Links (to your site from other sites) are hugely important in SEO. These links tell search engines that your website is credible and valuable – after all, these other sites found it useful enough to link to it – and the number of links to your site tells the search engine how popular your site is (and therefore how interested searchers will be in it). Overall, the more links there are to your site, the higher it’s going to rank in the search engines.
Link building sounds really difficult to a lot of people – and it is harder than on-page SEO and site structure optimization. And it does take some time. But here are a few different kinds of links you can get and tactics to start getting them.
You have no control over these. Natural links happen when someone reads your post or page, thinks it has really good information, and links to it somewhere on their site. These are great for SEO, but pretty hard to get without already ranking pretty high in the search engines. The best way you can work towards these is to produce fantastic content and do other SEO work on it.
This strategy involves finding other sites that have relevant content that could link to you and reaching out to the owner of the site requesting they link to you. This usually includes a value proposition explaining why it’s a good thing for them and their readers to link to you. This type of link building has to be done manually and has a very low success rate.
Some people will trade links with other sites – they link to a few of that site’s pages on their site, and that site links to a few of their pages. This can be very effective as long as the links are relevant. Search engines are smart, and a link to your clothing brand’s site on an organic food store’s site will actually hurt you more than help you.
Self-created links are links that you create by interacting with other sites – they can be forum signatures, links from guest posting, or from comments on other sites’ posts. They offer the lowest value, but can be a good place to start, and can actually be really valuable if you get enough of them out there. (Don’t spam random sites with comments to get them, though!)