Beginners Guide to Link Building – Part 1

Link building is critical for ranking well in the major search engines.  I read many beginners asking how to start building links or the best way to start link building for a particular niche.

No beginners guide to link building would be complete without an understanding of why links are important.  Simply put, a link is like a vote.  Every link that points to a website tells the search engines that the other site finds the website a valuable resource.

Where many beginners make mistakes about link building is thinking that in order to rank high in the search engines its about getting a ton of links.  Well, the number one mistake of beginners in their link building campaigns is to get links from an enormous amount of sites.  Beginners should be aware that not all links carry and equal weight for their vote.  Some links are more valuable than other links.

Beginners who are starting their link building campaigns for their websites have to grasp this basic concept.  There are other factors that influence the value of a link.  These include:

  • Site providing the link
  • Relevance
  • Anchor text
  • Location of the link

Some sites are deemed more important by the search engines because they are seen to possess an authority status.  For example, a link from a site such as Microsoft would carry much more weight than a link from Joe’s Corner Store simply because Microsoft is seen as an authority in the market.

Another important factor is the relevance of the site providing the link.  Many beginners seek out links from websites that have no relevance to their own.  Search engines place more weight on a link from a relevant site, than from a totally unrelated site.  For example, if you are running a site on “Fishing Lures”, a link from a site promoting “Bait” would be seen as more relevant than a link from a site promoting “Lawn Tractors”.  Search engines are becoming much more capable of identifying relevance and in doing so, can weight the value of links higher for relevant domains.

The anchor text is also important.  Beginners should keep this in mind when link building.  The anchor text of a link should include relevant keywords and if possible, the exact phrase.  However, there is a fine balance with the anchor text.  Be careful not to include the exact same anchor text for all links.  This will not appear natural for the search engines and could damage ranking.

Where the link is located on the page and the number of other links on the page also impacts the value of the link.  A link in the footer of a page is given less weight than a link near the top of the page.  A link in the actual content of an article is given more weight than a link included in a list of links.  From a search engine’s perspective, the more it appears that a site wants a link to be clicked, the higher the value it is given when the link is evaluated for determining ranking.

There are many other factors to consider when link building, but for a beginners guide to link building, this is the foundation around which all link building activity should be based.

Stay tuned for the Beginners Guide to Link Building – Part 2.

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About Barry Wheeler

Barry Wheeler is a blogger, novice SEO, geek and passionate Newfoundlander. Operating several successful websites and online communities, Barry has started exploring the social internet and its impact on all facets of society including personal life and business relationships. Find Barry on Twitter @barrywheeler and FaceBook or on his website Barry Wheeler - Blogging for Success.
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