Link-building is one of the most important ways to improve a website’s ranking on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs), making it a fundamental component of any Search Engine Optimization (‘SEO’) strategy.
In fact, links are Google’s go-to signal for ranking websites. The popularity of a website will be determined by the number of inbound links from quality, high authority, and relevant / related websites. This is because links essentially operate as a “vote of confidence” or signal to search engines that the linked site is a quality resource worthy of citation.
SEOs have historically used various link-building techniques to manipulate SERP rankings. However, search engines are continually evolving and becoming increasingly sophisticated at filtering out these types of links. The Google Penguin algorithm update is an example of this evolution, which has resulted in a shift the search engine’s focus from link quantity to link quality. In fact, search engines now devalue and penalize websites that use low-quality or manipulative links.
Therefore the real challenge is not simply implementing link-building into your affordable SEO packages, but rather, implementing high quality link-building into your SEO strategy. Low-quality or manipulative link-building may actually be detrimental to your SEO strategy and the overall success of your website.
So what factors influence the perceived quality of link-building? There are various factors that will influence the quality (or not) of your link and in turn your website’s SERP rankings.Some of these factors are:
Authority of the Page:
Links from high-authority pages are perhaps the most important factor in determining the quality of your link. Specifically, links from high-authority pages have significantly more influence on your website’s SERP ranking than links from low-authority pages.
Authority of the Website:
Further to the above, links from a high-authority websites will also have significantly more influence on your website’s SERP ranking than links from low-authority websites.
Relevancy of the Website:
Relevancy of the website containing the link is another factor which determines the persuasiveness of the link. For example, if your website is about surfing and you get a link from a website about gardening, the link will not be persuasive. To be an ‘authority link’ the link must be placed on a website with close relevance to your own.
Link’s Position on the Page:
Put simply, a link is most authoritative when placed in the main body of the page containing the link. For example, a link will not be nearly as persuasive if placed in a footer of an article.
An editorial link (otherwise known as a “natural links”) is a link that is a genuine endorsement from the linking website and will have significant and positive influence on the linked website’s SERP rankings. Do note that unnatural links may be considered a violation of search engine guidelines.
As mentioned above, search engines are continually evolving and developing algorithms to ensure that SEO techniques (and in particular, link-building) are carried out in a legitimate fashion. Therefore, while link-building is an important aspect of SEO, and perhaps hugely influential in terms of the success of a website, link-building strategies must be used in a way that is both legitimate and high-quality to be effective.