Link Building tactics that won’t harm your SEO
Link building is the Iron Man of SEO. Doing it effectively and successfully doesn’t mean you have to excel in just one area; rather, you must be a veritable powerhouse of knowledge and expertise in the fields of content generation, psychology, marketing and sales. What’s more, these skill sets must be honed and refined to achieve the incredibly targeted aims of link building as it exists today – that is, if you actually want to get people to link to your website and increase your traffic.
Link Building All Grown Up
Most of us know that spammy SEO linkage won’t do the trick anymore. As a practice, link building has grown from its frisky more-is-better adolescence into a more studious, sophisticated adulthood. The number of links a website receives has taken a back seat to the quality of those links. Where are they coming from? Is the source relevant and reputable? Authority is the order of the day when it comes to link building.
It isn’t easy to achieve this authority, but once you have, you can work from the bastion of your success and watch as high-converting traffic alights on your site, showering you with more sales, leads and more money.
Search engines scour the web to find related pages. Links are like votes, which the search engines tally to represent the democratic voice of the web in regards to which pages are note-worthy and generally popular. The process of determining the merits of a site based on links uses intricate, complex and incredibly sophisticated algorithms that act like bouncers at en elite nightclub – only the best get in (i.e. get a favourable ranking).
Link Building: The How
So, how do search engines assess your link building efforts? How do you make sure your time, money and effort has been well spent?
To be honest, it’s totally impossible to know every way in which search engines measure links; Google uses some unforgivably complex and continually evolving algorithms that determine measurability. Still, years of experience and testing in the field has made it possible for experts to gather some solid assumptions that actually translate when put to the test.
Here are some of our best tips for wooing the ever wandering search engines with your irresistible link building prowess.
What Search Engines Want from your Link Building
The Cool Kids
It’s a bit of a chicken or the egg scenario, but if you want a popular, well-ranked site, you’re going to have get links from other reputable sites – and, if you already have a popular site, search engines are going to expect you to maintain a high level of linkage from other reputable sites. So, if you want a solid rep, you’re going to have to get other popular sites to like (i.e. link) to you. A public nod of approval, so to speak. It’s like high-school all over again.
It seems garnering links for websites that share a common theme with your website is more valuable than getting links from topically unrelated sites. For example, if you’re in the business of baby photography, a link from a Mommy blog or parenting website is more valuable than a link from a website for marine surveying.
The Trust Factor
Getting links from reputable domains also appeals to the search engines trust-seeking scoring metrics. In a worldwide web awash with spam (some pages are over half spam), link building with trusted sources is a crucial part of your success.
TIP: For guaranteed results, think to really trustworthy websites for non-profits, colleges, universities and government agencies.
The Company You Keep
Much like you only want links from non-spammy sites, you also want to make sure you’re only linking to trustworthy sites. When it comes to link building, you are the company you keep. Along this same line, you also want to make sure you’re not engaging in all-too-obvious and slightly scam-like blogging or guest blogging. Blogging is an invaluable SEO tool, but you want to blog about something real, useful and relevant. Guest blogging in this context has its place, so long as you’re not beating people over the head with high-pressure sales in your blogs. It’s tacky, it looks bad, and it won’t bode well for your reputation.
Keep it Fresh
Avoid getting penalized for that ‘not-so-fresh’ feeling and keep your link building alive by continuing to seek out and earn new links. Link signals will actually diminish over time and search engines have signals that sniff out the tell-tale stench of decay.
Most people already know that sharing via social media can do wonders for your rank, and part of this actually relates back to link building. While engines view links from social media platforms differently than other links, they do still recognize them and they count. The jury is still out on how, exactly, they count, but experts agree they DO count and will continue to make a bigger impact in the future.
Practical Link Building Strategies for Implementation
Now you have a solid understanding of how you can link build. Next, you need to actually implement a plan. There’s no one plan that will work for every company. While link building for your website will definitely involve a combination of natural links (from sites who’d like to link to your content), outreach links (when your SEO team asks for permission for linkage) and individually generated links (from you or others leaving comments and signing guest books), you should realize that one of the most important parts of creating a link building scheme is not creating a link building scheme, but creating the link building scheme for your company. There are quite literally limitless ways to go about this.
In the end, unless you are willing to invest a ton of your own time into learning about link building, creating a link building campaign and then implementing, testing and tweaking that campaign, it is really best to talk to someone who knows what they’re doing.
No, this isn’t a sales pitch; it’s the truth and failing to address link building properly will cost you time, money and worst of all, your rank. Seriously. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you could actually get reported to Google for non-consensual and unethical linking. We know it sounds a little shady, a little Big Brother, a little Logan’s Run, but we’re not kidding. Whether you like it or not, the Google authorities are the final say in SEO ranking, so if you want your website to work for you, you’re going to have to work within their rules. Either learn about their policies fully and completely, or, when in doubt, source out. Contact us if you need a hand.