I’ve heard some of my readers say they want their company/ small business website to rank on Page 1 for a certain keyword in their industry/ niche but they seem never to get close to the page 1 Google position. Get more backlinks and you’ll see the rankings significantly improve, assuming that you’ve did a good On-Page SEO (good keywords in the right places).
What Is Link Building?
Many beginners ask ‘what is link building’? Link building is a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) process of increasing a website’s popularity and authority, in the eyes of the search engines (and humans) by deliberately placing links to pages/ posts in your website from as many external websites as possible. However, natural link building processes happen, whereby other people, at will “talk about” your website and also link to it, from their own websites and through social sharing.
What Is a Backlink?
Simply put, backlinks or links (for short) are in-bound/ incoming links to your website from an external website. The search engines generally regard a backlink as votes by one website for another. Thus, the more “votes” you get, the more popular your website is and the more authority it has.
You have a backlink when another website mentions your site and also links to a page or post on your website. You can go to another website and personally place your website link there, OR someone else may do that (if they like your post).
What’s Link Building Got To Do With SEO?
SEO is the “conscious act or practice” of getting your website to become more visible and easy to find (than your competitors’) on the search engines. That is, SEO influences your chances of getting better search engine rankings for any particular keyword.
SEO is two-pronged: the On-Page SEO and the Off-page SEO. On-Page SEO is “playing” with what’s on your website pages and posts in order to get better search engine (Google) rankings WHILE Off-Page SEO is about other website linking to pages and posts on your website.
While you do not have total control over who links to (mentions) your website from their articles or pages, website owners try to “help themselves” by creating articles and web pages from external sites purposely to create links that will point back to pages and posts in their own websites. That is what link building is all about.
This post is the first in the series for blogging beginners to better understand what backlinks are and explore simple steps for any beginner to build backlinks, in order to taking control of their Off-page SEO.
Note that a step by step On-Page SEO for beginners has been covered in details, in previous posts, where we discussed the concepts of keyword research, how to conduct keyword research and finally where and how to place keywords in your articles. In case you missed those posts, you can read them here:
- Part 1: Beginning SEO: Understanding Keywords Research
- Part 2: How to Build Good Targeted Keyword Lists With Free Keyword Research Tools
- Part 3: Where and How to Place Keywords in Articles
Why Do You Need to Build Links?
The four reasons for building links, below, also answer the questions “does link building work, and how”, ‘why should I build a link’ and “how is link building beneficial to a site”?
Link Building Reason #1: Every external (in-bound) link is regarded as a vote for that page/ post that is linked to. The more in-bound link you get is a sign of increasing popularity of your web page (post or page on your site) as well as your web site.
Reason #2: To influence positioning on the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs); the higher your search ranking, the more traffic (and buyers) you’re likely to get. So, your On-Page SEO+Off-Page SEO contribute to your search engine ranking and if you’ve done your On-Page SEO and want to move up to the top search ranking position, get more backlinks – that’s the secret.
Reason #3: Every back link contributes to your page’s rank (PR) number, which starts from PR0 to PR10, with 10 PR being the highest. Websites with high PR are regarded as having higher authority, in the eyes of the search engines (and humans too) because it’s believed that they earned the votes (and trust too) of many other websites.
Link Building Reason #4: You’ll get more traffic because you’ll be putting your blog right in front of a diverse audience (of other people) and their readers are likely to click to see what you’ve got on your website. And more visitors = lower (good) Alexa rank which indicates increasing web authority.
*What is Page Rank (PR)? Page Rank is a measure of a web page’s importance. Every web page on a website (including the home page) has a PR rating. You can check your website’s PR, as well as each page and post PR by installing the free SeoQuake (for Firefox or Chrome browsers).
CAVEAT: Backlinks plus the right keywords placed in the right places on your web pages are only 2 out of hundreds of the factors that search engines use to rank websites on the search pages. However, the secret is in taking charge of those that you can control (and influence), as it eally do work.
How Can You Build Links Effectively, For Free?
Here is 16 good and effective sources of free backlinks. In the follow-up post, you will discover, step by step, exactly how to go about each method.
- Social bookmarking: That is sharing your posts on sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Stumbleupon etc
- Commenting on related blogs: You already know this, start by leaving me a comment below:)
- Forum signature and posting: Create your signature (containing your blog URL) on all the forums you’re a member.
- Q & A sites: Answer questions and link your post as a source
- Press Release submission: Write press releases, from time to time, and include your blog links
- Article submission on article directories: Write articles and add your blog links
- Guest blogging on related (or competitors’) sites
- Write articles on Web 2.0 sites (such as Squidoo and Hubpages)
- Website Listings and Directory Submissions: Add your blog to website directories you find, including DMOZ, Yahoo
- Profile links: Add your blog links on all your Social Media profiles – this is easy to forget (I made that mistake in the past). Kristi Hines of Kikolani.Com wrote a detailed tutorial here on how to build SEO links from your social media profiles.
- RSS submission: Submit your blog feed URL to RSS Directories like Feedage.com
- Submit articles on Blog Carnivals in your niche
- Blogroll / Link Exchange: Have another blogger add your blog on their blog sidebar (blogroll)
- Website Reviews: Have your site reviewed by another blogger
- Get Interviewed: If you get someone to interview you, they’ll add your site link on the post page
- Search engine submissions: Submit your website URL to the top 3 – Google, Bing and Yahoo
Now, here’s a little secret: On-Page SEO + Off-Page SEO = Google Page 1 Ranking
- On-Page SEO = keyword research and keyword placement
- Off-Page SEO = link building
There are only 10 spots on page 1 of any search engine, and websites on page 1 get over 70% of the traffic searching (and sales from browsers) for their competing search terms. If your competitors have all done good On-Page SEO, you may find your web page or post hanging on a spot. When this happens, get more backlinks.
*NOTE: In follow-up posts, we’ll learn how to build backlinks, step by step, with each of the above methods.
How to Build BackLinks When You Don’t Have The Time
What if you’re busy and run an offline (or online) business that does not have the time or a blogging or SEO staff to do your link building in-house?
Next Steps: Action Items For You
That’s it on today’s topic “Understanding SEO Link Building“. Subscribe to my announcement list to stay tuned for the part 2 to discover the steps to start building back links to your website using the above methods and some others.
In the mean time, I’ll want you to go out there and practice link building, using at least 3 of the above methods that are quick to do:
1.) Write one post each on HubPages.com and Squidoo.com, with a link back to your website
2.) Find 2 Forums on your website’s theme and setup a profile and signature. Find 2 topics to contribute to, two or three times a week.
3.) Sign up with these Blog-Bookmarking sites: Blogengage.com, BizSugar.com, BlogInteract.com and Blokube.Com AND start submitting your new and old posts there.
5.) COMMENT: Leave me a feedback on this post, let me know which of the above 3 action item tasks you have completed and don’t be shy to ask, if you ever get stuck while practicing:)
Coming Next – More On Link Building
- Step by step tutorial on how to build backlinks easily (many methods)
- Best Link Building Practices
- Simple and Free Time Saving Tools For Building Backlinks
- Indepth tutorial on each of the above link building methods
- Quality vs quality link building – which one is more effective?
- Manual vs automated link building
- Link building tools – would you need them?
- Examining top free and paid link building tools
- Should you outsource link building – why, how and where?
- What are the top affordable link building services for businesses on budget?
As usual, thanks for reading and I’ll see you on the comment side. Don’t forget to help me share this post on Twitter, Facebook, Google+1, Stumbleupon, LinkedIn – it’s easy with the one-click buttons above left and down below:)
Yours in mastering link building,