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How important are links in 2018?

Last updated: 12/09/2018

While the landscape of SEO is always evolving, quality link-building is still vital if you want to get ahead online.

But what exactly is link-building? Basically, it’s the art of partnering with relevant sites in your field to gain good quality links back to your own website. By doing this well – and doing it often – you’ll be ensuring your site is head and shoulders above the competition.

Why does a higher number of links mean more traffic though?

Well, search engines use links to crawl the web. Scouring the Internet for relevant and valuable content, they’ll give those sites they’ll assign a higher priority to those sites they deem the most useful for the consumer. Of course, ‘higher priority’ means the site in question will appear further up Google for a particular search term – and if a link for your site is placed on an already-high priority site, it’s bound to be beneficial.

It’s important, though, not to employ link-building tactics for the sake of it. To really benefit from the technique, you need to first get your head around why you’re doing it in the first place. Ultimately, you’d like to gain more traffic to your site, but first and foremost you’ll want to think about being featured on the sites that will give your business the credibility it deserves.  Alongside a great content marketing plan on your own website, forging strong relationships with businesses with good traffic and an engaged audience will help you achieve the same – but only if they link back to you!

What do links mean for search engines like Google?

As discussed earlier, search engines use links for two reasons. The first is to work out how well it should rank a particular page in its results. The second? To discover new web pages, which other people will think are worth following.

After crawling various pages on the web – or indeed on your website – the search engine can then extract the content they’ve found, before promptly adding it to its index. Take a look at this short video via Google; it explains the process in a succinct way, which will help you better understand your long-term goals in relation to link building.

Look for Niche Link-Building Opportunities

As well as ensuring you gain good quality links from authoritative websites/blogs, you should also look for ‘niche link-building opportunities’. Links from niche related websites, especially those which come from links, resource, partner, supplier pages or similar are big ‘thumbs up’ to Google that your business is legitimate as other real-world businesses are confirming this by linking to your website and your business.

It’s simple enough to find these kind of niche link building opportunities, simply look on Google, search for your target keywords and add in “links pages” or “resource pages” for example and Google will give you results for your niche and list relevant links pages, that you can then review and if appropriate contact the site owner asking for inclusion.

Don’t be tempted to buy links; this can do more harm than good – and customers are getting wise to it. Instead, use your free time wisely. Build up strong links with others in your industry and help one another out by linking to their sites. Quality links will always win, after all.

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