Effective Link Building Techniques: Earning vs Buying Links

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Link building is not a type of chainmail making exercise from the medieval times…

It’s one of the most important factors considered by search engines (cough Google) when looking to rank your website.

High quality links from one website to another is a mark of confidence in the eyes of Google crawling spiders, but can take quite some time to build that trust up. And that’s the key. Trust.

So do you buy some quick links, or spend time gaining them organically?

Stop being the weakest link… because Wednesdays, are about to get GIANT.

Hello my name is Luke and welcome to Giant Wednesday, the only place to be to discover the wonderful world of digital marketing. Don’t forget to subscribe to our channel and post your comments below.

So when it comes to Search Engines, ranking factors are notoriously murky with Google (and Bing) keeping their cards close to their chests.

Finding out exactly how it ranks websites on search engine results pages, or SERPs, is, in itself a task.

But one factor that is confirmed to play a huge role are links.

Links can be either internal, pointing users to another page within your website, or external, where other websites point to yours.

These external links can also be called backlinks and are almost like currency in the online world.

Links from authoritative, trustworthy and notable websites are counted as a mark of confidence from one website to another. Something Google is a big fan of. After all if the BBC or Guardian think you are cool, the chances are, you are!

These back links help to transfer some of that website’s authority to yours, amplifying your content to a much wider audience via search.

As I’ve said, link building can take quite some time.

It isn’t always as easy as going out and asking someone for a little hyperlink with your name on it.

And because of this, some people go down the route of buying links, flashing the cash and paying for these ‘votes of confidence’ instead.

It’s clear then, that the difference between the two is one you pay for, one you work hard for. But what’s the best method?

Link building best practices have changed massively over the last ten years, with algorithms constantly changing the way us marketers do things.

Because of this, search engines have gotten more savvy to “black hat”, back alley methods.

And they do not approve…

Buying a shed load of links from a sort-of-dodgy directory site is seriously frowned upon these days.

Google wants you to EARN back links the good old fashioned way, by just doing your job well and providing value to other businesses or websites.

As you may have guessed, going about it the right way is a task. But it can be a fun one that sits well within the rest of your marketing strategy.

Popular link building campaigns are based around content, such as making high quality guides or blogs, which encourage people to want to share them with others online.

Essentially, work with local businesses, councils, programmes etc. and they’ll include links on their site to say they’re working in partnership with you. See, added value.

Or you can look for linking opportunities among customers or partners that you already work with!

These are obviously great, organic ways to build up links. But there is always someone looking for an easier, less time-consuming way of doing things.

But as I’ve already addressed, this is risky business.

Google and Bing discourage people from buying links and work hard to penalise those sites that do so.

And just what kind of penalties I hear you cry? Well, get ready to see a severe drop in rankings.

No, these search giants aren’t tracking your bank account (well, they might be?). But they are clever and can spot patterns which indicate if a link was paid or is organic.

Also, the kind of sites that might be willing to sell you links are usually less-than-desirable with really poor authority scores.

This is going to do you no favours. A spammy link is a bad link, no one wants that. 

It’s also worth remembering that offering someone a product or service in exchange for a link can also be considered a form of link buying.

The quest for a healthy link can be a bit of a minefield to navigate. But fortunately, here are 5 things you can do to build high quality links.

  1. Make sure the sites linking to yours are relevant to your industry. If you’re selling pet food, links from sunglasses retailers aren’t all that great…
  2. Create great content that will attract engagement and sharing. Include calls to action throughout to try and encourage this.
  3. Build relationships with key journalists or PR influencers. This will help you generate long-lasting link building opportunities and is always a bonus for your business PR objectives
  4. Slow and steady wins the race. Build links over time and invest some effort in doing it the right way.
  5. And finally, when it comes to the link itself, use relevant, natural anchor text – don’t force a random phrase in there for keywords take.Natural is the word of the day, if you haven’t worked that out already.

As I’m sure you’ve gathered by now, time and effort goes a long way when trying to tickle Google’s fancy here. 

Whilst it might be tempting to get your wallet out to buy a big bunch of links at the metaphorical petrol station, it’s not going to be worth it once the big boys find out just what you did!

You wouldn’t want to make Google angry, would you? 

So that’s the difference between link building and buying links, and how to go about, all in the best possible way, of course.

Got any questions or need any help? Get in touch. We’ll be in contact!

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