"All roads lead to Rome."
As early as 300 BC, the Romans built roads so that both Europeans and North Africans could easily find their way to Rome.
The vast network cemented Rome's importance and made the city strong, due to its strong connections with surrounding trading cities, such as distant metropolises.
Just as Rome reinforced its position through connections, your website needs to be connected to other relevant websites.
Those connections are what we in the SEO world call link building.
Link building is about building bridges between different websites.
Taking it a step further, link building is about building bridges between landing pages that reinforce each other's credibility but can also provide a better experience for the visitor.
There is both internal and external link building.
For example, internal link building is when a shop links from a product to a blog post explaining how to best use the product.
External link building is when you link from your blog post about a product over to article that writes about a user who has used the product to achieve something extraordinary.
Link building for landing pages reinforces the value of each page, which Google takes into account when ranking your landing page against your competitors.
Let's go south to Rome again. Imagine Rome - majestic in all its splendour, full of life and activity. Now imagine the same city, with no roads leading into it, but instead a Rome isolated from the outside world.
Same splendor, but unknown to other cities. Like an ice shanty in the Sahara, unknown to thirsty desert nomads.
No roads → no traffic → no trade.
To increase trade, Rome ensured increased traffic by building roads into the city.
The stronger Rome's relations, the stronger Rome stood.
Links into your site are what roads are for Rome.
The more websites that link to you, and the stronger those websites are, the stronger your website is.
Every few days, Google inspects the number of links, but also who is linking to your website.
And if you don't actively provide link building to your website, it's like if Rome didn't build roads.
The variety and quality of links is as diverse as the places you can eat. You can splurge and eat at a good restaurant and remember the good feeling days later.
But you can also opt for the seedy restaurant hidden down the side street. It might be cheap, but you're more likely to get food poisoning and end up bedridden.
A good link could be from one of the country's biggest newspapers, which writes a feature about your business. That's when Rome builds a road to Florence that can attract thousands of visitors.
A bad link is usually one that you are offered to buy in bulk at a low price.
These are the ones where you risk giving your website food poisoning, because Google can see that you're buying bad links, and punishes your page with a lower ranking.
An example of bad links are links from websites that simply contain lists of companies. One of the classics is https://www.megaindex.ru/ (note that we do not link to it).
One of the better hidden bad links is Private Blog Networks (PBN).
In short, it's when web agencies buy catchy domains like "best news about everything" and write mass-produced copy for their clients, which they link to with the right keywords.
Web agencies write articles for their clients, knowing that the articles will never be read.
It's like a mechanic promising he can make your car go faster. But omits to tell you that it's by knocking the side mirrors off the car to create less wind resistance.
You actually get what you're promised, but not in a way you should be happy with.
Read how a SEO expert used PBN in his SEO strategy, but stopped because PBN is risky for companies.
If you find out that your web agency is building their own PBNs, have a serious talk with them.
They gamble with your rankings and thus your revenue.
Let me ask you what is most important when buying a car for everyday use.
Is it the look? Is it longevity? Is it the driving experience? Is it the price? Is it your partner's opinion? Is it the extras? Is it the car manufacturer?
You find it hard to say that one point is more important than another. You don't want a cheap, fast car that only lasts six months.
A website must be both clear and inviting for visitors, but it is also important that it can be found.
Link building is one of the activities you can use to make Google spotlight your website more and rank it higher. But as SEO expert Brian Dean writes, there are more than 200 ranking factors.
So the answer is that link building is an important factor and also one of the most important. The second most important is writing text. And you need to spend time on both.
We like to say that link building is the bun of a traditional burger, and the text is the steak.
If you remove one of the two, you're left with something that's still edible, of course, but doesn't resemble a traditional burger.
You can have an excellent website without link building. But how many burgers do you think are sold without bread?
Yes, they can.
Just as you can lose weight just by exercising and still drink soda every day, it's not impossible to rank for small keywords without a strong link profile.
However, we wouldn't recommend leaving link building out of your marketing strategy. It requires you to write many SEO texts for all your products and services you have.
And even with that, there's a big risk you'll never hit page 1.
My experience tells me that your landing pages won't rank high if you don't do link building.
The best links are from sites that are relevant to your industry and what your business does for a living.
If you own a restaurant, links from food review websites, shops selling kitchen equipment, cookery schools, recipes, travel guides, food blogs, online lifestyle and leisure magazines and the like are optimal.
A link from your local bridge club, where you have a profile on their website, is still valuable. But it has more value if you, as a restaurant owner, have a profile with a voluntary organisation working to reduce food waste.
Your next question is probably whether it's something you can learn quickly.
But I also do SEO for a cleaning company because they make the most money by providing the best possible cleaning service - not by learning how to do SEO, and then doing SEO.
The most successful companies are those that prioritise the value-adding activities that their customers demand.
It was the French theologian Alain DeLille who said in the twelfth century: A thousand roads will lead people to Rome forever.
You don't have to build a thousand paths or links to your website to rank high. But link building is an activity that requires much more than a weekend to accomplish.
Link building is an activity you should perform on an ongoing basis. Whether you are the right person to do it is the question.
Confucious said a good 2,500 years ago: The man who tries to catch two rabbits catches none.
If you choose a web agency as your partner, together you can make sure you capture both rabbits for your business.
Whether you're a generalist or a marketing specialist, our SEO specialists have put together some great advice for you on our blog.
Learn more about SEO in Webamp Academy.