Link Building Strategy

A well thought out link building strategy is a vital part of a successful SEO campaign.  In this section, we will cover the main aspects to it which if done correctly will have a positive effect on your overall SEO rating and should have a positive effect on your search engine ranking positions (SERP).

Terminology 

Internal Link

A link from one page on your website (from your www. domain) to another page also hosted on your domain.

External / Inbound Link 

A link from a website that is on a different domain than yours.

Link Juice

This is the term used to refer to the value a link has in providing traffic to your website.  It is measured by the level of authority that the domain (DA) and page (PA) has in relation to the source providing the link.

No Follow

The term used for when no link juice is provided through an inbound link to your website. Some large social media channels such as Twitter do this to stop people abusing their system for personal gain.

Deep Linking 

This is a very in-depth subject but for practical reasons, we will simplify it to just what you need to know how to start making a difference to your own website SERP (Search Engine Ranking Position)

Many people believe that when search engines crawl your website they do so by entering at your home page and working their way down and that the Link Juice should, therefore, follow the same path.  Entering in at your Home Page (top glass) and passing through categories and sub-categories before reaching the 'bottom glass'

The truth is that search engines enter your website at multiple access points, not just at your Home Page.  

For that reason, a different linking strategy is needed other than linking from external websites directly to your homepage.  Your linking strategy should mimic that of how a Crawler would access your website - at multiple points.  

Instead of thinking that Link Juice flows from the top down as shown in the representation above, think of it from an inward to outward effect like in the image below.

Imagine this effect at multiple access points throughout the structure of your entire website.  You can see how the spread of Link Juice would be much more evenly spread across all parts of your website.  This is a more effective strategy.  Changing your perception of how search engines crawl your website changes your Link Building Strategy

Increase Internal Links

The following images from Moz (where this subject is covered in more detail) show a typical website architecture and entry points of Search Engine Crawlers.  

To allow easier access to the whole of your website you must ensure that links from both internal and external sources point towards deeper levels of your website, not just to your homepage.

link-building-stratefy-1.jpg
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Internal links within your website structure must not head straight back to your Home Page.  Instead, they should flow outward to pages that are nearby in the hierarchy, and these should have related content.

In the image above a person entering at the home page would have to click through 12 different pages before they could access content on the bottom row.  This is why pages that are next to each other in the hierarchy should have related content because the likelihood is people will find what they are looking for much easier and this is how Search Engines are designed to work - with the experience of the end-user in mind.

This is why the first representative image of link juice flowing from top to bottom is not true because it would be ineffective in reaching all parts of your website.  You can see in the image above the multiple access points that a Crawler (called Spider in the image) enters.  It prioritises adjacent pages in the hierarchy first. So after the 'entry point', these are the next most beneficiaries of your inbound Link Juice.

Having multiple access points allows for an even spread of link juice across all areas of your website. Otherwise, your Home Page would receive most of the juice, and then it would be completely diluted across other pages.  The effect of this would be only your home page would show up in Google Search Results. Other pages within your website, even though they have much richer and more useful content would get overlooked.

Use the example below as a guide to help draft out how your website looks.  Doing this will give you a good starting point for building internal links across your website.

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You should look to build internal links to these pages from other pages within your website, and also acquire external links where possible from other websites.

External Links

Links from external websites back to your domain will have a much greater impact on your SERP rankings than internal links.  In addition to this, pages with a high Page Authority (PA) and a high Domain Authority (DA) will have a much greater influence on your search engine ranking positions than those with lower ratings because they carry more Link Juice.

It is worth noting that if you have lots of inbound links from websites or web pages with extremely low PA and DA this could actually have a negative effect. This is because Google may deem them as Toxic or just bad practice.

Remember, back-linking is about quality over quantity.

In the same way, you checked for external links towards your own website, you will now check for external links towards your competitors' websites.  This is a very useful exercise.  For example, if you run a Joinery Company you may check one of your competitors and find that they have a local Trade Body linking to their website - this would be something you could follow up on to see if they would link to your website also as it would likely carry high valued Link Juice.

When developing a link building strategy you need to discover where your competitors' links are coming from. You should ignore any links that have 'nofollow' tags, a low trust score, or a high Spam Score.  But anything with a high Domain Authority, high Page Authority, or a high Page Score you should take notice of.  You may find that most inbound links are coming from 'directories'.  This is fine as long as they have a high trust score or low Spam Score.

Developing Your Link Building Strategy

By now you will have developed an understanding of the importance internal and external linking has in how Google ranks your website.  With this in mind, you can now start to develop your link building strategy.  As you do this you need to think about what existing relationships you have with other related businesses or organisations that can be mutually beneficial.

For example, you may be part of a trade organisation or a partnership, you may have existing suppliers or customers who have websites that currently rank highly.  

As part of your research, you should look to identify websites that have a high domain and a high page authority. You should not link from pages or domains that have a very low rating on either page or domain authority.  A domain that carries a low domain authority may have been 'red flagged' by Google and should be avoided.

Social Media Links

There are numerous ways you can integrate your social marketing into your overall link building strategy:

  • Blogs written on your website can be shared on Facebook

  • Articles written on LinkedIn can provide links to your website

  • Video's on YouTube demonstrating products can link back to product pages

  • Questions relating to your industry can be answered on Quora with links back to your site

  • Is there a Wikipedia entry that you can add to by adding source material on your own website and referring back to it?

  • Are you part of any forum or communities where your signature can provide a link back to your website?

It is, therefore, a good idea to make it easy for your website visitors to share informative content such as interesting features, case studies, and blogs, to name but a few.

Thankfully, this type of 'sharing-feature' can be added easily to any website without the need of much technical expertise.  Two great tools that make this easy to do with little coding knowledge are AddThis and ShareThis. 

Both services offer tools to make sharing content easy for your visitors and tools to enable visitors to follow you on social media channels.  The only main difference between the services is the design and style of the icons on offer.


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