Link building, simply put, is the process of getting other websites to link back to your website. All marketers and business owners should be interested in building links to drive referral traffic and increase their site's authority.
Why Link Building Is Important for SEO
Link building is important because it is a major factor in how Google ranks web pages. Google notes that:
"In general, webmasters can improve the rank of their sites by increasing the number of high-quality sites that link to their pages."
Imagine that we own a site promoting wind turbine equipment that we sell. We're competing with another wind turbine equipment manufacturer. One of the ranking factors Google will look at in determining how to rank our respective pages is link popularity.
Most important, links matter because of what they represent: user trust. As search engines get better at understanding user sentiment (i.e., interpreting what content users value, which sources they trust, and whose opinions they listen to), there's a very real possibility that linkless mentions could one day be weighed as heavily as actual links.
In fact, we already know that sentiment analysis plays a big role in some search engine ranking algorithms.