Link Building Basics



Link Building

Building links to your website can provide long-term benefits like improved traffic through the direct path to your web page from external sources, and improving your page’s position in search results.

Usually the links show up naturally. That is, someone makes a web page or blog post and likes your content so much, they link to it. But it can take time for a new web page to find people interested enough to link to it. In cases where time is important, you should consider a link-building campaign.

How do Links Work?

Links work by bringing traffic to your web page from an external site. The referred traffic can be human visitors who read the external web page, see your link and click it. The additional traffic could also be search engine crawlers or bots, that move through the web reading content and storing it on search engine servers.

The external page is the link source and the page being linked to is the destination and may also be a Landing Page.

What is a Link?

For a human website visitor to click a link and land on your web page, he or she would have to find content on the external site engaging and credible, and the author trustworthy enough to follow their recommendation to go to a different web page.

Search engine bots will traverse almost any link to read the destination page's content. After all, search engines want to scan and index just about every page on the web.

Search engines will assign a positive factor to web pages that are linked ... indicating a kind of trust between the source content's author and the destination content. When the destination page is spammy, manipulative, or if it lacks credibility, that reflects poorly on any page that links to it.

Type of Links

Contextual and Non-Contextual

When visitors click any link to your site, they should find content that is relevant to the page they were previously reading.

Contextual links are generally embedded in the external page’s text and may be attached to highlighted anchor text or may be free standing. Here are some examples: “… for more, see” or: “… thanks to our friends at Company”

Non-contextual links are placed outside the web page’s content area. Examples are websites that have a sidebar on their pages with links to “Partners” or “Customers” or links placed in the header or footer.

Image Links

Any HTML element, including images, can have an associated link to a web page. Images on external websites with links to your web page allow people and search engine crawlers to find your content as easily as text-based links. Image links can be made contextual through proper use of the ALT image tag, which is embedded text that explains the nature of the image and therefore provides context.

Brand Mentions; ie Non-Links

When a business name or brand is referenced on a website content page, search engine crawlers will consider that reference when building the brand’s profile. Positive words about the brand will have a positive impact on the ranking of web pages on its website. Those benefits will be enhanced if the website URL is included in the text, even without a hyperlink to the site.

Broken Links

Over years, trade magazine and other industry news sources have published hundreds, and probably thousands of articles of content that provide benefit to their readers. In some cases, those articles contain links to sources that have become outdated, or web pages that are moved, or websites of businesses that have since closed.

The content managers of the websites and authors of the articles usually appreciate an offer to fix the broken link by pointing to updated, fresh and relevant content so their readers continue to find value in their product.

Follow and No-Follow Attributes

Links may have additional attributes that define how search engine crawlers handle a linked-to web page. A “follow” tag indicates the crawler should traverse the link and crawl the destination page, where a “no-follow” tag indicates the crawler should stay on the current page.

The default for a search engine crawler is to follow a link to its destination page and not all search engines always respect the “no-follow” attribute.

No-follow link attributes are normally used when a web page author wants to direct human visitors to a different page but there’s no value in sending a search engine crawler through the link. An example of valid use of no-follow are links to pages with a subscription paywall.

To learn more about how your business can improve its link-building efforts, feel free to contact us.