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It isn’t fresh news that search engines use links as a way to measure how high you’ll rank on a results page. It was once just a numbers game; the more links the better, but as search engines have gotten smarter this has changed. Now a link from the wrong site can lower your rating.

We know the factors that affect your link’s rating, but we only have a rough idea as to how much. You’ll need to know which links you should focus on building, so here they are:

  1. Self-Made

The ‘weakest link’. These are links that you can post in blogs and forums referring to your site. Don’t go crazy with posting these or you could be deemed a spammer, and that is not a path you’d like to go down.

  1. Natural

Natural links are given from sites that link to your page without any prompting. They come from creating great content that other people wish to refer to.

  1. Manual Link Building

Manual link building is getting your link published on other sites by asking to be referred to. This could be something like getting published in a business directory or on one of your business partner’s websites.

Manual link building is focused on most by SEOs purely because they can yield the same results as natural links—without the likelihood of any penalties from a self-made one.

Now that you know which links are which, let’s look at the link signals that can raise or lower your search rating. This will help you focus on which sites to get your links from.

  • Topic specificity: Search engines look more favourably upon links from relevant sites; so if you run a website for internet courses, then a link from a university will work best in your favour. Getting linked to by a site for basketball hoops on the other hand, is not a wise choice.
  • TrustRank: Because there are so many spam websites out there, search engines have found ways to measure your trust rating. If you’re getting linked to by spam sites your rating will go right down, but being linked to by a site with high Domain Authority such as a .gov or.edu site will be great for your TrustRank.
  • Site Popularity: The bigger the site that links to your page, the better your page rank will be. A site that is searched globally, such as iTunes, holds enormous link strength.
  • Social Media: Although it’s still a fairly new concept, search engines have begun accounting for links shared through Facebook, Twitter, and the like.
  • Anchor Text: Anchor text is the clickable text that takes you to a new page. If your golf website has been linked to by another page that has anchor text saying “Find golf equipment here”, then you’ll not only receive a valuable link, but your site’s rating for those particular keywords will go up too!
  • Freshness: To avoid old and outdated sites still lingering at the top of a search results page, link strength slowly deteriorates over time. If people aren’t continuously referring to your site through natural links, you’ll need to keep building them manually instead.

With the knowledge of these factors in mind, it’s time to take action. Here are three ways to earn some precious links:

  1. Create a Business Blog

Don’t underestimate the power of a good business blog. You’ll be able to grow an audience and be linked to by bloggers from all around the world—providing you do it well.

  1. Post Content with the Intention of Going Viral

Don’t underestimate the power of viral posts. They can quickly earn you tonnes of natural links if done correctly.

  1. Make Use of Your Customers

It’s not unreasonable to ask your customers to post a link to your site on theirs, assuming that they enjoy working with you.

Now that you know all about link building you can begin to rank higher on search engines, resulting in more traffic simply by building links!