How to Understand Inbound and Outbound Link Building
If you have ever discussed SEO or read about it you will know that link building is super important. It’s the process of encouraging other websites to link to pages on your website. But why is it important and how do you do it?
To understand link building, try thinking like a search engine. Imagine a search engine analyzing two website pages that look like they are on the same topic. How does the search engine decide which one to show first? It obviously cannot read the content and make a judgement in the same way as humans, so it looks at other factors. One of these factors is links - what websites link to the pages, and how many are there? If one of the pages gets more links from credible sources than the other, the search engine reasonably infers that that website is the most helpful, so it will show that one first.
To put it simply, links indicate the popularity of your website.
Here are a few types of links:
Three main types of links exist. They are:
Search engines regard self-created links as the lowest value type of link. In some circumstances they can actually do more harm than good. Examples include:
Signatures in forum profiles
Low value directories
Fake websites created for the sole purpose of generating links
In some situations they do have a place, but as an SEO strategy they are best avoided.
Link Building Strategies You Should Pursue
Natural links and manual links work best for your link building strategy.
Natural links are those where a website links back to your content without you asking for the link, or having any other interaction. In many circumstances they are the best type of link to get, but how do you get them? The only way is to create great content that people want to link to.
You can take action that is more proactive with manual links. This is where you reach out to other websites in the hope of getting a link. Here are some common manual link building strategies:
Submitting your website to directories by filling out their forms
Getting your customers or suppliers to link to your website
Creating content that is newsworthy and letting news organizations know by press releases
Reaching out to bloggers or other website owners to ask them to give you a link
In all of these strategies you have to give a compelling reason for the other website to link to you. Most importantly, don’t come across desperate (or annoying!)
Here are some tips when you are building links to your website manually:
Focus on quality - it is better to get one link from a respected and well-known website than it is to get multiple links from small, insignificant sites.
Use your competitors - what websites are linking to your competitors? These are likely to be websites that you should reach out to.
Search terms - where possible, get links from websites that already rank well for the search terms you are trying to rank for.
Get active on social media - links on social media are not treated the same as website links, but social media can increase your reach and encourage more natural links to your website.
What About Outbound Links?
Outbound links are the links you put on your pages that link to third-party websites. They are beneficial for three reasons:
If you link to pages that are relevant, outbound links help search engines to understand what your website is about
They create a better user experience
They give you the opportunity to reach out to the owner of the website in the hope that they might link to you as well
If you include outbound links in your content, create fantastic content that your audience wants to link to, and connect with other website owners who give you a link back, then you’ll have a strong inbound and outbound link strategy. Just don’t forget to have others share your brilliance on social.