Link building is the bane of most SEO professionals, mainly because of its tedious nature and shady reputation in the eyes of Google.
Still, there's no denying that links are a critical part of search engine optimization and they remain one of Google's most reliable ways of gauging how "good" a particular web page is.
So if you're looking to learn about the benefits of link building, here are 14 reasons you should not put link building on your back burner and start working on a link building campaign right away.
The first and most obvious benefit of link building is that it's a way to boost your rankings. Multiple studies have shown positive correlations between the number of backlinks a page has and how high it ranks in Google.
Google originally set itself apart from other search engines through its famous PageRank algorithm which determined the credibility of a page by the number of "votes" or links pointing towards it.
While it's not as easy to build links now as it was 10 years ago, and the results are not quite as instant, link building still an important cornerstone of every search engine marketing campaign.
If you're not building links and your competitors are, you're seriously missing out!
Increased rankings mean greater traffic. After all, what's the point of ranking high in search engines unless it's to get more traffic!
The higher you rank in search engines, the more traffic you get.
This holds true not just for the main query you are optimizing for, but for multiple other queries as well.
For example, this screenshot of the SERPs from Ahrefs shows a clear correlation between how well a page ranks for a head keyword and the number of additional keywords it's ranking for.
Put simply, ranking higher for one term automatically ranks you higher for many other similar keywords.
All of these keywords put together drive a significant amount of traffic. This is also why you'll see pages that rank high for a keyword with comparatively low search volume still end up getting a lot of visits per month through the many other keywords that they rank for.
These are also known as long tail keywords or LSI keywords and you'll find that head keywords that happen to be more topical in nature will pull a lot of longer tail keywords along with them.
When you start blanketing all the relevant sites in your niche with your backlinks, you'll notice that your brand gains a lot more visibility than before.
This is simply because your website is being mentioned in so many places, and so many more users are exposed to your site.
When you build links, you shouldn't just focus on optimizing for keyword-rich anchor text. Instead, your search engine optimization campaign should also focus on building brand awareness by building branded links to your homepage and about page.
This not only increases your overall domain authority but also helps funnel link juice to relevant pages on your site since most of your priority pages will be linked to from the home page and about page.
Using this method lets you divert a lot of link power(and essentially PageRank) from linkable pages like guides and roundups to unlikable pages like sales pages and money pages.
Link building has some of the longest-term ROI in any kind of marketing tactic. Building backlinks today and showing up on search engine results pages will get you organic traffic that will continue to flow to your website.
So just a few links that you invest some money in today can help turn your page into cash cows that continuously bring in traffic, customers, and revenue over a long period of time.
This is the complete opposite of ads, where you have to continuously pump money into your ad campaign in order to receive traffic to your site.
Link building is not something you set and forget, though, so you will have to continuously push a few links to your pages every now and then.
The goal is to eventually earn a lot more revenue from your existing links compared to how much money you spend on maintaining your link power.
While it may be surprising to hear this in today's hyper-competitive link building landscape, one of the real purposes behind building links is to get more referral traffic!
In fact, this is what separates a great link from a good or mediocre link: the potential to receive actual referral traffic from the linking site.
Inbound links were originally designed to be ways to get people(not just search engines) to navigate from web page A to web page B.
If you can get well-placed link on high authority sites that have a lot of traffic, there's a good chance that some of that traffic may find itself on your website.
Many link builders consider the potential to receive referral traffic the mark of relevant links, and if you focus on this as the primary link building benefit(vs showing up higher in search engine results), you'll automatically get higher search engine rankings and some decent referral traffic to boot.
The more high quality links that you build to your website, the more your domain authority increases.
Domain authority are third party indicators of how many other websites link to all of the web pages on your domain.
It's not just quantity, though, as most domain authority algorithms also factor in high quality backlinks vs low quality backlinks.
Domain authority is a proprietary measure that tools like Ahrefs and Moz have developed, and although a high domain rating on Ahrefs or domain authority score on Moz does not automatically guarantee search engine rankings, there is a hidden benefit.
One of the easiest ways to do keyword research is to find competitors that have low DR and see what keywords they are ranking for.
