What is Link Building?
Picture this: You’re walking down the street and on one side, there’s the small local coffee shop – on the other is the big chain coffee shop. You’re now presented with a choice…
But how do you choose which to go with?
Your decision is actually made easy because you’ve remembered that your neighbor and numerous friends recommended that delicious latte at the local coffee shop. So, you head inside to buy your latte, and every morning after, you do the same.
Now, your new favorite local cafe is thriving – it’s even opened a few more locations due to its positive reputation.
But what does this have to do with SEO exactly? Well, the same principle can be applied to a website; and it’s referred to as ‘Link Building.’
Link building is, simply put, the process of acquiring links from other websites that point to yours. Similar to the analogy above, the more high quality links (positive coffee shop reviews), the more reputable and authoritative your website is. And overall, this positive reputation will help enhance your position in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
4 Link Building Tips to Establish Authority
Link building should be an important part of any SEO campaign. Moz explains that links help show search engines which sites and pages are useful or commonly visited. Therefore, link building involves trying to get links around the internet that direct people to your site.
With changes to search engine algorithms, some companies have become nervous about link building because they think it might have a negative effect on their sites. Link techniques have changed over time and Google has penalized certain techniques, but link building itself has not gone out of style. The trick is to stay up-to-date with current techniques. Here are some link building tips to establish authority.
1. Stay Current With Google’s Methods
Google itself gives link building as one method to create a “Google-friendly site,” noting that links can help your site show up higher in Google search results. Nonetheless, Google only rewards natural links that show someone thinks your site is important and helpful. Just because you acquire a link, does not mean it will enhance your authority. In this case, think quality over quantity in that Google will give a positive vote of confidence and rank your website better when you have a backlink from a relevant and high-quality site.
Avoid unnatural links, which include link schemes and other methods used to try to trick the search engine into thinking a site is popular or useful. Read Google’s Webmaster Guidelines for more in-depth tips and methods for keeping up with Google’s approved link building techniques.
2. Put a New Spin on Old Links
In an article on Search Engine Journal, Razvan Gavrilas comes up with insightful ways to renew old information, turning it into links for your site in the process. Find outdated infographics and inactive links around the web, and then create new content based on what those links or pieces of content covered.
Then, contact the owner of the site or the infographic letting them know that you updated the information and asking if they would like to link to your new, updated page instead of the outdated or unmaintained one they are currently promoting.
3. Focus on High-Quality Content
Cheap content mill and overseas content has largely gone by the wayside as Google now rewards high-quality content. Digital Current explains that content is a way for you to build quality links for your site. When you have relevant, well-researched and useful content on your site, others will naturally want to link to it because of its quality.
To create the right kind of content for your site, observe the kind of content that is gaining links and work to emulate it. To help determine which content is working, use tools like Open Site Explorer and Feedly. You want to look for the topics that are popular, as well as the formats. For 2014, popular formats include lists, infographics, reports and guides, among others. Also, be sure to promote your content to spread its reach and make sure it receives links.
4. Research Your Friendly Opportunities
Prospecting to find link building opportunities can be a valuable and often overlooked element of your strategy. In fact, this method of browsing the web to find link building opportunities has been around for a while. Here are a few simple ways you can take advantage of link building opportunities:
- Begin Guest Posting
- Find Broken Links
- Find Unlinked Brand Mentions
- Reclaim Lost Links
Not sure how these can aid in building healthy backlinks? Let’s walk through each and learn the benefits and how they work:.
Guest Posting, aka guest blogging, is the practice of writing an original piece of content that will be featured on another website. Although there are millions of websites in the search engines, Google will reward your site if your post is published on another website that is relevant and high quality.
Broken links are links on a website that are no longer linking to a valid URL. By using tools such as ahrefs, you are able to prospect broken links and reach out to the webmaster to inform them of the error. This win-win scenario will help provide a backlink to your website and rectify the error on the post for the hosting site.
Unlinked Brand Mentions
Have you come across an article with a mention of your brand or website but there was no link associated with the anchor text? You’ve just discovered an unlinked brand mention. To address this, we recommend using a tool such as SEMrush’s Brand Monitoring Tool to find previous examples and set up alerts to be informed of future mentions.
Reclaiming Lost Links
Last, but certainly not least, is the process of reclaiming lost links. Lost links are links that were previously pointing to your website and are no longer valid. Sometimes links are naturally lost due to the webpage no longer being live, but developing a list can be a valuable piece of the off-site SEO strategy.
We’ve discussed all of the best link building strategies to build authority, but what about what won’t build authority, or even worse, hurt your SEO?
Here are a few bonus Blackhat SEO link building techniques you should avoid at all costs:
- Buying Links
- Links from High Spam Score Sites
- Low Quality Backlinks
These tactics are another way of saying that a website is “taking a shortcut” or “cheating Google” and is something we need to avoid. Whether it be getting votes of confidence from spammy websites or trying to “outsmart” the search engines, these are SEO tactics that can harm your website.
Link building can be an effective and very beneficial strategy to your SEO. However, off-site SEO is commonly overlooked in an effort to aid on-site optimizations but can be a very powerful way to build authority and your reputation within the SERPs.
If you are looking to be the next local coffee shop and blossom into a successful franchise, look no further than a digital marketing agency to help your link building strategies. Reach out to the SEO experts at Zero Gravity Marketing to upgrade your off-site SEO link building strategies.