Link building is arguably the most important and most challenging SEO strategy. It can be defined as the process of getting other websites to link to a page on your website, and these hyperlinks are called backlinks. While the end result might make sense conceptually and seem simple, the part that most people don’t understand and can’t seem to get right is this: “the process.” And this ultimately boils down to emailing complete strangers and asking them to link to you. Let’s look at the following three (3) examples:
Example 1, let’s say that you have a health blog and you write about weight loss and diabetes, and some random person let’s say Bob sends you an email and says
Can you link to my post on 5 Health Benefits of Slimming Tea & Its Popular Types? It’s really good.
Would you link to him? Probably not. In fact, you probably wouldn’t even reply or click the link in her email to actually check and see if her content is as good as she claims.
Example 2, let’s say you have been following a particular health YouTube channel and blog for some time. And you have implemented some of the strategies they have shared and gotten some great results for your site. On top of that, you have been using their weight loss diet plan for three years, and an email pops up in your inbox from one of their content creators (Yemi Jones), which is a name and face you might recognize because you have been following their channel and in that email, she asked:
I just thought that our post on “Types of Millets and Their Health Benefits” could be a good fit for your list of the seven (7) best cereals for weight loss.
Would you link to them? Maybe.
Example 3, let’s say your gym instructor who helped you get started in weight loss sends you an email and says
Long time no see! How is it going?
Listen, I have published a new article on “The 7 Best Exercises for Weight Loss” on my site and wonder if you could link to it?
Would you link to him? Definitely!
He helped you get started with your Weight Loss workout, you obviously trust and respect him, and you would be willing to bend over backward for him.
The point of these three examples is to show you that the process of link building is actually very relational and can sometimes take more time than you might like.
In the first example with Bob, you don’t know him, you don’t owe him anything, and you don’t trust him. He is blindly coming in, almost invading your inbox and asking you for a favor without offering any kind of value in return.
In the second example, when Yemi hypothetically emailed you, you knew who she was, she had indirectly helped you, and you were a user of their product for years. So while you may not have a real-life relationship, you are still connected in some way. So the chances of linking to Yemi are probably higher than linking to Bob.
Lastly, when your gym instructor asked you for a link, there is a real relationship there. There is a sense of trust, respect, and gratitude. So, of course, you would link to him.
Now while you can’t and shouldn’t try to become friends with everyone just to get links, in your SEO journey, you will find out that your best links will usually come from relationships that are sparked from email outreach.
what is link building in SEO
We can now redefine link building as the process of building relationships with other relevant site owners who want and will link to your content because it enhances theirs. So this definition isn’t just about you getting something; it includes relationships, relevance, and value exchange.
Now since effective link building is tough, you need to understand why it is worth the effort. In short, backlinks are used by search engines like Google to help rank web pages. And it has been this way since 1998 when Google created PageRank.
What is PageRank?
PageRank is a mathematical formula that judges the value of a page by looking at the quantity and quality of other pages that link to it. Google confirms the importance of backlinks on their how search algorithm works page. Under the heading “quality of content,” they state: We look for sites that many users seem to value for similar queries. For example, if other prominent websites link to the page (what is known as PageRank), that has proven to be a good sign that the information is well trusted. Research by Ahrefs has also shown a clear correlation between organic traffic and backlinks from unique websites in a study of over one billion WebPages.
Looking at the trend between these pages’ monthly organic search traffic and their backlinks from unique websites, you will see that the more backlinks a page has, the more organic traffic it gets from Google.
So while getting backlinks may be harder than, let’s say, creating a blog post, they are absolutely critical if you want to rank for competitive phrases. And competitive phrases are usually the ones that will drive the most traffic and revenue for your business.
In conclusion, link building is one of the most effective and important tools a marketer can use to get more traffic and sales. It requires the right approach and approach to get sustainable results. We have just touched outreach which is the primary way of getting backlinks, but it would be nice to note that not all links can or will be obtained through outreach.