Links are the streets between online domains, especially for search engines that crawl the vast metropolis of the web. By using sophisticated analysis, search engines can detect how pages are related to each other and in what way.
Search engines have treated links as votes for popularity and importance of websites and webpages since the late 1990’s. Web masters have refined linking strategies to a fine art, and search engines are now using complex algorithms to carry out distinct evaluations of sites based on this information.
Search professionals tend to attribute a large portion of the engine’s principles to web-link-related factors. Links may not be everything in SEO, but through careful networking, engines cannot only analyse the pages based on the number of links or the popularity of websites, but also their trust and spam metrics.
According to MozTrust, trustworthy websites always link to other trusted sites, while ‘spammy’ domains receive very few links from trusted sources. The Hilltop Algorithm authority models suggest that links are a good way to identify useful information on a subject.
Thanks to the algorithmic use of links, growing link profiles for websites is critical to gaining attention, traffic and traction from search engines. For a service website, link-building is amongst the top tasks required for dramatic traffic success.
The link rule
It’s a no-brainer if you want to get into the search game since we are all trying to make our website search engine-friendly for higher ranking. It could be the number one activity done online, considering you play by the browser’s rules.
And the number one rule is: The more quality backlinks your website boasts, the higher its ranking.
It’s pretty simple, really. A large number of backlinks to your website means more people are endorsing your work.
Admittedly, links are not easy to generate – just as people’s referrals aren’t easy to receive and evaluate. That is why Google uses link factors because people will only link to you if they find value in what you have to offer.
Why is link building important for service websites?
While figuring out which pages to rank for a given inquiry, one of the greatest contemplations for Google is the quality and amount of inbound connections to the page. When we refer to ‘modern’ link building, we are talking about high quality tactics that revolve around well-written, well-researched, highly valuable and original content.
Some strategies involve producing relevant pieces with value-embedded links steering back to your pages published on high-authority websites. Others involve publication and syndication of useful content on your own website, with the intention of going viral and attracting inbound links.
In both situations, the links you earn are pretty much necessary if you want your service domain to rank well in organic search. There are clear benefits of link building, even beyond SEO, and below are just 6 of them;
- Domain and page governance
To measure this, a subjective measure of link-quality called page authority, has been developed by Moz, a Seattle-based Internet marketing company. Similarly, Domain authority, measures this for your website as a whole.
The total number of relevant links pointing back to your domain determines a large portion of that authority. Therefore, the more you are invested in the quality of your link-building campaigns, the higher the propensity of your service pages ranking in organic search results.
- Product relevance
Links from relevant web pages help figure out what your site is about, helping you rank for that topic. If you’re an electrician, for example, getting a link from a website dedicated to electricians is more beneficial than a website associated with fishing.
Search engines are smart. If you receive a link from a local blog that is based in your state, or a website that is about electronics, they can figure out that tech-tools are related to electricians and that a community blog is writing about a business located in your region.
- Brand visibility
Every new source contacted for a guest posting opportunity is an outlet for readers to expose your brand. You will be doing a favour to these publishing sources, since they are always looking for new and improved content. More visibility is, obviously, a good thing; it leads to greater service recognition and a better chance to earn direct web traffic in the future.
- Exposure to other industries
The guest posting circuit works both ways; by providing content to the highest profile-publishers in your industry, you also get to read what other influencers are producing as guest writers on your personal website. This means free ideas for content posts in the future, and a greater connection with the target audience.
- Establishing trust and diversity
When search engines crawling your pages get a wide variety of links, it is an indication of Trust. Websites that don’t have a natural ‘link profile’ can easily be red-flagged by the search engines. So, what type of links should you aim for to ensure your link profile is diverse? The following types of links can be considered:
- Web directories
- People sharing your website on their Facebook or Twitter page
- Reviews on websites like Yelp, InsiderPages, etc.
- Comments that you have left on various blogs and websites
- Bloggers talking about your services on their pages
- Links from local organizations like your Chamber of Commerce
All of these links and many more will help you form a strong link profile, equalling to better performance in search engine rankings.
- A greater competitive edge
Links can’t be masked or hidden. In fact, a tool like Moz’s Open Site Explorer can be used to check what links are pointing where – whether it is one of your competitors/influencers or your personal website.
Getting involved with strategic computer analysis, combined with link building, gives you the potential to see exactly where they are getting site-links from, and target those same sources to acquire links of your own.
It is an ongoing process
The job of link building, for better or worse, is an on-going one. As time goes on, your competitor companies are only going to become more tech and search savvy, and it is easy for them to keep an eye on the links you already have (if they know how or hire someone who does).
Search engines can tell when a website, that hasn’t received any links in a while, starts to look stale. It was announced by Google back in November 2011 that they have updated 35% of their search results to be more focused on ‘freshness’ and updated content. This means that when it comes to link building, your business can’t afford to be defensive, and instead should be proactive at all instances.
Your company need not hire a search marketing company or IT service provider to help you with tech and build brand links. But if you don’t have someone responsible for making sure your service site is building regular links, you better do something about it.