Inbound links are one of the most powerful tools in the inbound marketers quest for search engine ranking. Inbound links are essentially some 3rd party telling Google that you are indeed a credible source of information on a particular topic. Inbound links are like word of mouth referrals - only on the web. They help increase traffic, improve SEO, and -- if included in an article by a major news source -- can be a great public relations win.
But what is an inbound link? An inbound link is a link from one website to another website. For example, this is an inbound link to CNN.com. The inbound description is used by the person receiving the link. So CNN might say, "I received an inbound link from Innovative Marketing Resources." (And you're welcome, CNN. Please reciprocate and create a few links from CNN back to imrcorp.com!)
Why do you need inbound links? Two reasons. First, inbound links create referral traffic from another website. An inbound link from a blog is an opportunity for that blog's readers to visit you. But depending on the amount of traffic that blog or website receives, the link may send a low volume of traffic.
But there's something even better with more long-term benefits that inbound links are good for -- SEO! So how does that work?
Inbound links are the "currency" of the internet, and a website with a lot of quality inbound links will rank better in search engines. Great! So should you haphazardly link to yourself in random directories, plead to your kids to link to you from their facebook pages, and call it a day?
No. All inbound links are not treated equally. Instead, you should focus on getting good, healthy inbound links from authoritative sources. In the HubSpot platform, there's a Link Grader tool that tells customers when they receive a new inbound link and awards that link a grade based on how valuable it is.
So what does a good inbound link look like? There are three primary qualities that define the quality and strength of an inbound link:
1. The link is from an authoritative website: Sorry folks, your kid's Facebook page may be wonderful, but will not pass as much authority over to you as a site like say, Fox News.
2.Anchortext: Anchortext is the text that "holds" the link. For example, you can link to another site by either writing the URL, or using anchortext (www.cnn.com or CNN, respectively). The linking anchortext matters!
3. Uses descriptive anchortext: The reason anchortext is important is because it gives the linker the opportunity to describe the linked-to site in the link itself. This gives search engines more information about why the link should increase the credibility of the content the link points to. For example, I'm sure CNN would prefer the anchor text global news in order for search engines to rank CNN a little better for the term "global news."