In this article, we’ll answer what link building is, dive into the benefits of link building, and give you some tips for creating a successful link building strategy. Let’s get started!
What is link building?
Put simply, link building seo is the process of getting other websites to link to yours and it’s really important for your overall SEO strategy. To get started with a link building seo strategy you’ll need to create valuable content related to your business’ products and services.
When someone links to your valuable content, you earn a back-link, or link, from another site to your own. Link building exposes your brand to a much larger audience and it builds up your site’s Domain Authority, which can boost your performance in the search results.
Why does a link building strategy matter for your business?
As I said before, link building gets your content and your brand in front of a larger audience.
It also helps with your SEO strategy, which I’ll explain later. I’ll give you an example. Let’s say you run a tech company and you write a post on your website about new software you offer. Through link building techniques, which I’ll also discuss later, a popular industry news site links to your post on their website.
Now people who read and trust this news site see the link to your website.
If they click on it they have the opportunity to learn more about your brand. People clicking on that link signals to search engines that your site has some great content and it can help push it up in the search engine results pages. You might even earn some new leads and sales from the increased traffic. Link building is key for your SEO strategy, which leads us to the next section.
How does link building help your SEO strategy?
Link building is a crucial component of your SEO strategy. Back-links tell search engines that people trust your site. They act as votes of confidence that your site is useful and deserves top rankings in the search engine results pages.
We may not know all of the ranking factors Google uses in its algorithm, but we do know that links are at the top. But not all links are the same. This is where link equity comes into play.
What is the link equity?
Link equity, which some people like to call link juice, refers to the value that gets passed on from a site when they link to you. Different sites have different values due to this thing called Domain Authority. Domain Authority gives you an idea of how trustworthy your site is to search engines.
It’s a numerical value from 1 to 100, so the higher the number, the more trusted your site is.
While it’s not necessarily used by search engines to determine your website’s position in the SERPs, Domain Authority can help you figure out which sites pass on more link equity from back-links. You can measure your Domain Authority with Moz’s tools or your Domain Rating with Ahrefs tools. I’ll give you an example of how these metrics work. You’ve heard of major news websites like the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Associated Press?
These sites have spent years building up trust with consumers and earning lots of links to their articles. I think it’s safe to say that they’re industry leaders. If the New York Times links to your site, it’s going to pass on a lot more link equity than a link from a personal blog that just launched last week because it has a higher Domain Authority. This isn’t to say that you should be disappointed about links from other websites. Your audience may frequent smaller niche blogs, but just remember that different sites have different values to search engines when you’re creating your link building strategy.
Link Building SEO Strategies: Guest Blogging
What is guest blogging?
Guest blogging is one of the oldest link building tactics in the book. But the concept is fairly simple: a blogger, or guest blogger, writes a post for another blogger, or host blogger. This is a great way to get your work exposure, and to get your name known in the blogging community. For example, you could offer to write an article discussing the latest trends in video marketing, and then propose that you write a follow-up post a couple of weeks later about the same topic, but with an emphasis on Pinterest.
Guest blogging can be an extremely effective strategy for building your online reputation. Here are a few reasons why you should consider guest blogging in your marketing strategy. (1) Create new opportunities to share your expertise, (2) Build an audience of engaged readers, (3)Reach out to a new group of people to stay on top of the increasing importance of online influence and (4) Create links to your site without breaking the rules as long as it’s done in the right way.
While guest blogging can be a successful means for you to showcase your web content, not all link opportunities are produced the exact same. From my years of experience, I’ve found out that you need to constantly look for opportunities to guest blog site on websites that have a large number of traffic.
Note: Before you can start writing a guest post, you need to find a blog that will accept your submission. There are hundreds of blogs out there that are looking for guest posts, but there are also a lot of scams. For example, many of the sites that offer to publish your guest post on their site could potential use your content as their own and won’t bother to give you the credit for creating the content nor provide you a link back to your site.
If the content you provide is factual, concise, and provides extreme value to your reader, than more than likely, other sites will be inclined to provide a back-link to you from their site. This is often referred to as natural back-links, which can be highly effective in ranking you in the search engines.
Finding guest blogging opportunities can be a daunting (and sometimes frustrating) process. You can type in “guest post” into any search engine to get a ton of results with links to guest blogging sites, but they don’t always provide what you’re looking for, and it’s difficult to tell how reputable they are. You may have to spend a lot of time surfing the web for sites that fit your needs, and even then, you still may not find what you’re looking for!
There’s a secret to getting guest blogging opportunities—and we’re not talking about waiting for them to find you. In fact, many blogs won’t respond to unsolicited pitches from writers. Instead, you have to make yourself visible to bloggers, and you have to give them a compelling reason to want you on their site. Not every blog wants the same thing from you. Some want short, pitchy articles that can be read quickly and shared easily. Others want long-form, in-depth articles that take time to read and process. A few even want blog posts that read like a conversation between friends.
