Link building 101: Why it matters for SEO

27 February 2023

The goal of link building, as a part of SEO is to increase visibility and the number of visitors to your website, by trying to obtain a higher position in (Google) search engines results. But how does link building contribute to your overarching SEO strategy? How do you implement qualitative link building? And why is it a good idea to outsource link building?


Link building as a part of SEO

For growth focused organisations, there comes a time when having a strong position in Google becomes important. That’s when you need a clear SEO strategy that delivers organic visibility, online findability, and conversions. 

Link building can play an important role in that strategy, but it is still only one part of a larger whole. Do you want to get the most out of your website? Then you need to focus efficiently on SEO — and take into account the various factors that Google uses to determine rankings.

The 3 basic pillars of effective SEO:

1.     Technology: Fast, secure, and responsive websites are always one step ahead for Google.

2.     Content: It is crucial that your website contains relevant content that answers the user's search query and search intent.

3.     Links: You can optimise your website's link profile endlessly by obtaining relevant, qualitative links from other domains. 

Focusing on these three pillars will give you a solid SEO foundation — a great starting point to improve your organic rankings. Only when that foundation is in place can you move on to more advanced SEO practices.

What is link building?

The purpose of link building is to ensure that other websites refer to your website with a backlink. Google uses the presence of backlinks to give your website a higher authority based on two factors:

1.     The authority of the domains that link to your website.

2.     The number of domains that link to your website.

And that authority means that your website will enjoy higher rankings in Google's search results. A backlink from a large newspaper is more reliable than a backlink from a small blog without unique content.

How do you ensure that websites link to your website?

To get backlinks from other websites, you need to identify which websites you want to target, so you can draw up a targeted plan of action — which is guaranteed to get you further than a copy-paste e-mail.

Once you've determined which websites are relevant to you, there are multiple ways to obtain backlinks:

  • Guest blogging: Many blogs encourage guest blogging. You can find this in the "About Us" or "Contact Us" page.

  • Web directories: A web directory doesn't typically have much authority or link value, but it does add to the base of the link value of the page you want to link to.

  • Outreach: With outreach, you actively contact websites and ask if they want to link to your website in an article.

Make sure the links you get are do-follow — otherwise Google won't be able to index the link, and it won't add value to your website.

How do you recognise authority?

Authority is determined, among other things, by the following factors:

  • Other websites with high authority (think of universities, municipalities, newspapers, and well-known blogs) link to the website.

  • The website has a clear, logical structure and  is easy to navigate — both for human users and for Google's crawlers.

  • The website is actively and consistently updated with new content.

The Complete SEO Guide

Link building is an essential part of SEO. But how do you set up a solid SEO strategy that gets you to the top of the search results? Our experts have put together an essential guide.

SEO guide | iO

Link building: why hire an external expert?

As we explained earlier, link building is part of an overarching SEO approach. But why is it a good idea to outsource it to a link building agency? And how do you get started?

Many link building agencies offer packages for relatively low prices — and that's where things go wrong. There is a big difference between obtaining backlinks and obtaining qualitative backlinks

Anyone can buy a number of backlinks on a homepage or from such a link building package, and that is precisely why it adds less value to your website.

If you want to do qualitative link building, you look beyond just obtaining the backlink. These factors link building specialists often look at:

  • Relevance.

  • Authority (TF/DA).

  • Referring domains.

  • Course of the link value.

  • Do-follow or no-follow.

  • Organic traffic.

  • Organically scoring pages.

  • Value for money.

  • Anchor texts.

  • Other types of links on the page.

Quality link building through an agency can therefore make a significant difference in maintaining or growing to a strong position on a highly competitive term in the SERP.

Our link building experts always ask themselves several important questions when identifying the right page and anchor for link building:

  • Does the content on the page have the right intent for a particular search term?

  • How does the page rank in Google now?

  • On which search terms does the page score now?

  • What is the CTR?

  • Which search terms have the most search volume?

  • Does the page convert?

  • What is the ROI?

In addition to external link building, it is also important to have your internal linking in order. You don't want the wrong pages to get your hard-earned link value — or to score in Google on a search term that doesn't convert.

By paying attention to all these small details, link building specialists ensure that you can score — even on highly competitive search terms — in the top 3, instead of beyond the first page.

Authors: Tara Bakker, Cristine Hersilia & Rik Ravelli (Performance Marketeers SEO)

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