How many of you have heard the term link building?
Hands up. Now let me ask you another question how many of you know that you ”have to have link building”? Quite a few I see.
Let me ask you another question; do you actually know what link building is, and why you “must have it” or did you simply hear about it and can you do this? Yes, we can!
To many of us link building can feel like a tedious process, in which several agonizing and time-consuming steps are required before seeing actual results. Link building may not be the most creative part of the website promotion process, but it is an extremely crucial and often overlooked step in our opinion.
The simple fact is that good link building takes time and real effort; it’s not simply something you can buy. Link building takes common sense and real engagement with the website and an understanding of the audience.
Currently there is quite a heated debate on in the SEO industry on whether link building as an Online Marketing Strategy should still be applied. From our experience many SEO’s and Google have been at logger heads with each other, if in our opinion if many SEO’s s had set up link building properly years ago, then we wouldn’t have Google running around and killing small businesses just to prove a point.
Personally, we think that properly planned and well executed link building strategies still deliver results, BUT the old-fashioned approach to “needing” and acquiring links is a trap. Links should rather be earned and not be built!
So what makes a good link today? What are the factors or guidelines that will help your site rank and be successful when engaging in link building. These are:
However, building or creating a link that meets all of these requirements is not easy to come by.
The idea of link building as a discipline, something you can do and control is no more; instead, you now have to work to “earn” your links. Link building to day in a post Penguin world should rather focus on the concept of old-fashioned word of mouth marketing. With Social media being the norm, some SEO practitioners see Social signals as the new ‘link-building’. Their argument is social signals are an indication of the value of content which is shared amongst visitors, the same way content is shared from one link to another. Therefore should have the same, if not more value than links. We agree to some extent with this stance point and Social media must be a link building strategy but not the whole of your link building strategy.
Before we get to the How to, let us delve a bit deeper into the value of a link that meets all of these criteria.
Reasons Why You Should Still Engage In Link-Building
- Exposure: Quality links bring visitors to your website. When you earn a link from a quality websites, it brings traffic to your site. For example if you’re a travel agency, getting a link from Cape Town Tourism is more valuable than getting one from a hair product manufacturing company. The trick is getting the right links to the right location, as they say location – location – location.
- Link building enforces best practises: Link-building if done ethically, can be beneficial in your SEO goals .i.e. ‘organic links’ which are earned when you produce great content which is shared on blogs, social sites and websites. Not only will you receive online exposure but search engines will consider a link from a related website a good vote for yours.
- Competition: You always want to stay ahead of your competitors! To ensure this, you’ll have to engage in link-building for you to see what strategies your competitors are using online to engage with customers. The good thing about it is you get to see what your competition is doing on and offline, then better whatever strategies they’re using to convert prospects or retain customers.
- Quality links establish you as a leader in your industry. Your customers will go into various websites such as news sites, blogs, on-line magazines, portal, forums, social sites etc… to search for products to purchase and the best companies to do business with. The more platforms your customers see your links on, the better they’ll associate you with being a leader in your field. This will automatically lead them to your website.
- Links have a life-span. The more quality links you earn the more valuable they become over time. You can have links that bring you traffic and sales for many years which not only your visitors which follow but search engines will identify them as valuable too.
- Search Engines love quality links. Despite the on-going debate amongst SEOs and Google Spam Specialist Matt Cutts, valuable links are still appreciated by search engines. Search engines look at details such as the age of the link, its source, the website it links to etc… When working to earn a link, have a goal in mind.
- Quality links will attract other quality links. Though link-building is a tough, time-consuming task especially for a new website, with the right practises it can actually have great benefits. If you are engaged in content marketing you will most likely look up opinion leaders and the subject they’re writing about to get some ideas. By establishing yourself as an expert not only will our visibility increase but your links should as well.
So there you have it a few reasons why we believe link building or rather earing links is still important. Now let’s scale it down to some actual and practical techniques you can potentially use, the following are some methods you can rely on to stay relevant locally.
