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Link Building Strategies

What can a link building strategy do for your business?


Why a Link Building Strategy

For search engines, links are the streets between web pages. Using sophisticated link analysis, the engines can discover how pages are related to each other.

Search engines treat links as votes for popularity and importance in the ever evolving search landscape. The engines themselves have refined the use of link data to a fine art, and use complex algorithms to perform and evaluate web sites and pages based on this information.

Links aren't everything in SEO, but search professionals attribute a large portion of the engines' algorithms to link-related factors. Through links, search engines can not only analyze the popularity websites and pages based on the number and popularity of pages linking to them, but also metrics like trust, spam, and authority. Trustworthy sites tend to link to other trusted sites, while spammy sites receive very few links from trusted sources. The authority models, suggest that links are a very good way of identifying expert documents on a given subject.

 This heavy focus on links means that growing the link profile of a website is essential to gaining traction, attention, and traffic from the engines. For an SEO, link building is among the top tasks required to improve search ranking and traffic volume.

Link Signals

How do search engines assign value to links? Below is a list of factors worthy of consideration. These signals, and many more, are considered by professional SEOs when measuring link value and a site's link profile.

Global Popularity
The more popular and important a site is, the more links from that site matter. A site like Wikipedia has thousands of diverse sites linking to it, which means it's probably a popular and important site.

Local/Topic-Specific Popularity
Suggests that links from sites within a topic-specific community matter more than links from general or off-topic sites. For example, if your website sells shoes, a link from a Shoe related site matters much more than one from a site about books.

Anchor Text
One of the strongest signals the engines use in rankings is anchor text. If dozens of links point to a page with the right keywords, that page has a very good probability of ranking well for the targeted phrase in that anchor text.

In order to weed out this irrelevant content, search engines use systems for measuring trust, many of which are based on the link graph. Earning links from highly-trusted domains can result in a significant boost to this scoring metric.

Link Neighborhood
Spam links often go both ways. A website that links to spam is likely spam itself, and in turn often has many spam sites linking back to it.

Link signals tend to decay over time. Sites that were once popular often go stale, and eventually fail to earn new links. Thus, it's important to continue earning additional links over time.

Social Sharing
The last few years have seen an explosion in the amount of content shared through social services such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. Although search engines treat socially shared links differently than other types of links, they notice them nonetheless.

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