How to go about link building.We often talk about the importance of link building as a way of increasing how Google views your website. The importance of links to your website has not diminished but the way that they are valued has changed a lot since the early days of Google.

Consider the origins of the search algorithms used for Google – originally they were developed for cataloguing academic articles and papers. More prominence was given to those articles that were“cited” often by their peers – the more they were cited, the more important they were deemed to be.

This was developed and adapted to consider links as a way of measuring the importance and trust associated with a webpage. The trouble is, people realised that they could generate lots of links to their own web pages and convince Google and other search engines that their page was important enough to feature in the top few listings in the search results. Such “black hat” techniques devalued the Google search algorithms so they quickly acted to change things.

Now Google sets more prominence to the source of a link to your web page. The more highly regarded the website that is linking to yours, the more “kudos” is given to your web page. The most highly regarded sites in the UK would be those with .gov (Government) and (academic) URLs and then large well–known organisations like the BBC. In fact, having lots of links to your web page from “low value” websites and directories can actually harm your web page’s standing in Google.

How to get worthwhile links

Apart from registering in directories etc., what other ways can be used to build links?

The first and best approach is through the generation and publication of quality, valuable content. You can try:

Creating infographics – Publish these on your own website and promote via social media. Also, suggest influencers publish them on their website and give them an accompanying guest post for them to use.

Create a white paper which gives interesting, valuable information which people will be happy to link to and share.

Create videos that are useful and include a call to action to share.

Join discussions on forums and post your link when relevant to the discussion – be careful with how and when you do this as it is quite “spammy” if not done in a genuine and “open” way.

You can use several tactics to help build and maintain links to your web pages:

  1. Finding dead links – Use a tool such as Rank Signals to find those links to your website pages that are broken because you have moved the content or removed it all together. Contact the site to offer them the correct URL to use.
  2. Skyscraper approach – If you build a skyscraper I will build a bigger and better one!

In this approach you find a piece of content linked to by your target website, improve upon it and then offer your new and improved version to the website owners.

  1. Opportunity prospecting – Use specific search terms involving your keyword phrases to locate sites that are relevant to the subject you have content about and contact them to offer your content justifying why they should link to it.

Link Building is an ongoing task that should be undertaken alongside a programme of Search Engine Optimisation. It is not a magic solution to the problem of getting your website higher in the search results and done badly it can harm your search rankings.

To learn more about link building and search engine optimisation consider our Introduction to Search Engine Optimisation course.