What is link-building?
Link building is a common buzzword in the SEO space. You have probably heard it and you probably still have no idea what it means.
When broken down, link building is simple – it is a means to establish endorsements from other websites on the internet to signal to Google that you and your website are a trusted source.
Everyone knows that content is exceptionally important to relay to Google when your content would be the best answer for a searcher. Having a depth of content signals you are an authority in the subject matter and thus a valuable resource for a searcher.
The true test is whether or not your content is cited. If your content is extremely well written and authoritative, websites will want to use your content as a cited source which shows Google that you really are the authority on this particular topic.
How link-building affects your ranking
What happens when two websites have equally authoritative content? What if Google decides you have both worked hard to provide quality content? How does Google decide who will appear in the #4 spot and then #5 spot? Or who will rank number 1 instead of number 2?
This is where additional ranking factors come into play. Link building is one of the more powerful additional ranking factors which help act as a tie breaker in the above scenario.
Let’s say the following is true:
Site A has links to their site on six different trusted sites*
Site B has links to their site on eight different trusted sites*
In this scenario, site B will outrank site A simply because more trusted sites are endorsing their website. Google is able to understand that site B is trusted more in the internet world. Very similar to a voting system.
*Google has its own number system for ranking a site’s trustworthiness
The importance of building natural links and staying away from Spammy link-building
Carrying on that voting system and endorsement theme, if you are endorsed by a very untrustworthy or spammy site, Google will be led to believe that you are surrounding yourself with bad websites which must mean that your website is also of the same caliber. This is, at a very basic level, why you want to ensure you are building natural links from trustworthy sites.
You are judged and ranked based on who is connected to you through hyperlinks online.
Great, now I understand links, but how do I actually build these natural links?