If you want more traffic to your business, linking building is an essential skill.
In fact, there’s no factor within SEO rankings that is more important than link building. If you want to rank high, you need as many links as possible bringing people back to your website.
With this guide, you will learn everything you need to know in order to begin building high-quality links and boost your ranking.
- The Basics of Link Building
- What are High-Quality Links?
- How to Get Backlinks using Content Marketing
- The Penalties of Black Hat SEO
- Link Building Strategies
- Tips for Advanced Link Building
1. The Basics of Link Building
Links are one of the foundation pieces of Google’s search engine algorithm. In fact, Google came out and said that links and content are the top influencers of rank.
To answer this, let’s take a step back to understand what link building even is.
Link building is the process of receiving promotions from external sources, either other websites or social media, in the form of backlinks (also known as inbound links or hyperlinks).
The goal is to increase traffic from other websites to your own as a form of advertising.
But that’s not to say that you just need an absurd amount of links directed towards your website. Google focuses on the quality of the link, not the quantity. Quality links provide the best indicators that your website will provide the information people are searching for.
This seems a little vague though. What makes a link high quality?
We’ll answer this in the next chapter.
2. What are High-Quality Links?
Link building can result in one of two things happening:
- You build a high-quality link and watch as your ranking goes up and up and up, or
- You build a low-quality link and watch as your rank plummets.
This doesn’t leave much room for mistakes. It’s important to know what makes a link “high quality” in the eyes of Google…especially when the website is linking to you.
So what makes a backlink high-quality?
On a page with PageRank
Is the page that’s linking to you highly ranked on PageRank? If so, then it’ll have a huge impact on your own rank, especially if you’re a smaller page.
PageRank is an algorithm developed by Google that evaluates the quality and quantity of the links to a specific webpage. It measures the importance of the website’s pages, therefore influencing your rank. This information isn’t shown publicly, but it has a great impact on the search engine algorithm that Google uses today.
There are workarounds to finding information regarding your own PageRank or the pages that backlinking to you. Ahrefs can be a good indicator of the URLRating of the backlink.
From a relevant and trusted source
This is you. You need to have content that is of high quality and provides accurate information.
But it is also important that the website that is linking to you is relevant to your business or industry. According to an interview from an ex-Google engineer: “Today it’s more about relevance to the site’s theme in regards to your, relevance is the new PageRank.”
Not only do you need to have accurate information but the people linking to you also need to be related to your industry.
Non-misleading anchor text is used, the exact phrase is best
One thing that makes a link more clickable is knowing what exactly it is you’re clicking on.
When anchor links indicate exactly what the viewer is clicking on, the customer’s expectations are met. If you see an anchor link that says cute puppy video, you’re expecting that when you click on it.
The issue with anchor links is that they can to be anything. If the text says one thing and the link turns out to be something else, you’ll feel misled. That results in an unhappy customer.
Google sees anchor links using keywords and notes that the link was useful regarding that specific keyword. While it does help your SEO ranking, it’s important that the anchor links aren’t spammed because that will end up hurting your rank.
While there are a few different ways for a website to link to your page, editorial links are one of the most effective ways of generating leads and traffic.
Google puts a lot of weight on editorial links. This is because the algorithm sees that someone else find your article useful enough to spread the information you’ve posted.
3. How to Get Backlinks using Content Marketing
Simply publishing content isn’t going to get you very far when it comes to obtaining backlinks.
Not all content and copy are viewed the same. Certain types of content are more likely to become backlinked than others.
In order to determine what kind of content will get a backlink, ask yourself: “What have I linked to in my own articles?” You’ll find it’s likely one of the following:
This includes images, diagrams, infographics, and other charts or graphs.
These are linked to most because they are extremely useful for people and they are convenient to link to. Anyone that shares or uses your graph within their article to help confirm their message will provide a link to your website.
Visuals are a powerful tool that helps visualize information in a creative way while also making it easier and more interactive for viewers.
ii. List Articles
List posts are typically articles that condense information into little chunks. This can be tips, reasons why, myths, how-tos, and the list goes on. They can be just about anything
They are clear and concise pockets of information that are easy for viewers to read and easy to take information from to help prove the point of the article that’s linking to it.
List posts generate more backlinks that most other formats including videos and infographics, according to BuzzSumo’s analysis of 1 million articles.
iii. Research and Data
When a business reveals game-changing research and data, the industry goes wild.
Why? Because people need to know about the latest and greatest industry-related statistics, research, studies, and surveys in order to stay on top.
When new research is released, people will source the original material when spreading the word. The backlinks add up fast.
Guides provide the ultimate insight.
A great guide will provide comprehensive information about everything you need to know on a given topic. Everyone, from beginners to industry specialists, can benefit from it.
The ultimate guides pack a lot of extremely useful information all in one place, making them the go-to.
4. The Penalties of Black Hat SEO
If the links aren’t following Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, they’re likely following black hat SEO practices, which can result in serious consequences to your ranking.
Google Penguin is an algorithm designed to detect and dish out penalties of spammy link building techniques. The only way to avoid its wrath is to build quality links and avoid any linking that seems fishy.
Additionally, Google can give you manual penalties based on unnatural links.
Unnatural links are intended to manipulate search engine results through the PageRank algorithm.
Unnatural links are considered to be the following:
- Low quality
- Deceptive and manipulative
5. Link Building Strategies
There are countless strategies for link building. We’ll go over some options in depth.
i. Resource Page
For those unfamiliar, resource pages are purely dedicated to linking out to other sources and providing valuable resources on a topic. You need to find content that other people can’t find very easily, and then make accessible through your site.
ii. Guest Blogging
This is one of the oldest link building strategies in the book.
