Link building is an essential part of SEO. The number of incoming links you have, and the quality and context of those links, is one of many criteria used by search engines to decide how well your site should rank in organic search results. Even if you get most of your traffic from paid search or display advertising, you should not ignore basic SEO. Remember that organic traffic has no direct cost, and could well convert into a subscriber or a customer. These link building tips will help you get started with building a natural looking, and authoritative link profile.
Link building should be a slow and sustained effort. It can be tempting to simply purchase a “link package” from a micro-jobs site or webmaster forum, and tick off the link building section of your to-do list but this is not a good idea. If you acquire a huge number of links in a short space of time the search engines will flag those links as spam and you will have wasted your money. At best they will not help; at worst they will hurt you. Instead of buying links, focus on building a small number each day.
The first step in link building is to find some sites that you would like to link to you. Those sites could be blogs, businesses that complement (but don’t directly compete with) yours, or websites related to conferences or charities that you think are relevant to your niche. Think about why that site would want to link to you, and what you and they would get out of the link.
A blog might link to you in return for a guest post. A conference might link to you if you volunteer as a speaker, and a charity may offer a link back to your website as a “thank you” for a donation. Get in touch with the webmaster and ask them if they would be interested in working with you.
Google’s recent anti-spam updates have made the search engine quite sensitive to “unnatural looking link profiles”. One thing that Google thinks of as unnatural is having a huge number of links pointing directly to the home page, but almost none pointing to other parts of your site. Try to build some “deep links”, links that point directly to a content page on your website.
Another thing that Google thinks of as unnatural is websites that have a huge number of links that all have the same anchor text. Most people don’t use company names when linking to a website; rather, they would add the link inside a sentence, perhaps referencing a product, or a particularly interesting piece of content. Try to mirror that behaviour and use some long tail keywords when adding links to guest posts.
Link building is not a one-off effort. Rather, it is something you should revisit periodically. Don’t assume that your old links will always be there. Remember that websites do shut down, content gets deleted, and blogrolls get updated. Try to obtain new links every month so that your website remains visible to Google and your incoming link count continues increasing.
Consider rewarding visitors who link back to your website. Provide banners, widgets and infographics with handy link code so that people can add them on their own site. Offer people a free download of a report or eBook if they mention you on social media or in their blog. Give people a reason to link to you, and you’ll be amazed how many people are happy to oblige.
Amy is an online marketer who assists affiliate marketers in embracing a holistic approach to building and marketing their websites. Today Amy writes for affiliate network ClickSure; read more from Amy and ClickSure here.