Guest blogging can be a very powerful link building strategy if used properly. It is definitely worth doing in your link building efforts to rank your content.
Another great link building seo strategy is the use of email outreach.
Email outreach is the act of contacting someone via email with no previous contact existing. Email outreach is one of the cheapest and easiest ways to get in contact with someone of importance. It is basically a cold pitch. The idea behind email outreach is to get your foot in the door with someone that you want to work with. The goal of email outreach is to get in contact with someone, start a relationship and be able to eventually work with them.
When conducting email outreach, it can be difficult to get a response; many people ignore emails. When it comes to email outreach, it is important not to let these people get you down. It is important to remember that there are people who actually want to help you out, who at one point of time were exactly where you are. You just need to know how to find them. Remember you will have to sift through alot of No’s before you get to your first YES, and that’s usually typical. Here are some tips for getting the most out of your email outreach.
- You have to ask yourself, “What is in it for them?” When conducting email outreach, you want to place yourself in shoes of the person your asking for a link. In your email, you need to state what value your content brings to their site and how their content will truly be enhanced by referring their readers to your content.
- You want to write a compelling email subject line: As with any form of email outreach, the true power of getting your messages opened and read is how well your subject line is written. You want to take some time to really try to optimize your subject line to increase the possibility of the recipient opening your email.
- Be personable: Studies show that being more personable with your audience increases leads and sales conversions using email. You want to make sure you include the persons’ name in the greeting and if possible somewhere in the body of the email.
- Ego Bait: You’ll want to mention their work in your content which shows them in a positive light and even further increases your chances of receiving a backlink to your content.
Although not the easiest link building seo strategy, it is definitely one of the most valuable and effective form of acquiring back links to your content.
Generally, over time, links get broken or lost for a number of reasons that are completely out of your control.
This goes the same for competitors backlinks as well, so learning how to find broken links on others websites could be a potential back linking goldmine.
Broken links occur when for example, an author updates a piece of content and then over a period of time, removes the link which then becomes a 404 or 301 redirected to link. I’m sure you’ve seen these type of links while browsing the Internet at some point in time.
It could also be a page on your site which has links pointing to a 404 page in which these links won’t be counted as part of Google’s ranking algorithm. You want to make sure that broken links found on your site are resolved by utilizing redirection.
Similar to email outreach, you should reach out to some of these sites that have broken links to ask if they could redirect those links back to your content.
There are several tools on the Internet that can help you find these broken links online.
I personally use a Chrome extension call “Check My Links” which points out broken links on a website to help me determine who I should target in my broken link building email outreach.
This can be a very powerful and effective link building seo strategy that I highly recommend.
Have you ever been to a website, let’s say a bank or real estate website which provides you a calculator to determine how much mortgage you will be paying on a specific price for property?
I’m sure you have. But providing interactive tools and assets is another great way of building back-links to your site. Generally, other bloggers will naturally link back to tools because it provides an amazing amount of value to their readers. It also helps your site by reducing your bounce rate (the percentage of readers who enter your site and leave right away).
When you create an engaging, interactive piece of content, you’re essentially making a link a crucial part of the story.
Manual Link Building For SEO
Well, if you’re looking to build links for your website, you came to the right place. This section is all about manual link building, the process of gaining links by networking with bloggers, participating in online forums and commenting on the blogs, etc. There are lots of SEO and link building services out there that will do your work for you, but these services are generally expensive. Doing it yourself can take some time and effort, but it can be a lot more cost effective and you can gain more valuable experience.
Web 2.0 Sites
Web 2.0 is a term that describes the emerging changes in web development and usage. Although there are no strict boundaries for defining a Web 2.0 site, most web developers and internet marketers understand Web 2.0 sites to be interactive and user-generated. Web 2.0 sites have common elements that include blog entries, RSS feeds, tags, user ratings, comments, and search engine indexing.
This form of link building for seo strategy is a common way for a blogger to build their own tier one back-links pointing back to their site. By manually creating and posting comments on these sites will allow you to get more SEO link juice to your site. Although not as effective now as it was 10 years ago, it is still a good way to build links.
There are a number of web 2.0 sites out there with a high DA (domain authority) that are worth publishing content on. Sites such as Medium, WordPress.com, and Feedburner are really good sites to publish content on while providing a link back to your “money site” (the site you’re trying to rank).
Social bookmarking sites such as Reddit, Digg, Twitter, and Stumbleupon are also really great sources to publish content.
Again, using Web 2.0 sites is not as effective as it once was, but every back link counts whether it’s a do-follow or no-follow towards helping you climb the search engine rankings.
