Detail Level: Beginner to Intermediate

Read Time: 3-5 minutes

In our series, Growing your Business with Digital Marketing, we’ve focused upon how search engines work and basic practices of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) like conducting keyword research and cultivating SEO for each page of your website. Building a portfolio of links for your business is today’s topic.  Time to build some authority for your website!

 What is link building?

Link building is about ensuring that people are linking to your content.  Lots of other sites may have similar content.  Even if your content is superior when comparted to other sites, you still may not have the authority to rank higher in search engine results.  How are you going to develop authority to rank higher in Search Engine Results Pages (SERP)?  In great measure, it’s about the links!  Links to your site establish your authority, according to Google.  Two factors that are necessary to rank for SEO, according to Google, content quality and links.  If sites with authority link to your site, then you, by association, gain authority.

Defining links

Links are html hyperlinks (aka inbound links, backlinks, external links) that can be used to connect to a website.  When another website posts a link to your website, your site can be visible and visited with a single click.  Granting visibility to a site by posting its hyperlink makes a statement to internet users.  The message is that your website is trustworthy and that this link is a form of “vouching” for your and conferring “link equity” onto your site.  Just as with financial investments, “link equity” matters in the digital world of links!

Google judges just like your mama

Links are the internet’s reputation currency.  As in many instances, the “birds of a feather flock together” adage applies here.  The more spam-filled sites link to similar low quality sites while sites with integrity link to high quality, trustworthy sites.  Search engines judge the value of websites based on external links to the website.  If your mama ever interviewed your friends when they visited your house, you’re gonna really get link currency!  Your mama played twenty questions with your visitors to determine what sort of person her kid was hanging out with.  Just like your mama, Google determines the level of integrity possessed by your website’s “friends” (websites linking to your site).  The external links to your site are like popularity votes being cast in a website’s favor.  Google, as with your mama, values popularity votes from websites with integrity.

Internal & external links guide search engines

Likewise, within your own website, various pages link internally to a certain page on your site.  Many internal links that connect back to a certain page indicate to Google the critical nature of a certain page within your site.

The complexity of a search engine’s judgement involves algorithms using links it discovers to evaluate the pages/site.  The judgement criteria used by search engines includes the E.A.T. criteria.  This acronym stands for Expert, Authoritative, and Trustworthy.  These criteria are valuable to Google’s Search Quality Rater Guidelines.  When a site meets the criteria, Google judges the site as a high quality site.  Thus, the quality of your site, in terms of E.A.T., is a powerful means of SEO.

WebMD is an example of a site that meets E.A.T.  Many sites link to WebMD, indicating the level of expertise it has and how much authority and trust it garners from other sites.  Although sites with as much authority and expertize as WebMD may not be likely to link to your site, you want sites that do measure up to the E.A.T. criteria to link to you.

Once again, you’ve done it –learned more SEO basics!  We trust you’ve grasped the value of building a high quality link profile.  Next week, we dive into using links to drive traffic to your site and evaluating your link profile.  Until then, you have a great week.