Categories
seo Tech

Is Link Building Dead? Or should it be part of my SEO strategy?

Is link building dead? What is it and should it be part of my SEO strategy?

The relevance of link building is a much-debated topic online with many SEOs and marketers weighing in with their opinions. However, it’s pretty clear that building quality links to your website is still integral to your search strategy. The important thing to distinguish is what type of link building is being discussed.

Link building refers to various SEO practices of getting links to your website from third-party domains. These vary from buying backlinks to getting them naturally and asking for them from different websites online.

To be clear, link-building practices intended to trick or bypass search engine algorithms are well and truly dead. One of which is the process of buying backlinks. While purchasing backlinks and other “blackhat SEO” tactics may have worked in the past, that is no longer the case. Recent Google algorithm updates ensure dodgy link-building practices and other blackhat tactics are easily identified and penalised, thus impacting offending sites search visibility.

However, quality backlinks to your website have always been one of the most important rank factors for websites, and they still are. QUALITY is the key here and quality backlinks are good for SEO.

What is link building?

Link building is the process of getting other websites to add links (known as backlinks) on their pages to your website content.  By building backlinks to your website, you build credibility as well as new pathways to your site. This helps SEO efforts as it signals to Google that your website is worth linking to and, as such, worth listing high in search rankings.

Link building is still one of the most important ranking factors for search

You want a website that is worth linking to right?   As such, you want content that answers your target audiences’ questions, solves their problems, and, therefore is optimised for search queries.  

The best content normally wins in the case of generating genuine meaningful backlinks.

It is for this very reason that Google will rank your website higher in search results if you have a lot of backlinks to your website.  Backlinks work like votes for your website and its content.

There is, in fact, a direct correlation between websites that have quality backlinks to their site from other domains with good domain authority. 

organic search results by average linking domains

Source:  ahrefs.com Blog “How to Find Backlinks (that you can replicate)”, written by Joshua Hardwick, Updated: 9 October 2020.  Accessed 25 September 2021.  URL “https://ahrefs.com/blog/find-backlinks/

 If you have quality link building practice in place as part of your broader content planning and SEO strategy, you will rank higher in search engine results.

How linkbuilding strategies have changed

In the past websites would build links in several ways that were designed to trick search engines into ranking pages higher in search.  This included building links. Often the links would come from spam websites, or from very poor or thin content, that lacked relevance to the page it was linking . Often these sites and content were created purely for the purpose of selling said backlinks. Google refers to these types of backlinks as “unnatural links”.

Blackhat SEO tactics like this will hurt your search engine rankings.

Google aims to deliver the most relevant content to search queries (which use search terms and keywords) that will enhance the user experience.   This means removing spammy websites from search engine results.  Two recent Google core updates –  Panda & Penguin – target spam websites that have poor or thin content and/or those that have unnatural links to do exactly that.   

If Google detects spam websites linking to your site or unnatural links, it may issue you with a “manual action”. Manual actions will stop your website from being served in Google search results.   

However, when backlinks are content-based, relevant and from websites that have good domain authority (aren’t toxic or spammy), Google ranks the page higher in search results. 

See Google’s information regarding “manual actions” and test your site to see if it has any manual actions in your search console.

How does link building get better organic search rankings?

1. Backlinks give your website more exposure to Google crawlers.

Google only knows about a page and what content is on the page if the page has been “crawled”.  When Google crawls a page it determines where the page should be ranked in search queries based on the information on the page. 

Google crawlers find a page to crawl when a website owner submits the page (via their sitemap) to be crawled and indexed or if Google follows a link from an already known page to the new page.

Google relies on links from known sites to find pages on your website as well as to develop an understanding of what each page is about.  This in turn helps Google decide where to rank your website in search engine results pages (SERPS) for various queries.

Once Google discovers your page, it can then start to understand what your page is about.   That is, it can analyse the content and media included on the page, get an idea about the intentions of the page and its relevance to different search queries.  Google will then store the information it collected in their database, Google’s index.  Google then serves your website page to users for relevant search queries.

Therefore, the more quality links you have to your website, the better your search rankings.