How it works is simple: write an article for another website in your industry. Once that is complete, have the article link out to yourself since you’re the author.
iii. Other Techniques
Here’s a resource page dedicated to other link building strategies if the two examples above don’t suit your current needs as a business.
6. Tips for Advance Link Building
Once you have the basics down and websites are backlinking to your articles, it’s time for some tips that will help gain even more links.
In a perfect world, everyone would credit everyone. However, this isn’t always the case. When someone mentions your website or business, they should be linking to your website, but they don’t always.
With a kind message asking for them to provide the link, most people are happy to accommodate you for this request.
The real struggle is finding them. BuzzSumo is a great option for uncovering. They will find the unlinked mentions of your website.
Another way of discovering some unsourced content is through reverse image sourcing. Similarly to name mentions, a quick nudge towards a link will straighten that right out.
Link building is a very complicated process and it takes a lot of trial and error to get right. This guide is meant to set you up for success and help you grow your backlinks to gain traffic to your business.
One of the most frequent questions from clients of a digital marketing firm is “When will my search engine business rankings increase?”, or “How long does it take for SEO to start working?”
Business owners know the importance of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) as part of their online marketing strategy. They also understand that SEO strategies make it easier for search engines to find them, rank them higher, thereby increasing traffic to their website.
So how long do you have to wait before you see results? The short answer is “it depends”.
There are many variables to optimizing your website, however three specific criteria play a significant role: competition, inbound links, and content.
Depending on your product or service, there will be varying degrees of demand. The more competing webpages you’re up against, the longer it will take to see results. Depending on how well your competition’s SEO strategies perform, the longer it will take for you to rise in rankings.
If you are spending a great deal of time and effort developing and implementing your SEO strategies, you can be sure your competitors are doing so as well. Every time you post a new blog, your competitor may be doing the same.
The volume of inbound links to your website play a huge role. The quality of those links, the speed in which you gain those links, and historically have gained them also has an effect. The speed at which you earn links should have a relatively stable growth pattern. A sudden increase in links looks unnatural. If your link-building follows Google’s guidelines, that should happen naturally.
A large number of high-quality, high-authority inbound links (also referred to as backlinks) will flag site-crawlers, indicating that your website is an authority in your particular field. It’s almost like gaining a referral from someone for your product or service.
Quality content matters a lot. High-quality content is original, relevant, authoritative, factual, grammatically correct and engaging. Your web pages need have no minimum or even ideal length. They just have to answer the question or solve the user’s problem.
A business blog is a great way to become a resource for information in your field that you add to on a regular basis. Blogs are a great way to increase traffic to your website.
Keep in mind that newer pages don’t rank as well as older ones. This graph shows that the average top 10 ranking page is at least 2 ½ years old.
Despite this, new content should be added to your website on a regular publishing schedule.
This encourages search engine spiders to crawl your site more frequently and speed up your SEO efforts. Also, users will return to your site more frequently looking for new content, further sending signals to search engines of the popularity of your site. User engagement is built and gauged over time.
SEO is An Investment
Ultimately, you need to be prepared to invest several months to a year before seeing the results of your SEO efforts. Why? Search engines take multiple factors into account when ranking webpages. For example, Google uses over 200 ranking factors in their search algorithm! The takeaway is this: SEO can have a significant impact on the success of your business, so it is worth the investment of time and money!
At first glance it might seem as if Google+ is the underdog when it comes to having a powerful company presence on social media and the Internet as a whole.
However, Google+ is the perfect platform to bolster your business’s social media presence and overall legitimacy. This is especially through posting original content, since it is the best way to help position your business as an authority in the industry.
When it comes down to it, Google+ is Google. They use this social media network for rankings in Google by indexing every page and post. This is a major reason why using hashtags and optimizing your keywords are both essential to improving your SEO ranking.
Ensuring you use keywords appropriately on your business’ Google+ page allows for more results to appear in Google search—each post will often receive its own listing in Google. This is strong reason why you should only be posting original content on Google+. Take every opportunity to turn people towards your business!
It is also important to note many consumers place a lot of weight on business reviews, both with the comments and ratings a person leaves as part of their review, as well as the social proof the simple existence of reviews provide. Google+ gives your business the chance to have reviews appear directly in Google search results, e.g. with Google My Business, which is the best place for the reviews to gain positive attention from potential consumers.
So how can you help ensure your business has the best chances at success on Google+? Let’s review!
Relationships Through Hashtags
One of the major ways Google connects topics on Google+ is through the use of hashtags on each post. Every time you search a hashtag, you will also end up with some related hashtags—the connection between these topics is something your business can actually have a hand in teaching Google.
Consider the keywords you want your business to rank for and include two of them within each post (or at the end). Do not leave any post without a hashtag! Adding your own means you ensure the hashtags are relevant, and you target the people looking for those things, thus expanding your reach.
Did you know the headlines you put on Google+ posts actually act as mini posts themselves? The headline is what you will see when the post appears in Google search results, which is the first thing that attracts a reader.
This is a great place to put your most important keyword for the overall post. Incidentally, this main keyword can also make for a good hashtag at the end of the post.
Optimize For Engagement
There are many opportunities for engagement on Google+, such as through the commenting system, +Post Ads, and interactive posts. The commenting system, for instance, allows the commenter to easily share the post with their own followers on Google+, which greatly increases your chances of getting more comments, shares, and link clicks than if the original user only commented without sharing.
The +Post Ads gives your business the chance to change the most successful organic posts into ads Google then shows across its vast display network—otherwise known as a world of opportunity! This opens up interaction beyond Google+ itself, and allows sharing to continue long past the paid promotion period.
Want more interaction on a simple Google+ post? You have the power to automatically embed a wide variety of call to action for your audience, including: watch a video, sign up for a mailing list, make a reservation, et cetera.