What is Link Acquisition for SEO?
- Links are one of the three main ranking factors in Google’s search results
- The other two are Website Content and RankBrain (a machine learning artificial intelligence system)
- Search Engines see links from other websites to your own similar to “votes for” your website
- Websites that have acquired more links (or higher quality links) than other websites can out-rank them in search results pages
Building the “authority” of a domain by acquiring links is a key aspect of search engine optimisation.
By acquiring links from “high quality” websites, your site can also receive an increased amount of traffic from those other websites.
Links, “backlinks”, “in-links”, “followed links”, “acquired links” are all terms used frequently within search marketing circles.
How does a website acquire links?
Link Acquisition is the practice of gaining a link from another website to your own. There are a number of ways to achieve this, including:
- Creating a linkable asset on a website that’s compelling enough to attract links from other sites
- Hosting any kind of linkable asset on a website and promoting it so others are likely to link to it
- Developing relationships with others who may offer you a link for free
- Developing relationships with others who will offer you a link or in exchange for goods, services or assistance
- Manually creating links from a website under your control
- Submitting your site to other sites which will link to you for free or in exchange for a fee or a reciprocal link
What is a “linkable asset”?
Content for your customers
Shared topic content (linkable asset)
Another website’s content
It’s a reason for someone to link to your website; an incentive.
You need to publish content that others find valuable in some way. That could be something related to your type of work, or something related to both your type of work and another industry. It might just be something your customers would find valuable.
Link opportunities are discovered when researching your website, products and services and looking at the larger internet to find content people are happy to link to.
A linkable asset could be an article, a case study, an interactive feature, an infographic or research study. It might be something simple, it might be something complex – whatever it is, it needs to be valuable enough for someone to link to it.
Why you shouldn’t do Link Building yourself
Creating linkworthy content and actually acquiring links to it mixes creative endeavour with technical expertise and persuasive communication.
The actual process of link acquisition is quite time consuming. Finding the right websites to reach out to for coverage can be a lengthy task in itself. The creation of linkable assets or content for a particular audience can encompass research, copywriting, graphic design and coding work.
Whilst we do require access to consult with our clients about link opportunities, the process is something we actively manage – because we’re looking for specific results.
Our approach is actually bespoke for each client. This is the only way to use link acquisition effectively, because each client and their industry is different – different requirements, different opportunities, different stakeholders.
Some of our clients are instrumental in the content creation aspect of campaigns (due to the type of industry), whereas others prefer to allow us to go on with the work and deliver results.
Adhering to Search Engine guidelines
There are a number of Link Acquisition tactics that are against Google’s guidelines.
The value of links acquired in ways that violate those guidelines can be devalued and the websites involved in the scheme penalised, or “de-indexed” (removed) from search engine results.
We don’t engage in those practices, as they only end in tears.
Google and Bing both provide useful advice when it comes to links, which have been appropriately linked to below:
Link Acquisition, or Link Building?
Link Acquisition as a general term is often and perhaps more commonly referred to as ‘Link Building’.
There is on-going discussion within the Digital Marketing industry as to the merits of ‘Link Building’ as a term. Some feel it has connotations of “spammy” practices. Link Acquisition encompasses every way that links are obtained – whether they are earned or built – and there are very legitimate, non-spammy ways of building links.
Link Acquisition can be a by-product of Content Marketing, a practice that isn’t specifically focused on acquiring links, but marketing a business, website or entity through content tailored for particular audiences.
If you’re looking to acquire some high quality links to your website then get in touch for a conversation about your business goals.