.
But how does link building make your website attractive in a search engine’s results? To understand this, we shall look at what the search engine values when it evaluates relevance. As such, the search engine is not interested in a website’s content. What the search engine is looking for is how many links from external websites lead back to the website in question, as well as the quality of these external websites. The more there are of these links, the better the website will perform in the algorithm.
It also has an effect on those who use the search engine. When you see a link on the first page of a search, a sense of trust in the website arises, because a search engine will not show something that was not relevant on the first page. When something ends up on the first page, it is viewed as trustworthy and of high quality.
What constitutes a link of high quality?
Earlier, we mentioned that links from sites of high quality are useful for a website’s relevance in a search engine. But what exactly does that mean?
It means that it is desirable to have websites that are already doing well in a search engine, and have a lot of traffic, connected to your website. The credibility and quality are infectious, which is why it is in your interest to associate yourself with them. The website does not have to offer a service or a product that is relevant to what you offer, for it to be effective.
It does not have to just be a link that directs back to your website. There are also what are called authoritative links. If you write an article for another website, with link building in mind, typically you would have to include authoritative links to websites of high quality. When links to your own website are associated with links to other sites of high quality, the algorithm of search engines takes notice.
Keywords – keys to success
When you work with link building, it is not enough to simply copy and paste links directly in the text that is being written. First, it does not have a large enough impact on a search engine’s preference parameters, and second, people are less inclined to click on them. This results in the opposite of organic traffic.
A phenomenon that goes hand in hand with linking is keywords. Keywords are words that, in an SEO sense, do well and are appealing in search engines. When you link build, you find the best keywords related to your product or service and make them anchors for your links. Then the search engines will automatically connect your website to the utilized keywords, and people are also more inclined to click on them. It is easier to relate to keywords, which also indicate what the link entails, than a raw link with no context.
Relevant keywords are dynamic and change often. That is why link building is a strategy that requires a continuous effort to gain the larges effect long term.
Types of links
As a starting point, there are four types of links you can work with. Links that lead to a website’s home page, links for specific products or other sections of your website, links with your brand or company name as a keyword, and links that contain the keywords you are working with. There can be an overlap with these types, for instance, a link might refer to a section of your website but has your company name as the keyword.
As a point of departure, you need all four types of links, but it will vary to which degree the different links are necessary. Here, you will need to do an analysis of the links that lead to your website; then you will be able to see which categories generate a lot of traffic and which do not.
In this regard, it is also a good idea to explore from where your website is linked to, and which keywords are being used. Some references are more worth than others.
The point is to optimize your link building to the best capacity possible. It does not make sense to use resources on types of links and keywords with which you already get a lot of traffic.
Method – copywriting
As previously mentioned, a portion of link building happens automatically. But it is also necessary to create the process yourself to obtain noticeable and stable results in the long run.
One of the most frequently used methods to establish link building is through copywriting. Copywriting is a focused and targeted process that creates content for other websites. The created content is designed with relevance to the site of publication and contains keywords and links with link building in mind.
An example could be as the following: you have a company that sells skincare products. You have a product on your website, which does not get a lot of traffic and therefore does not sell as well as your other products. To give the product more attention, you can use link building. The method you choose to use is copywriting. You can see that you get traffic from tabloid news media. You create a text with a subject that is relevant to the tabloid website, and that contains competitive keywords related to your product, as an anchor for a link to your product. Additional authoritative links and internal links to the site of publication are included to connect your product to websites of high quality. The text is published and is snapped up by the search engines’ algorithms, which give your product’s page more attention than before. Thereby, more traffic is directed to that specific section of your website and leads to more sales.
Which websites to link build with?
A very relevant question is which websites are good for your company to link build with. There are a number of criteria to consider before you start the process.
Firstly, you need to consider whether the website has a degree of credibility. It is not favorable for your website to be associated with websites that lack credibility in a search engine’s algorithm. It can potentially hurt the image of your company.
Secondly, you need to look at whether the website itself has a lot of traffic. You will not achieve strong results by creating content for a blog that has 50 visitors a day. If, however, it is a professional website with 50.000 visitors a day there are potentially some of their visitors that can be redirected to your own site.
Lastly, you need to consider whether the website’s audience could have an interest in what your website is offering. If your website offers products for vegan cooking, you will not get a lot of traffic from a website whose audience is motorcycle enthusiasts in the age group 45-60. That does not mean that the website you are doing link building for has to have content directly related to your own. As long as there is potential in the audience the website is focusing on, you can direct them to your own site.
When can you expect results?
Link building is a strategy that is focused on long-term profit. So, it can take some time before you really notice a change. The time it takes until you can expect results depends on a number of technical criteria. The criteria involve the level of competition in your line of business, how competitive your keywords are, the types of links you build with, and your domain’s reputation.
It can take days or months to see a difference based on the criteria mentioned above. That is worth remembering when you set yourself a goal for a link building campaign. It also means that link building is not a one-time thing. Creating ten articles with link building once will perhaps give the traffic to your website a boost over a short period of time, but it is not a sustainable process. Instead, link building should be regarded as a continuous process that is a constant part of your marketing strategy. This is the only way to keep optimizing your keywords and build links with websites that generate proper traffic.
If you have the mindset, you will better allow your company to make a shift to the point where link building is taking care of itself. The more appealing your website is for link building, the less you will need to do it yourself. But it takes a focused effort first, to reach that goal.
Create relevant content
When you have identified a website that has the potential to create more organic traffic to your website, you will also have to create some appropriate content. As previously mentioned, the content needs to be relevant to the overall contents of the site of publication. You cannot write an article about Scotland’s history for a website that delivers news about football.
Hence, the content needs to be relevant to the content of the website, but it also has to be relatable and interesting for the reader. Making lists like “Top 5 Best Christmas Movies” or “3 Movies with Unexpected Cameos” captures people’s attention and sets the mood for learning something new and fun. The content can also be more serious and relate to current things issues and subjects in society. Of course, you also need to gauge the subject in terms of the audience. Those who are interested in top-10 lists are less likely to be interested in political content.
The point is that it of course is good to create link building on websites to achieve a higher preference in the search engines’ algorithms. But it is even better if you can get people to click on your links directly through the content you create for link building.
Success on the internet
Hopefully, you will now have a better impression and understanding of what link building is at its core, as well as how link building can contribute positively to the presence of your business on the internet. Link building is a long-term marketing strategy with the objective to increase organic internet traffic to your website and to increase sales as well as engagement with your products and services. Link building plays a role in the algorithms of search engines and how consumers engage with digital content. A successful link building strategy incorporates and implements different types of links, keywords, and content as a continuous process that takes developments and deviations into account.