Link building is one of the most effective SEO tactics. Without appropriate backlinks, getting to the top of SERPs is unlikely. Today, let’s look at the 5Ws of link building and go through some examples to see the process in action.
What is link building?
Link building is the process of acquiring hyperlinks from external websites to your web content. Contacting other website owners, determining the link format and anchor text, and setting the actual publish day are all part of the link-building process. The ultimate goal is to increase the exposure of a certain page or website.
Imagine you invented a new biscuit with a spicy flavor. To increase the product’s exposure, you would reach out to different vendors and work with local and chain stores, online grocery stores, and even vending machines to sell your spicy biscuit. You could also ask media/news outlets to promote your new product. Essentially, you’re building invisible links, connecting external parties with your brand and products, allowing greater exposure through more channels.
Who should be involved?
In general, link building is handled by in-house digital marketers or agencies that you have hired. The contacts for each external website will also be involved. These people could include marketers, public relations communicators, media reporters, etc. This will depend on the type of website you are contacting.
Continuing on from the example above, if you were promoting your new spicy biscuit and stocking it in stores, the people involved would be marketers, purchasers, owners, consumers, etc.
Where should link building take place?
The beauty of the internet is that it’s everywhere; therefore, link outreach can take place anywhere. It’s not the location that matters as much, but rather the way you cultivate relationships with people over the web.
The most traditional place that link building takes place is through direct emails. SEOs will send a greeting email to other websites, asking to cooperate and have a hyperlink point back to their own sites. This can come in the form of guest posts, paid links, or link exchanges. You can also first initialize a relationship with your targets over social media before reaching out to them directly.
Using the same example as above, you’d go anywhere you could that would build awareness for your spicy biscuit. Think of tradeshows, start-up events, and networking events. This will grow your connections, and whenever you want to ask for help or cooperation in the future, it will be easier because you have an established relationship.
When should it happen?
From an SEO perspective, link building should be a continuous process. However, when time and resources are big constraints, you can prioritize when to build links.
You should really start when your website is relatively low in domain authority (DA) or when you are trying to rank for highly competitive keywords. If your DA is too low, it is very difficult for your site to rank on SERPs. On the other hand, using a backlink with targeted keywords as anchor text will significantly help a webpage rank better on search engines.
Getting awareness for your brand and products is especially important when your business is starting and growing. In the beginning when no one knows about you is when you need to cultivate exposure for your spicy biscuit! When your business becomes more mature, getting exposure may become more important only when you are launching a new sweet biscuit or when you are competing over a specific market, say when trying to break into Japan’s highly competitive spicy biscuit market.
Why is it important?
In the digital world, search engines are the biggest referring agents. They value and refer websites that they think are trustworthy. Backlinks are a vital factor for search engines to determine which websites to refer.
The quality and quantity of backlinks directly affect domain and page authority. The higher your site’s authority, the easier it will be to rank well on search engines. Therefore, link building is one of the determining factors of any successful SEO campaign. Essentially, more links leads to higher authority, and higher authority leads to higher ranking and traffic.
The more trustworthy media, newspapers, and stores promote and refer your spicy biscuit, the more direct and indirect business benefits you will get. Long-lasting business usually consists of significant relationships and referrals. Link building is the same.
Link building is like a business building networks and promoting its products in real life. It’s clear then why link building is so important for digital marketing—and how it can help your business grow.