Let's Define the Term "Link Building"
Link building is the process of acquiring links from other websites to your own. A link is a way for users to jump, or navigate, between pages on the internet. Search engines use links to crawl the web; a search engine will crawl the links from one individual page to another on your website, as well as crawl the links to and from other websites you link to and conversely they link back to you or to other websites which then in turn link back to you. There are many techniques for building links, and while they vary in difficulty, SEO professionals tend to agree that link building is one of the hardest parts of this job. Many SEO professionals spend the majority of their time trying to build links very well. And for that reason, if you can master the art of building high-quality links, it can truly put you ahead of both other comparative SEO results and your competition. You will want to include link-building in your overall marketing campaign.
Why is "Link Building" Important?
It is one strategic method used to increase your search engine ranking. Crawlers use the links to your website, from other sites, to give you higher precedence in particular key-word searches. Links on your site to other credible sites also helps you gain tactical SEO traction.
What are “Bad” Links?
So what makes a link ‘bad’? Well, did you pay a service to acquire links? If so it’s very likely to be considered an “unnatural” link by search engines. The internet is laden with article sites full of redundant and poorly written content. Marketers would be wise to avoid them at all costs. Often misinformed business owners participate in article marketing or comment links without knowing the long-term consequences.
What are “Good” Links?
So if paid links are ‘bad’, what makes a ‘good’ link? If you aren’t participating in a paid link service or ‘link wheel’, where you link out in return for reciprocal links, chances are your links are natural. For example, if you’re an attorney and you have links from Avvo or Lawyers.com, two authoritative lawyer sites, those should be considered ‘real’ and ‘natural’. If you write a great article or blog on your site and it gets attention in relevant searches it might get linked from other blogs and used as a reference. This is a great way to build relevant and authoritative links.
Other Things to Watch Out For
The two big mistakes are using the same anchor text repeatedly and using incoming links from every page on a domain (the footer, for example). Google likes to see varied anchor text from incoming links. So using the same anchor every single time is not a good idea. Instead try and mix up your keywords with the actual domain name and/or the company name. Some folks even use anchors like “Click Here” which seems like a pretty natural approach to me. This issue can be compounded by affiliate links from every page on a site when the anchor exists on a sidebar or footer. Ask people linking to your site to keep it to a single page, preferably the homepage.
What Can You Do If You Used 'Bad Links' In The Past?
Getting back on track can be difficult. You can disavow those links through Google web master but that can take some time and there is no guarantee that you will see your site return to its former glory. You can reach out to the webmaster for links you do not want to disavow and ask them to remove the link or change the anchor but you’ll likely see limited success with getting people to comply.