How To

Why is link building so important for SEO – and how to get started

by Rachel Sharpe |

When it comes to your digital marketing efforts, one of the biggest factors affecting your website’s position ranking in search engine results is the number and quality of the backlinks pointing to your website. Whether you’re using a digital marketing agency to implement a backlink strategy for you, or you’re planning on building links on your own, it’s worth having a few tricks up your sleeve to ensure you can consistently build up the number of backlinks to boost the authority of your key words and pages.

But first of all, why is link building so important?

Search engines like Google may be constantly moving the goal posts and changing the algorithms, but link building is certainly one of the most important things to get right if you want to start seeing results. Why does link building matter so much? If lots of other websites – particularly high authority websites – are pointing to your website as an authority on a particular subject, then that furthers the implication to search engines that you really know what you’re talking about.

It’s all about consistency…

The Google algorithm is good at spotting unnatural looking backlink strategies, so getting a lot of backlinks very quickly is not necessarily the best tactic, especially if that surge of activity is followed by total inactivity. Of course, the more links you can build the better your impact is going to be, but when it comes to really improving your SEO, consistency is key. It’s far better to steadily earn your backlinks week by week than it is to get a surge of hundreds and then to drop off for weeks on end.

How many backlinks do I need to get to have an effect?

That really depends on the keywords you’re going after and how your competitors are doing. If you’re trying to rank for a long tail keyword with a lower search volume, chances are you won’t need to do too much work to begin ranking for it. But if you’re going big – your star keyword, with thousands of monthly searches and lots of competitors ahead of you – then you’re going to need more high-quality backlinks to start appearing in those search results.

Use tools such as SEMrush or Moz’s Link Explorer to find out how many backlinks your ranking competitors have – that’ll give you an idea as to the competition and what you should be expecting to get. Then make efforts to steadily, consistently (over the course of a few months – this is definitely not an overnight thing!) build up your backlinks.

So how do you get authoritative backlinks?

Figure out your ‘quick wins’

While starting from the bottom with your backlink strategy may seem a little daunting, there are probably a few places you can reach out to for a ‘quick win’. These websites can include directories (yes, they absolutely count!) and companies you already have a relationship with (think: your clients, affiliates and professional bodies). Reaching out to these places and asking for a link on their website (possibly in exchange for adding theirs to your own site) is a nice easy way to get things moving.

Digital PR

Digital PR is all about getting people to talk about you and your services in a positive light, and it’s a key part of getting valuable and authoritative backlinks. Anything that allows you to land a link on an authoritative website is great, so whether that means writing up a press release and getting an online piece of news coverage, featuring in a podcast that your target audience listens to or outreaching to influencers or bloggers in your sector to gain mentions, keep an eye on the digital opportunities available to you. Not only is an online piece of PR coverage likely to be seen by a huge number of people and put you in a positive light, but a backlink from a news or information site is likely to be highly authoritative, helping to boost your own domain score, meaning your PR is working even harder.

Create valuable content

Once you’ve exhausted all your quick win opportunities, the best way to get consistently great backlinks is to produce valuable content. From infographics and how-to videos to blog posts and thought leadership articles, producing original and valuable content is a sure-fire way to get backlinks from other websites.

Remember that once you’ve created a great piece of content, you can’t just rely on people finding it: be sure to reach out to journalists, influencers, bloggers and webmasters who may be interested and who have a similar target audience to your own in order to ensure it’s getting placed where you need it to.

Still think it’s a bit of a tough mountain to climb? We’re a digital marketing agency with the tools and know-how to help you put together a link building strategy or develop your SEO copywriting. Think you could benefit? Get in touch.