Search engines are constantly evolving their algorithms to ensure that the highest quality content is presented in response to user requests. And as far as they are concerned, receiving a high volume of quality links from external websites suggests that their content is more reliable than spam on this spectrum.
But that’s only part of what makes creating valuable content and investing in inbound marketing so valuable these days. Since 86% of B2C organizations and 91% of B2B organizations use content marketing, not investing in content puts you at risk of being left behind.
In this guide, I’ll share the tactics that will help you create high quality linkable content for your website and use that content to link back to your website.
What Is Link Building?
Linking is the creation of one-way hyperlinks (also called “backlinks”) to a website to improve search engine visibility. Common link building strategies include content marketing, creating helpful tools, email outreach, broken link building, and public relations.
Why are links so important?
To solve this problem, you will have to get on your Delorean and go back to the Internet a few days before Google.
At that time, search engines like Yahoo! and Alta Vista were the dominant players. And they ranked their search results 100% based on the content of a web page.
Its now famous PageRank algorithm has changed that. Rather than simply analyzing the content of a page, Google looked at the number of people linked to that page.
And they were right. Almost 20 years later, links are STILL the best way to determine the quality of a web page. This is why backlinks are always Google’s ranking signal.
That said, thanks to updates like Google Penguin, Google is now focusing on link quality (not just link quantity).
Link building as part of your growth strategy
Link building as part of your growth strategy
Basically, link building is getting other websites to link to your page. When done correctly and from a holistic SEO perspective, these links can help your pages rank higher in Google search results. However, that’s not the only thing these links do:
A good link, above all, drives traffic to your site.
Good links will help get more (referral) traffic to your site. When developing your link building strategy, try to keep in mind that links were invented to direct readers from the page they are currently viewing to other pages that they might enjoy as well. That’s why you need to use link building as a strategy to reach the right audience and focus on getting links from sites that actually drive traffic to your own site.
The 6 Steps of a Successful Link Building Strategy
1. Know your audience
If you want to get more people to your website, there are two things you need to know: who your audience is right now and who your ideal audience is. This will help you maintain and expand your current audience and reach new audiences interested in what you have to offer. Do some research to know your audience. Not only will this help you understand them better, but it will also help you determine who your target audience is and if you are communicating with them right now.
To give an example: At Yoast, we started with an audience of mostly web developers. However, we wanted to expand our audience to a more general group of WordPress users (keeping our original audience). So we tailor our content to this larger group of people. But to reach our new audience, we also needed to get links from other websites where these WordPress users could be found.
2. Make a list of sites that appeal to your audience.
When you know who your target audience is, it’s time to put together a list of websites that can help you reach them. Find the websites that are already attracting this audience. The links from these websites can help you reach people who may be interested in your website, but who are not yet familiar with it.
Keep in mind that you don’t want a link from all websites. A link from a spam website or a website that has absolutely nothing to do with your niche has no value. In some cases, it can even backfire and damage your ranking. Stay away from websites with spam, pay for your links and others MUST NOT do in link building. Link building isn’t just a hack. Getting those links should feel like a normal marketing effort and part of a holistic SEO approach.
3. Write great content
In order for other websites to link to your content, you need to have content that actually makes them want to link to your page. Which means you need to create quality content. I know, easier said than done. But think about what your audience will appreciate, what they want to know, and the unique perspective you have to offer. If you are selling a product or service, don’t just write down why it’s so good and they should definitely buy it. Create content that answers a question from your audience or solves a problem they’re facing. Give them the information they are looking for and not only will you build trust but also get more links to your page as other websites will see the value of your content.
Also, you need to take into account the readability of your content. Make sure your pages and articles are well structured and well written. If you need more tips on how to create great content, we have plenty of SEO content blog posts and even an SEO writing training course.
4. Linking content to websites
When you’re happy with the content you’ve written, it’s time to dive into the list of websites you created in Step 2. Which websites are likely to relate to the content you’ve created? You may feel the urge to simply send what you’ve created to all of the sites on your list, but this will likely affect your chances of someone linking to your content. People don’t have time to read 5 blog posts and decide which one they like, and they can mistake you for spam.
