Link Building and Why it Matters
In the world of SEO, link building is still the best method for conveying to search engines that your content is valuable and your website is authoritative. When credible sites link back to yours, you can supercharge your content visibility and experience many link-building benefits such as credibility, higher site rankings, brand trust, increased web traffic, and sales conversions. Therefore, link building is a powerful SEO strategy companies should strive to combine with their content creation efforts.
If you landed here, chances are you have an idea of the importance of link building; however, there can be confusion regarding how to implement it effectively. This article will explore link building, why it matters, and the different strategies available depending on budget and time constraints.
What is Link Building?
Organic link building is having hyperlinks (links for short) placed on other sites that direct traffic to your website. A hyperlink is how users navigate between pages on the internet. Each time a site receives a quality inbound link from a high authority site, it gets a slight SEO boost.
Search engines crawl pages on the web and analyze the content of those pages in order to index them. According to Google, this is how they decide if a page is of suitable quality in ranking for relevant keywords. Other ranking factors are the number of backlinks the site has along with that site’s authority. So, over time, the more quality backlinks from high authority sites you receive, the more search engines will boost it above competitors in search results.
Why Link Building Matters
Link building is still crucial in SEO as it contributes to your long-term growth and visibility. External linking has been an important metric for Google’s ranking algorithm since the 1990s. It became a strong signal for ranking pages because it was one of the best ways of determining the quality of a page. It turned out that Google could soar past competitors because they were serving extremely useful and relevant content to their users.
Having other sites point to yours also tells Google that your content is worthy and relevant over other sites on the topic and will prioritize it in the algorithm. With link building as part of your ongoing SEO strategy, you can increase the likelihood of your pages climbing to the first page of Google. Your content could even turn into a ‘featured snippet’ or highlight for specific user queries. This drastically increases your authority on the associated topic and, ultimately, traffic to your site.
Ways to Obtain Links
Organic Link Building
Organic link building is the highly coveted accomplishment of receiving external links without asking or making a request of the site owner. This is typically a result of creating high-quality content relevant to their site and audience. Highly credible websites will experience backlinks most frequently as their domain authority plays an important role in this strategy. A site's domain authority is a search engine ranking score developed by Moz based on how likely they are to rank. All of these signals help a search engine deliver relevant information to the user, so it is wise for site owners to focus on creating valuable content that their audience is searching for.
Active Link Building
Active link building is the process of writing content in-house and performing your own active outreach instead of waiting or hoping that others will link to you on their own. You may desire to have control over the entire process if you have a highly specialized industry or specific requirements. Building links for your site speeds up the process compared to organic. However, it can still be more time-consuming than outsourcing.
Organic Link Building Services
Another option is to outsource the entire process by working with a company offering organic link building services. This option works for most people who don’t have the time or resources to hire in-house. Organic link building services also allow you to delegate to SEO experts who understand the best way to obtain links, stay up to date on trends, and be responsible for outreach and monitoring your results. You can find link building packages for about any budget and will cost less than hiring someone in-house.
The more risky way of getting links is to pay for them. In the eyes of the Google algorithm, organic link building is far more lucrative and reduces the risk of spammy links. Some experts even claim that paid links can result in Google penalties and ultimately plummet rankings due to “manipulative link building.”
In-house, Agencies, or Flying Solo - How to Decide?
When it comes to tackling link building as a part of your SEO strategy, you might be wondering what’s best for your business. This will largely depend on your budget, level of knowledge, and how much time and resources you have to dedicate to link-building.
Building an in-house SEO team means you will need to hire writers to write quality content for your website and a PR or outreach expert to build relationships with other high authority sites to be successful with placement. It will also require purchasing of SEO tools and programs and in-house salaries.
Often the decision on whether to invest in an in-house program is based on how big of a channel SEO can be for the company. Not every company is a fit for SEO. For example, if there isn't enough high intent search volume for the keywords in its space, or if the industry/offering is so new, consumers don't yet have the language and habits of searching for it yet.
An end-to-end agency will handle the process of creating relevant content and link placement for you. Working with a reputable agency means you can rely on their track record of results, expertise, proven strategies, and resources such as the SEO tools required to be successful. Many of these agencies offer monthly flat-rate packages so that you can align it with your budget.
On average, be prepared to spend between $3,000 and upwards of $10,000 per month, depending on the volume and customization of the package. A reputable link building agency called Page One Power charges $3,700 per month for a typical link building campaign but it can still vary based on the project. Another end-to-end agency Siege Media offers content marketing packages which include content strategy, creation, design, SEO and scalable link acquisition starting at $11,000 monthly.
An outreach agency is an option if you want to keep content writing in-house and outsource the outreach process, which tends to be the most time-consuming task. Link building outreach involves manually contacting webmasters, reporters, business owners, bloggers, or social influencers to earn a backlink. They also will have industry and media relationships, expertise in generating compelling offers that get results, and the proper tools and programs to use.
We polled our MarketerHire network to ask them for recommendations, and some agencies to consider include Page One Power, OutreachMama, and Main Street ROI.
Can You Do Link Building Yourself?
When deciding on link building yourself, some questions to consider are:
Do you have specific requirements and a desire to control the link building process? If so, then doing it yourself may be the best route.
Do you have the capability and resources to hire and direct a top-quality content program and outreach team? This involves a team of writers, SEO strategists, and link building experts for outreach, with someone managing the entire process.
Are content and SEO top marketing channels for your business? You can answer this question by considering the stage of your business. For some businesses, other channels may reach prospective users more effectively than search. For others, there may not be enough search volume altogether to warrant an investment in SEO.
The inconvenient truth is that doing it yourself takes quite a bit of time and money to get going, and the results can be wildly unpredictable. Outsourcing is an alternative option for companies that may not have the resources to hire a dedicated team and are looking for faster results. The information shared in this article should be a helpful resource in determining the best path forward on your link building journey.