Link Building Strategies
There are an abundance of link building strategies which are readily available to all website owners. We appreciate that terms are thrown about without little explanation of meaning, how it works, the pros, the cons and the method. We’re going to try and avoid the jargon and explain everything simply in this guide.
It is important to understand which link building strategies will add real value to your business and those that have little impact. This will enable you to make smart decisions about which areas you should focus your attention on and aspects that aren’t very important at all.
We are going to explain what you need to do in order to build a vast range of links for your portfolio. A broad link profile will reduce your risk of being negatively affected by any Google updates.
An infographic is an image or drawing which contains broken down information. They are typically used to help people understand facts and figures easily and are hugely popular amongst the majority of internet users. As they are both engaging and informative your website users will love them, there is a good chance that others will share it through social media, and websites and blogs are likely to link to it as well.
Most infographics are based on market research and the data is cleverly incorporated through modern design. The downside is that they can be expensive to design and time absorbing to collate accurate data or conduct market research.
.edu and .gov links
Links from educational or government websites are extremely beneficial for your search rankings. Google sees these sites as incredibly trustworthy and most have great authority online. Gaining a link from .edu and .gov sites is not an easy task but will be well worth the effort.
Offering free services, helping students or being successful will enable you to propose an article or link to your website in return for the service or story. As long as there is a mutual benefit that does not include a direct payment, then the link will be of great value to your SEO efforts.
Social bookmarking websites such as Delicious are a means of collecting your favorite websites into one place. It’s easy to find great things online which you may want to use in the future, but even easier to forget about them. Systems like Delicious enable you to save and organise the websites that are important to you, as long as you remember which bookmarking site you’ve been using.
Social bookmarking is currently effective, but like most SEO techniques it is likely to be short lived and its link value will be demoted. As a basic rule of thumb, the more effort that is required to build a link, the more value it will add to your website.
The value of links from social bookmarking websites decreased significantly a few years ago when search engines noticed web masters ‘gaming the system’ by creating fake profiles to bookmarking their website.
Despite this, social bookmarking is still valuable, but shouldn’t be your core method of building links.
Google likes the idea that people with knowledge will help those that need support.
Forums and other similar networks allow you to create a profile where you can write a bit about yourself and even link back to your website. Being active on forums can be good for your business as this will not only improve your search rankings, but by being helpful you will also attract potential clients.
The link within your profile will enable users to find you easily.
Blog commenting can be abused and used as a spam strategy to build links. Avoid this at all costs as Google clamp down on this sort of activity.
In order to truly benefit from blog comment backlinks, you need to visit industry relevant websites which contain quality articles you can comment on.
People talk about how most blog comments are ‘no-follow’ links. This means that the link does not count towards your search engine ranking.
While it is true that the link juice (the power or equity of a link) will be far less than that generated from a ‘do-follow’ link, they shouldn’t be entirely discounted.
If you comment and build discussions on quality websites it will help your search ranking. We noticed an improvement by implementing this strategy on Universal Web Design . Try and avoid irrelevant websites and do not post links to your website within the comment itself unless necessary and justifiable. Google loves engagement, but it hates spam.
A mixture of ‘do-follow’ and ‘no-follow’ links will add to your link portfolio. Remember that Google does not want to see over optimisation of one link type; natural link building always works best.
Article writing is a form of content promotion. The concept is that you create an article which is interesting or helps your target audience in some way. We might write something like “How To Make Your Website a Lead Generation Machine”, or a baking website could produce “10 Ways To Lose Weight Without Cutting Out Cake”.
Once your article is produced, post it on an article sharing network such as Enzine Articles or A1 Articles. These networks receive thousands of visitors every day, so there is a good chance that your content will be seen. Furthermore, these websites have a powerful online presence and link juice will be passed through to your website if a link is contained within the article.
We must advise you not to publish the same content across multiple networks to avoid being classed as duplicate content and will reduce the positive efforts intended for your website.
