The essential elements of link building
As you probably already know, there are two primary parts of search engine optimisation – on page seo and off page seo. Backlinks directed from other people’s websites to your key web pages can have a tremendous impact of your website’s search engine positioning. The terms ‘off page optimisation’ and ‘link building’ are therefore often used interchangeably. Yes, links are extremely powerful in terms of seo.
In this post, we’ll look at the fundamental elements of link building for the purpose of improving search engine positioning.
What is a backlink?
As stated above, a backlink is simply a text or image link that goes to your site from a page on another website. Text links are the most popular and you will most often see them in website content ( known as contextual links ), page sidebars and footers ( usually such links are sitewide, that is on every page of the site ). Links in content will be noticeable due to the fact that they are normally in a different colour ( blue is standard, although on our site they are red to match our super cool logo! ) and are underlined when you hover over them.
They are always clickable for the visitor. When links go from one page to another page on the same website, they are known as internal links. When they link out to other sites, they are called outbound links. On the flip side, the links going in to a target site are called backlinks, or inbound links. Backlinks in general are also described as hyperlinks. Links can also be inserted into images, so that when the image is clicked, the visitor is taken to the target page.
Anchor text explained
Anchor text is the text that is visible to the visitor – the clickable part of the link. Much of the seo power of backlinks is in the anchor text. It is standard practice to use the keywords you want your target page to rank for in the anchor text of your inbound links ( if you are creating your own links that is – if not, it will be up to the discretion of the webmaster who is linking to you ), but be careful! Since the introduction of the google penguin algorithm, a high percentage of keyword anchor text links can lead to a google slap and lost rankings. It is therefore wise to use what is called non optimised anchor text ( your brand name as well as general terms like ‘visit this site’ etc ) and raw URL links ( the full address of the website, hyperlinked ).
No follow and do follow links
There are two types of backlinks – no follow links which do not pass any link juice ( although some people dispute this ) and will therefore have little or no effect on your rankings, and do follow, which have full power behind them. It is natural for a website to have a mixture of both.
Sources of good quality links
There are many places online where you can obtain links to your website, including directories, web 2.0 sites like tumblr and wordpress, social sites such as facebook and pinterest, blogs and press release sites. Sometimes other site owners will link to you too, but do not rely on this as it rarely ever happens in the real world. Link requests can increase the chances, but we don’t recommend this approach as many webmasters find it offensive.
Options for link building
You can build your own links manually if you have the time and skill, but bear in mind that developing contextual links will involve a considerable amount of content creation. A better approach is to outsource to a trustworthy and experienced search engine optimisation agency. You can check our availability if you are interested in going down the route.