Linkbuilding is a crucial part of search engine optimization, and links drive traffic to a site organically, too. Ideally, you’ll create content and promote it, gathering links naturally. We’re going to cover the basics of outlinks and inlinks in the following section to help you master the art of quality link building.
What are links?
Links are a way to direct site visits to a different page or off of your site. A hyperlink is a connect, telling the user’s client the link’s location. For example, this is a link that directs the user to Google when the user clicks it.
Shortly, we’ll be covering inlinks (inbound links) and outlinks (external links).
Why Is Link Building Important?
Links to your site are crucial to ranking highly in Google. While Google has a plethora of signals they use to rank a website’s content, we do know that links are one of the major signals. This is because links work as a form of popularity.
For a moment, let’s assume that you sell car parts.
If your competitor has links from Edmunds, Ford, Cars.com and others, they’ll rank higher than you in the search results for similar content because these links signal Google that, “hey, this content is worth visiting.”
Of course, this is a simplistic explanation of links. But it helps you understand why links are important.
Are links good for SEO?
Yes. Inlinks and outlinks are both parts of a natural website. When you have an abundance of inlinks from quality sources, these act as “votes” to Google and help boost your rankings.
John Mueller of Google discuss this in detail below:
E-A-T and links to your site
E-A-T is the idea of expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness. E-A-T may not impact your site’s rankings, but it can be used to build a strong backlink profile. If a site is low quality and non-authoritative, the link value will be much lower.
However, you can use E-A-T to create better quality content and link bait pages that generate links naturally.
Three Types of Links
While most people only think of inlinks and outlinks, there are three main types of links that you need to know about:
Let’s examine each type of link in greater detail.
Internal, Inbound, & Outbound Types of Links
- Internal: An internal link is a link from your site to another page on your site. You may link to similar content, pages on your site in a menu, or to an internal form, and all of these links are considered internal. You can use these links to spread link equity to other pages of your site.
- Inbound: Inbound links are often the most valuable links, which come from external websites to your own.
- Outbound: An outbound link is a link on your site that is to a site with another domain name. For example, if you link to a stat on Wikipedia from your newest blog post, this is an outbound link.
Followed vs. nofollowed links
On top of the three types of links, there are also follow and nofollow links. If you create a link with no directive, the link is considered follow. This means that you’re telling search engines to follow the link and pass link equity to the page.
However, we also have nofollow links, which means that you’re alerting search engines not to follow the link.
Strategies for Successful Link Building
Link building takes time and patience. If you want to start building links, consider the following strategy:
- Know your audience and where they visit to gain links
- Create a list of sites that may appeal to your audience
- Write exceptional content to generate links, include states or other linkworthy content
- Reach out to site owners to alert them of your content
- Use social media to attract readers and links
- Ask clients or customers for link opportunities
- Write guest posts
- Contribute your knowledge to professionals, such as reporters on HARO
- Donate to charities
- Sponsor events
All of these strategies can be used to build a healthy link profile and generate organic search traffic.
Your link profile
Your link profile is the culmination of all links pointing to your site. Ideally, you’ll use a tool to analyze your link profile for:
Sites like SEMrush, Ahref, Moz and others offer tools to check your link profile.
What are the qualities of a healthy link profile?
A healthy link profile comprises natural links, including follow, no follow links, high-quality links, low-quality links, and more. Additional things that make a link profile healthy are:
- Links that are relevant to the content they’re linking to
- Editorial links that are earned naturally
- Descriptive, non-spammy anchor texts
- Links that send quality traffic to your site
If you build links naturally, there’s a good chance that your link profile is natural.
How Do You Know If a Link Is a Good Link?
What makes one link good and another bad? Naturally, the link will come from a relevant site versus a spammy site. Additionally, you’ll want to look through the site for:
- Quality content
- Quality links
You can run tools, such as SEMrush or Ahref, that will help you find quality sites and view the links that they have, too. If the site has a good link portfolio, it may be a great opportunity to attract a good link based on the factors above.
Link building don’ts & things to avoid
When building links, you can do more harm than good if you take the wrong approach. A few things to avoid and never do are:
- Build spammy links
- Buy links
- Engage in link exchanges
- Add sites to low-quality directories
Google is known to penalize sites for trying to manipulate the search results. If you’re building links through any form of manipulation, you may want to reconsider your approach.
How to build high-quality backlinks
With the right content and exposure, you’ll build high-quality links. The key to building natural inlinks is to:
- Write exceptional content
- Reach out to others
- Share your content
- Get links from customers and partners
- Create unique resources
- Get involved in your local community
- Create your own resource pages
Of course, you may also use sites like HARO or SEO service providers that can help you build links naturally.
Outlinks and inlinks are natural when operating a website. Over time, you’ll build up a link portfolio that generates natural, organic traffic for your site while also boosting organic search traffic.
If you create quality backlinks, you’ll improve your search rankings and authority.