With 1,901,957,930 (and counting) websites on the internet right now, it can be hard to make yours stand out to the right audience. However, you know that your website is worth it for your customers because you’ve devoted so much money to it- how do you get it noticed? SEO and pay-per-click campaigns are obvious choices, but there’s a part of SEO that is commonly overlooked by small businesses- link building.
Link building is the process of creating backlinks for your website: links from other websites leading back to yours. While this might sound like just a great way to get more attention for your business, it also helps build a higher ranking for your website. Google has even come out and said that backlinks are one of their top three factors for ranking. Their PageRank Algorithm has been developed over the years, going from including just link quantity to also considering link quality. This means if you have one copy of your website with 100 backlinks from bad sources and an exact copy of your website with only 20 links from good sources, the second one will always rank higher.
An interesting example of this is Moz Rankings. This statistic is Moz’s version of Google Page Rank- but based almost solely around link building. Moz Ranks range from 0-10, with most websites scoring as a very small decimal, so even a rank of 1-2 is something to brag about. For our example, we’ll use three websites: www.gianteagle.com, www.buzzfeed.com, and www.amazon.com (talking about those backlinks…. you’re welcome).
For Giant Eagle, we realize that they have a Moz Rank of 0/10- how is that possible if they’re a giant and well-known business? They don’t have content that people are interested in linking back to. There’s no blog, no content, just shopping available. No one wants to link to a jar of peanut butter on their website.
The next website on our list is a very well-known one- Buzzfeed. They have a page rank of 8/10- very, very good. How many times have you seen a Buzzfeed article on social media, as a blog, or linked to on another website? Probably too many to count. This helps Buzzfeed build authority and relevance.
Lastly, the big one- Amazon. While I didn’t search for too long, Amazon was the closest to a 10/10 I could find- a 9/10. The reasons for this are obvious- they might only have shopping available like Giant Eagle… but they have every type of shopping available. Linking to the perfect travel pillow in a blog is much more likely than that jar of peanut butter we talked about earlier.
Link building is essentially gathering votes of confidence for your page- the more you have, the more likely you are to be found, and the more likely you are to have a higher ranking. PageRank began as a way to bring the number of links into the algorithm, but it has evolved into the quality of the links as well as SEO Experts figure out how to manipulate the algorithm.