Most of Google’s algorithms are built around links. In fact, Google themselves confessed that linking to high-quality sites is a smart way to increase your rank in search results. What this means is that you should never overlook link building. Search engines are able to tell a site’s authority and credibility just from the sites it links to. Below we look at link building, important factors in link building and how to achieve effective link building:
Link building: A definition
It is a process that involves the acquisition of links from other sites to yours. It is very challenging. You need to be very creative, and sometimes even assign a budget towards link building. There are different ways to acquire links. Let’s look at that below:
In this case, the sites that are interested in linking to your site will approach you and give you links to their sites. Of course, to attract such partnerships, you need to be creating great content and know how to distribute it (check our previous article on distribution).
Manual link building
This time, you are the one to reach out. You can, for instance, email bloggers or submit content to directories. You need to prove that linking to your site will add value to the other party.
Important factors in link building
You need to get links from popular, informative sites. Such sites have credibility and authority, two factors that are vital in search results. A good example is Wikipedia.
This is where a particular word or phrase is actually a link to another site. For instance, “click here” could be anchor text to an article with more information about a particular topic. If for instance, you have a video talking about “the best outside catering services in Ohio”, you could include anchor text like “read more” which is actually a link to an article that talks about “what to look for when hiring an outside catering service in Ohio”.
You need to keep earning new links. This is because link signals decay and become stale as time passes by. Fresh links are deemed more relevant by search engines thus rank higher in search results.
Links in your niche
Links from sites within your niche are more important than those that are not from your niche. In our example, for instance, a link from a site that has recipes will be more valuable than one that talks about bow hunting.
Algorithms are able to determine how trustworthy a site is. You need to get links from trusted sites especially educational, government, and not for profit organizations. Search engines categorize these as trusted sites. It is, therefore, a smart move to have links to these sites.
How to achieve effective link building
You need to set the goals that you intend to achieve with your link building efforts. You then need to lay out some strategies to help you to achieve those goals. The last step should be measurability. Have the goals been achieved? A good example of a goal is “increase site traffic by 30%, in one month’s time”. Another goal could be higher ranking in search results. Note that the goals need to be SMART – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely. Below is how to effectively achieve link building in your SEO efforts:
Less is better
Note that unlike keyword density, we do not have something like “link density”. This means that you need not focus on acquiring a particular number of links to link back to your site. In fact, a link’s value decreases when there are other links on the page. This stands true even when looking for sites to link to your page or site. It is best to go for pages with few links.
With a blog, you need to constantly create fresh content. It is also a good way to help you to actively participate in conversations, and get links from other blogs. In creating your blog content, you need to create a balance. Your content needs to be relevant, valuable, have some sense of humor. Sometimes, newsworthy content is the way to go. This could be achieved by a product release, controversial topics or statements, and giving away something for free.
One of the best tools to determine whether your goals were achieved is your site’s analytics. One of our goals was “increasing traffic by 30%”. At the end of one month, your website analytics need to show you how much traffic has increased. They may not do the percentage calculation for you, but you should be able to see the increase and maybe calculate it yourself. If your site uses WordPress, you can also install plugins that will give you even more relevant information with regards to your traffic and where traffic on your site comes from. It could show you the referrer link too. This way, you will be able to focus on getting more links with those characteristics.
For instance, if you are in the outside catering niche, and most of your traffic seems to come from a recipes site, then you will need to focus more on getting more links from recipe sites of the same caliber.
An example of a plugin that you can install is Visitors Real Time Statistics https://wordpress.org/plugins/visitors-traffic-real-time-statistics/.
If you do not achieve your goals, you need to either get better quality links or change some aspects of your link building strategy.
Link building needs to become part of every SEO strategy.
It should help you to even build relationships with experts in your niche and influencers. This becomes very important. It becomes easier to get links and the influencer becomes your brand’s advocate too. Links will help to improve your site’s rankings, increasing your site’s authority and credibility. You, however, have to link to high quality, reputable sites. You must continually put efforts in link acquisition to ensure that your links stay fresh throughout.
To effectively achieve link building, you need to set SMART goals and strategies. You then need to measure to ensure that you indeed achieved the set goals. Link building takes a lot of work, but it is undoubtedly the best SEO strategy that you could use.