There’s something intuitive about how search engines rank your page based on keywords. People search for a thing? We talk about that thing! It makes sense. Linking is a little harder to wrap your head around. If we’re making the best content in the world, who cares about links?
The short answer: search engines use links as a way to say “people trust this content and want other people to find it.” In other words, lots of links to the page means that it’s higher quality and should be ranked higher.
What would you rather read: A pie crust recipe that answers your search query to the word, or a recipe that dozens of high-profile food writers link to as their go-to recipe?
How to get started with an SEO link-building strategy
There are lots of shortcuts to getting inbound links — buying links, using bots, etc. I don’t recommend any of them.
I like to think about link building as relationship building. I don’t just want random sites linking to my pages. I want quality, trustworthy folks who other people recognize. Buying links or using bots doesn’t do this — they’re two SEO practices I encourage people to avoid. Plus, search algorithms are getting sophisticated enough to pick up on the practice. Do it right for better long term results. Instead…
Ask people you respect to consider linking to something you’ve posted. Shoot them a note about your page and how it relates to theirs. Link to their page — link building (I mean, relationship building) works in both directions and the algorithms like that too.
Participate in industry-sponsored content. If someone is doing a roundup of best practices (I was recently asked to contribute on SEO), say yes. It sends a link to your site from a reputable source, and it’s coming from a site that’s also full of rich, interlinked content. Better yet, create that post yourself, and invite people you respect to participate.
Remember that algorithms see your content not on its own but as a node in a network of related pages. The more you think in these terms as you create the page and choose where you link, the more you’ll grow your rankings.
I’ll be talking more with Myles about SEO dos and don’ts in the coming weeks. Remember: search engines use links as a way to say “people trust this content and want other people to find it.” Making the choice to have multiple links pointing to your website, or other pages within your website, will make you rank higher.
Stay tuned for future episodes.