How to Use Links to Benefit Your SEO (and Why It Works)

A variety of external links - important to your SEO link building plan.

If you’re here, you know that having a high number of links to your site helps it rank higher on Google and other search engine results pages. However, you might not know how or why. To help you better understand what you need and what we do, we’ve got the scoop.

So why do links matter, anyway?

The SEO experts at Moz Blog have a lot to say about it in their article explaining external links. Here are some of their key points:

  • Any site that links to your site is seen as vouching for you or giving you a vote by search engine algorithms.
  • Links from sites or posts that are trustworthy, popular, relevant to your content, and not owned by you are given more value than those that do not fit these categories.
  • Links within your site and from your site to others may also boost your SEO, but only slightly – what others have to say about you is more important than what you say about yourself.
  • External links from other sites to yours may be the single most important factor in determining where your site shows up on search result listings – which is exactly why our company exists.

But how do I use this to my advantage?

Your goal here is to get other sites – authoritative, relevant sites that are not owned by you – to link back to yours. In order to be truly successful, you’ll need a lot of them, and you’ll probably need to maintain good connections with these sites in case you need fresh links in the future.

You can do this by contacting other sites directly (which can be extremely time-consuming) or by hiring an experienced linkbuilder and SEO marketer to do it on your behalf. The advantage of the latter is that SEO marketers who specialize in link building have an understanding of what types of links work best, as well as ongoing working relationships with sites that are certain to boost your standings in search engine results – often very quickly.

In the early days of the internet, “link spamming” and “link bots” (programs designed to automatically create links in blog comments and forums) were extremely popular, and to some degree effective. However, those days are over.

Google and other major search engines have cracked down hard on such practices – now they are not only ineffective, but punishable. Creating spam links in blog comments and forums can now be grounds for removal from search engine result listings entirely – the opposite of what you want for your site.

In those days, almost anyone could build enough links to their site to gain at least a little success on Google. Now, though, it is more important than ever to have relevant, legitimate links from other sites themselves, not public forums.

What else can I do to increase my chances of getting external links?

The best thing you can do within your own site is to write the best content you can and update your site with fresh content often. Having an attractive, well-written, professional-looking site makes building links a great deal easier – and will improve your bottom line when you get to the top of Google, as customers won’t just click on your site once and leave. They’ll keep coming back for more.

And isn’t that really the point of SEO?