Link Building SEO Basics From Semalt
Networking is one of the fundamentals of any successful business. To websites, SEO is a prerequisite for success and Links make up an important part of SEO as a whole. Links can be divided into three types, namely:
- Inbound links
- Outbound links
- Internal links
Using any or all of these types of links can benefit or hurt your SEO.
The Origin Of Links
When SEO was still a concept known to a few, and before Google existed, ranking on SERP or the web as a whole was heavily based on how many times keywords were used within a page's content. At that point, search engine were yet to develop complex and advanced algorithms, so using keywords were an easy way to find contents that matched a search query.
The logic was very basic: it was a game of quantity. The more times a website used the keyword phrase, the better it ranked. Since keywords are specific, it was a way for search engine algorithms to get the right content for search queries.
SEO practitioners noticed this loophole and exploited it as best they could. Keyword stuffing became quite common as SEO professionals used keywords unnaturally and as many times as they could to rank higher. This made it possible for sites to rank for a specific keyword even when it had no content that offered much on the search query.
Search engines realized a need for a new way to evaluate and understand what a site offered before ranking. Relying on keywords alone wasn't wise or efficient. It was time to look beyond the content alone.
The Emergence Of Google And PageRank
In 1996, Google was co-started by Larry Page and Sergey Brin. At first, the search engine's ranking algorithm was based on PageRank, which was developed by Larry Page while studying at Stanford University.
The idea behind PageRank was to use the links on a webpage to determine its ranking. One of Google's archived about us page explained how PageRank works by counting the quality and number of links to a page as a way of ascertaining how important the website is. This way fairly smart because the more important a page is, the more likely it is to receive more links from other websites.
So why are links so important? So much so that an algorithm was created to evaluate them as far back as 1996?
Internal, Inbound And Outbound Links
A link, also known as a hyperlink, are clickable objects or texts on a website. These links serve as portals from one page to another. These links may come in form of buttons, text, or images.
The classification of the different types of links is based on the destination of that link. When clicked, where does it take the reader? Links can transport readers to another page on the same site, a subheading of content on the same page, or a new page on a different website.
Internal links are links to help users navigate to new pages within your site. Search engines determine if a link is internal by looking at the domain name, and if a link sends its bots to another page within the same domain, they are categorized as internal links. If, for some reason, you decide to have more than one domain for your website, search engines will view the links crossing your domains as external links.
These are links that come in from a different domain or another website. Inbound links can be considered the best type of links you can have because when we discuss "the quality of links", most times, they fall under inbound links. The more other sites find your content valuable, the more they will link your content, which would help you gain more authority and rank on search engines. We would explain further below.
These are the links to put on your website to direct readers to another website with a different domain name.
When it comes to link building, inbound links are the ultimate price. Out of the three types of links mentioned above, inbound links are the most sought after. They come with the greatest SEO benefits, and they are also the hardest to obtain.
High-Quality Inbound Links
Growing links is important, but when all you're getting is poor-quality links, you wouldn't see any improvement in your ranking. That is because, with links, quality is more important than quality. Whenever a webpage links to another webpage, it is done for a reason.
Oftentimes, we use outbound links because the page we're linking to has information that supports or contributes more information on what we are discussing. Likewise, when a website links our content, they do so because they find our content beneficial to their audience.
On the other hand, an author may link a page to make an argument, criticize and condemn the content on that page.
Either way, both of these are good ways to acquire links. Your content may either be liked or disliked but what matters is that it has been able to provoke strong reactions, which shows that you have great content. When your content is good enough to get people talking, it indicates trustworthiness, credibility, and authority.
Likewise, Google considers the links on a site like votes. The more valid votes you get, the better you rank.
Poor Quality Links Are Considered Invalid
Have you ever had a fake friend? At first, they may appear great, but upon getting to know them, you discover they aren't so great after all. Sometimes, it's easy to spot fake friends, other times, it might take a while. This same concept applies to Google when it indexes webpages. As it goes through content, it discovers links that may appear like votes of trust, but what they might turn out to be things like:
- Online forums
- Blog comments
- Article directories
- Social media profiles
- Social bookmarking
- Q&A sites
These Are Called Artificial Links
Sometimes, Google quickly identifies that these links are fake almost immediately, but sometimes, it takes a while. These artificial links have negative impacts on the page. So if you are in need of a good, natural link, you can trust Semalt to create credible, authoritative, and trustworthy contents that will compel other sites to link your content.
PageRank values inbound links the most because it is a review given by another site to your site. The more inbound link a page gets, the more PageRank that page receives. But as the chain of link bounces from one page to another, the PageRank flow becomes weaker.
Most websites have their homepage endowed with the most inbound links. As a result, pages that are too far from the homepage in the same website decrease the PageRank significantly before search engine bots can get to the page. This causes linked pages which are far from the home page to perform poorly on SERP. Since it's so far off; it doesn't get inbound links; your best bet is to use internal links.
Internal links serve two primary purposes:
- It is designed to help users navigate pages of your site easily.
- It helps search engine bots crawl your entire site with fewer hops.
Some common areas to set up internal links include:
1. Normal Site Navigation
These links are usually located in the sidebar or in the top bar menu. You can also find them in the footer of every page. These links are built upon the site's architecture and how the different pages / topics and subtopics have been categorized and subcategorized from general to specific pages.
2. Related Pages
These are internal links we use to link a section of a page to another page or pages that are related to that specific topic or subtopic. This is beneficial and improves your UX because it gives users quick access to information they most likely would have searched for.
3. User Sitemaps
A sitemap is one page that serves as a portal to all other pages. Based on studies, three groups of people frequent a site:
- Those who use the normal site navigation route.
- Those who immediately head to the search box to find a page or content.
- Those who use the sitemap to discover pages.
For very large sites, using the sitemap can be quite complicated. In most cases, large sites only link the main category areas and not necessarily every page on their sitemap.
4. In Content Links
In content, links are used within the content of a page. They are links that can be added to words within a paragraph, subtopic, or topic on a page. This particular type of link is underutilized by many sites, and if not put under control, it can also be overutilized, which will have a negative impact on your SEO. In-Content links should be used in moderation and wisely. When done right, they are great, and users can jump to the most important section of content without having to scroll at all.
Now we didn't forget about outbound links. They are quite easy to get the hang of, and if you understand inbound links, figuring out which website you want to link to shouldn't be a problem.
We like to interact with our readers, so if you have any questions or if you'd like us to help with your linking problems, do not hesitate to contact us.