Every once a while we have a new client who calls us who with the standard types of questions that come along with an industry that can be unpredictable. One of the questions we hear often is, “Is link building dead?” We personally love this question as the myth is an ever growing one, an old wive's tale that’s still quite frankly, new and trending!
Here are five reasons why building the correct links is as important as ever.
1) Links make up the Internet
In March 1989, Tim Berners-Lee wrote the original proposal of the World Wide Web whereby he noted a world of linked information. He wrote,
“When you select a reference, the browser presents you with the text which is referenced: you have made the browser follow a hypertext link … That text itself has links to other texts and so on”. He then goes on to write “The texts are linked together in a way that one can go from one concept to another to find the information one wants. The network of links is called a web.”
This premise has not changed. Links are still present and WILL ALWAYS be present as a way for users of the web to find other pages and websites. We must see links as doorways to a website, store or blog and with more (quality) links there are many more doorways to allow potential visitors to your site. No links, no easy ways to find your store.
2) PageRank has not changed
PageRank was developed way back in 1996. It’s a Google algorithm that assigns a ranking from 0 to 10 of a particular web page. The higher the ranking the more likely Google is to rank pages on that website higher in the search engine results. PageRank is primarily designed to recognise links and especially quality industry related links that point to a website.
Here is Matt Cutts, head of the Google web spam team, explaining PageRank:
Although the concept is difficult to explain in detail without the mind of Rain Man, the crux is that many links from low page rank sites are of less value of a few links from high page rank websites. Page rank is passed from a page to another page AND the other pages it links to to. The page rank algorithm is just one of over 200 ranking factors that Google looks at to judge the worthiness of a website, but it’s still a ranking signal after all this time.
3) Good sites still link to good sites
It’s important to realise that a website that ranks well already is more than likely to have some healthy page rank across most of their pages. What a lot of people fail to realise is that it’s not just links coming into a site that boosts page rank, but also relevant outgoing links too. Let’s use an example of a well-established reputable UK newspaper site such as http://www.independent.co.uk/.
Their page rank for their homepage is a very impressive 8 out of 10 gaining a link from a website such as this to a page on your store would certainly help your page rank for that particular page it linked to and also pass page rank throughout your website. But, it also benefits The Independent to link to websites that are seen as authoritative, relevant and trustworthy.
The Page rank algorithm is one factor in judging this and you won’t find sites such as The Independent linking out to any Tom, Dick or Harry! Good quality sites will tend to link to good quality sites, so make yours just that and you will attract links.
4) No links, no navigation
Links to and from a website are important but there is a third piece to the puzzle. Links on your own website also known as internal links. These links can go unnoticed but pack a strong punch in boosting your search rankings.
It brings us back to my first point of this article where links help visitors to navigate not just TO your store but AROUND your store. You can create a store that has excellent navigability by interlinking your category, product and top level pages.
Let's use another example: You have a website with 10 pages, and The Independent links to one of your category pages. Any internal links from that category page will pass page rank through all the links to the other pages on your website. This helps all those pages rank higher in search as the "trust" from the authoritative site passes throughout your site.
You can learn more about best practice for internal linking and be ahead of your competition. Next time you're about to ask "Is link building dead?" bookmark this article and refer to it.