Link building has been an important SEO (Search Engine Optimization) ranking factor ever since Larry Page and Sergey Brin co-created the Google search engine back in the mid-1990s. PageRank, an algorithm that drove early search engine algorithms at Google and is still in use today, is largely based on the idea that links between web pages serve as prominent ranking signals.
Links communicate to search engines that pages are important, relevant, and suggest relationships between two pages. It’s no wonder they serve a critical function in the ranking of websites on search engines.
Knowing the role of links to the overall SEO process, you may be wondering how to go about SEO link building for your website pages. In this article, we’re going to cover the different types of links, how they work, and ways you can begin using links to improve your position in search.
Link Building 101 for Better SEO
Before you begin adding a bunch of links to your website, it’s essential to get the basics of SEO link building under your belt. That way, you can manage your links so they’re more intentional and valuable to your end goals.
Types of SEO Links
When we’re talking about search engine optimization, there are three types of links that matter most, including:
- Internal Links
- Inbound Links
- External Links
Internal links are links that only exist between pages on your own website. For example, a link from website.com to website.com/blog is an internal link because it doesn’t leave your website domain.
Inbound links, also known as backlinks, are links that come into your website from a website other than your own. Third-party websites often link to other sites to support their content with additional information. For example, if Apple.com links to one of your articles on its site, that would be an inbound link for your website (and a valuable one at that, since Apple.com has a high domain authority).
Out of all the types of SEO links, inbound links are the most valuable and the hardest to obtain. That’s because you have no control over which websites decide to link to your website. When they do, it becomes an important ranking signal for search engines trying to understand what your website pages are about and how important they appear.
Without control over which sites link to you, however, there is also a risk of receiving links from spammy sites or those with a low domain authority. Both of which can hurt your SEO performance. If you’re concerned about bad links, you can enlist an SEO professional to conduct a website audit.
Outbound links are links from your website to a website other than your own. These help in your SEO link building by giving Google and other search engines a better understanding of your website, based on which sites you’re linking out to from your pages.
How to Start Your SEO Link Building Practices
No matter how you approach your SEO link building strategy, there’s one focus to always keep in mind: relevancy. All internal and outbound links should be relevant to the content you’re linking to from your page. Again, this helps search engines understand your content, which helps your overall ranking performance.
Of course, there’s not much you can do about the relevancy of inbound links, but again you can always clean that up once you have an idea of the sites linking to your pages.
To begin, you may want to take on just one type of SEO link building, so as not to get overwhelmed. For example, if you want to start with building internal links (those are the links between your own website pages), then you might start with a broad category and work out from there.
One way to do this is to look at one of your main topics (digital marketing, for example) and more specific yet related pages (how to start a digital marketing career, for example). Linking between these two types of pages would be natural and relevant, so it assists your SEO efforts. Look for other similar pages and do the same.
If you want to approach inbound link building, then make sure to focus on developing high-quality content other sites will want to link to — this is how you build natural inbound links from sites with high domain authority that can influence your search rankings.
Master many facets of SEO including keyword research, technical SEO, link building, analytics, with the Search Engine Optimization training course.
Looking for More Link Building Tips?
Check out Link Building with UX, which has some unique perspectives on integrating links with user experience. And, if you want to learn more about SEO, be sure to look at Simplilearn’s Search Engine Optimization Training Course.