These words send shivers down the spines of SEOs.
As one of the most difficult yet important parts of SEO, however, you need to embrace link building to increase your site’s traffic.
In the next several posts, I’ll go over the entire spectrum of link building – what it is, how to do it, and more.
But be warned – all this posts is going to be over 6,500 words shedding light on every nook and cranny about this topic.
So buckle up and get ready for the ride…
Anatomy of a Backlink
To begin, you need to know what constitutes a backlink.
In essence, a backlink – also known as a hyperlink – is a link from a different site pointing to your site.
Normally, a link is blue to indicate that people can click on it. But other sites changed the color of the link to suit their needs.
But whenever you hover over a link with your cursor, the pointer turns into a hand with its index finger pointing up.
Now, here’s how a link looks like under the hood, in the code of a website.
The denotes the anchor tag. Any text that appears after the tag will link to the target page.
Inside the anchor tag is the href property. This is where you can find the target page of the link.
The string of words following the anchor tag will be the link’s anchor text.
Finally, the anchor tag is closed with a . That means the link stops from the last word before the closing tag.
From the example above, the hyperlink points to https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html . And the anchor text is a Centers for Disease Control. Use Linkbox bulk backlink checker to control all backlinks to your website.
Since the link appears from our blog, the hyperlink effectively becomes a backlink.
History of Link Building
Now that you know what a backlink is, we must go back from the very start for you to gain a better understanding of link building.
1998, to be exact.
The Birth of Online Search as We Know It
Google was the new search engine in town that was then dominated by Yahoo! And Altavista.
However, what made Google different was its algorithm-based search feature.
Back then, the major search engines relied on a database of sites in their directory.
They built directories through user submission and manual indexing.
So if your site was not part of the search engine’s directory, users wouldn’t be able to find it.
Thinking about it now, manually going through billions of websites today is nothing short of impossible
This reason is why Altavista ran out of business and Yahoo! plummeted behind Google is because:
Google used the PageRank algorithm to draw results from user queries.
Instead of using a directory of websites, Google weighs the quality of the page in relation to the keyword phrase.
And the primary factor used by PageRank? Backlinks.
In short, Google PageRank lives on and continues to influence search results even though it’s not available to the public.
The Link Building Spam Bubble
During the infancy of Google, SEO was like the Wild Wild West. There are no established guidelines to monitor website activity regarding optimization.
And since backlinks are the backbone of high-ranking websites, better organic rankings call for more backlinks.
That’s why it was common back in the early 2000s to have empty websites that contain only links to different websites.
There are other link building tactics now deemed as black hat that were developed to perfection during these times.
The manipulative practices that helped terrible website rank on top of organic search forced the hand of Google to take action.
It is in Google’s best interest to help stop spammy link building because it prevents users from finding the right information for their search query.
Known as the Jagger Update, it is the second algorithmic change made by Google and arguably the first one to target link building spam.
The first algorithm update, Google Florida, took place in 2003. It laid the foundation of what’s to become of SEO.
The update targeted on-page factors such as keyword stuffing, hidden links, multiple websites under the same brand, and more.
With the Jagger Update, Google doubled down on cloaking, hidden text, and content quality on top of the quality of a site’s link profile.
The Updates Keep Coming
From the Jagger Update, the algorithm underwent multiple updates through the years. The culprit of most algorithm updates is spammy linking practices.
Take the Farmer Update, for instance.
During this time, submitting articles on sites like ezinearticles.com with a backlink to their sites is an effective way to increase their organic rankings.
The purpose of the article is to generate backlinks for their sites. Most don’t care about the quality of the articles as long as they are published on these sites.
Google penalized article submission sites that are ranking on organic search for their thin content.
The Farmer Update also indirectly played a role in the demise of guest blogging as an SEO tactic. I touched upon it in the article I wrote about guest blogging opportunities.
With all the algorithmic changes, one thing is certain:
Backlinks play a vital role in SEO and Linkbox backlink monitor tool will help you with them.