External links are an integral part of a successful SEO marketing campaign and are not to be taken lightly, as they are essentially hyperlinks that direct consumers away from one domain to another i.e. to yours, which can instantly improve your rankings.

What are good and poor links?

As you can imagine, not every link is a good one. For instance internal links are considered ‘third-party voters’ by search engines; whilst external links are seen as the most important source of ranking power by many top SEOs, as search engines are more interested in hearing what others have to say about you than what you say about yourself.

In other words, every link has a different level of power, so it is important that you choose your links wisely and ensure that you don’t sacrifice your sites rankings by implementing poor/average links.

So what can you do?

The first step to achieving good links is understanding how they work.

Take for instance external links. One of the hardest metrics to manipulate, external links are so popular amongst SEO specialists because they are the best way for search engines to determine the popularity and relevance of a webpage.

Not only are they more clearly visible compared to other links which end up hidden away within a server; the process of analysing external link data is simpler – as the more links a site has pointing to it, the more popular they are considered by PageRank.

Similarly, many major search engines use external links to also determine: the trustworthiness of the linking domain; the relevancy of the content; the anchor text (usually reflective of the content of the page); the amount of links to the same page on the source page; the amount of domains that link to the target page and the ownership relationship between the source and target domains.

Yet this is not all you need to consider when link building. It is also important to review the quality and quantity of your links.

Now whilst it might feel tempting to think the more links you have the better – this isn’t strictly true. Many specialists agree that the most effective strategy for link building is focusing on the quality of your links.

By focusing on getting a few links from higher authority websites than your own – especially ones with a strong domain and social following – this can produce real value SEO, as it is widely known that getting backlinks from sites such as these requires trust and a relationship with the owner, making YOU appear more credible.

The fact they want to link to your website, speaks loads about the quality and reputation of your business.

So if you contemplating implementing a new SEO marketing plan; first take the time to do your research and ensure the sites you are linked to, are right for your business. With just a few perfectly positioned external links, you can reap the rewards of bolstered traffic and witness conversions much higher than numerous links created on irrelevant sites.

Simply plan ahead, think wisely and remember – quality over quantity always wins the day.