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Linking building is the practice of building hyperlinks (also known as backlinks) to a website to improve the site’s visibility in search engines. Link building tactics include PR, content marketing, email outreach, broken link building & creating digital assets on site.

Why Are Links Important For SEO?

Historically, search engines such as Alta Vista & Yahoo were the dominant players in the search engine market. Both search engines ranked their search results based upon the content of a webpage. When Google entered the marketplace with their innovative PageRank Algorithm, they literally changed the game. Instead of analysing the content of a page, Google prioritised how many sites linked to that page.

20 years later & backlinks still remain as one of Google’s strongest ranking signals. However, in the rollout of the Penguin core algorithm update in 2012, Google began prioritising the quality & relevance of links to a page as opposed to simply the quantity.


How Do You Define Link Quality?

Good question. Link quality can be defined as the topical relevance of the link combined with the authority of the page itself. In other words, links from authoritative pages pass more authority (PageRank) to your site. Although Google don’t publicly share the PageRank information, they still use it as the foundation of their algorithm. Tools such as Ahrefs can be used to check a proxy indicator of PageRank, simply add your URL into Ahrefs & check out its “URL Rating”.

The quality of a link is also determined by a domains sitewide authority. For example, a link from MSN will pass significantly more value than a link from a local news publication. Again, Ahrefs can be also used to check a site's authority, simply add your URL into Ahrefs & check out its “Domain Rating”.

Site relevance matters too. For example, let’s say you own an interiors E-commerce business & you build a link from an authoritative site that publishes information about football. Will that link still pass value? Not according to Google.

…getting a link from a high PageRank page used to always be valuable, today it’s more the relevance of the site’s theme in regards to yours, relevance is the new PageRank.
Google Icon

Google

Position of Links

The position of a link on a page also matters. Is the link placed within a piece of content or is it embedded in the website footer? Links stashed away in footers or sidebars don’t pass anywhere near the same amount of value as a link within the page’s body content. In a nutshell, Google passes more value to links that are editorially placed within content.

Anchor Text

Anchor text is the clickable text of a link. Google also uses anchor text as a ranking signal. For example, let’s say you get a link to your site with anchor text “purple cushions”. Google analyses that anchor text & assumes the page the site is directed to must be about purple cushions. Co-Occurrences are also worth considering. Co-Occurrences are the words & phrases that surround your link. Google likely uses Co-Occurrences as precursor anchor text.

Nofollow vs Follow Links

rel=”nofollow” is a tag added to a link that tells search engines: “Don’t count this link as an endorsement.”. Obviously, when it comes to SEO, you want to get normal, “follow” links whenever possible.


Do Guest Posting Links Work?

A few years ago Matt Cutts, the head of Google’s webspam team came out & said…

So stick a fork in it: guest blogging is done; it has just gotten too spammy
Matt Cutts

Matt Cutts

Head of Google's Webspam Team

Is this the case? Well it depends. Here are some red flags that can make guest posting spammy...

🚩 The site exists solely to publish guest posts

🚩 Someone paid to publish the post

🚩 The site has no topical authority in relation to yours

🚩 The site meets the criteria above & has used exact match anchor text

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