As the general public becomes more reliant on popular search engines like Google, real estate on its SERPS (Search Engine Results Pages) will only become more sought after. With more competition from companies on the prowl for online visibility, comes more algorithm restrictions. Algorithm restrictions lead to more rules to prevent shortcuts, thus resulting in even more competition. It’s like a vicious circle of SEO!
One thing brands tend to lack credentials in most? Link building, which is what we’re going to cover today!
But before we can get into the nitty-gritty of Link Building, let’s take a step back into the fundamentals.
Consider Google’s Algorithm
We dig a bit deeper into Google’s Algorithm in our “How to Avoid Google Penalties” article, but you don’t need to understand every facet unless you’re interested. We’ll break down the need-to-know details here, but feel free to read more in-depth – the information is important!
Long story short, nobody (except for Google) knows the exact components of their constantly evolving algorithm, but we do know a good portion of it.
Google prioritizes web pages for select keywords based on three main factors (again, we’re oversimplifying this) consisting of:
Keyword Relevance: how relevant your web page is to the phrase that was searched
Context/Semantics of Content: how relevant the context of your web page is to the phrase that was searched
Domain Authority: how credible your website is (in Google’s eyes), based on the quality and quantity of inbound backlinks
It Starts With Keyword Relevance
It’s true that keyword relevance isn’t purely as important as it used to be after the Hummingbird Update. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t important at all. This is because it’s how Google determines the first batch of pages to choose from for its algorithm.
Between incorporating word-for-word keywords in your content and Google considering contextual clues, this is a fairly straightforward starting point.
To get your web page(s) to be considered, begin by:
✔️ aiming to optimize your content for 1-3 important keywords
✔️ naturally create your content around these keywords without awkwardly overusing them
✔️ provide helping tips that are relevant to said keywords
But what happens when similar sites are targeting the same keywords with similar content?
Domain Authority Serves As The Tie-Breaker
It’s no secret that people look to search engines like Google to provide them with much-needed information. But how can Google determine what’s “credible”? They can hire whole lotta proofreaders or… consider this very important element into their algorithm.
Let’s start with what a backlink actually is and does.
Have you ever read an article, only to see blue, clickable text like this? That’s a hyperlink, which can take you to just about anywhere throughout the internet. When one website links to another, this is called a “backlink”.
In Google’s eyes, a backlink is seen as a referral in credibility, meaning if you’re linking to someone’s website, you’re basically saying they’re an authority in whatever topic you’re discussing. The fundamentals of this idea are similar to “citing your sources’ back in high school. Google doesn’t have the time or manpower to manually check the credibility of millions of websites across the world, so they let the will of the people determine them… sort of.
There are criteria to follow. For instance, inbound links from .gov or .edu sites are seen as more credible because they’re from government or educational institutions. Your collection of inbound links will make up your Domain Authority, the category that determines your website’s overall credibility as compared to similar websites.
So, Is Link Building That Important?
That depends… if you’re trying to rank for moderate-to-competitive keywords, then link building is 100% essential. It’s how Google determines who to trust and unfortunately, there are no shortcuts.
Trying to artificially build low-quality links from no-name sites won’t only not help your cause, it’ll get you penalized. You have to build links from credible sources that are well known in their respective field or industry. But there are only so many links to go around…
This is why so many brands look to established agencies who can build them credible links and actually improve their SEO rankings long-term.
Sure, you can build your own links. You just need to allocate hours of time towards a talented, goal-oriented team for a long-term project. But we’re guessing you might not have time for that. That’s where we come in – we’ve been helping businesses of all sizes and industries rank on Google for over 20 years. Whether you want to work with us or not, we’ll be happy to analyze your SEO strategy for free to get you started. Give us a call today at (800) 978-3417!