Every website needs inbound links pointing people (and search engines) to your site, but getting those links can be a bit trickier than you may have first thought. A lot has been said recently about what you shouldn’t be doing in regards to link building, but what should you be doing? How can you build legitimate, quality links to your site? Well that is what this post is all about!
WHAT IS LINK BUILDING?
I’m well aware that not everybody reading this will know what link building is, you may be just starting out with your own site or just want to know more about the subject. We all have to start somewhere, so we will begin at the beginning.
Link building can be viewed in two ways;
- In technical terms, building links from other sites that point back to your site.
- Getting your name/brand out there for people to find you.
Everybody tends to view link building in terms of building links from one site back to your own (in SEO terms). This is probably why search engines have taken measures to prevent people from overdoing this, as it had gotten to the point that the system was being abused.
You must not forget though that the whole point of link building is to raise the profile of your website and there are other ways of building “links” that you can use (online and offline).
Let’s start by looking at some online methods.
ONLINE LINK BUILDING
PRODUCE HIGH QUALITY CONTENT
The most effective way to get links pointing to your site is by getting other people to do it for you and the best way to do that is to produce high quality content that is worth linking to!
Sounds simple I know, but I’m shocked to see many sites online who consistently publish poor quality content. You can spot them a mile off. They usually publish lots of very short (100-300 word) posts every day that aren’t particularly well written and don’t really contain anything of value. You have to ask yourself why people would want to link to content like this? In short, they wouldn’t!
Search engines value sites that link to quality content, as it proves that they are trying to provide the best information for their readers. They won’t link to anything (well the good sites won’t anyway), so you need to make sure that you are producing high quality content that is worth linking too.
The best type of content to produce is evergreen content. These are posts and pages that consistently draw in traffic and of course get linked to. The good thing about these types of content is that they are timeless, so they are relevant to readers whether they find your post/page on the day you publish or in a year’s time.
People (and search engines) love multimedia content on your blog, as you can present information in many different ways.
Let’s say that someone needed to find a link to a post and had a choice between a normal written article and one that also included relevant videos, images, audio, etc. More often than not, they will go for the one that includes multimedia content as it is both more visually appealing and interesting to readers (assuming that both are of the same quality).
Creating and including multimedia content in your posts can make them much more appealing for people to link to. It can actually be a lot easier than you think to create multimedia content and that is by repurposing it.
You can do this both for new and existing articles that you may have on your site. All it involves doing is taking your information and packaging it up in a different way. So, for example, take a “Top X…” list that you created and turn it into a slideshow on Slideshare, create an infographic, a YouTube video, etc.
Not only are you able to add this into your article, but people can also find that multimedia content on other sites (Slideshare, YouTube,etc.) where hopefully you will have included a link back to the original post.
Search engines are beginning to take social media factors into account when ranking content. How many Tweets, Likes, +1’s, Pins, etc. a post gets can help you rank higher in the SERPs (along with other factors).
People will also view the number of social shares a post gets as an indicator of how good it is. This in turn can encourage more people to link to your page, which can lead to more shares and then more links… and your post can become viral. So it’s important to get your posts onto social media as soon as you publish in order for your fans and followers to see (and hopefully share) it.
I shouldn’t really have to tell you that you need to be on ALL the major social media sites. They are some of the best ways of getting your content out in front of people. Just don’t leave it up to your readers to get the word out.
- Tweet out your post when you publish and then a few times during the day,
- Share it on Facebook with your friends and post it on your website’s Facebook page,
- Share it on Google+ with your circles and on your website’s Google+ page,
- Pin any images you include on Pinterest,
- Share on LinkedIn, StumbleUpon, Reddit, etc.
The more places YOU can get your content out there, the easier it is for people to find and share it themselves. You can only build links by letting people find your content and social media is one of the best ways to do that.
Guest blogging has got some stick recently due to it being a technique that has probably been overused by many spammy link building people. Having said that, there is nothing wrong with guest blogging “IF” you do it the right way.
In the past, sites would try to get as many guest posts written and published online as they could. This usually ended up with lots of poor quality content being published on poor quality websites. These sites would then therefore have ended up with lots of rubbish sites linking to them via terrible content. That is not good!
We talked earlier about producing high quality content for your own site, well the same approach should be taken when producing guest posts. Not only do you want to produce good content to include a link back to your site, but you want to find quality, reputable sites to write for.
Search engines will rank your site much higher if you have 10 high quality links pointing to you rather than 100 poor quality links.
Remember, it’s quality not quantity!
OFFLINE LINK BUILDING
Link building isn’t always about building links, it’s about getting your name/brand out there for people to know and recognise. Whilst there are many ways you can do this online, you shouldn’t neglect offline methods that can be just as effective.
Let’s take a look at some offline methods.
Events can be a great way to meet people within your industry and/or local area. Just because you have a website online, it doesn’t mean everyone will know who you are, so any way that you can get out there is a great method to use.
Let’s say you had just launched a business building websites in your local area. You obviously need clients in order to start bringing in money, so you need to go and find them. Whilst you can call in individually on local businesses yourself, why not head down to your local business centre where they often hold events. Sometimes called a “meet-and-greet”, this is a great way to meet lots of different people and introduce yourself.
You can always hold your own events and invite people from your industry to attend.
The point is that you get to meet people and tell them what it is you do. Pass on your business card (which includes your website URL and social media handles) and get talking to people. People who are at the event may be able to recommend you and pass on your details to other people (online or offline).
One step up from business events is conferences. These are when you invite a select group of people (or sell tickets via your website) to come and hear you give a talk on a certain subject. Many big sites online do this for their readers, like the SMX London conference where people buy tickets to hear many industry experts talk about online marketing.
You can either run your own conference or go and speak at an existing conference (with permission of course). That way, you not only get the chance to get your name out there in front of lots of interested people, but you get to network with many of the other speakers in your industry.
Like they say – “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know that counts!”
LINK BUILDING FOR THE FUTURE
These are just some of the things that you can do to help build links for your website. Hopefully the key thing that you will have picked up on throughout the post is ‘quality’ – Quality content, quality links, quality sites to write for, etc. This is what you should be aiming for in order to build the best types of links for your site. Anything less is just a waste of time.
What other link building methods do you use/will be using in the next few months? What methods do you think should be avoided at all costs from now on? Please let us know by leaving a comment below.
This post was written by Matt Smith.
Matt is a pro blogger running a number of sites from the UK. He helps teach people about starting and running their own website, as well as tips on social media, SEO, web design and more. Check out his blog for more info and find him on Twitter, Facebook & Google+.