Link-building is an essential element of every successful SEO strategy. It describes the process of acquiring backlinks from other websites and directing traffic from their content directly to yours.
SEO and Link-building
Search engines such as Google use backlinks and citations as a measure of value – so, the more quality people who link to your website, the higher its SEO authority. Search-engine crawlers also use backlinks to move around the web and discover new pages.
Google, in particular, has always used links as ranking factors, measuring a page’s quality by the number of external links pointing to it. This led to some unscrupulous link-building activity back in the early days of the internet that subsequently forced the search giant to tighten the rules surrounding backlinks.
Now, the quality of the website linking to your own determines how much of an SEO boost a backlink will earn you. The best-quality links come from trusted sites with high authority, such as news outlets and Fortune 500 companies.
Before the Penguin update, Google recommended listing your business on reputable directories such as Yell. These listings included backlinks to company websites, giving them a ranking boost in the process. However, this is now considered poor practice — and an excessive number of backlinks from directories might even hurt your ranking.
Similarly, links from low-quality websites that you cannot control — such as blogs, forums, and editable Wiki pages — also have the potential to reduce your authority. By updating these citations with a nofollow link, you are highlighting to Google that you don’t want them to factor into your ranking calculation. Importantly, nofollow links still look the same to users, who can still use them to access your website.
There are a number of legitimate ways to encourage high-authority websites to link to yours.
A press release can work wonders for securing backlinks from high-authority news outlets, providing you have something to say. Publish authoritative, quality content to your website and target news releases to individual journalists who have previously covered similar topics. For B2C brands, this might be an introduction to an innovative new product; for those targeting B2B writers, new, insightful industry data will often generate a buzz.
Influencer marketing is a growing field, and for good reason. These influencers are individuals with large social-media followings or an influential blog. A backlink from them could offer serious SEO juice (not to mention a boost in organic traffic). Do your homework and make the most of the additional exposure by approaching influencers with a similar audience to yours.
Broadcast link-building covers activities such as blogging, social sharing, press and newsletters. Again, it’s about producing engaging, insightful content (link bait) and ensuring as many people see it as possible.
Brands don’t have to rely on just organic traffic to broadcast link-bait content. For some audiences, paid advertising on search engines and social media can generate a similar buzz that more than justifies the initial spend.
Is Your Content Worth the Link?
Creating valuable content worth linking to is the cornerstone of every SEO strategy. Small businesses must focus on creating engaging original content before they can even consider attracting backlinks and citations. Need help? Content creation is included in Mindspin Search Engine Optimization and Content Creation packages.