2. Backlinks build credibility and domain authority

Backlinks to your website tell Google that you have content that is worth linking to.  It tells search algorithms that your content is unique and adds value to readers online.  Backlinks give your website and content authoritative strength. 

Google aims to provide users with timely and relevant content based on their search queries.  Your site ‘authority’ – how many backlinks from good reputable sites you have – indicates how well your website will rank in search results.   As such, backlinks can help get higher rankings in search results.

The key to remember here is that good backlinks to relevant content from reputable websites are what you are aiming for. Google can tell if it’s a toxic site linking to your website, indicating blackhat SEO tactics as mentioned above. 

3. Backlinks get your website out across the internet to be seen by more people

Link building is a great way to get your website in front of more users’ eyes.  It gets your website out there, far and wide across the internet and, in turn, should increase your website traffic.

The purpose of SEO is to drive traffic to your website.  But traffic to your website can also improve your search rankings, in turn, helping your SEO efforts.

So how do I generate quality backlinks?

The key here that we’ve mentioned several times is QUALITY backlinks help your website rankings. 

‘Earned’ links that are ‘do follow’ likes are invaluable to your SEO.

Earned links are links to content where you didn’t have to ask for the link. Rather, another blog owner or content publishes finds your content and links to it because of its quality and relevance. For example, if your content is used as an information source, or someone loves your products or business and so wants to tell people about it. 

But don’t wait around for your content to be found and linked online. You could be waiting some time. You will also be missing the additional website traffic that comes with good backlinks as you wait. 

Instead, implement link-building strategies and tactics to build more backlinks to your website sooner. But try these more acceptable tactics rather than buying links.

  • Share your content via social media to increase exposure. Read more about how Social Media helps SEO. Social media is a great way to get your content infront of more people online. This in turn increases your changes of getting backlinks.
  • Backlink outreach. Find blogs and websites with content that is relevant to yours or where yours can add value. Reach out to the website owners and suggest backlinks to your site wherever relevant. The key is to demonstrate how your content adds value to their content by improving understanding about the topic being discussed.
  • Post to guest blogs. Guest blogs often allow a backlink from the authors bio. Become a guest blogger and post original articles on sites relevant to your business.
  • Conduct a unique research project or survey and share the results. Survey results provide insight as well as credibility to content. This makes published results appealing to mention and link to.
  • Look for mentions about your business online. If there is no link to your website, request the website manage add one.

Why Found Online for SEO Services Sydney?

SEO is not an overnight process.  It requires a strategic approach to all the things a business does online. When done properly, this online activity should ultimately improve the website’s search rankings and traffic. 

Found Online can help you generate quality backlinks with our content marketing and backlink generation services.

Found Online are SEO experts and holistic SEO service providers. Our expertise covers on-page SEO, off-page SEO, and technical SEO capabilities. This includes an in-house, Sydney-based team of content writers, website developers, and SEO experts.

If you want to see your website ranked higher in search engine results, give us a call at Found Online Sydney on 02 7906 8405 or email us at info@foundonline.com.au.  You can also send us an email inquiry via our website contact form.  

Categories
seo

Does social media impact SEO? 8 ways socials help search rankings

Impact of Social Media on SEO

Does social media activity impact SEO?

The simple answer is yes, social media activity impacts SEO. But perhaps not how you might expect.

Social media and its impact on SEO is a much-debated topic online. 

See, most SEO’s and marketers understand the value of quality backlinks to their website.   Backlinks increase domain authority which in turn improves search engine rankings.  Unfortunately, Google doesn’t count social media links as backlinks to your website.

So how does social media impact SEO efforts then?

Social media can improve your visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs)

To understand the correlation between social media and SEO it’s important to understand search engines. For instance, social media activity is included in Google algorithms, just perhaps not as you might think. Social Media impacts your overall digital marketing footprint, as well as, drives exposure to your content and traffic to your website.

Let’s take a look at how your branded activity on social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Linked In, Twitter and more can improve your search engine rankings.

8 Ways social media impacts SEO efforts and search rankings;

Social media is a great way to engage your audiences and have conversations with them online.   As well as this, and because of this, social media can impact SEO.  That’s why more and more businesses are using social as part of their comprehensive SEO strategies.

