How holistic is your SEO strategy? Find out why implementing an off-page link building strategy, focused around content is important for your business.
Historically, businesses would use ‘’quick fix’’ link building tactics to strengthen the SEO visibility of a website or a certain landing page which held no relevance for its users. However as search engines continue to change, so does the way customers are using them.
To target customers and increase visibility on search engines, we encourage a holistic approach to a link building strategy. The holistic approach moves away from the original way of building links and creates an interconnected focus on targeting users through high-quality content that is of relevance to them. As the online community changes, there has never been a better time to start taking link building seriously for your business.
Why build links?
Search engines, such as Google, Bing, Baidu, Yandex; use algorithms to locate data among a collection of data. These algorithms are complex and always evolving, but backlinks remain an important factor in how every search engine determines which sites rank for which keywords. Building links is still one of the most effective tactics used in search engine optimization (SEO) because links are a signal to Google that your site is a quality resource worth of citation. Therefore, sites with more backlinks tend to earn higher rankings.
Quality over quantity
Historically, a website with the largest number of backlinks pointing back to their website would generally occupy the top position in the SERPs for that keyword. This resulted in many websites building large numbers of low quality and non-relevant backlinks with the sole purpose to increase the quantity. However, Google has since evolved to combat this and these low-quality backlinks now cause more harm than good because they don’t add to the user experience and can result in penalties being applied to your website, that will erase your visibility from SERPs.
If you are feeling the pressure to increase your online presence as quickly as possible you might be debating whether time is better spent building quality backlinks vs increasing the number of backlinks. In a perfect situation, you could achieve both at the same time. However, this process takes time and therefore focusing on relevant, high-quality link building that brings users to your website and encourages them to engage and interact is a much better strategy.
When it comes to evaluating the quality of a link, Google’s algorithm has become more sophisticated. You need to consider each link you are thinking of building by asking yourself – will the readers be interested in where you direct them? Is the content useful? Is there added value in putting that link there? Will they learn something? Does the context of this link make sense?
It is important to make sure that the links you gain are of value, and are from sites that are credible.
Link earning vs link building
There’s a right way and a wrong way, however, to build links to your site. If you care about the long-term viability of your site and business, you should only engage in natural link building. The process of earning links rather than buying them or otherwise achieving them through manipulative tactics (sometimes known as black-hat SEO, a practice that can get your site essentially banned from the search results).
Before building links, you need something of value to build links to. This can just be the homepage of your website. More often than not, though, you build links to specialized resources such as a blog post, tool, research study or graphic. Sometimes these assets exist long before you begin your link building campaign. Other times, you create these resources specifically with the goal of building links in mind.
Link strategies – the good and the bad.
There are a lot of ways to get links. The right tactics for you depend on the resources you have and the industries you work in. With this in mind, we have revealed a few link building tactics that can be applied to most websites.
- Link reclamation – is about finding mentions of your brand online and asking publishers to convert it into a link.
- Guest blogging – is the process of approaching other websites to see if they will publish content you will write onto their website.
- Broken link building – works on the premise of helping webmasters fix their broken links by providing a relevant alternative for them to link to.
- Content-based link building – the basic premise here is to create a high-quality asset that you will use to try to gain links back to. This can be in the form of, but not limited to, an infographic, a data visualization, a how-to guide, a blog post, a white paper, a video etc.
Over the years the practice of link building has included several different strategies which Google has ruled to be spammy and has killed off one way or another. Below is a handful of these:
- Buying links – buying links is meant to be a shortcut to winning the search engine election. However, you don’t know if the links you’re buying will work and there’s a high chance they could prove harmful to you in the long-run.
- Blog commenting – is a spam-orientated tactic of posting comments and a link to the site on other third-party sites, for example in the blog comments section. Generally, the link has little to do with the content on the page in which it is listed.
- Link farms – are websites that feature a series of links to other sites without any context. Ultimately the efforts are to drive traffic to certain pages without producing any value on their own.
- Link exchanges – reciprocal linking occurs when two or more parties link to one another on their respective sites.
While some of these strategies may drive traffic to a site, the links aren’t organic and search engines like Google will be able to understand that. Some of these tactics may produce results in the short-term, but Google’s algorithm will eventually spot and punish such tactics. If your current SEO activity includes any of these initiatives, you need to reevaluate your strategy as a priority to ensure you don’t face penalization.
How can link building benefit my business?
As we’ve discussed links are a very important signal that search engines use to determine rankings. There are other benefits, though that may be less obvious but are still worth noting.
- Building relationships
When building links back to your website, it can often require outreach to other websites, blogs and publications in your industry. This outreach frequently relates to the promotion of something that you’ve just created, such as a piece of content or an infographic. Although your primary goal is to gain a link, you should also look to build long-term relationships with key influencers which in turn will mean your business will become trusted and highly regarded.
- Sending referral traffic
Strong links not only improve your rankings but can also increase traffic to your website. If it is a relevant website, chances are the traffic will also be relevant and may lead to an increase in sales.
- Brand building
Good link building can help build your brand and position you as an authority in your niche. It can also help to show the expertise of your company and the strengths of its goods and services.
Building links to your site isn’t the difficult part. Anyone can get a number of easy links on poor-quality sites — but these types of links do very little for your SEO and SERP rankings. It’s building links that increase your search rankings that is the challenge. Contact us today to find out how we can help you!