Increasing your rankings on Google is no easy feat. With algorithms continuously changing and competitors constantly trying to outrank you, how can you stay ahead of the game in the search engine results? The answer is link building.

What is link building?

While Google’s algorithms are complex and always evolving, the importance of backlinks has always remained the same. So, what is “backlinking” or “link building”? Well, it’s exactly what it sounds like. It’s an SEO tactic in which you acquire links from other sites. And, why is this important? In a recent study done by Backlinko they found the number of domains linking to a page correlated with rankings more than any other factor. In this study they analyzed 1 million Google search results and found a site’s overall link authority strongly correlated with higher rankings.

Source

To understand this better, let’s take a look at the way search engines (SEs) work:

Search engines start by crawling pages, then they extract the content from those pages and put it into their index. When SEs extract the content, they also look at how many external quality links are pointing to that particular page. The more quality links a page has, the higher it will rank in the organic search results. In other words, a quality link to your page can be seen as a “vote of confidence” and shows Google that your page is a useful resource that is worthy of a citation.

What is a quality link?

Now you must be wondering “what defines a quality link?” By no means do you want links from any old site that’s willing to give you one. Here are two things to look for in a potential backlink opportunity:

  1. Relevancy: It’s important to only get links from sites that are relevant to your niche. For example, if you are trying to build links to a healthcare software website you wouldn’t want a link from a website that sells shoes. It confuses SEs and may actually cause you to rank lower.
  2. Reliability: Make sure to avoid links from spammy sites, and only make an effort to get backlinks from high-quality, trustworthy sites.

How do I get backlinks?

We’ve covered the definition of link building and the importance of quality links, so how do actually build links back to your site? There are a few different methods, but — keep in mind — each approach requires time and patience. Link building is not a quick process that happens overnight, it takes a lot of time and effort to build a well-rounded backlink portfolio. At Elevation, these are our favorite white hat methods for producing reliable backlinks:

  1. High-quality content: Create compelling content that people will naturally want to link to. This is the best way to build links in the eyes of any search engine optimizer. People love to link to things like original research and stats or guides and infographics. Once you’ve created this content, make sure to share it and spread the word whether it is across social media or via email. While this may be the best way to approach to link building, it’s not always guaranteed that people will actually link to your content, which brings us to the next best method.
  2. Guest blogging: Share your advice with trustworthy, relevant websites and include a link to your site somewhere within the body of the article. Not only will you receive a backlink, but also, you’ll establish thought leadership with a whole new audience.

There are also some other methods that include the broken link method, giving testimonials, etc., but at Elevation these are the methods we use on a daily basis.

Now that we’ve gone through our favorite white hat methods of link building, let’s discuss the black hat methods that should be completely avoided. These methods include:

  1. Buying links: This is a BIG no-no. You may actually get banned from search engines for doing this. Specifically, Google considers these links spam and they should be avoided at all costs.
  2. Getting no-follow links: While you won’t get in trouble from SEs for this, it does nothing for your site or rankings. For example, if you’re taking the time to write a quality guest post for a site, then make sure they will at least provide you with a do-follow link.
  3. Links from irrelevant sites: We already mentioned this earlier, but — to reiterate — only attempt to get links from sites that are in the same niche as you.

Conclusion

The importance of building backlinks is clear. Search engines largely consider how many links are pointing to your site when deciding which sites to rank in the search engine results. In fact, at Elevation we’ve seen how this affects our SEO firsthand. Over the past year, we’ve buckled down on our link building efforts and have seen in increase in our organic search engine rankings and traffic.

If you’re looking to boost your rankings in Google, link building should be a top priority. It’s important to keep in mind that link building is a marathon, not a sprint, and you shouldn’t expect to see results overnight. But, these efforts pay off tremendously and will help you rank above your competition in the long run. Need help with your link building efforts? We’re here to help! Reach out to the experts today for more information.