In the world of SEO, there’s a term that regularly floats in and out of conversations. It’s all about links, or backlinks, or external links, or link portfolios. That word shows up a lot. And all those terms can mean essentially the same thing. You might be asking yourself why it’s important. Why do links matter?
There’s been some debate in recent years if links really matter. There hasn’t been much word from Google on if links really matter or not. But for experienced SEOs, links definitely show their importance.
Let’s get into the frequently asked questions.
Why Do Links Matter in SEO?
Links point from one website to another. Inbound links mean that links to your site get posted on other websites. In the world of the internet, links help build your popularity or your SEO reputation.
At Boostability, we talk a lot about relevance and trust. Relevance takes place mostly on your website to optimize it for search engines. Trust building takes place mostly outside of your website. It builds up the trust and reputation of your website with the search engines. The higher your reputation, the higher in the rankings your website will rise.
Links on sites show that your site is worth talking about. Consider it a digital currency that shows that you know what you’re talking about. It’s essentially other websites recommending your website knows what it’s talking about and that you’re an authority in your chosen niche. The more links, the more it means that other websites vote for your site in the internet popularity contest.
Where Should I Have Links?
Like a diversified financial portfolio, a diversified link portfolio is also good for your website. In the world of backlinks, it’s a quality game over quantity. You can have millions of links all over the internet. But it won’t matter if they’re on bad or spammy websites. Quality links on good websites will do far more good than a lot of links on less popular sites.
But keep in mind that it’s much more challenging to get a link on a website with a higher domain authority. So there is a fine balance between quality and quantity. Building a solid link portfolio is important. But it will take time to get the really big links. So having some smaller ones doesn’t hurt either. Middle ground, or center of the spectrum will yield success for most link portfolios.
Do Some Links Matter More Than Others?
It used to be that all links mattered. Especially in the early years of the internet and search engine popularity. A backlink was a backlink, and all carried equal weight. That’s not the case any longer. Google uses algorithms to evaluate pages and websites. And some links carry more weight than others.
Bottomline, if a website is popular and authoritative, the more weight the links carry from that site. So if you have a link on a very big and important website, that’s quality backlink that will add credibility to your website and help boost you in the rankings. This is directly related to Domain Authority. A quality link to a high domain authority website means greater credibility.
This doesn’t mean go out and try and get a link on places like Forbes or a News website. There are quality websites all over the place that are related to your business and can help boost your online reputation.
Follow vs. Nofollow Links
There are two different kinds of links: follow and nofollow. And both have there reasons. Follow links act as the votes of confidence or popularity as listed above. Nofollow links still take traffic to another website, but it tells search engines not to follow that link. Essentially, it gives the link without the vote.
Nofollow links matter when going to an untrustworthy source, or a paid source. Social media also counts. All those links to your website through a Facebook or a Twitter profile bring in valuable traffic. But they count as no follow links.
Keep in mind that with follow and nofollow links, a diversified link portfolio still matters. Even no follow links can still bring in valuable traffic to your site.
Should I Link Out from My Website?
Just like you would hope others would link to your website, it’s also good to link out from your own site. Rand Fishkin calls it a “expected and respected” practice. He goes on to say that having no external links could actually hurt your SEO. If you have a series of links going to high quality sites, it signals your site is also trustworthy. If you have a plethora of spammy links, search engines view your site as spammy also.
Linking out creates credibility with your users. They see you as a valuable resource that will help answer their questions no matter what. Also linking out helps to incentivize others to link to your website.
How Do I Get Links?
If this is a brand new endeavor for you, start with business listings and social media. It helps you get the ball rolling. It’s great to get listed on important places like Google My Business or Yelp. Then link to your website from your social profiles. All these places are totally free too! Bonus!
Having great content on your website is the best way to get links. This works two fold. You can link out to high quality websites. And when building authority, others will see your authoritative content and link back to you.
Good content isn’t just on your own website. Look to blogs and publications within your industry and niche and submit guest posts. A high-quality and educational post on an outside site that doesn’t promote it, but establishes you as the authority. This kind of link dramatically increases your link portfolio credibility.
And if you need help or don’t have the time to create all these links and content, we can help! Boostability has SEO packages for every budget. And we’ll help build backlinks for you! Reach out if you want to learn more!