Much like article writing, guest blogging is an excellent method of building links. Unlike general article writing, guest blogging enables you to build links from websites or news sites which are related to your industry. You will simultaneously build awareness within your sector and create relevant links.
There are networks that you can use to find blogs looking for guest posts (My Blog Guest for example), but if you look on most blogs, you will find that they are open to guests producing high quality content for them.
Most will require for you to have previous experience, so produce several articles for your own website before contacting another blog.
Mush like article writing, you shouldn’t ask multiple blogs to publish your content. This will trigger Google’s duplicate content alarms and will only ever have a negative effect on your site.
If you have little blogging experience, focus on writing for smaller blogs or websites with less content. Whilst this will generate less SEO value, the blog owner will be more lenient and understanding with the quality of your content and your writing will improve with practice.
Once you have some experience, try to write for larger blogs and more powerful websites; you will enhance your online presence significantly. In addition, your business will boost its brand awareness.
Aim to produce two or three posts for each individual blog or website that you write for. This will increase the number of unique URLs pointing back to your site and maximise your exposure.
Directory submissions used to be an effective link building method and for some search engines they still are; Yahoo and Bing use less complicated algorithms than Google, and so still favour the method.
Although directory submissions are far less important to Google than its competitors, they are still valued as links. SEO professionals will advise you to build a diverse link profile which includes directory listings.
It’s easy to gain this kind of link as you can create an account and produce your own profile in minutes. For best results, you should focus on reputable directories such as Yell and Yahoo. Both are well-organised, trusted and managed.
Avoid paying for automated completion systems. Search engines will pick up on this practice and add no value to your website. There is little point listing with any websites that do not display on Google.
In summary, create profiles on a few reputable sites as this can result in traffic and therefore business, however the vast majority of directories are not worth the time and will add no value to your online presence. It’s far better to build quality links or to increase your online brand presence.
Classified submissions are tailored, enabling you to advertise your website in a specific location, highlighting your niche when possible. Think of this as more or less as an online version of The Yellow Pages; clusters of similar businesses are listed together to make finding the right service simple for the consumer.
Whilst classified submissions can be of some benefit, much like general article submissions they have been abused over the years and Google has decreased the value of any links significantly.
The best practice would be to place your website within a number of classified submission sections, but not to waste time creating loads of links this way.
To identify a quality website, check to see whether the site is managed. Avoid low quality sites with poor submissions as this suggests it is not managed properly.
Create several adverts each month because they are simple and quick, but focus your energies on more rewarding link building methods. You should see classified submissions more so as a means to create a diverse link profile, rather than to significantly impact your search rankings.
Business & Local Listings
Listing your business or website with Google Places and the Bing and Yahoo versions is especially useful if you sell products or services locally.
A Google Places listing not only enhances your presence within search engines, but it also enables you to generate traffic through Google Maps.
Localised listings will also improve other aspects of your search presence. By listing your business or site with Google, you are proving that the business exists and has a verified trading location.
We have seen that listings which are verified closer to the town or city centre, tend to rank higher within the search results for location related terms. If someone were to search for a web design company in Colchester, and your business is based and verified close to the centre of Colchester then it will appear higher up the results.
You have most likely heard of, seen and used offline PR before. It is less likely you have heard of online PR but it is very much the same thing. Magazines and newspapers publish press releases and so do their websites.
Online PR is incredibly powerful for multiple reasons:
- Online publishers tend to receive thousands of visitors each month and this could lead to an increase in traffic to your website.
Online publications will expect to see a high standard of content, which is of great interest to its audience and not sales related. It’s best for the content to be accurate, concise and informative. It is likely that you will need a PR specialist to produce content to be ready to be published, and they are likely to have contacts within the industry which will help you gain exposure.
It is of great importance that you try and test a variety of link building strategies. Focus on developing a diverse link profile as this will ensure that your website is not vulnerable to Google’s algorithm updates. A diverse link profile will also appear natural and search engines will favour this over websites with poor quality links.
It is best to invest your time and efforts on building high quality links from websites with high page and domain authorities.
Remember that the easier a link is to earn, the less valuable it will be for your business.