When it comes to SEO, there are proven methods that work and there are those that can be time-consuming and frustrating.
Link building – especially through outreach – is one of them.
Our fantastic SEO team is on hand to explain how all things SEO work and this time, it’s all things link building. We’re here to give the expert lowdown on how link building works, backlinks and outreach and whether other SEO practices are more important.
Read on to find out everything about link building and SEO, how it can benefit a B2B and B2C business and how best to start gaining links…
Link building is the name for earning links to your website to build its authority in search engines. This can be done via blogs, content campaigns and may involve outreach for backlinks.
Backlinks are a hyperlink from an external website to another – yours, such as an editorial page to one of your blogs or campaigns. Backlinks are difficult to control and many sites suffer from poor link building practices which were commonplace in SEO a few years ago.
Link building can also include removing poor, spammy links by disavowing them. Google has been fighting these links for years. Disavowing allows you to tell search engines not to factor specific spammy links when crawling your site as they can kill your ranking.
Links are important when it comes to ranking on a search engine results page, they help indicate a site’s authority, among other things.
Remember, the quantity of links is no longer the most important factor when it comes to ranking, it’s the quality of those links – their value.
Aside from high-quality links increasing the chances of ranking well, link building includes benefits such as relationship-building, referral traffic and it can help establish a brand. Part of link building can involve outreach, either through PR for campaigns or guest writers and bloggers.
Read more: 10 SEO questions you want the answers to
The main objective of outreach is to secure a link, either from an industry writer or mass media. However, an additional benefit of outreach is that it can help build long-term relationships with key industry influencers.
These relationships can result in your business becoming more trusted and held to higher regard among peers and search engine users.
Strong links, those of high value and authority, can increase the traffic to your website as well as its ranking. Consistent linking to websites that are relevant and have its own high traffic will be reflected in your own traffic and potential sales via conversion. If it is a relevant website, the likelihood is that the referral traffic will also be relevant.
Read more: How Does SEO Work?
Strong link building helps to promote your brand among competitors and potential customers. By linking to relevant content and external sites, link building can help to cast a business as an authority in its field.
Furthermore, it can help to promote the expertise of a company and its staff, as well as the strengths of its services. Content creation and industry data-focused pieces are good opportunities to build a brand via links.
Remember, before carrying out a link building campaign, you need to have content worth linking to – your homepage or a blog. You may need to create these resources with link building in mind.
Link building can form part of an SEO audit – a check on how a website matches up against SEO best practises and its ability to rank in SERPs.
When it comes to SEO, link building can include internal and external links – such as backlinks. The use of internal linking will help guide users and search engines through your website; it may also positively impact your conversion rates due to a positive user journey.
Read more: How to do an SEO audit
Securing authority from backlinks is good, but allying it to internal linking will also ensure that authority trickles through the site properly.
Links also form part of the core elements, or ‘three pillars’, of SEO and signal a search engine that your website is trustworthy via its domain. The most sought-after link is a high authority Follow link that’s natural – you haven’t asked for it.
Read more: SEO Jargon Buster
Backlinks are much more difficult to control than internal linking, for obvious reasons. Websites can suffer from poor link building which was used in SEO a few years ago.
Before chasing backlinks, you should audit the strength of your backlink profile. This is a collection of backlinks that contribute to the strength, relevance and diversity of your site’s authority.
“A strong backlink profile, content with a purpose, and a fast, technically sound responsive website (are all important for SEO),” Jon Blakemore, We Influence SEO team member.
Backlinks and outreach remain relevant to SEO and building a site’s authority but they may not be as valued as they were years ago.
“To put it bluntly; Yes. backlinks are as important as ever. Some experts in the industry might argue that Google values them less than they have in the past but it’s undeniable that backlinks still play a critical role in SEO”, Jon Blakemore, We Influence SEO team member.
You can’t, however, expect to rank a site on backlinks alone. A site without a proper website structure or content won’t be able to benefit from the power of a strong backlink profile.
When it comes to SEO success, backlinks still hold relevance but the primary focus should be on content. As you’ve no doubt heard, ‘content is king’; and high-quality content, often long-form, will attract the most inbound links and keep users on your site for longer.
Added to this is that content should be keyword-optimised while remaining natural rather than stuffed.
Learn more about our SEO successes with our case studies.