How to Improve Search Engine Rank with Links
Link building for industrial companies is one of the most important parts of SEO, but it’s also one of the elements that changes frequently. Today, having a few high-quality links is much more important than having a large number of links coming from to low-quality sites. Understanding how to create these good links, though, isn’t always easy. This guide breaks down everything you need to know about link building so you can quickly begin implementing this important SEO element.
What Is Link Building?
Before looking at how to link build, it’s a good idea to understand what link building is. Any time another website links to yours, you’re link building. Search engines such as Google look at these links to determine the connections between websites. When high-quality sites link to others, search engines usually consider those sites to be fairly high quality, too. As you can see, though, link building can be incredibly difficult because you have no control over it. You’re not adding elements to your own website—you’re trying to get other websites to add a link to you, and that’s not always easy.
What is a Link?
To understand why link building is so important, you have to first look at what a link is. Search engines break links down into four parts:
Example of a Link in HTML:
<a href=”https://www.google.com/” rel=”nofollow”>Google</a>
- The opening tag: This HTML code is called an anchor tag, and it lets web browsers and search engines know that the text that follows is a link. The anchor tag is <a for links.
- The referral location. This is the URL or website the link points to. It begins with href= and is followed by the website in quotation marks. It ends with a >.
- Anchor text: This is the text that anyone viewing your website see. They do not see the referral location at all. This text by default appears underlined and in blue on your page, although you can change that.
- Closing tag: This tag is a simple </a> and indicates that the anchor text has ended.
How Links Are Used by Search Engines
Search engines look at links for two different reasons. The first is to find new websites. Search engines follow links on every website they visit in order to add more websites to their indexes. The second way links are used by search engines is for ranking. While they aren’t the only determining factor, search engines do consider what pages a website links to and what pages link to that site.
Google started to look at links during the late 90s. That’s when they introduced PageRank, a metric that evaluated where websites should be ranked by a measure of a number of factors, including the links that point to that site. This metric, then became a part of Google’s ranking algorithm.
Why measure links? The idea is that if a website links to another, the people behind that website must believe that the site they’ve linked to is a relevant, high-quality site. If it’s not, why would they link to it? A link is basically an endorsement of the other website and can positively impact your search ranking.
Link Building Changes
Over the years, Google has had to update its algorithm regularly as unscrupulous webmasters figured out ways of manipulating links and other PageRank factors. Because of this, you’ve got to always be on top of what Google and other search engines are doing. While most of their algorithm changes are made to stop deceptive practices, some do collateral damage to legitimate SEO methods as well.
One of these changes has been to lower the number of points pages received from website directories. These directors are huge collections of links that users can use to quickly find pages on a specific topic. While Google once recommended webmasters submit their sites to these directories, they no longer do so, due to abuse.
Another change Google has made is to penalize sites that are over-optimized. The Penguin updates made a number of link building techniques obsolete because Google began viewing sites that used them as over-optimized. Keeping up with these changes can take work, but it’s vital to keeping your website ranked on the first page of search results. While Google has changed the role of links over the years, they are still an important part of your SEO and cannot be discounted.
What is a Nofollow Link?
Sometimes a link will have a nofollow attribute listed in its tag. While you won’t be able to tell if a link is a nofollow link from simply viewing the webpage, if you look at the code, you’ll see that it includes the line rel=”nofollow” after the web address. This doesn’t change anything for the user, but it tells search engines that the target webpage should not receive any PageRank boost. It basically instructs Google to ignore the link when it determines the linked-to page’s rank. This makes the link useless as far as link building goes.
Example of Nofollow Link:
<a href=””https://www.google.com/”” rel=””nofollow””>Google</a>
Nofollow links are actually pretty common. Many webpages that allow users to post comments or links specify that those links are to be nofollow links. This way, you don’t have users spamming your blog comments or forums with links in order to build up their page’s rank. You’ll often also see nofollow links in user signatures on forums, in guest books, or on sites such as Quora. Google also prefers that advertisements, press releases, and directories use nofollow links. Despite this, nofollow links are still useful to get more people to your website.
The Benefits of Links
Link building has a number of benefits, so it’s worth trying to get links to your website from other high-quality sites. You’ll not only rank higher in Google searches, but by having a link to your site from another good website, you’ll likely bring over some of that site’s traffic. This will help you build up your brand and create a relationship between your site and those that are linked to you. That helps improve your online reputation and give you more authority.