The main way that search engine crawlers get from web page to web page is through links. And it’s a way for them to figure out a website’s popularity. So if your website is linked to in a lot of places, the search engines are going to think your website is popular and rank it higher in their results. Hence why link building is so important.
One thing I’ve neglected to talk about so far is just how the search engine crawlers get around from page to page. They primarily do this through links.
As the crawlers index pages, they look at the links in that content. And if your website keeps popping up in the pages that they’re indexing, well, you’re doing something right. And maybe that’s worth a boost in your page’s ranking.
But make no mistake, properly building out, you know, inbound links from external websites is a pretty challenging task. It takes a lot of work to get it right. So today, let’s talk about why links matter, why the quality of the links matter and what not to do with links.
Why do links matter?
In essence, links are a primary way for search engines to figure out if a website is popular or not and where to place it in the rankings.
At least currently, search engines can’t really see the analytics of your website and they can’t really tap into everyone’s mind to find what web pages they really like. But links in content are a really good way to kind of figure out what pages and websites might be popular.
Think of it this way: if you create really really good content and people find it helpful, they’re going to share it, either on their own personal blog or website or their social media channels. And as the crawlers go through the internet, they’re going to find your link appearing in many many places. From there, they’ll determine that your website is well liked and start to place it higher and higher in the search result rankings.
It is a tough concept to make happen, but really it’s a big part of SEO.
Types of Links
When we’re talking about links for SEO purposes, we’re going to be focusing on two different types of links: inbound links and internal links.
Inbound links are links from other websites to your website, and they’re the ones were going to talk about the most today. These are the links that search engines use to figure out if a website is popular or not. As we mentioned earlier, if a search engine sees a lot of links from other website content to your website, they’re going to figure that your website is kind of popular. And then they’ll rank you higher.
Internal links are just what they sound like. They are links to your website from your website. Anything you place in your navigation is an internal link. And you if you have one piece of content that references another piece of content, well, that’s also an internal link.
These types of links aren’t necessarily very important for page rank purposes, but they do help the search engine crawlers get around from page to page on your website.
Now, no two links to your website are the same. A link from some random blog out there isn’t going to carry the same weight as a link from The New York Times or the Washington Post. The search engine algorithms take that into account when they’re trying to figure out where to rank your website.
Also, they will take into consideration the anchor text, or the text that people can click on to go to a link. If it’s within the context of the post or page, they are going to rank that higher than just a URL. And if the link is from a website that features similar content to yours, that’s also going to help.
All of this is to say that this sort of natural linking is better for your SEO than just paying for someone to, you know, link to your site. That, I know, can be a big temptation, and that’s something we’ll talk about here in a bit.
Do not pay for links
Before we wrap up this video, I do want to give you one massive, you know, word of caution. Don’t ever pay for links.
As you start to dive into more on links and how to build out your own linking strategy, you’re probably going to come across those websites that they will link to your website in multiple places to help your SEO. Don’t take that offer.
Search engines like Google and Bing can really figure out these places quickly, and if your link is on one of those sites, well they’re going to hurt your page’s ranking. That’s going to hurt your website more than that link could actually help your website.
The same can kind of be said for exchanging links. While you can certainly exchange links between friends and clients, don’t really ever go out soliciting link exchanges from random strangers. If Google catches you doing this at an excessive rate, they’re going to penalize you.
While talking about how you can really build out a proper linking strategy would really, you know, take its own video or maybe it’s own series, I will say that creating really good content and content people like will earn you sort of those natural as other people link to your website from their own content. And that will help you build up this really linking profile for your SEO.
So that’s all for today with links and SEO. Again, I know this was a brief overview over links and how they affect your SEO, and maybe one day I’ll circle back and do a longer video or longer series over it.
In the meantime, I’ve left some really good resources and LinkedIn Learning courses down in the description below to really help you get started on this.
If you have any questions, feel free to leave them down in comments below or reach out on social media. And if you have anything you would like me to talk about, either with SEO or other website related items, also please let me know.
Next time we’ll be talking about sitemaps. Until then, I wish you and your business the best of luck.