Everything that you need to know about Links in SEO
If you have walked around the Digital Marketing avenues for any given amount of time, you will have heard people talk about the importance of link building in Search Engine Optimization (SEO). This article is going to explain some of the most used terminology that relates to links in SEO. As you shall see, some of the terms that are defined here mean pretty much the same thing;
- Search Engine Optimization
- Link Building
- Inbound Links
- Outbound Links
- Internal Links
- External Links
- Link Juice
Search Engine Optimization is primarily concerned with making sure that web pages become more visible to Search Engines. A higher visibility translates into a better rank in organic search results. SEO is a primary concern for Digital Marketing executives across the globe and can define the success or failure of businesses that operate from and have a presence on the internet.
The Internet is Vast
You may be aware of the fact that there are over a billion websites in the world, and the number is growing by thousands on a daily basis. What this means is that these sites all have to compete fiercely for prime real estate on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).
Most people are probably unaware of the fact that those pages that are listed on the first page for any search terms have an exponentially higher chance of being opened than those that languish from page two onwards.
Only the first page matters
In fact, over 91% of people across the globe never even bother to go beyond the first page of search results for whatever it is that they are looking for.
What this means is that if your pages are ranked anywhere other than on page 1, then the chances that they will be opened are rather slim. This is where Search Engine Optimization comes into play. Those in Digital Marketing are constantly looking for, implementing and refining the ways through which they can improve a site’s ranking on Search Engines.
What are links?
Also referred to as hyperlinks, links, in SEO, are reference points on your web pages that point and can be followed to other web pages.
Why are links important?
Links play an important role in the way that Search Engines operate by enabling them to crawl across the internet while indexing web content.
Think of links in SEO as the highways on which Search Engines travel while indexing and categorizing content. Without them, it would be virtually impossible for Google, Yahoo, Bing or any other Search Engine to find and rank web pages.
Link building is the process by which you get relevant pages that are on other domains to link to your own pages. Link Building is a very important component in Search Engine Optimization. That is because Search Engines reward pages that have a high number of links pointing towards them from external sources. This is done for a number of logical reasons;
The fact that so many people are willing to link to your website is taken by Search Engines to mean that your site is trustworthy. No one would, under normal circumstances, be willing to point their readers towards a site whose content is less than reputable.
b. High Quality
Again, Search Engines perceive a web page that has a high number of inbound links to be authoritative on whatever the subject matter is. The reasoning is the same as in the above scenario; people would not be willing to link their pages to a site that has poor quality content.
c. Links are not created equal
It is important to point out here that, in the world of Search Engine Optimization, not all links are created the same. Search Engines assign greater value to some links than it does to others. That is particularly the case with well established sites. If for, example, you get a link from the BBC Website, that is likely to give your web page greater impetus that would be the case if you get an inbound link from an unknown blogger.
How do you get links from external sources?
There are a number of ways through which you can get other people to link to your content. One way through which you can get backlinks is by writing guest posts and publishing them on other people’s websites and blogs. Needless to say here that your content needs to be of a high quality. Otherwise, you won’t be able to publish it on any blog.
Link building is primarily concerned with inbound links. These are the links that, as we have just mentioned, point to a web page from external sources. The reasons why inbound links are of importance are the same ones that are given above, and mainly have to do with the fact that not many people would be willing to link their content with a page that is poorly written and poorly researched. Search Engines, therefore, assign higher ranks to sites that attract more inbound links.
Outbound links are, in contrast to inbound links, hyperlinks on your own pages that point to other web pages on other websites. Outbound links are important because they are what help search engines categorize web content.
Another term that you are likely to hear being bandied around the SEO circles is “backlinks.” This is just another term that describes inbound links; that is, links that point to your web pages from external sources. So, to those who are learning this for the first time, there should be no confusion; backlinks are inbound links.
Internal Links are another important type of links in SEO. They are hyperlinks that you make on your web pages that point to content that is on web pages that are on the same website (the same domain). Search Engine also use internal links to crawl across, index and categorize content that is on the same website.
Where a hyperlink on a webpage points to a domain other than the one on which the webpage is located, the link is referred to as an external link. What this means is that both inbound and outbound links are external links.
The term “Link Juice” is an informal term that is used by SEO experts to describe a link’s ability to improve a page’s Search Engine Ranking by passing on its “juice.” In other words, it is the amount of SEO boost that one page is able to pass to another.
I mentioned earlier that links in SEO are not created equally; and that there are some that have the ability to pass a large amount of juice to linking pages. Others, however, barely have enough to make even the slightest of changes.
The amount of juice that a page is able to pass is largely dependent on how authoritative it is. Clearly, a link from an authority website such as CNN will pass on a lot more juice, should it ever point towards your site.
Hopefully, this article has shown you everything that you need to know about links in SEO and linkbuilding. You can learn more by reading any of our other articles, in which we discuss a wide variety of issues, including Search Engine Optimization, Digital Marketing, Email Marketing and Facebook Marketing.