Inbound link building 101

When the search engines started to rank websites, links were one of the major factors that influenced ranking results. In a way, links were “the points” each site gets so engines are able to sort them out. Along with other content, Google was one of the first that decided to rely heavily on links to analyze websites’ relevancy. Even though much is changing over the years, inbound link building remains one of the most important strategies to improve websites’ rating. This, over time, lead to an increase in traffic and, in the best case, results in better popularity and profit.

Inbound link building in essence

The easiest way to explain is that link building is a strategy to get other websites to place links that leads to your website. The more relevance and authority those sites have, the greater is the benefit to your website. At the fundamental level, every business should consider implementing a quality inbound link building strategy to improve their business. It’s one of many strategies to drive referral traffic but still a crucial one. Simply put, the more quality backlinks a website has, the higher rating it will earn.

What are inbound links?

Inbound links are also referred to as backlinks or external links. In essence, they are hyperlinks that point from one website to another. You can think of them as the currency, or votes, or points that search engines use to rank websites. When a high authority website refers back to your website through the link, you improve your online rating.

Dots over the map of Earth connecting the entire world.
Links are like a neural network that connects websites.

How do you benefit from them?

Like we said, if you look at inbound links as a currency, the better are inbound links the more value they bring to your website. The same goes if you look at them as a reputation grade. Here, the quality of links is of utmost importance. For example, few inbound links from high authority websites like Wikipedia are worth more than dozens of backlinks from incognito sites or blogs. It’s all about the authority, which older and larger sites possess. In a world where the competition is heavy, quality backlinks can help with advertising, network expanding, and improving your brand. As a consequence, more people will see your website, you will be recognized as trustworthy, your reputation is increasing, and you are becoming the authority yourself.

How search engines use inbound links?

Search engines use links in two major ways:

  • They use “crawlers” to discover new websites and pages on the internet
  • They index those websites and pages and measure and decide about rankings in their results

What happens here is that they are deciding if a website has enough quality for better or worse ranking for certain keywords. In this process, they also look at other elements:

  • The content of pages and its quality and length
  • Number of inbound and outbound links
  • Quality of inbound and outbound links
  • Keywords
  • Loading speed
  • Page optimization
  • The magnitude of content updates
  • Multimedia elements
  • Broken links
  • Authority
  • and many many more

Approximately, Google is using about 200 different factors to determine the ranking. While all can be relevant, some groups of factors are still more important than others. It’s up to SEO experts to decide how to approach search engine optimization, and which strategy to implement.

Some of the inbound link-building strategies

Overall, there are various inbound link building strategies out there. Usually, depending on what you wish to accomplish, you will decide to focus more on some than on others. Because, generally, it can be a tremendously hard and time-consuming task to complete. Even more, this is the process that needs to be constantly developed for the best results. For this reason, only those that continuously upgrade their strategies stand above their competition. Without further ado, here is a couple of common inbound link building strategies you should consider and combine.

Create quality content

In general, unique, appealing, relevant, and quality content is the best way to naturally acquire links to your website. The content needs to be fresh, original, and you should always create more. Above all, it has to be useful and up-to-date. Also, no one will know of its existence unless you spread the word. So, outreach, share, promote, whatever it takes to improve the chance of getting inbound links.

Reviews and ratings

If you have a product, rating and reviews can be a powerful tool when battling competition. Reach out and advertise your products and ask for feedback. In the best case, you can get good reviews on blogs and other websites with quality backlinks to your site. You can also get high ratings which serve as a grade of quality and trust for your products. And, this is a good way that people start to recommend your products or services.

Partner up

Get your network connections and ask them to link to your website. Don’t forget that this is not asking for favors because you are doing the same for them. In essence, it’s important that the linking content is relevant, so it’s best to reach out to those in the same niche. Just don’t forget to comply with Google’s guidelines to avoid any kind of penalty.

Explore the competition and target keyword phrases

First, allow people to write for you. There are many out there looking for the opportunity to contribute, depending on the topic. However, this process can take a lot of time. Don’t expect instant results. Second, explore the keywords and your competition. See which strategies they are using and where their inbound links are coming from. If nothing else, this can give you a great insight to see what is working and what is not. Third, always monitor your backlinks and analyze the results.

A man, monitoring and analyzing marketing results.
Monitoring is the best way to improve.

Check resource listings

There are many blogs and websites out there that are looking for quality links to populate their listing. In a way, you need to already have high-quality content that you can represent to them. But, be careful about targeting.

Find sites that accept guest posts

You should be able to find many websites, forums, and blogs that can provide you with great backlinking opportunities. However, you need to be careful about who you are choosing. Again, those with high authority are your best choice. Usually, you should avoid domains where your content might be marked as spam. Or those with low relevance and suspicious actions that can lead to penalties.

Broken links strategy

What this means is that you go out and search for websites, pages, and blogs with broken links. Then, you offer similar content that can replace them. Remember, it can be time-consuming to write articles. It also, mostly, depends on the human factor and communication between you and other page owners. Do your best to explain mutual benefits from this campaign when reaching out.

404 error “not found” on a webpage.
Replacing non existing pages can be a good strategy.

Even though search engine algorithms are constantly changing, strong SEO strategies should not be affected by it. Carefully consider all your options when choosing the best strategy for your website. There are many choices out there and some might be better than others. Nevertheless, the inbound link building is still one of the best ways to get quality long-term results.

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