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What is link building? You may have wondered if you were ever involved in digital marketing or website optimization. Link building is a fundamental aspect of SEO, where the goal is to procure hyperlinks from external websites to your own.

Much like building roads between cities, these inbound links act as pathways, guiding users and search engines from one web property to another. By establishing a robust network of high-quality, relevant links, a website can enhance its authority, improve its search engine ranking, and increase its overall online visibility.

Not Just Any Link Will Do

What is Link Building? Graphic of bot looking for quality links in a pile SEO terms

Search engines assign a value to these inbound links. That’s why you need links from high-quality websites and domains. This creates relationships between your page and other relevant pages on the web in the process.

Make it your goal to get a good rank on the web for your small business’s goods and services. When you do, your website shows up ahead of the competition when people search.

Here’s a word from Ahrefs about what link building is and its importance:

Inbound Links

What is Link Building? - graphic of electronic link against digital background

Small Business Trends interviewed Moz Principal Search Scientist Russ Jones to learn how small businesses should use this digital marketing tool. Jones also explained why small businesses should never buy inbound links.

He started by explaining how the immediacy of the online world comes into play.

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“The average Google search session lasts less than one minute, meaning searchers aren’t spending a great deal of time searching for the best restaurant, IT service or car dealership — they are looking for the quickest results,” Jones explained.

“This means that while you may, in fact, own the best car dealership in a given area, if you aren’t ranking highly in search engine results, people likely aren’t finding you.”

Link Building

What is Link Building - link building word written on a notepad

Link building falls under the banner of what’s commonly called search engine optimization (SEO). The State of Local SEO says well over half (64%) of marketers reported Google was pretty much the de facto “homepage” for their small business clients. But almost 20% of in-house small business marketers admitted they weren’t using SEO to full advantage. Moz recently published The State of Local SEO to highlight some of these issues.

Websites need inbound links to get found online. But avoid those emails small businesses get promising inbound links from high domain authority websites? You should never buy inbound links from companies in this industry?

The Problem With Buying Inbound Links

What is Link Building?Why Should You NEVER Buy Inbound Links - unhappy person looking at results on a tablet

Jones explains how the search engines have started to catch on to the link buying and selling game.  Small businesses may hire some of these companies to provide inbound links. Unfortunately for site owners, the links often prove to be from low quality sites that provide little in the way of value to people searching on the Internet. So, a small business might buy a huge volume of inbound links without getting good results in the way of ranking.

Jones explains the spiraling negative consequences of getting caught using this system.

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“Search engines have developed algorithms to identify sites that have a high number of inbound links from websites that are acting, essentially, as link warehouses and little else,” he says. “Search engines then devalue the website in question, assuming it is also a low-quality website that is likely to produce low-quality outcomes for users. This means that small business owners may be spending money to get worse search outcomes.”

What Small Business Needs To Do Instead

This doesn’t mean small business must stay away from all link building or SEO. But consider some alternatives to buying links. Also  think about what’s commonly called White Hat SEO practices.

“Small businesses can employ a wide range of tactics to improve their search engine rankings: reviewing SEO best practices, launching a link building campaign, and reviewing the factors that influence a website’s ability to rank for local searches,” Jones says. He adds the whole task might sound overwhelming. But you can get a variety of reports and guides through Moz to get started.

Beyond Domain Authority

Jones says small businesses need to look beyond just domain authority. They need to look at authority as a comparative metric.

Small businesses should look instead at other metrics like Page Authority, Rankings and Click Through Rate. And internet marketers who work for them must do so as well. But other important factors to consider include keyword metrics. Think about the difficulty and volume of the ones you pick.

Understanding SEO: Simplifying Complex Concepts

What is Link Building? Graphic of SEO, surrounded by its key components

As you get more involved with link building and SEO practices, it’s like unraveling a big ball of yarn. To make things easier, we’ve broken down the key points into three straightforward tables.

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  1. Types of SEO Practices: This table categorizes SEO techniques, giving you a clear picture of ethical and potentially harmful strategies. It’s an excellent starting point for those new to SEO or businesses looking to refine their approach.
  2. Inbound Link Building Pros and Cons: Here, you’ll find a balanced view of inbound link building. While the benefits are manifold, understanding the potential pitfalls can guide you away from common mistakes and towards best practices.
  3. Metrics to Consider: SEO isn’t just about inbound links. Several metrics come into play when determining your website’s health and potential ranking. This table sheds light on these essential metrics, equipping you with the knowledge to monitor your site’s performance effectively.

By referencing these tables, you can navigate the intricate landscape of SEO with greater confidence, ensuring your strategies are both informed and impactful.

Table 1: Inbound Link Building Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
Enhances website authority Links from low-quality sites can harm reputation.
Improves search engine ranking Buying links might lead to penalties.
Increases online visibility Time-consuming to build genuine links.

Table 2: Types of SEO practices

Type of SEO Practice Description
Inbound Link Building Procuring hyperlinks from external, reputable sources to guide users and search engines to your site.
White Hat SEO Ethical and genuine SEO techniques that play by the rules of search engines.
Black Hat SEO SEO practices that attempt to deceive or manipulate search engine algorithms, such as buying inbound links.

Table 3: Metrics to Consider

Metric Purpose
Domain Authority Evaluates the overall strength and authority of a website’s domain.
Page Authority Measures the potential ranking capability of a single page.
Rankings The position of a website or page in search engine results.
Click Through Rate The ratio of users who click on a link to the number of total users who view a page.
Keyword Metrics Includes considerations like keyword difficulty and volume.

Image: Depositphotos.com




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