We often come across this term ‘link building’ especially when we are in the field of SEO (search engine optimization). To keep things simple, we will start from the phrase ‘link building’ itself. This term, in simple words, means the act of getting external links to your website. Well, now that is easy to understand why people try to do this. Traffic is everything, isn’t it?
People try to build links in a variety of ways. One way is to create compelling content for your own page or website so that other people want to talk about and link to it. In addition, it is possible to enter various directories and appear in press releases. Another effective way is to let quality bloggers and reviewers review and mention your website or page. You can also utilize your friends and colleagues effectively by getting them to link to your website. Yes, being an SEO enthusiast, you can imagine the rest.
What are the benefits of link buildings?
• Brings traffic
Growth of traffic is directly proportional to…well…growth of your wallet. Link building makes your page more visible. When used effectively, it will bring much more traffic than your individual page or website can do.
• It can be used to increase awareness and credibility
Credibility? Yes, credibility. Just try to imagine The Wall Street Journal sending a link to your page. Doesn’t this raise credibility? Obviously the credibility is raised to heights beyond your expectations. The message is that by getting high quality pages to send links, it is possible to look credible and reliable.
• Better ranks in Google Search
Really tempting. Isn’t it? As Google points out on its website, “webmasters can improve the rank of their sites by increasing the number of high quality sites that link to their pages.” In other words, when there are many pages promoting the same content, one of the factors that Google considers while deciding the search engine ranking is ‘link popularity.’ That means to raise your position in the search engine results pages (SERPs), it is very useful to try link building.
• It helps your page to be indexed by Google quickly
Yes, no one likes to be ignored by Google. When you develop a new website, your first attempt is to appear in Google search. However, the problem is that you need to wait until the Google bot does so. But how does link building make it faster? Google bots do so by browsing the webpages they previously crawled. While browsing, they find out links on those pages and add them to the list of pages to be crawled. That means link building increases your chances of being discovered and indexed considerably.
• Effective link building brings in quality traffic
What we mean by ‘quality traffic’ is people who are interested in the kind of service or product you provide. For example, if a webpage on ‘advantages of solar water heaters’ sends a link to your business website offering ‘solar water heater installation and service’ you will get more prospective customers than a link from a webpage detailing ‘advantages of organic food’ might bring.
Does link building harm my website?
Yes, if you are impatient. Before starting your link building process, it is important for you to understand the following disadvantages:
• It is time consuming
Google does not allow you to be famous overnight, especially when you do not deserve to be. Increasing your page rank through link building takes time because getting one or two inbound links does not make any difference. So if you are a busy businessman running your all business activities single-handedly, you probably need a dedicated webmaster to engage in this process of link building.
• Reciprocal links can take away your visitors
How? With reciprocal links, visitors at your website are more likely to reach another relevant site, and, what if they find the other website more interesting and useful?
• Inbound links from pages with poor ranking will adversely affect your ranking as well
You got it. Google is no fool. You can’t simply create some pages for the sole purpose of link building and expect Google to rank you highly. A more likely scenario is that Google will present you with a rank lower than what you could achieve without a link. Google hates black-hats.
• You can be penalized or thrown out of Google if misused
Many people have the bad habit of misusing link building, giving birth to the term ‘black-hat.’ Such practices include link farms, doorway pages, cloaking, hidden content, and many more. ‘Link-farming’ refers to a large number of websites and links solely for the purpose of increasing the number of links to new websites. Though these sites with links do not have good TrustRank, this will help the site earn some ranking power. However, you cannot expect to cheat Google this way for long. Google prohibits this behavior and, if caught, you will have to say good bye to Google.
• Punishable if overdone
You cannot continue link building without a limit. Years ago, it was a practice for companies to make use of link building and get links from sites with little or no connection with their own services and products. Google disliked it. As of now, you will be termed a spammer if you do it erratically and the punishment will be severe.
So should I proceed with link building?
Yes you should because the benefits are plenty and the expenses are negligible. The only thing is that good reputation, ranking and traffic come only with quality content and time. Instead of expecting short-term gains out of link building, you should take it as a long-term investment and continue developing quality content for your website or page so that other people and sites are forced to talk about it. If used wisely and with patience, link building is one of the most effective ways of promotion in the modern business world.