Blog Comments and Q&A Forums
Another great back linking seo tactic that has some value when it comes to conducting manual back linking is the use of blog comments and utilizing Q&A forums such as sites like Quora.
Blog comments and Q&A forums, in general, won’t help you climb the search engines due to the fact that blog comments are considered no-follow back-links. Although this may be the case, no-follow back-links can still provide value by increasing traffic to your content. Be sure to provide value in your blog comments and forum posts. Try not to give 1-2 word comments like “Great post” as this comes off as being unauthentic and canned.
Try to provide engaging comments that will show the blogger and their audience that you are a reputable and legit authoritative source when it comes to their niche topic.
Let’s take a look at what use to be the most popular and most ethical manual link building strategies available starting with article directories, now it’s important to know that article directories are not nearly as effective as they once was. Awhile back with one of their updates, Google really went after article directories so we’re going to talk about them, but just keep in mind that the power that they have is not nearly as big as they used to be.
Although the concept of article directories has been around for a very long time, they are still a very viable part of a workable link building strategy. In fact, article directories still have their place within the modern day line of attack, and could even be considered as part of a more aggressive approach.
In the beginning, there was only one, and that was Ezine Articles. Fast forward a few years and the world of article directories is now a mixed bag of opportunities, both good and bad. Some are still using this old-school method of building back-links, but others are now moving towards more modern methods of link building.
But article directories such as ezinearticles allow the members to post unique articles with links back to their websites. They both offer members of resource box at the bottom of each article so you can include company information in a website URL linking back to your site.
In addition other benefits or keyboard links in the article content these links are called anchor text and are blue underlined clickable links that you see in the content. These links become powerful when they include the exact text or the keywords you want to rank for. Once the keyword text is placed in the article content and links back to your site it can be very effective.
Paid and free link directories are also popular in the link building seo community these directories have a process of linking to websites and specific categories on their side how are there’s been much speculation among Internet users that directory simply don’t hold the same way as they once did and this is generally true.
Over time many directories have lost some or all of their page rank which is named after Larry Page the co-founder of Google and this is one key metric google uses to rate and determine how important a web page is.
The days of spinning your website to thousands of free directories and expecting great results are long gone and even spinning your site to pay directories can have less than expected results. The important note here is if you’re going to spin your site to free and paid directories, find the best possible quality to submit to. An example of a good free directory would be something like dmoz for paid directories.
Another link building strategy that over the years has lost some of it’s effectiveness with ranking pages is through the use of press releases.
Google has openly expressed that they ignore links (nofollow) that come from press releases. But this was in reference to using press release distribution services that basically sent your press releases to all of the major news outlets in order to create a back-link to your content.
But, that doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of driving more traffic to your site in an effort to show Google that your content has value and seen as an authoritative source for people who are looking for your content online.
Just because Google ignores your content through the use of the no-follow rel attribute, doesn’t mean it can’t help with your search results. I see it as more of an indirect way of building your authority on Google.
Now unlike link and article directories, press releases can offer your site more exposure if they can be featured in categories or the homepage of the press release site.
Plus if your press releases high quality and/or of interest to some of these key distribution sites your press release can get many people on the web talking and ultimately linking to whatever you’re trying to get them to link to.
Having many links coming in from your press release and increasing your SEO rankings in the process is viral marketing in its finest form. User-generated sites such as Hubpages allow members to create content on a specific subject and allow a link back to a website. This is similar to an article directory however one of the biggest differences here is that the sites offer revenue opportunities for their members. Although the revenue sharing isn’t particularly important to note for link building, it is important note that Google and other search engines are counting links from these types of sites.
Again these type of sites are probably not as powerful as they used to be and you’ll notice this is kind of a common trend in link building once something new comes on the market there are guys who are constantly looking for ways to exploit the search engines and they will test and and throw as much energy and weight behind a new traffic generation or new link building source as possible until it gets to a point where it’s overused and then google has to go back and update their algorithm to accommodate for this.
So as we’re going through these different methods just remember that link building at its purest form is really about getting high quality links from high quality sites that’s what you’re trying to do. Link building has many other benefits aside from getting links such as indexing web pages quickly, creating awareness through brand recognition for your site and presenting unique traffic opportunities.
Social media is a powerful tool for small business owners. In fact, in a recent survey, 93% of marketers said social media is important for their business. In addition to connecting with other businesses and customers, you can also use social media to get back-links.
The practice of using social media to generate back-links is nothing new. In fact, using social media to promote your content is a very legitimate way to get traffic back to your site. However, there are a few things to keep in mind when you do this. When you use a social media service to promote your content, you are doing two things: promoting your content and generating back-links. The problem is, if you are using social media to promote your content, you aren’t necessarily doing it in a way that will help you get back-links.
