An essential part of any SEO strategy is link building, which is the process of building the number of links from other webpages to yours. The basics of link building are primarily related to promoting your pages to others.
I can see it now. You’ve just launched your new website after conducting tons of keyword research and writing amazing content. You’re feeling proud, but you’re also anxious because traffic is slow and search engines don’t seem to know you exist. So now what? Pull another weapon from your SEO strategy, link building.
Link building is the process of increasing the number of quality links from other webpages to yours. Think back to how search engines rank pages – the most important factors include domain trust, domain authority and link popularity. But in order to fare better in these factors, you must first have links coming to your site. In this case, there’s no question of the chicken or the egg – your SEO success begins and ends with link building.
As is the case with all things SEO, link building takes some time. However there are several tactics you can deploy to give your site a jumpstart.
1. Promote the heck out of your content.
In order for anyone to link back to your webpages, they first must know your pages exist. Fortunately there are multiple avenues where you can establish awareness of your content. Take a look at a few ideas:
- Social networking and bookmarking sites: Start off by sharing your content with your closest network: your friends, family and coworkers. The best place for this is social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Then, share your content with complete strangers on social bookmarking sites like Digg, Reddit, Squidoo, etc. It’s worth the time to research various social bookmarking sites to see which are most appropriate for your products or industry.
- Industry-related forums: To help find people who are interested in your message, look no further than industry-related forums. Here you can begin your own threads and leave responses that contain links to your webpages.
- Article directories: You can also spread your message by adding your informative content to article directories like Ezine Articles or Article City. These are hubs that many bloggers use to find information for their posts.
- Press releases: Launching a new website is press worthy, so tell the press about it! Press releases quickly spread across the web so be sure to include links to your site.
2. Launch and maintain a blog.
Search engines love blogs because they provide all of the aspects related to high rankings. Think about it – blogs provide fresh, unique content that is relevant to users and is easily shared. Talk about a gold mine for your SEO and link building strategy!
When writing your blog, it’s imperative to remember SEO lessons like keywords and meta data optimization. In regards to content, write about topics that inform others and relate to your industry. By providing useful content, readers will want to share it, resulting in more and more inbound links.
It’s also a good idea to tactfully include links to your product pages within your blog posts to help bump the relevancy of those individual pages.
3. Engage in reverse link building.
I made up the term “reverse linked building,” but it ultimately means that you need to link to other webpages from your own content. Bloggers and webmasters consistently check their backlinks from various tools, and if they see that you continuously provide quality links, they’re much more likely to return the favor.
4. Provide anchor text for specific links.
On top of domain trust and link popularity, anchor text is a big component of how relevant your pages are to search engines. Thus, it helps to provide specific anchor text to others when they link to your site. For example, if you’re making a guest blog post or exchanging links with another related site, provide the specific anchor text for that link. This anchor text should be a high quality keyword for the particular page you’re optimizing.
5. Build a community.
This tactic is nothing more than the umbrella of the previous four. While you’re sharing quality content across the social sphere and engaging with others, you’ll naturally begin to build your own network of fans and influencers. The key here is to continuously churn out work that others want to read. One word of caution: watch the amount of content that is too sales-oriented and all about you. Just like with any relationship, if you take too much without giving anything back, the bridge is burned.
There are hundreds of ways to engage in link building. But no matter what approach you take, remember that Google and other search engines are looking for natural link building. In other words, search engines are smart enough to understand that link building takes time. So while it may be tempting to submit your site to spammy link directories (not all are bad, but most are), practice your patience and let your SEO strategy come to fruition.
What other link building tactics do you find most useful?
Join us next time for our final post in our Learn SEO One Step at a Time Series!
-Matt Winn, Marketing Associate
Learn SEO One Step at a Time Series:
Step One: An Important Introduction
Step Two: How Search Engines Work
Step Three: How Search Engines Rank Pages
Step Four: An Introduction to Keywords
Step Five: Keyword Research
Step Six: The Long Tail of SEO
Step Seven: Building a SEO Friendly Site
Step Eight: Link Building Basics
Step Nine: Basic SEO Measurement/Conclusion