Why is link building important for SEO

seo link building

The moment someone mentions Search Engine Optimization (SEO), the subject of building links is not far behind. This begs the question – what’s the connection between building links and ranking higher in the search engines?

In this article, you will learn the answer to such a crucial question.

A Bit Of History

The biggest reason why link-building is vital in SEO is due to the fact how search engines “sort” the Internet.

Back in the early days of the Internet, the idea of how to sort the information was a big problem. Imagine having a dictionary that’s not alphabetized. Even if you have the latest and the most thorough dictionary, it’s next to useless if there’s no efficient way of retrieving the information you need. That’s similar to what’s happening with the Internet in its early days. Then, search engines came along to help sort out the information. The biggest question is – “how do we sort out the massive content?”

At the time, the answer for most search engines is to analyze the webpage content. Search engines do this by sending out robots, which are also known as “spiders,” to crawl the Internet. They retrieve information, which was mostly in text, HTML, or PHP form. Then the data is sorted out with an algorithm. The idea is logical, but it had one major flaw. 

The way the algorithm sorted out which page is “better” compared to the other is by counting how many times a certain word or phrase pops-up on the web page.

For example, if you search for “dog beds,” the search engine will give you a webpage that contains plenty of “dog beds” phrases in the content. The higher the word or phrase count, the higher the search engine ranking will be. Keep in mind that this is just a gross oversimplification of the algorithm, and different search engines have complementary algorithms. However, the main algorithm of old search engines runs on something that’s described above. The problem with this idea was that it is near effortless to manipulate.

It’s the reason why old websites that want to rank higher would stuff words or phrases to the point that it becomes ridiculous and unnatural to read. Then, Google came along with a better way of sorting out the information.

The New Search Engines

Google came up with a revolutionary idea of sorting the Internet by not overly focusing on the word or phrase count. Instead, they started focusing on something that can be referred to as a “voting” system.

Imagine two scientists with a different interpretation of the data. The interpretation that’s likely going to be accepted is the one who gets more votes from fellow scientists that are working in the same field. The method is not perfect, but it works more than it fails. The same idea applies to SEO.

An inbound link is equivalent to a vote. Most of today’s search engines algorithm run on the idea that if you have more links, that means more websites are “voting” that you have the best content in relation to the keyword that is being searched. But again, this is just a gross oversimplification as there are things you need to consider.

One crucial concept is that Google does not treat as one link is equal to one vote. Instead, Google uses a weighted vote system. What this means is that a link from a high authority source is worth more than hundreds or thousands of links from unknown sources. Aside from this major concept, other complementary algorithms are running to help better refine the results. And, this also includes algorithms with the primary directive of detecting websites that are clearly trying to manipulate the system with spam. However, at its core, Google and most modern search engines use a similar core system for sorting out the Internet.

So, Why Is Link Building Important For SEO?

Simply because inbound links are one, if not, the most significant deciding factor if your website is going to be placed higher in the search engine rankings.

Closing Thoughts

While this article clearly describes why links are crucial for your SEO efforts, there’s a balancing act that you must also do. Blindly accumulating thousands of links from low-quality pages or websites is one sure way of getting penalized from Google.

Keep in mind that while links are important, Google also does not want you to “game” their system. If you are caught “gaming” the system, then your site may be penalized. What Google wants is you create a website or post content that’s very useful, informative, or entertaining that people will naturally link to your site. However, Google also knows that if you don’t try to spread your content, no one will know about it. Therefore, no one will link to it. Hence, you are allowed to distribute content and get links. But only to a certain point. So, what or where is the threshold in which Google will start thinking you’re already gaming the system? Well, that’s the million-dollar question.

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