What are Links and Why do I Need Them?
What are links and why do I need them?
Building links to your website is important so it’s important that you understand what they are and why you need them.
What is a link?
A link is a link from someone else’s website to your website.
For example Sarah might have recently used your services and she was so impressed with your company that she decided to write about it in her popular blog. In the article she includes a link to your website so that anyone else who might be interested in using your services can click on the link and they are sent straight through to your website.
Why are links important for my website?¬†
So, from the example above, the obvious reason links are important is because it will direct people who may not have previously known about you to your website.¬†
The second, not so obvious reason, is because links are great for search engine optimisation (SEO) and SEO is what gets you ranking more highly in search engines like Google.
Search engines consider links to be similar to an endorsement. If someone has added a link to your website on their website then this is seen as a sign that your website has some content on it that is useful and rated highly by others.
But, be careful - it’s not a case of the more links you can get the better, but more about the quality of those links. A link from a website such as BBC or the NHS would carry more weight that a link from Bob’s Window Cleaning Services whose website was only set up yesterday and has no online history. Something to avoid at all costs is getting links on websites that have been created for the sole purpose of having links on them. These are known as link farms and you could get heavily penalised by search engines if you are found on them.
Websites with quality links get crawled by search engines more frequently meaning any new content you have (such as blogs) will get listed quicker in search engines (indexed) if you have links. These links will, in general, help you to climb higher in the search engine rankings. The aim of the game is to get more, better quality links (and by quality we mean links that have been naturally gained from real websites that don’t just exist as websites for displaying links), than your competition.
The process of actually getting links is difficult as the author of the website or blog needs to create the link – it’s not something you can control.¬†
Getting links should be seen as part of a wider SEO strategy for your website and not as a standalone tactic.
Be warned – there are some companies out there who will offer to sell you links. This is bad practice. Search engines have become very savvy to this and penalise companies who pay for links. To stay on the right side of search engines then links should always be gained naturally.