Link building is a major off-page SEO tactic and one of Google’s top three ranking factors. Yes, it’s that important.
It is the process of acquiring backlinks, which redirects back to pages on your site. It increases traffic to your site and is also one of Google’s ranking factors. The more high-quality backlinks a site has, the higher its rankings. For SEO beginners, link building is a topic to understand fully before making otherwise avoidable mistakes.
However, to properly understand link building properly, one needs to know these link building terms.
Google and other search engines regularly update their search algorithms. Each of these updates affects search results and rankings in some way (major or minor). Therefore, it is important to keep a tab on these updates as they are announced.
Alt tags are HTML attributes for images (IMG tag) and used to describe images. It is especially useful because in link building. Search engines can’t ‘see’ pictures and therefore rely on the alt tag description for ranking the page. Screen readers also read out the text to visually-impaired readers.
An anchor text is simply a linkable text. It consists of a keyword or phrase and a hyperlink such that clicking on the text takes you to a target page.
Backlinks are the crux of link building. They are links that redirect users to pages on your site from another site. Hence, they are called external links, inbound links, incoming links, etc.
The process of acquiring backlinks is link building, and it builds your site’s reputation and authority.
You get a brand mention when your brand’s name appears in another content. Brand mentions are usually without backlinks to your own website but in their own way, serve to boost Reputation.
Google webmaster John Muller shares more about it in the video below
A link is broken if it redirects to a non-existent page. Clicking on this link triggers the error 404 (Page Not Found).
In link building, it is important to identify broken links and fix them.
I talked about goals under Conversion Rates. Now, the way by which you draw attention to the goal is a Call-to-Action. It can range from anything as simple as a piece of advice in the conclusion of a text to a ‘download now’ button.
Google seriously frowns against duplicate content. If you would duplicate some content from another site (with permission, of course), it is always advisable to embed it with a canonical tag.
This is how it works:
<link rel= “canonical”
Click-Through Rates (CTR)
Click-Through Rates help you identify the most effective backlinks and also know if your overall link building strategy is working as it should.
The CTR is calculated by dividing the total number of link referrals to your site by the total amount of external links you have.
Page cloaking is the practice of altering webpages such that a human visitor would view it differently from the search engine bot. It is a black hat SEO trick used to achieve higher rankings; doing it will get you penalized.
Rusty Brick of Seroundtable shares more insights on this via this video
Content Marketing is a wide term that covers link building and every other process of creating content to attract visitors. Unlike other forms of marketing that are meant to sell a product, in content marketing, the content itself is the ‘product’.
After attracting visitors to your content, you get them to reach some end goal, such as purchasing a subscription, buying a product, completing a form, subscribing to your mailing list, downloading an ebook, etc.
The Conversion Rate shows how many visitors actually reach this goal. This insight is valuable and can help you determine how to adjust your strategy.
Deep links redirect to specific pages on your site, and not the homepage. When there is an external link to your site, do ensure it links directly to where the specific information is needed on your site. The homepage usually wouldn’t contain this.
A site that is deindexed by a search engine (for instance, Google) will be ignored when bots are crawling the web. Furthermore, such a site would not appear in any search results. Deindexation usually occurs as a consequence of violating a guideline.
These are sites with information on several companies and their information, including websites. Being listed in relevant directories is an important local SEO strategy.
You can disavow backlinks to your site if the links are suspicious and have caused or may cause a manual action from Google. Google offers a whole guide on how to do this. More so, its a way of ensuring that actions of third-parties don’t negatively affect you.
There are many definitions of the word ‘disclaimer’. However, in link building parlance, it is a statement indicating that a piece of content is sponsored or that links on the page were purchased.
Do-Follow links are links without a No-Follow attribute (information about no-follow links is below). By default, all links are do-follow links unless altered. It means they are indexed by the search engines and determine your Google PageRank.
Some links are embedded with the following no-follow attribute, without the brackets (rel = “nofollow” >link text</a>). It means such would not be crawled and would have no impact on PageRank. Many authority sites use it when linking to an untrusted website.
These are content based on topics that would not become outdated easily. Writing evergreen content is more important than just focusing on trending topics.
The difference is that the trending topics would, at some point, cease to trend and attract traffic. On the other hand, evergreen content continues to attract traffic even years on.
It is a free analytics tool, which provides you with insights about your site. For webmasters who are not using a paid analytics tool, Google Analytics remains a decent option with different resources.
Google Search Console
This is another tool (or more properly, collection of tools) that performs similar functions Google Analytics and both, in fact, are complementary.
Google Search Console provides you with reports and insights about your site. It was formerly known as Webmasters Tools.
These are links altered so that they do not appear as a link. It is an old black-hat SEO technique.
Those who do hide links are only setting themselves up for definite penalties; the links are only invisible to your site visitors, but not to search engine bots.
Images (such as infographics) can be linked to a target source too. They are perceived to be of less value than text links though since search engine bots cannot read images.
Nevertheless, if you must use an image link, make sure you update the alt text (which the bots can read) to give information about it.
