Why are incoming links so important?
Many factors go into deciding where your website ranks in the major search engines, but one that most SEO experts can agree on is that proving your ‘authority’ within a topic is crucial to achieving great rankings. To larger search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing, what other people say about you is much more important than what you say about yourself, so having a healthy amount of incoming links pointing to your site gives the search engines a clear picture of authority and relevancy amongst your peers.
If your website has a significant amount of these inbound links from other respected sites, then Google and Co. have a good reason to believe that your website is both relevant and an authority on that topic.
It is not uncommon to see ‘building incoming links’ rated as high as 60% in importance when optimising your site for search traffic.
In the case of Google, your website’s link profile (or link popularity) is neatly summed up in a proprietary score called the ‘Google PageRank.’ These ‘PR’ scores are given between 0 and 10, the higher the number the more authority Google thinks you have in your field. Likewise, getting incoming links from sites with a higher PR than yours leads to increases in your PR score down the line. Many search professionals refer to this as passing ‘link juice’.
In turn, having a high PR score means that Google may consider your site should be shared with their customers above other sites with similar content, pushing you higher up the results pages, which is exactly the desired outcome of any search engine optimisation (SEO) strategy.
However, a word of warning. PR scores are notorious for being out of date, and can sometimes take more than a year to update. So if you don’t yet have a good PR score, don’t stress! Just keep working on building quality incoming links, and the time will come when Google updates your PageRank.
Investing the proper care and attention into building up your website’s link profile is one of the most important things you can do, and there’s plenty of ways to be able to start doing this yourself too. Of course, enlisting the help of a professional SEO team can really kickstart your link building campaign, and you’d be surprised at just how cost effective this can be.