how important is link building for seo concept image

Since the early days of search engines, link building has gone hand in hand with SEO. Today, it’s impossible to overstate the importance of getting high-quality links to your website from authoritative and relevant sources. Link building is one of the most important aspects of your larger SEO strategy, right alongside: 

  • Technical SEO
  • Content optimization
  • Trust and authority
  • Mobile-friendliness and performance

All else considered, great link building is often the deciding factor that determines whether a site ranks higher than its competitors. It’s absolutely crucial to understand the importance of link building and how to apply it in your own SEO campaign. The visibility and reach of your site depend on it.

What Is Link Building?

In the simplest terms, it’s the strategy of getting hyperlinks on other websites that point to your own site. While links to your website are obviously a good thing, it’s actually much more complex.

Search engine algorithms are a bit of a black box. Google especially is always refining how it categorizes and ranks websites in an attempt to provide the best possible content to people searching the web. What is known, however, are the factors used to determine the importance of a website. One of those factors is authority.

A website that Google deems authoritative is one that ranks high. And when a website that’s high on authority has a link to a page on your website, it deems your site a high-quality resource. In short, more links on high-quality web pages equate to higher rankings on Google and other search engines. 

How Link Building Impacts SEO

Due to the complexity and evolving nature of search engine algorithms, link building remains an important factor in determining how well a website ranks. These links are how search engines traverse the internet and discover new pages. Where the links come from is how they rank them. 

Google’s own Webmaster Guidelines say, “Ensure that all pages on the site can be reached by a link from another findable page.”

In other words, you need links from other sites to rank on Google and other search engines. But it’s about more than just getting good links pointing to your site.

Google goes on to say, “Think about what makes your website unique, valuable or engaging. Make your website stand out from others in your field.” 

This means truly effective link-building techniques depend on creating great link-worthy content that users find valuable and want to share with others. 

There’s a myriad of techniques marketers can leverage for their link-building efforts, and they run the gamut in terms of complexity and difficulty. It’s probably the most time-consuming aspect of search engine optimization. As such, there are good strategies and bad strategies. 

Good and Bad Link Building

There are two distinct approaches when it comes to SEO. Both approaches favor high rankings and visibility, though they differ in the strategies employed to achieve them. 

White hat SEO is the approach of using organic, ethical strategies to get higher rankings on search engines. White hat strategies are approved by Google, and white hat link building strategies include:

  • Building online relationships 
  • Creating and promoting high-quality content
  • Commenting and engaging on high-authority sites
  • Using trusted directories and listings

Black hat SEO, on the other hand, relies on unethical practices to help sites rank. For link building, they include things such as: 

  • Link schemes
  • Keyword stuffing
  • Hidden links
  • Automatically generated content
  • Abusing structured data or web page markup

While black hat strategies can sometimes result in high rankings faster than white hat strategies, Google frowns on them, and your site will eventually be penalized for using them. These penalties can sometimes be extremely difficult to bounce back from.

Link Building the Right Way

If you want real, long-lasting results, you need to focus on link-building strategies such as building relationships, producing great content people want to share and building links to your site that come from high-quality, relevant and authoritative websites.

There are many ways you can do this. For example:

  • Content marketing: High-quality content engages visitors and encourages other sites to link to your site. Marketing your content makes it easier for people to find and share.
  • Ask for links from associates: Leverage your personal and professional network to ask for links to your website. Just be sure that any links are within your niche or industry.
  • Leverage an SEO company: Relying on an SEO company to help create and employ a link-building strategy is a great way to streamline the process. Just be sure the company you choose only utilizes the aforementioned white hat techniques.

Keep in mind that not all links are created equal. A link from the New York Times has much more authority and, in turn, much more impact than one from an unknown blog. The best link-building strategy is one that focuses on domains with higher authority than your own site. 

Quality Link Building Benefits Your Business

Quality link building has a massive impact on SEO. It remains a veritable cornerstone to any digital marketing strategy. At the end of the day, this has a direct impact on the success and visibility of your website and, in turn, your business. But link-building strategies themselves also impact your business for the better. 

The outreach involved in link building means you’ll connect with key people and businesses in your industry. The relationships you develop can help build your professional network and, in turn, help develop your authority in your field. And this all leads to:

  • More referral traffic
  • Increased sales opportunities
  • Better brand development

So to answer the original question from the beginning of this post: How important is link building for SEO? It’s absolutely crucial to your website’s SEO success. But it might be crucial to the success of your business, too.