We rely on the internet now more than ever before, with the web undeniably fuelled by interactive links. Search engines may be able to track, and even analyse their paths, but links are first and foremost designed to serve the user. It takes a human mind to create a valuable link.
Since the inception of SEO, link building has been about making valuable connections. The majority of SEOs don’t build links for search engines, they build for users – connecting them with the information they require.
For years, link building was rooted in manipulation – finding the best way to convince Google that your inbound links came from credible websites.
But Google has become much better at detecting manipulation. Long gone are the days of auto-generating thousands of dishonourable links and spamming your way to the top of the search results.
With Google continuing to strengthen its approach, link building is shifting back towards value and interaction.
The ideal way to acquire quality links that search engines value is through interaction. This means playing the long game and reaching out to webmasters.
A site that displays links without any form of engagement or interaction probably isn’t a site you want your links to be featured on. You should be able to find a real human being who is in charge of every site you wish to target. Otherwise the site is likely abandoned, created purely for crawlers, or both.
Relevance is the most important factor when considering a link prospect, and that can only be determined through thought and consideration. What’s more, you need to manually examine a site to see if there is a genuine audience looking at comments and encouraging social shares.
The metrics used by algorithms and online tools, such as Domain Authority, Page Authority and Trust Flow are important, but they only provide a piece of the complex puzzle. It takes a link builder to combine that information with other factors, like relevance and audience engagement to assess the true value of a link prospect.
Valuable links don’t just happen without a connection. If a link to your site isn’t going to benefit a site owner’s audience, then you probably won’t get a link, and realistically you shouldn’t.
Links are endorsements. If a site owner wants to endorse or recommend another site to their audience, they link to it. A link provides a direct pathway to a recommended site, and there is no simpler or better way to endorse another site online.
Without links, the internet would be a mess of information, and search engines like Google wouldn’t be able to function.