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September 28, 2011 // 10:09 AM

An Introduction to Link Building: Understanding the Anatomy of a Link

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link anatomy resized 600I recently gave a presentation on link building at the HubSpot User Group Summit (HUGS) with HubSpot customer Tom Telford of Cedar Creek Cabin Rentals. For those who were not able to attend, here's a rundown of three important factors to keep in mind when doing targeted link building.

A Quick Note About Content Creation

At the end of the day, link building is about content creation. If you don't have content worth sharing, you won't get link love. Even with the best link building campaign in place, the lion's share of your links should come from people freely linking to your content. 

If you're a regular reader of the HubSpot blog, what I'm about to say next shouldn't shock you: Use a blog on your website to write about your industry. The content you create will get found and will get linked to. 

Understanding the Anatomy of a Link

There are three things you need to think about:

1) Anchor Text: 

This this the textual representation of your hyperlink. For example the anchor text for this link is "this link," and the hyperlink is "http://www.hubspot.com." Anchor text is important because most major search engines use it to determine what keywords are relevant to a page. For example, if you want to rank for the term "Orange Widgets," then you should try to get as many links as you can with "Orange Widgets" as the anchor text. 

2) Authority of the Linking Domain:

Inbound links are important to SEO because they are a signal to search engines that you Web site or Web pages are important. Simple put, the more inbound links you have, the more authority you get. Furthermore, the more authority you have, the better your chances are of ranking for a given keyword.

That said, all links are not created equal. If you were to get an inbound link from a domain with lots of it's own inbound links, like the New York Times for example, you would get more authority transfered to your domain, then if you got a link from my friend Brian's blog. Your goal should be to get links from high authority domains.

When researching link building opportunities, always check the authority of the websites that you are trying to get links from. There are many tools online that allow you to check domain or page authority, including HubSpot's link grader tool.

3) The Page on Your Website that is Getting the Links:

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, most of the inbound links your site will receive in it's lifetime will come naturally from people linking to your remarkable content. Those links will help improve the authority of your domain as a whole, but are often very general and do not contain keyword-rich anchor text, or point to meaningful pages.

The goal of targeted link building is to improve your rank for a keyword phrase or to improve the rank of a particular page on your site.

Think carefully about what pages you want linked to. For example, if you currently have a page on your site that is ranking number 22 on Google for the term "Orange Widgets." Your goal should be to generate more links to that page, hopefully containing relevant anchor text.

As links to that specific page grow, it should climb up in position in search engines.

download the free on-page SEO template

Topics: SEO

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