Once upon a time, search engines looked for one thing when they ranked pages: keywords and plenty of them. If a website was chock-full of keywords, then it would get ranked high. This led to some rather underhanded methods of pushing up search engine rankings including keyword stuffing in the content and even hiding keywords on the page that were invisible to readers but could be seen by search engines.
Things have changed to keep people from using those methods, though. Now, search engines look for a number of different things to determine what will be ranked and what will not. One of the big factors these days is actually link building.
What Is Link Building?
Link building isn’t exactly what you may think though. Once upon a time, it was simple. Add as many links as you could and get as many links to your page from others as possible. Again, there was a problem with this. Yes, you could get hundreds of websites to link to your page fairly easily. The only problem was most of those websites could be junk and that actually looks very bad for a business’ reputation.
These days, search engines like Google have gotten very smart about looking at links too. Thanks to new methods, the search engines can look and determine if they are quality links or not. If they aren’t, a webpage can actually be punished in rankings.
Search engines can apply value to links to determine which will be ranked higher than the others. There are actually different details of the links themselves that will help the search engine assign value. Here are the factors that search engines will consider:
- Links that are higher in HTML code have more value.
- External links are much more powerful than internal ones.
- Linking to unique, new domains is more powerful than linking to the same site over and over again.
- Links to and from sites with higher trust rankings will be considered more important.
- Links that are included inside content will be more powerful than links in the sidebar or footers.
- Links within the HTML of the text are more valuable than links connected through pictures.
- Links that appear in NoScript tags essentially have no value.
- Any pages that link to spammy websites will actually lose value themselves.
It is extremely important to understand this when link building. One wrong step and your webpage could be punished. But, a series of the right steps can make all the difference in boosting search engine rankings.
Link building shouldn’t be considered something to do as an afterthought. It is just too important. You will need to actually choose to reach out to other websites in order to build more links. This is something you absolutely must be proactive on if you wish to build your page’s rankings. Adding in keywords is simply not enough anymore.
Link building is not something you can do overnight either. It takes time, patience, and work. Don’t assume you could put a day or two of work into link building and expect this to be enough to boost your page rankings. You have to manually work on it, reaching out to other pages, researching, making sure you are only linking with quality pages, etc. It is going to take time, but with the effort, you will start seeing a difference in your page ranking.
Link building is not the only part of search engine marketing, but it is a very important part, especially in this day when search engines have gotten smarter than ever on how they choose to rank pages and what criteria they turn to.