Fundamentals Of Link Building – A Beginners Guide
In the previous chapter – 10 things you must know about HTML sitemap – we learned how HTML sitemap is very important for both users as well as search engines in easy site navigation. We also learned the benefits of HTML sitemap with respect to S.E.O. In this chapter – Fundamentals Of Link Building – A Beginners Guide – we will learn the basics of link building techniques. In other words, we will keep baby steps into the world of Link Building.
Link Building is considered to be the most discussed and debated topic in the SEO circle. This is also something that is not directly under the control of the webmaster. Link building is often called as “Off-Page Optimization”.
Before getting into the chapter, let me make a confession. Link building is not an easy task. It takes months and years of effort to build relevant and strong inbound links. And if someone tricks you into the belief that, they can help you get easy inbound links within weeks or months – you better beware. Though you may find quick results, it might not stay for long.
Let us begin with the definition of Link Building.
- What is Link Building?
- How will Link Building improve search rankings?
- What is Google Page Rank Algorithm?
- What is Link Equity (or Link Juice)?
- What is Google’s Penguin Penalty?
- What is the difference between “nofollow” links and “dofollow” links?
- What is the difference between “natural” and “unnatural” links?
Link building is the process of acquiring new inbound links popularly known as ‘backlinks’ to a website from external sites. Backlinks to a website are basically acquired for two important reasons. Firstly, drive more visitors to your website from other websites and secondly, improve search rankings of your website.
The importance of a particular website or webpage is determined by the number of quality links that it gets from other websites. Such links are also called as BackLinks. More the number of quality backlinks to a website or webpage, more importance is placed on such a website or webpage by search engines.
NOTE: The importance of a Webpage is measured based on a unit called – Google PageRank
This is because, the search algorithm assumes, if a particular website is deemed important by the users, it is likely to receive more links from other websites. Everyone likes to refer to a website that is rich in information – Wikipedia is the best example. Wikipedia attracts links from various websites from across the globe and always remains on top for most of the short tail keyword searches.
The importance of a website/webpage is measured by Google using a unit called Google PR(short for PageRank). Google Page Rank is a measure of a web page’s importance on a scale of 0 to 10, where 0 is the lowest and 10 is the highest. A website with higher page rank is considered more trustworthy in terms of relevance and quality in the eyes of Google.
The goal of your link building activity should be to acquire or obtain links to your website from only those websites that have a higher Google Page Rank.
For a clear understanding of Google Page Rank, I would highly recommend you read this chapter on – Google PageRank Algorithm In A Nutshell
In the eyes of any search engines, “link equity” (also referred as “link juice”) is the importance a particular website carries in terms of relevance, authority, trust etc. on a particular topic/subject. High link equity for a particular page is a sign of increased trustworthiness which is measured by Google’s search engine through a unit called Google PageRank.
When a website (say ‘A’) with high link equity points to another website (say ‘B’), a small amount of link equity gets passed to the referred website (i.e. page ‘B’). As a result, website ‘B’ earns little trust and will be considered as important in the eyes of search engines.
It is the same way as in real life when your trustworthy friend introduces you to his friend and you start putting little trust in the new guy.
NOTE: If you wish to link one page to another, but don’t want to pass link equity to the referring page, then, use “rel=nofollow” attribute in the HTML code. It looks like shown below:
<a href=”http://somelink.com” rel=”nofollow”>Some Link</a>
Google Penguin Penalty is a Google algorithm update that was launched on April 24, 2012. The major factor that the search engine uses to rank a particular website is by counting the number of quality external links (links from other websites) that points to it. Having known this, several website owners started acquiring external links manipulatively or illegally to their websites.
Such illegal ways of obtaining links to your website is considered as a black-hat technique and are famously called link schemes in the SEO circle. Google’s Penguin update detects such kind of websites that are involved in unnatural link building schemes and immediately down ranks such sites from SERPs.
For knowing more about Google’s important algorithmic updates, I recommend you to read this chapter – Important Google Algorithm Updates Every SEO Professional Should Know
Links can be classified into “nofollow” links and “dofollow” links.
When an external site places a “nofollow” link to your website, search engines will not pass link equity from the referring website to the referred website. Nofollow links will only help you get referral traffic, but will not improve your website’s search rankings nor add more trust to your website in the eyes of search engines.
An example of “Nofollow” Link:
<a href=”http://www.example.com/” rel=”nofollow”>Some Website</a>
When an external site places a “dofollow” link to your website, search engines will definitely pass link equity from referring website to the referred website. Dofollow links will not only help you get referral traffic, but will also increase the search engine’s trust on your website resulting in improved search rankings.
It is always the right idea to place the targeted keyword on the “dofollow” link to help search engines rank your pages on search results for those specific keywords.
An example of “Dofollow” Link:
<a href=”http://www.example.com/” >Some Website</a>
By default all the hyperlinks are dofollow. So, you don’t need to do anything to make a link do-follow.
To apply, “nofollow” and “dofollow” to an entire page of a website, use “meta robots tag”. To understand “meta robots” tag, I recommend you to read this chapter – Fundamental Understanding Of Meta Robots Tag
“Natural” links to your website, as the name suggests, are those links that are naturally obtained without the absolute intervention of the webmaster or website owner. Obtaining natural links establishes your site’s authority in the eyes of search engines.
If your website attracts natural links, then, the only reason behind it is – your website’s highly relevant, rich and quality focused content.
“Unnatural” links to your website are those links that are put up by the webmaster or website owner with the only intention to rank your sites high in the search engine result pages. It means even if you acquire links by carefully and intelligently placing it on other websites, with the only intention of increasing your rank, it is called “Unnatural” links.
Congratulations! You are done with the twenty-first chapter on “Fundamentals Of Link Building”. Hope you enjoyed the reading.
All the best for your next chapter on “Types of Link Building Techniques”. In the next chapter, you will learn different ways by which websites/webpages/webmasters obtain inbound links.
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Subhash.K.U is a Professional Programmer turned Digital Marketing Enthusiast. He is the most sought marketing consultants for small and medium scale businesses. He founded Subhash Digital Academy to teach professional digital marketing skills to students, entrepreneurs, and working professionals. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering and is an Oracle Certified Programmer. He also holds certificates of Google AdWords, Facebook Blueprint and Hubspot Marketing. He is the co-author of the best selling book – Cracking The C, C++ and Java Interview published by McGraw Hill. He is now penning another book on the subject of marketing and entrepreneurship.