This is a link. When you click it, it will take you somewhere else on the internet. That is, primarily, what it is for: to help internet users get around. But the humble link does something else, too. It does a job that it never asked for: a job that was created by search engines like the one that we just linked to. And because of this job, the humble online link is vital to the future of your business. The role of links on the internet can make or break your efforts to reach current and potential future customers.
Search engines and your business
Putting aside links for a moment, let’s talk about something you probably already know: Ranking well with search engines like Google will do wonders for your business. Whether you’re running an internet giant like Amazon or a small local business that relies on physical visits from customers, search engines are things that you cannot afford to ignore. Customers turn to search engines to find the products and services that they want. And with the rise of Google and increasing numbers of smartphone-toting consumers typing queries on search engines and map apps (and getting results that are tailored to their location), local businesses can no longer afford to skip out of “search engine optimization” (or “SEO,” for short), which is the process of making one’s online presence more appealing to search engines like Google. To be further down on the search engine results page (we can shorten that, too, to “SERP”) is to be further from the minds of the customers you rely on.
And what does it take to climb higher in the search results? Among other things, it takes a knowledge of links.
Links and search engines
Yes, we’re back to links now. Links are what search engines offer to their users, of course, but what else do links mean to search engines? The answer is: a whole lot.
Links are actually how search engines find websites in the first place. What happens is that search engine companies run computer programs that move across the internet reading websites. Just like you, these programs move from site to site using links. They “crawl” the web, which is why they’re often called “spiders.”
Along the way, the spiders pick up a lot of information about websites. They check out the text that the site shows to users, and they also look at the HTML code and metadata that users don’t see. They look at image tags and file names, and they look at the layout of the site and the way that its pages connect.
But they also think about the links. Links aren’t just how the spiders get around. They also tell the spiders how each website fits into the broader internet. LInks can tell spiders what a site is all about. If everyone is linking to your website with the words “auto repair,” then the spider can report that back to the search engine at large and, when the algorithm fields a query from a user looking for “auto repair near me,” the search engine can offer up your website as an option.
Not all links are the same, though. The best link building services know that the quality of the link matters. The more impressive the site in a search engine’s eyes, the more impressive it is that they would link to you.
But wait a second. What are “link building services”?
SEO and your company
By now, you know that links are important to your company’s ranking with search engines. But you probably don’t know how to get a bunch of great links on other sites to target yours. And that’s OK.
It’s OK because you can and should outsource link building services and other vital SEO and digital marketing services. In the fast-moving world of SEO (the top-secret algorithms at big search engines are always changing), it takes full-time pros to master the most current techniques. So hire the experts, and get back to doing what you do best.