BigCommerce helps growing businesses, enterprise brands, and everything in-between sell more online.

What is link building and how does it work?

Link building is a search engine optimization technique that increases your search engine ranking. Links are one of the primary ways that search engine algorithms determine the relevance of a page. Having a good number of links to a website indicates that the content is there is valuable. External and internal linking both provide more visibility for your website. In addition, linking helps Google and other search engines crawl your site.

The factors that determine how beneficial a specific link is to your ranking include:

  • Global popularity: Popular sites receive more external links. Wikipedia ends up at the top of search pages for many subjects because so many websites link to it.

  • Local popularity: Local popularity refers to inbound links that come from similar sites. For instance, if you have a shoe store, and a popular shoe blog links to it, search engines will pay more attention than if the link came from an unrelated website.

  • **Anchor text:**When someone links to your shoe store using "shoe store" as the anchor text, this sends a signal to search engines that your website is a good resource for shoes. But if the anchor text that brings visitors to a page uses the same keywords too frequently, search engines may start to suspect spammy tactics.

  • Link context: Links are more valuable when the context is directly related to the topic your website. The transition from the current page to the one being linked should be relatively seamless.

  • Where the link comes from: Links from authoritative websites carry more weight than links from less-reputable sites. For instance, a link that comes from Google's official blog will be more authoritative than one that comes from a personal blog on WordPress. Search engines have methods to sort through spam and irrelevant content, and Google has a ranking system that grades individual Web pages based on their reputability.

There are essentially two ways to develop links to your website: internal and external. External links are harder to obtain because they come from other websites. Starting with internal linking is easy because it's completely up to you. All it takes is a little time and careful planning to increase your use of internal links and boost SEO for your business.

Deep linking refers to the process of linking to pages other than just your homepage or contact page. Every page on your website should be reachable from at least one text link (1). Increase your internal links by linking to relevant blog posts and product pages, rather than just directing visitors to your homepage.

Maintaining a blog helps increase internal links by providing more opportunities for you to link back to specific products or other internal pages. Don't forget to link from social media platforms as well.

To gain external links, the best strategy is to create excellent site content. You can also reach out to bloggers and other influencers to ask if you can guest blog on their sites. Never resort to black hat SEO tricks, like paying for links (2). These backfire because the links come from spammy websites.

1. Google Webmaster Guidelines 2. Google Quality Guidelines: Link schemes

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