Folks who use this technique generally shy away from going after domains that have high domain authority scores, so increasing your domain authority is a good way to keep would-be copycats and competitors from copying your keywords and content!
A good link building strategy involves building a connection with other websites. So instead of thinking of link building as a one-off thing, a well-planned link building campaign can result in some really good opportunities for building relationships where you can eventually land multiple links through minimal outreach.
After all, if someone liked your content enough to link to it once, they're really likely to link to it again, right?
And if someone likes you enough to link to one of your websites, they're really likely to link to your other websites, too.
While link building strategies are highly transactional in nature(webmasters usually ask for something in return), you can start off on that foot and gradually transition into a longer-term relationship.
The more links you can get placed on relevant websites and the more qualified website traffic you receive from search engines and referring pages, the lower your bounce rate will be.
That's because people showing up on your website from a well-placed link are ideally able to find exactly what they're looking for so they don't need to go anywhere else.
Your website's bounce rate is an important ranking factor because it measures how relevant your content is to your visitor's needs.
A high bounce rate suggests that users were not able to find what they needed and so they "bounced" off to another page.
A low bounce rate suggests that users engaged with your web pages for more time and that they found what they were looking for.
More traffic (organic and referral) ultimately means more revenue for your business, which is the whole point behind link building anyway!
The reason most link building campaigns don't measure ROI in terms of direct revenue is that it's difficult to directly attribute links to increased revenue.
However, you can work out a rough cost for acquiring links and then divide that by your overall increased revenue to get an idea.
Still, link building efforts are only half the picture, as quality content and solid technical SEO provide a strong backbone for links to work off of.
With more traffic, you'll get more social media subscribers as well. You should have links to your social profiles easily accessible from your website, so as people come to your site, you should get more clicks and follows to your social profiles as well.
Social media followers are a snowball effect, and the more you get, the faster they will increase.
Like social media followers, email subscribers will also start ticking up as you receive more traffic.
Make sure you have a good lead magnet to help capture email subscribers. You can get millions of visits per month but if you don't have an enticing way to get people to give you their email address, you won't get any email subscribers anytime soon.
The crawl rate of a website is a measure of how often search engine spiders visit a particular website. Spiders crawl the web by following links on pages. These can be internal links within your own site or external links pointing to your site.
The more incoming links your website has, the more times Google's spider will run into your website, and the more times it will be crawled.
This increases the overall speed of your pages being indexed and subsequently ranked.
An increased crawl rate also results in Google and other search engines recognizing your website as an authority in your niche. This means your content should also be indexed and ranked faster as time goes on.
Once a website hits authority status, you'll find that you can publish a piece of content and it will start ranking within hours of you hitting the publish button.
You can't get to authority mode unless you build/receive a lot of quality links from relevant websites.
This one is kind of a chicken and egg issue, but the more links and traffic you get, the more links and traffic you'll get.
As your pages start to rank higher, more and more people will start linking to them as sources for their own content.
That's why you need to have really high quality content along with lots of links, otherwise you'll be running a race that can be very difficult to win, since your competitors are already ahead of you!
Nofollow links are not designed to pass link juice from one page to another. However, Google still makes a note of the link, because nofollow links show up in Google Search Console's backlinks report. Many top publications like Bustle and the like only link out to other websites using nofollow links, and just getting a mention from those sites significantly boosts your credibility.
An authority site is a term coined by the top minds of the SEO industry: it refers to any site that exhaustively covers a topic to be considered an authority on the subject.
Absolutely yes! Fewer links from more relevant sites will go much further to boost your search engine rankings than hundreds or thousands of links from irrelevant sites.
There are plenty of excellent guides out there that teach you about building links. This guide from PrestigeLinks is a great place to start!
PrestigeLinks specializes in getting high quality links from authoritative websites. If you need to discuss a link building strategy, please get in touch and we'll be more than happy to help!
It's worth noting that increased social media followers and increased email subscribers are more indirect benefits of link building rather than direct benefits.
However, there's no doubt that quality, relevant link building leads to greater traffic over time and as such links remain a crucial part of the digital marketing efforts of any online business.
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Talk to our link building team to see how we can help.