Each social network has its own advantages and disadvantages for link building. Twitter, for example, is extremely effective for link building when you build a large enough following and use the right kind of content. However, you can’t realistically expect to build a large following on Twitter, because it will take a serious effort to find people to follow you, and the odds that your followers are actually interested in your niche are pretty slim. That leaves you with Facebook and Instagram, which don’t have nearly the back-link potential of Twitter, but are more likely to be interesting to your followers.
So with social signals, you want to pay close attention as to what your objective is for your content and what social media platforms would best suit your goals.
Black-Hat Link Building SEO Strategies To Avoid
Anybody who has ever tried to grow a website or blog knows that it’s a tough business. With so many sites struggling to get rankings, many are left with no choice but to hire a professional SEO company. Of course, the catch to getting SEO help is that it is not free. You have to pay for links that are relevant to what your site is about.
When you build links to your website, there are two ways to do so: you can pay for links, or you can build links by writing content for other sites. While paid links can be a great way to increase your search engine rankings, there are several disadvantages to keep in mind:
Major search engines such as Google and Bing look to discount the influence of paid links in their organic search results. Although, the search engines aren’t able to determine which links have been paid for or not, they are able to detect certain patterns that may reveal black hat back-linking tactics are being used.
Websites that are found to have manipulated links will risk a severe penalty that could drastically drop your content deep into the SERP abyss. You’ll want to make sure that you avoid the temptation to purchase back links as there are a number of websites claiming they can boost your rankings by purchasing back-links.
Only to find out 9 times out of 10, those back-links comes from poor quality, low domain authority websites that Google will find untrustworthy. Then either yourself or your SEO professional will have to sift through those back-links to disavow each and every one of them. Don’t put yourself through that trouble. Always make sure to follow Google’s requirements for building back links to maintain your organic rankings.
Let’s recap. So high quality links can help increase your website’s ranking. This can put you above your competition in search engines, getting you valuable traffic that can turn into leads and actual revenue for your business.
Okay, so I’ve covered the basics of link building.
But how do you do it?
Well here are five tips for creating a successful link building strategy. Create content that adds value to your site and related sites for your target audience. Before you can start building links you need content that motivates people to link to you.
If you’re a tech company, don’t just stop at a quick 100-word explanation of your new product. Share an in-depth post that details what it can do make a video explaining its features and photos and build up excitement.
Your content should get people as excited as you are about what you offer. Unique valuable content increases the likelihood that people will naturally link to your site without you having to ask them. Research competitors’ content and back-links. First you’ll want to look at the topics competitors write about online. Then see if you can identify any gaps or areas of improvement.
Did a competing tech company write about an industry development but leave out major details about how it works? Take that opportunity and run with it. Write a new in-depth piece about this new development and explain how it works. Include a video and photos to add context and really make your piece stand out online. Creating comprehensive content will position you as an industry leader and help you invite natural links to your website and blog.
Next you’ll want to look at who links to your competitors’ content. Ahrefs offers a free back-link tool that allows you to monitor your competitors’ back-links. If someone links to a competitor’s site and you offer an even better resource, chances are they may link to your site too.
Research sites in your industry or niche for link building opportunities. A Google search can reveal sites in your industry or niche that can link to your site.
For instance, a quick search for technology blogs returns a list of blogs in that niche. Consider making a list of relevant sites and blogs you’d like to link to your website. You can also track specific articles for outreach, which we’ll talk more about later, and don’t get discouraged if large sites don’t link to you right away.
As your link building strategy gains momentum, you’ll attract links from a variety of reputable sites in your niche.
Promote your content.
As stated earlier, a critical component of your link building strategy is content promotion or outreach. Without content promotion, you may earn a few natural links but outreach is your golden ticket to link building success.
After you’ve compiled a list of sites you’d want to link to you, reach out to relevant blogs, influencers, journalists, or other industry professionals. Be sure to explain why your content is valuable for their readers and invite them to share and link to your website.
And you don’t have to stop there.
Share your content with your audience. Use channels that you already have available to get your pages in front of potential readers. Do you use social media? Share your recently published blog post with your followers. Do you have an email newsletter?
Send your new content along with your business updates.
The more people who see your content, the more likely they are to read, share, and link to your pages.
Never, ever buy links. Never, never ever. Unless you want your site removed from the Google search results, which you don’t.
It may seem like a cheap and quick way to build links, however these links are often extremely low quality. It can actually hurt your ranking because it violates Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. If you buy links for your website, Google could penalize your site, bumping it way down in the SERPs or even removing it entirely.
And that will definitely not drive leads or sales for your business, especially considering over half of web traffic is a result of organic searches. Start earning more valuable links today.
Using all of these link building strategies will set you on a path for getting relevant and important links to your website and improving your site’s ranking, helping you get valuable traffic for your business’s website.
What strategies do you use for link building? Let us know in the comments! For more articles covering link building and SEO, check out more information here.