It’s important to note here again that social media does not create backlinks to your website. Therefore, links will not affect your website’s SEO in that way. However, having an active social presence can still improve how high you appear in SERPs. The impact on SEO is just a little more indirect.

It does this in the following 8 ways.

1) Social media drives traffic to your website which in turn helps SEO

If you want to improve your search engine rankings, one of the best ways is to drive as much traffic as possible to your website.   It sounds a bit like the chicken before the egg scenario, but it is true.  One of the major ranking factors Google uses is website traffic.

Traffic can come from a variety of online media, not just search engines.  This includes email marketing, advertising, guest blogs, and more.   One of the easiest ways to drive traffic is through social media marketing.

Social media is a great way to attract your target audience and direct them to your website.  This can be via branded content, engaging posts or pure social media advertising.  Google counts all users that are directed to your website as traffic, even those via social media link clicks. The data is then used to index your website.

2) Social media improves your content reach, so you’re discovered by more people

Social media can improve your content reach meaning more people discover your site.

While search engines like Google deliver content to users based on their search enquiries, social media has some additional benefits.  That is, users can receive content via social media that they didn’t necessarily search for.  This can be organic via other user activities with similar interests. It can also be part of deliberately targeted content delivered directly to the user by businesses via paid advertising campaigns.

Recommendations drive conversions online and on social media. This encourages users to click to read more and/or buy.  Therefore, using social media correctly can lead to traffic that engages with your content. Engaged uses lead to content shares, which can drive even more targeted traffic online.

Social media advertising is also an extremely cost-effective, targeted approach to deliver your content to thousands of people online. Advertising campaigns can drive traffic directly to your website, in turn, helping your SEO. Ads can also direct customers to buy in social marketplaces.  Either way, there is a direct benefit to the business.

3) Engagement with your social media content can help your rankings

We’ve already mentioned engagement with your content above but, given how important it is to your entire marketing efforts including SEO, it’s important to mention here on its own.

Firstly, and most simply, social accounts show Google that you are engaged with your audience—and engagement is one of Google’s top-ranking factors.  If your content is worth reading it’s worth ranking

In this way, social shares (and tweets) can improve the search rankings of your social media profiles, and so of your website too.   This is similar to how traditional links are being counted by Google as direct signals to Google that people think your content is worth reading.

Additionally, by engaging with your audience via social media channels you can ultimately better align yourself with their interests.  You can do this with the content that you write and share, through guest blogs, newsletter signups and lots of other ways that help your business connect with them. 

4) Social media can help improve link diversity

Search engines look at many factors when determining rankings, including link and domain diversity.  

For years, one strategy has been buying backlinks from different domains to boost domain diversity which results in higher rankings.  It might seem that this is an easy way to fix domain diversity issues. While SEO’s commonly used this tactic in the past, it adds no real user value. As such, Google views it as ‘SPAMMY’. That’s because, these links are often from unrelated, thin, or poorly constructed content.   Sometimes they are from websites created deliberately to generate backlinks. d so their content fails to be relevant, engaging, or informative.  These are all key criteria Google looks for in their ranking methods.  

Recent algorithm updates by Google attempt to weed out Blackhat SEO behaviour and link building like this. Instead, search engines favour websites that add value to online user experiences. 

So how can brands build ‘link diversity’?   Social media adds variety to your backlink profile (i.e., links to your site from different sources). 

Google likes a mixture of both follow and no follow links on any given website. Search engines want to see these links coming from different domains. Too many of one or the other will look unnatural. Google or other search engines will flag and penalise your website if links look unnatural.

To assess links, Google uses PageRank that calculates link points, or ‘Google juice’.  Social media is a great way to generate more diversity in your Google link juice.

5) Social media profiles often rank higher than websites

It’s not only your website content that can rank in search results.  Social media profiles often rank high in SERPS for branded content and particular keywords.  In some instances, search results can return a social media profile higher in their results pages than the company website for some keywords or search terms.  This is often seen, for example, with Pinterest, which has typically always generated high search rankings, as well as LinkedIn profiles and YouTube videos.  

