Link-building has always been a critical component of search engine optimization (SEO). As the dominant online search engine, Google has stated multiple times that websites can improve their PageRank by having high-quality websites link to their content. It all sounds so simple, doesn’t it? Just secure as many backlinks to your website as possible and your ranking will increase. Well, not quite.
Never Take Shortcuts with Link-Building
There is a right and wrong way to go about link-building. The wrong way means your PageRank will substantially decline and you’ll lose valuable traffic. The right way means you’re building organic links that can help increase your PageRank because Google will see your content as a source of valuable information. One approach will punish you while the other rewards you.
Link-building is not just about pursuing as many links from other websites or blogs as possible. It’s not about just pursuing links for similar keywords where the content itself has no relevance to your content. Most importantly, it’s never about buying links through some shady digital marketing company.
Not only do these approaches not work, but some of them are against Google’s guidelines. There are far too many companies that Google has penalized for pursuing these strategies. These companies lost traffic and revenue and it took them months and sometimes years before they fully recovered. So, what are the proper ways to go about link-building and how can links help increase your website’s traffic?
1. Provide a Guest Post
Writing a guest post for another website or blog is a great way to generate a backlink. However, just writing content as a means of generating a backlink won’t work. Just focusing on keywords won’t work either. The content must be well-written and engaging and it must be posted on a website or blog whose content is relevant to your own.
Take the time to investigate the website you want to provide a guest post for. It should be a trusted and valued domain in your market or industry. Researching the website beforehand will go a long way to making sure you don’t waste well-written content. If you need help with that research, then using a service like LinkResearchTools is a great way to gauge a website’s relevancy and trust factor.
2. Start Your Own Company Blog
Do you want to be seen as that all-important expert in your field, one that other online resources link to because you present a solid argument with a detailed explanation? If you answered yes to this question, then you must start your own company blog. Your blog can eventually become a reliable and trusted source of information industry-wide as long as you continually post thought-provoking content.
Focus on solving common customer problems and be sure to promote your content through your social media channels. Over time, other online websites will start linking to your content. Earning links naturally will become much easier the more you generate great content.
3. Ask Politely for a Link
Yes, asking a website or blog to link to your content is perfectly fine, and it does indeed work. Use your existing professional network of like-minded individuals. Find a website or blog in your market that generates similar content to your own. You likely have plenty of existing resources if you just take the time to write them down. Asking politely for a link is a great way to build your network and it may just lead to a continuous source in the future.
4. Assess Your Competition’s Links
There is absolutely nothing wrong with researching the links your competitors have to other websites, social media, blogs, or online forums. Focus on who your competitors link to and you’ll likely see that source link back to your competitor. You can then either approach that website for a link or offer to exchange links. If you don’t go overboard, reciprocal linking is perfectly fine. If you don’t want to link to the same website as your competitor did, then simply research similar websites, blogs, and online forums and approach them.
5. Barter Links When Approached by Other Websites
Eventually, someone will reach out to you offering to write a guest post for your website or blog. In exchange, they’ll ask you for a link back to their website. There is nothing wrong with you asking for a link in return. However, be careful. Make sure the website approaching you is a trusted and reliable source.
Take the time to do the proper research and make sure that the website’s content is relevant to your own. Also, make sure they understand that you have the final editing decisions and don’t post the content if it’s not relevant, is keyword-stuffed, or is poorly written.
6. Generate Insightful Infographics
It’s not enough just to write well. Your content is far more likely to be linked to and shared when you combine well-written content with vivid images, engaging videos, and most importantly, eye-catching infographics. People are visual creatures. We immediately gravitate to images.
Infographics summarize important data, information, and statistics in a visually-appealing way. Using infographics will immediately grab your audience’s attention and keep them on the page longer, and the longer they stay on that page, the more likely they are to link to that page.
7. Be “Present” Online
You’ll never generate links to your content if all you do is post a couple of articles and then just wait. None of these strategies work unless you commit yourself to being present online. That means growing your network, participating in blogs and online forums, and using your chosen social media channels (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn) to continuously promote your content. The more you grow your online presence, the more your network will become a consistent source of endless backlinks.
Take an honest approach to link-building. Earn your links. It’s an investment in time, but one where you never have to worry about one-day finding out you’ve been penalized for using dishonest link practices. The journey will make you more aware of your market and give you greater insight into what concerns your customers most.
PBJ Marketing: The Ultimate Digital Marketing Partner
PBJ Marketing is a full-service, customer-focused digital marketing agency. We work alongside our customers to help them increase their online footprint and grow their business. If you need a partner to take a holistic approach to build your links, then contact us now.