Indexation describes the action of search engine bots crawling the web for information to display. Currently, at least 5.15 billion web pages are indexed by various search engines! A page that isn’t indexed is not ranked and cannot show up in searches.
Contrary to backlinks/external links, internal links redirect to other pages on your site. It lends your site more authority and could attract higher rankings. Wikipedia is a good example of a website that uses internal links.
Keyword Density determines if the number of times a keyword or phrase appears in a text is optimal. It is measured by dividing the number of times a keyword or phrase appears by the total number of words in the text and multiplying the result by 100.
If a keyword or phrase appears too many times, beyond what is considered optimal, that keyword stuffing. It is spammy and Google considers it a black-hat SEO technique.
Hence, your site may be penalized for it, even if unintentional. Keywords used in articles should appear as natural as possible and spamming should be avoided.
Keywords are important words and phrases that indicate what a piece of content is about.
Keywords Optimisation is placing your keywords strategically to maximize the chances of ranking higher. Such areas include the title, first paragraph, meta tag and meta description, images alt tag, etc.
Link bait is a hugely attractive content, whether text, blog title, image, etc. The art of crafting good link baits are important to increase traffic because many find them irresistible.
It can be something funny, profound, ridiculous, anything, as far as it draws traffic. You can find examples of some link bait strategies here.
Many sites engage in link exchange where one site links to another and the latter links back to the former in return. Such links are known as reciprocal links. Overdoing this can attract Google’s wrath. So, be careful.
This is basically link exchange but on a greater and more organized level. Rather than two sites linking to each other, it usually involves several (think hundreds and thousands, yes) sites where every page links to every other page. But you don’t want to take part in this as it is a violation of set guidelines.
It is a colloquial way of referring to the value of backlinks to a webpage. It is determined by a number of factors and important to ranking highly on Google. There are different tools available to calculate it.
This refers to the whole collection of links to your site. Developing a ‘good’ link profile is very important. In your link building strategy, develop a strong profile with diversity by getting links from various sources.
Be careful of spammy and suspicious links though, as those could ruin your profile. On the other hand, getting links from authority sites improves it.
Black Hat SEO
This is a general term for unethical SEO practices used to rank higher in searches. Such practices include keyword stuffing, link farming, illegal content duplication, page cloaking, link spamming, etc. Sites that do this face being banned.
Manual Action, or Manual Penalty
These are penalties Google hands out to sites that have violated any of its guidelines. If you are ever penalized, you would be notified through Google Search Console with an opportunity to fix up and send a reconsideration request to Google.
Manual actions are specific punishments for violations. They are different from the consequences resulting from an algorithm update.
A meta description is a short description of a post that is only visible to search engines, but not every other user.
It is hidden in the site’s code and helps Google rank your page better. It is one of the strategic places to include your keywords.
Different from the meta description, they are words or phrases used by a search engine to know what topics the page is about. You should also include your keywords in your meta description.
Meta description and meta keywords are elements of meta tags. The meta tags are placed in the HEAD section of your page’s code.
These are unsolicited backlinks to your site. They are the best form of backlinks. In any case, Google cannot tell natural links from solicited ones.
However, you should aim to get natural links; having several pages link back to your site is the true sign of attaining authority status.
Schema Mark up will help boost your website SEO thus creating rich snippets, search results, increase search traffic, and drive a more engaging audience to your website.
A reconsideration request is sent if a penalty has been slammed on your site and after the relevant issues have been fixed.
These are links to sites that link back to your site. Many do this with guest posting; their guest posts on another site contain links to theirs, then the link to that guest post. It is not so complex.
Search Engine Results Pages are the pages displayed by a search engine when a search is made.
These links are often referred to as footer links, though they might appear in sidebars too. Once webmasters learned that sitewide links generated a lot of traffic and resulted in a massive increase in traffic, the tactic became abused. Now, many disregard footer links but there are still genuine ones.
Search engine spiders are bots that crawl the web and sends the data back to the search engine for indexing and ranking of sites. They are also known as bots or (web) crawlers.
Sponsored posts are a great way to generate backlinks and boost brand reputation. As against regular guest posts, sponsored posts are paid for. Most sites include a disclaimer when publishing a sponsored post while others don’t.
The tag makes Google’s bots identify it as a duplicate content. Therefore, all the rankings would be transmitted to the original page.
Just like the meta tag, the title tag is only useful to internet bots. However, the latter is publicly visible but only in your browser’s title bar.
It is an important ranking factor and is how search engines know what your page is about. WordPress’ All In One SEO plugin, among others, enables you to do this.
These are simply the opposite of natural links. They involve some effort on your part: outreach, paid links, directory links, footer links, etc. However, you need to be careful; Google frowns against unnatural links.
These guidelines enable Google to find, index and rank your site. Not adhering to them can lead to serious consequences for your site. Anyone who is into SEO must thoroughly study and understand the given guidelines.
Once you know these link building terms, SEO will become easier, and you’ll be able to make your site generate traffic faster. Afterward, read other guides that dwell comprehensively on how to properly build links.