Link building has been around a long time, even back in the dark ages of SEO. Everyone quickly learned that it was a great way to increase search engine traffic – in fact, it was then recognized as the way to rank in the SERP's.
Fast forward to current time – link building has really taken a bum rap, primarily because of the proliferation of “link farms” that were around prior to the Google Penguin update in April of 2012. Yet as recently as 2016, Google itself confirmed that quality links and content are the first two primary ranking factors. But they must be good, quality links to be of value – anything else will at best not help and in a worst case scenario, generate a penalty from Google which will make website traffic bottom out.
So what are good quality links in the eyes of all-seeing Google? There are lots of things that Google looks for in links to rank your page. Google looks for authority, relevancy, link position, and anchor text.
Links are important so Google can determine the authority of your site and rank it based off that. Basically, the more links from sites with high authority, the better your ranking will be. Of course, authority isn't the only thing ranking element that Google considers.
Relevancy is also important. If a completely irrelevant site links to your site, Google discounts that link no matter what the authority may be of that site. As an example, you don't really want a popular heavy metal band blog linking to your insurance agency website. You want links that provide helpful information to your potential customers.
Believe it or not, where you link on a web page makes a difference. Keep your links in the body of the page because links in the header or footer don't have nearly as much weight as links in the body.
The text part of a link is called the anchor text. You can't just put anything you want there; it also has to be relevant. The best anchor text is text that is not keyword rich or exact match because doing that has been abused so much and is considered by some to be “spammy.”
Contrary to what many think, link building is not an SEO tool of the distant past. As noted above, there are several factors that go into building quality links that can help increase your SEO value and ranking in the SERPs. Do keep in mind one important fact: anything SEO can change at any time without you knowing because Google ultimately controls it!
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