Choose wisely and make an effort to find websites that match the specific topic of your post or blog page. These websites are probably more willing to link because your blog post matches your content. Most importantly, visitors who come to your website following this link will be genuinely interested in your content (which will dramatically increase the chances of conversion and repeat visits). Also good to know: If you have a long tail keyword approach (writing about small niche topics), the number of top performing websites will be low. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as very specific content can also mean that those few websites are more willing to link to your content.
Once you’ve decided which site (s) you want to contact, it’s time to get in touch with them. You can send an email, but social networks like Twitter are also a great way to reach people. To increase your chances of getting that backlink, you need to know the website and the audience you are targeting. It helps you achieve what you want to do personally. Never send automated emails or direct messages. Send them a courteous email telling them about your content and ask them to link to your content. Be aware that you often won’t get a response.
To improve your chances of getting a link to your page, you need to explain why your content is unique. Trying to link to a very basic blog post that could have been written by anyone is less likely to be successful than when you provide unique content. Content that people can only find on your website. Having said that, don’t make your email too long, as this will prevent people from reading it.
6. Use social networks!
Reaching specific people or websites is one way to get links to their content. Social media is another great way to get links and reach new audiences at the same time. Make sure to share your new content through social platforms like Twitter. Maybe even tweet specific people who might like your article. Facebook is also a great way to market your articles, it also gives you the ability to promote your content and reach new people. When people like, share and talk about your content on social media, you will receive other links as well.
Creation of links for e-commerce sites
If you have an ecommerce site, link building comes with its own set of challenges. Most websites aren’t very interested in linking to a page that sells products. That’s why you need to create content that isn’t focused on selling your product. Focus your content on helping your audience with everything related to your product. Answer their questions, show your expertise on the topic, and create some really interesting content for your audience.
If you sell lawn mowers, write articles on topics like “How to Prepare Your Garden for Summer” where you are actually discussing more than just mowing the lawn. Or if you sell furniture, write an article about the latest interior design trends. This type of content can be shared much more with others outside of your business. Which will increase your chances of getting relevant links.
Contact your network
An easy way to get backlinks to your website is to contact your business partners. Maybe one of your blogs interests them. Or maybe you can even write a guest blog for their website. It may be easier to get in touch with the people you do business with. Just make sure the backlink is relevant and doesn’t seem forced. As we said before, link building should always feel natural.
Link building for bloggers
Link building for bloggers can be difficult. Especially when you’re just starting out. But it can help you grow your audience and meet other bloggers who can help. Instead of emailing someone and asking for a link, you can also join a group on Facebook or start a guest blog.
Sweaty hands at the thought of having to email others asking for links? Do not be afraid ! Fortunately, there are many Facebook groups where you can meet and connect with other bloggers. Look for groups on everything you write, from SEO and digital marketing to newsletters. Join a few that you find interesting. You can join the conversation and share your link wherever you want. Just make sure you don’t appear as spam. And when another blogger posts on a blog post, you can put your link in the comments. Hope you will appear in their blog post.
Another option for getting links to your website is to start blogging as a guest. Quite often blogs seek comments from other bloggers and in return allow you to link to your own content. You won’t just get a link to your page from a relevant website. It will also be presented to readers of this particular blog. Visit your favorite blogs or blogs similar to yours and see if they are open to guest submissions. They will usually mention it on their contact or collaboration page.
A successful link building strategy should always aim to attract new audiences to your website. A (welcome) side effect will be a higher ranking on Google. As long as you see link building as a way to reach other sites to drive more visitors to that site, you are doing it the “right” way.
How do I get clients for link building?
One of the best ways to approach the subject of link building is to call a meeting with your client to study the backlink profiles of those competitors who are holding the top spots for the desired keywords.
Is link building worth it?
Link building isn’t simple, so is it even worth getting into for a small business that needs to manage its resources more wisely than ever? The short answer: yes, but not too much.
Which is the best link building type?
Backlinks are the most important type of link, but outbound links—links from your website to other sites—can also improve your site’s search ranking. In a list of Google’s 200 ranking factors, Backlinko put outbound link quality at #35.
What is a linking strategy?
A linking strategy is a plan you create and implement that helps you organize, track, and optimize your links. With the right plan, you can see major business returns, including a boost in sales and an improvement in your search engine rankings.