- Citation (Local Website Submission) – Submitting your website locally can assist in you dominating your local market. Make sure that you fill out everything and not leave out any information as you every detail will help you grow your business. Ask customers for positive feedback on your website after every project you carry out as Google counts reviews too.
- Local Guest Blogging – Target local websites for guest blogging, preferably industry related one. Though it’s hard to get a link from a high ranking website but aim for them. Once you get one, it become easier to get other value-added links.
- Take part in local blog commenting – Be careful which website you’re commenting on as some websites are spammy. Make sure that your comments are made on high quality sites and blogs. Above all it needs to be relevant and sparingly, don’t be a spammer just because you can!
- Get local mentions – Through your PR initiatives get in touch with a journalist who covers the type of stories in your niche market. Pitch to them something that ‘differs you from the crowd’. That way they’ll feature you in the local news and happenings on and offline.
- Submit a classified ad – Submitting an exciting offer on a local ads website will help tons in getting people to contact your business, your Google rankings will go up too! Just remember to always upload a high quality image with an interesting description of your product to grab the viewer’s attention.
You can still use link building today to connect with your customers and most importantly make profit at the same time. It all depends on the type of links you create and why you create them to begin with. Here are some links that are still relevant in industry today…
- Contests: Contests and giveaways are a big way to gain links, especially if its links from an authoritative website. You can run your own online contest just make sure that its present in all communication platforms where your customers are likely to be present .i.e. Social sites, your own website, forums, blogs etc.
- Piggybacking on old articles: Develop a new version of an old article in your niche and make it modern by adding your ‘own personal touch’ to it. Contact the webmaster of the old content and make an offer to buy the page so it redirects to your website. Also mention that you will credit them as the original creator of the content.
- Claim your credit from other websites: If you discover that someone is using your material (content) without linking to you then you can contact that person and politely ask them link back to your webpage. But assure them that they can keep everything else as is. They’re likely to link back to you!
- Answer Questions:Answer questions on various blogs just make sure not to spam. Or even better you can mention your brand, brand names are seen as votes as well when it comes to link-building.
- Google+ Shares:Write interesting posts that contain links to your site and share them on your Google+ platform. Every profile that shares your update will automatically count as a dofollow link to your website.
- Content is still key: Creating quality content is still one of the most effect methods in generating links. Tutorials are effective in informing your audience on your subject but also a great way to increase your links, or another method is offering free resources on your website. This will lead traffic to your site.
- Guest Blogging: There’s still uncertainty in the value of guest blogging to an extent that some SEOs have stopped doing it all together. But you don’t have to! Besides posting something on an authoritative website, you can have an expert feature an article or opinion piece on your own website. That way their followers can share the content which will link back to your site or they can refer to the article they featured on your website a while back and in the same way it will link back to you.
- Forum Links: Forum links are one of the ways you can be viewed as a leader in your niche as you direct your views amongst key figures in the industry. And not to mention the link opportunities attached to them.
- Directories:This method of link building was popular years back but can still work if used on the right platforms, consider for example Yahoo Directory, Business.com and many others. Look for directories that are authoritative and have strict access or listing rules. That way you can assure that you’ll be linked to our resourceful links.
- Case studies: Case studies on your website are still another way to gain good links although viewed as biased, they’re still recognised by search engines and your visitors too.
That pretty much covers the type of links relevant in industry today. Now let’s take a look at the relationship between links and social signals.
We believe that Link building is not dead, and that it still has value If properly executed and planned. The best way to engage in quality link-building is to evaluate your links, detect their purpose in your SEO initiatives and see how this practice can generate not only profit but publicity as well online. Use tactics that will ensure that you connect with your customers and will in the long run accumulate quality, ever-lasting links. Take advantage of local link-building and connect with your immediate customers as they’re the ones who’ll build your brand into a trusted, established one.
Categorised in: Local SEO company