Link Building – The Number 1 SEO Strategy
Most business owners would agree that it’s a lot easier working a day job than running a business. Operating a business—no matter what type or nature—can be extremely complicated, stressful and time-consuming. And the last thing business owners need is to jump into other overly taxing and complex tasks such as online marketing. Unfortunately, it’s necessary.
Link building, which is said to be the most overwhelming of all SEO techniques, is also considered by many experts as the most important. So what exactly is link building? As the term implies, it refers to the process of getting other websites to link to your webpage. A link is a user’s way of navigating through the pages online.
Link Building is Pure Art
Link building is critical to online success. Despite being a challenging part of optimizing a website, link building is vital. It demands creativity, resources, and time.
Every campaign is different, and if you play your cards right, your online business will thrive. The way online SEO experts build their strategy depends on both your website’s personality and audience. For better link acquisition, follow these basic steps:
- Organic editorial links – websites provide links naturally through content. These links don’t demand any specific action from the person doing the optimization. However, it does matter to include links that are relevant to your content.
- Link building through “manual” outreach – SEOs create links by asking bloggers to include them in the content, and then submitting to article directories. The online marketer is in charge of explaining why the link should be added, and how it can benefit in a specific piece of content. Examples include filling form for submissions that go straight to a site’s award program. In some cases, a link is added to convince search engines that the content is qualitative and that it is being connected to high-authority websites making it worthwhile.
- Non-editorial, self-created – lots of websites provide visitors the chance to create links with forum signatures, user profiles, guest book signings, and blog comments. These links are of the lowest value; however to some website they have a significant impact. Generally speaking, search engines keep devaluing these sort of links and often penalize websites that make use of links in an aggressive way.
Why is Link Building So Important?
Search engines make use of links for two purposes:
- To find new websites
- To determine the ranking of the website on the search engine results
Using links, search engines crawl through the pages online, extracting page content and adding this to indexes. Search engines such as Google do not only examine the quality of your website’s content but also the quality of the external sites linking to your website. And the higher authority the websites linking to your own are, the higher your ranking will be.
So far, the whole thing sounds easy, doesn’t it? But what makes this process complicated apart from the difficulty of getting reputable websites to link to yours, is the fact that search engine algorithms are constantly changing and evolving.
For example, Google used to recommend the link building technique of submitting your website to web directories in exchange for a link. However, this technique has become so overused that it’s no longer acceptable. Google now penalizes websites that engage in overuse of such link building strategies.
This means that if you’re a business owner, and you want to be in the right direction building links for your website, you must be constantly updated, and in the know as to which strategies are effective as well as acceptable. The best way to get websites to link to you is to make them see that what you’re posting is worth sharing. Create unique and high quality content that websites would want to share and link to. To get this done, here are some quick tips to keep in mind:
- Write about topics that provide value to your readers. Find out what they are currently in need of, and supply them exactly what they’re looking for.
- Do not write in plain words. Use photos but stay away from generic stock images. Add infographics, videos and images that will add flavor to your content.
- Connect to your readers by talking to them. When writing on your website, do not sound like a robot. It’s a must to establish an emotional connection with your audience.
- Start the content with intriguing headlines that would make people want to click and share. Conventional titles such as “How To” or “Top Tips” are no longer as attractive as before. Instead, try something more unusual like, “A Wizard’s Guide to…”
But of course, it doesn’t stop here. Take a few steps further to increase chances of getting links from high authority sites.
- Connect with other people in the same industry as yours by signing up for their newsletter, mentioning them in your tweets, or commenting on their blog. Once you’ve established a personal relationship with them, getting them to link to your website becomes easier.
- Get yourself interviewed. How is this useful? It makes people see that you are an expert in your niche, and that your opinion matters. You can make a move to reach out to smaller websites at first, and ask them if they are open to interviewing you about matters that you’re an expert about.
Submit guest posts in high-ranking blogs. Take note of the word “high-ranking”. Getting published on websites that are not high authority is a waste of your time and effort. Your ranking won’t get any higher; instead, you might even be pulled down
Just like with any other sort of marketing activity, link building is all about settling on strategies and goals. Sadly, link building is an activity that’s hard to measure. Even though search engines weigh every link with extreme precision and mathematical metrics, it’s impossible for those without access to be part of the actual process. SEO companies depend on a wealth of “signals” meant to help them craft a rating scale that has link value.
Together with the information from link signals, the metrics include:
- Relevant search terms ranking –a smart way to determine how search engines determine the value of a page is with keywords and key phrases targeted by that page (mainly headlines and title tags). For example, if you type “hybrid car” in Google, it would help to earn links from the pages that are already ranked first.
- MozRank – it helps show how popular your pages currently are on the web. Pages with an increased MozRank rank better, and the more you have on your page the more popular it becomes. A page’s popularity heavily increases when it links to official websites (e.g. cnn.com, gov.com, forbes.com)
- Domain authority –also known as DA, domain authority is better described as a query-independent measure that measures the likelihood of a domain to be ranked by search engines. DA analyzes the domain graph of the internet; then it compares the given domain against tens of thousands already present in Google.
- Competitor backlinks – through the examination of a website’s inbound links (backlinks) that already ranks for targeted keywords and phrases, a website gains value. Tools such as Open Site Explorer are often used by SEO specialists to discover these links and target their domains by making use of their own link building marketing campaigns.
Link building is not just about search engines. Links that deliver increased amount of click through rate traffic don’t just offer better value in search engines, but also send out valuable, targeted visitors straight to your website (that’s actually the ultimate goal of internet marketing). This is something estimated based on how many visitors or views per page according to the analytics of your site. Google Trends can be of great help if you can’t get enough access. It will teach you all about domain traffic, leads, and conversion rates.
Link building is no easy feat. Even SEO experts admit that it’s a grueling task that takes so much time and effort. But once you’ve gotten the hang of it, the rewards will be all worth it. Worst case scenario, you can hire a web design company to do the heavy lifting. The help of an experienced company can help diversify and expand your skills. You may know the basics of SEO and link building, but a professional team can teach you a lot more. It’s always a good idea to have an open mind and not limit yourself to practices you already know how to do.
The key to a successful link building campaign is to convince customers to link to your site; whether through social media marketing or word of mouth. Loyal customers that like your brand will want to spread the word both online and online, thus crafting a seamless experience and sharing your business goals and products to the masses. Last but not least, don’t forget to focus on the content. Have a blog on your website and don’t stress about SEO so much. Keyword stuffing is never a good idea when using link building to rank first on search engines.
Author Bio: Charles Goodwin is the writer to this article. He is a regular contributor at many sites and mainly focuses on business and marketing related topics. He also writes for a site http://romax.co.uk/ offering direct mail marketing services.