In the days before search engines, Internet users could only find content and other websites via links. Link building gained more prominence when the number of inbound links became a major factor in Google’s search algorithm – PageRank – that calculates the rankings of websites. The more links a webpage had, the better its web ranking would be.
No doubt online marketers soon realized that they could manipulate the algorithm by using bad SEO techniques like link spamming and link farms by buying and selling links in bulk. As Google’s search algorithms get tougher on such SEO practices, is there no value anymore for links and link building?
Links are not just for SEO
Inbound links or backlinks are still important when it comes to SEO and increasing the visibility of your websites – but they need to be built organically (without buying or selling links) and by creating great content. What most marketers fail to realize is that links have much more value than just for search engine optimization.
•They indicate a business’ background
You can gauge the strength and experience of any business by looking at the way they have built links over the years. The pattern of inbound and outbound links on a company’s website is a great indication of its success and values and this could help you decide if you want to partner with this company or not. SEO tools like Flow Metrics by MajesticSEO offer free tools that allow users to see the referring link and referring domain patterns of any website in charts to better analyze the link building strategy of that website.
•They help in finding other websites in a group
Commonly, businesses have various brands and different domains or website for each brand. Such businesses are represented by many brands and to understand such a business thoroughly, you must be knowledgeable about all its brands. Often times, there are links between the domains and websites of the different brands of a business but even if there aren’t any, the websites of these brands are often hosted in the same server. This means that the brand websites are in the same IP range. You can use tools like Flow Metrics mentioned earlier to see the domains that lie in a range of IP numbers by analyzing the links pointing to the IP numbers.
•They help you find authority figures
What if you are new to an industry and you have no clue who the leaders, influencers and authority figures are? How do you know whom to follow and look to advice from? Links are here to the rescue. You can find authority figures by using tools that analyze backlinks to find influential people and companies. These tools are able to analyze bulk link data and find links that are embedded in blogs and if the blogs are popular and important then that person is an authority figure in that particular industry.