YouTube, in particular, regularly ranks higher than company websites.  That’s because Google, like other search engines, dedicates a specific section at the top of its results pages specifically for video content.  

The reason social media profiles rank high in search engine results is because of one of the main ranking factors that controls which website or social profile links shows first for a particular search query.  That factor is what is referred to as ‘link authority’.   The web page or social media profile with greater link authority or page rank gets listed first in search results.  Social media typically has an extremely high authority score.

6) Social Media Platforms are Search Engines so does impact SEO

If we think of Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn as search engines – rather than social media platforms – then their purpose is just as clear: they’re all about finding people with whom you might want to do business.

Each serves a different niche. But if you want to be found online, it’s not enough for your website to exist; people must be able to find it via social media platforms as well.

Social media search engines make it easier to find information on certain topics. They make it easier to find new information every day. New posts on your social network pages show up in Google’s search results before links from an external site backlink page do!

7) Social media can help you understand your customers better

By improving your understanding of your customers via their online habits, likes, dislikes, location, etc. social media gives you insight into what people are looking for when it comes to brands just like yours.  The more you can understand your customers, their needs, their wants, and what they share on social media, the better you can serve their needs with both content as well as product and service offerings.   

Does your audience tweet about topics not mentioned by other businesses? Use that insight to create a custom hashtag on Instagram posts.  What questions are users asking via Reddit?  Write some informative content that answers those queries and share your response there.  

As people share information on Facebook or Pinterest or Twitter or another network about your business or product, study what they say. If a lot of people are complaining about a certain issue with your product or service, consider changing it.   That’s going to help you get higher search engine rankings in a way that social media links never will!  You’ll show off a deeper understanding of your customers which builds trust and improves your ability to engage with your audience online.

8) Social media helps geo targeting for local SEO

If you’re targeting customers in a specific geographic area — say, if you run a restaurant — you’ll want to reach those customers searching for restaurants in that area.   To do that, you want to make sure that any posts or pages associated with your business include accurate geo-targeting information.  This is an important ranking factor for Google, particularly for locality-based searches.

The most important geo-targeting information for Google is your Name, Address and Phone Number (NAP).  

Google looks for a business’ NAP and, where this is consistent with that on your Google business listing and throughout your website, Google will consider your business more credible.  The more instances of your NAP mentioned online, the more instances Google associates with your business for your geographical location.  This has a direct impact on how Google indexes and ranks your website for local search queries.

Additionally, some social media platforms allow geo-tagging of stories and posts. This is a great way to gain more visibility among a local audience, helping you expand your reach.

For ways, Found Online can help your local SEO to improve you for local search engine queries, get in contact with our local SEO experts.

Social Media does more for your business than just SEO

While social media is incredibly important for SEO, it is also beneficial to your business growth for more than just that.

Social media sites connect users by allowing everyone to see each other’s actions. This makes people feel connected, both online and IRL (in real life), which leads to even more sharing between members.  There are also connections between social media sites themselves. Eg, You can mention someone on Twitter and automatically post it onto Facebook.

Social media makes word-of-mouth advertising easier.   People like talking about products and services they love. They want their friends to use them. They want others to know how amazing something was.    Tapping into this, social media can help grow your company. It’s important to engage the right audience and build a community of online advocates.

This ‘social proof’ is far more powerful than any advertising a business can do.  Most people are more likely to trust the product and/or services recommendations that come from friends, family or those they view as experts online.  This is what makes social media so powerful for business.

In Conclusion:

The bottom line is that maintaining an active social presence can help improve search engine rankings.  But regardless of social media’s impact on SEO, there are many more reasons businesses should focus on using social tools as part of their marketing strategy.

Improving your rankings is a powerful benefit of social sharing, but getting actual traffic, engaging with customers, and creating ‘social proof’ that drive sales, is much more important for building your business.

Found Online provide social media marketing that get you found online

We’re a team of SEO specialists with a local Sydney based team of social media managers, content creators and advertising experts.   The team at Found Online improve search We provide Holistic SEO, social media management, website performance and more.

Get in touch with our Sydney team on 02 7906 8405 or send us a website enquiry.