A link from a trusted, relevant website with the right keywords in the anchor text is like a vote for your website…but some votes are more valuable than others…
- creating a website with a Search Engine-friendly infrastructure
- producing new and regularly updated optimized content on your pages and
- developing an internal and external link building strategy that will raise the profile of your website.
Essentially, a Search Engine sees a link to a page on your website like a “vote” and raising the number of great votes through a sensible link building strategy will help bring your website to a higher position in results pages.
All links are not created equal
Some time ago, it was simply a matter of the more links you had, the higher up the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) you appeared. Today, further advances have been made by the Search Engines, and in particular Google, where merely the volume of links is no longer the sole determinant. The following is now important:
- links must now be relevant and have a greater value if they are from so-called “trusted” websites or pages
- the context of the page and the “anchor text” (the underlined blue text that the link is embedded in) also impact on the value of each link
- ”on theme” links carry significant weight and “off theme” links carry lesser weight
In fact, if all you did was link building and negotiated with those linking to you to include a varied range of your keywords, your website would end up performing quite well with only standard on-page SEO.
Ten link building strategies
Great content: The best way to encourage links back to your website is to write great content that other websites are eager to link to. This is called “link bait” and it is an important link building strategy. By constantly updating your website with interesting, unique and original content, you will soon build up a loyal following of websites linking back to you.
Directories: Upgrade your White Pages or Yellow Pages listing to include a link to your website – this not only provides some solid links but it will also drive some qualified traffic back to your website. In addition, list your website in credible directories or web portals that are trustworthy websites and relevant to your industry.
Search Engine business directories: List your business on Search Engine business directories such as Google Places (free), Bing Local (free) and Yahoo Localworks (paid listings). These listings can be optimized to improve your Search Engine ranking and you can also add additional details like your contact details, store hours and product and services.
Blogging and forums: Find relevant and trustworthy websites in your industry where you can become a trusted member of the community. Sign up for sites where it is possible to add a link to your website from your signature block; comment sensibly about your specialty and you will quickly see links starting to appear to your site, on theme and very relevant.
Guest posts: Writing guest blogs on a website related to your industry can also be a great way to generate links back to your website. In turn by positioning yourself as an expert, you will also increase your company’s profile in the industry and obtain an opportunity to promote your website. Look for websites that again are relevant and high quality.
Community groups and suppliers: Ask your suppliers, customers, clients, business networking groups, industry associations and local community groups if they will put a link to your website on their pages. Your suppliers’ websites are relevant, trustworthy and will more than likely be happy to phrase the link text exactly the way you want.
Syndication: Write articles or media releases based on the informative content on your website and post these articles on article or media release distribution websites. Ask whether you can either embed a link (with your keywords in the anchor text) if they allow this or if not, then most allow a link from the ‘Author’ or ‘Resource box’.
Social networking websites: Social media networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are an excellent part of a link building strategy and a good touch point for clients, suppliers and customers to keep them abreast of your activities. You can promote new products and services, blog articles or news about your company via social media.
Video hosting websites: You can create your own channel on online video communities like YouTube with a summary of your business and website URL. You can also supplement your video link building strategy by creating additional links when leaving comments with a link to your company website on other video channels that are important and relevant to your industry.
Internal links: Links from your own pages, whilst possibly of lesser value, are still counted as links. Apart from your standard navigation links, add a link or two from the body of your pages to a couple of your key pages and embed the link in a keyword phrase. Search Engines spiders also use these internal links to crawl through your website and index pages for your site.
All of the above link building strategies will help you nudge your inbound link volume and quality. However to build a natural link profile, links need to be added gradually and the keywords used in the anchor text must be varied. You may arouse suspicion with Search Engines if their spiders crawl a website which has obtained 500 links in one day. You may even be penalized or your Search Engine ranking may drop.
but, you know what the best link building strategy is?
It is building pages like this one, that people will find useful, want to refer to and want to list on their own website with a link to it because the content is helpful, relevant and contemporary. This “natural” link building strategy is slower, requires effort and commitment but produces the very best results.
Link building is a never ending and ongoing strategy. Every day, apart from our client websites’ inbound link building, one of our team spends an hour developing links to our own websites. You should commit to doing the same – two links per day comes to 360 or more in just a few months and with great content, your natural links will rapidly grow too.
The reality is in the same way that you could probably do a great job of evaluating a major legal contract from end to end, most smart business people recognize that you are better served by using a lawyer and focusing on your strengths. The same applies here, you could do your own SEO work, but is that the best use of one of your most valuable resources, your time?