Basics of SEO – Link Building

By on Feb 26, 2011 in Search | 12 comments

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Link building – also known as off-page optimization – is a process in which links from other websites are built to direct to your own website. It is used for several purposes, but mainly used to have higher rankings on search engine result pages (SERP) for your desired keywords.

There are two ways to obtain higher rankings on search engines, and link building is one of them. In my experience as a seasoned SEO practitioner, the fastest way to learn SEO is to understand its basic terminologies and to constantly apply them as well.

To start off, link building doesn’t work alone, on-page optimization and link building is a 1-2 punch combo, where one can’t exist without the other. Having a solid and well optimized page will make it much easier for you to see results from your link building efforts.

To know more about what is SEO, you can check out that introductory post by AJ Kohn.

6 Basic SEO Terms To Get You Started With Link Building

The following list of terms is the ones that you need to understand in order to get started in optimizing your website and to improve its search engine visibility.

The use of anchor texts in links helps in improving a site’s search rankings, as search engines tag the keywords used as link texts and consider the link as a vote for the targeted keyword, when they see it used by other webpage or websites to describe the links’ destination site/page.

Example: Kaiser The Sage’s Homepage

<a href=”http://kaiserthesage.com/”>Kaiser The Sage’s Homepage</a>

Pagerank ranks a site’s importance in a scale of 1 – 10, wherein it’s calculated through several factors such as:

–          Age of the site

–          Value of the content, which is based on the amount of voluntary links from other websites pointing to it

–          Amount of links from other websites that have high PR (should be dofollow, which I will explain later on)

–          Number of pages of the site

This ranking system also updates every 3 months (but recently took 9 months before it finally updated to only sites that are already live on April last year). Most webmasters use this metrics in measuring a site’s authority, level of importance as well as if the site is trustworthy for link building purposes (such as link exchanges).  Also, each page on a website has different Pageranks, since it’s based on the amount and quality of links (both backlinks and internal links) pointing to the certain page (which means your homepage, about page, contact page, services page, etc… can all have a different Pagerank).

Dofollow link is a link attribute that allows Pagerank juice to flow from the page where the link is placed through the destination page of the link. It’s also known to carry more weight and value as a vote for search rankings, when targeted keywords are used as the anchor text for the link.

Nofollow link is the opposite of the dofollow, in which Pagerank or link juice isn’t passed through to the destination page of the link. However, nofollow links are still crawled by search engine spiders, and can still benefit a website on its search rankings since this type of link is still counted and considered by search engines (though it offers lesser value compared to dofollow links). This link attribute is also capable of passing through “trust”, particularly in developing a site’s link equity or the balance of the amount of dofollow and nofollow links pointing to a page/site, which is important in building a trustworthy link profile.

There are many tools out there that can help you distinguish Nofollow and Dofollow links, but personally, I use Affilorama SEO Toolbar (it’s a free Firefox plugin) in detecting link attributes.

Once you have installed the plugin, you can normally see it placed on the lower right part of your browser, which displays the Google Pagerank toolbar, Alexa Traffic Rank, and a “link” symbol button.

Clicking the link button will allow you to see the attributes of the links on any webpage that you visit, wherein it automatically highlights the links placed on the page.


Nofollow attributed external links are highlighted with "red border"


Dofollow attributed external links are highlighted with "no border"

Fundamental Search Engine Optimization Terminologies

There are also other SEO terms that can help you more in understanding link building, given that these terms are included on the process of developing your site’s off-page optimization such as:

Benefits of Optimizing a Website through Link building

There are several advantages that link building or off-page optimization provides to a website, and it includes the following:

Next Stop: Application

Acquiring links from other sites is easy, but finding the right targets for linking is the tougher task, since you have to find good pages to get a link from first. But the essential parts of knowing your targets are the relevance and the quality of the linking page. Say if you’re selling shoes on your website, then you need to obtain links from other related and trusted sites that may perhaps sell or give information about footwear, socks, clothing, and pretty much anything that’s related to your site’s theme.

Anyway, here are some of the basic methods that you can apply to get started with link building:

Final Tip

It is very important that you know the right targets for your link building and to set standards for the right links that you’ll want to acquire for your website – as I’ve mentioned before, link building is not a numbers game; it’s quality that separates you from your competitors. It’s also important that you give reason for other websites to link to your site – most probably through your own content (that’s why it’s the undisputed king).

Tired of the basics of SEO? Try some advanced link building strategies here.

Jason Acidre

Jason Acidre is Co-Founder and CEO of Xight Interactive, marketing consultant for Affilorama and Traffic Travis, and also the sole author of this SEO blog. You can follow him on Twitter @jasonacidre and on Google+.

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  1. Ind Tv Forum

    May 31, 2011

    Post a Reply

    I’ve never sought DoFollow blogs for clients either… now, here we enter an area where your more extensive testing may well shoot down my hypothesis – but putting my ego aside and, I hope, adding to the conversation:
    Let us step back to why Google introduced NoFollow; My understanding is that it was because people were gaming Google to gain PageRank for their sites to up their Adsense revenue.
    So, NoFollow was introduced by Google to keep their costs down; then everybody in the SEO world jumps in and says you need Followed links to rank in the SERPs.
    Now, and this is where you and I perhaps differ in terms of higher level appreciation of SEO – and please excuse me if I’ve interpreted your writings incorrectly – you like finely engineered sites whereas I have a regard for ‘accomplishing the result with the least possible effort/resources’ – I have to add that this is from an appreciation of engineering minimalism rather than indolence!

  2. Ryan

    September 3, 2011

    Post a Reply

    Great link building tips, thank you. Is article marketing still a good link building practice? In other words, after Panda, does Google still place value on links within articles on sites like Ezine?

  3. I love how you convey so much info using brief descriptions.

    The key really is to focus on quality over quantity. I know plenty of people who are so obsessed with the number of links to their site that they lose sight of what’s really important. I’d choose a single dofollow link from the Huffington Post (or similar big-name sites) over a hundred links from spammy Pligg sites every day of the week and twice on Sunday.

  4. amit

    September 28, 2011

    Post a Reply

    Kaise,you did a great move and wrote a very well article on SEO basics.I hope this article ll do a great help to all webmasters as well as new webmasters who have no idea about basic terms of SEO.

  5. Rico

    October 20, 2011

    Post a Reply

    As soon as I stopped worrying about the whole follow/nofollow thing so much and just worked on getting every link I could, my rankings shot up like crazy. Based on what I’ve seen, there’s links for authority and links for reputation, authority links need to pass PR, reputation links are about anchor text and pass that reputation no matter what to some degree. I could be wrong, but that’s what the data I’ve seen shows.

  6. alan

    December 23, 2011

    Post a Reply

    Step by step procedure to reach the first page of google for desired keyword..
    Content is the most imp factor,i have seen site with pr1 ranking higher than site with pr4 simply because the content in that pr1
    site was simply great and genuine.

  7. Vasu

    March 5, 2012

    Post a Reply

    Is it still possible that an offpage optimization will work without onpage?
    Just the strategic Offpage alone.

  8. David

    April 1, 2012

    Post a Reply

    “On-page optimization and link building is a 1-2 punch combo, where one can’t exist without the other.” is a true fact you have mentioned. Even if one can get traffic by building links but its a waste of time if there is no relevant or interesting content.

    Great post. Thanks for sharing.

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