Digital marketing specialists recognize link building as a key feature of SEO. The issue with the process lies in that fact that website owners can’t directly control the outcome in the same way they can with other aspects of SEO. Creating high-quality content, optimizing user experience, boosting site loading speed and improving navigation are all features that can be easily leveraged and implemented by a website owner.
This is why link building is often bypassed by novices and viewed as something that should be handled by an expert. In this article, we’ll discuss why this is the wrong outlook to have and why the process of link building is not as difficult as you might think.
Getting Started: Building Links or Earning Links?
On the surface, link building seems like a technical chore that can only be done effectively with years of experience and digital nous. To further complicate matters, the feature has a number of different aliases including inbound links, backlinks and external links. Each of these refers to the same thing: HTML hyperlinks that connect one website to another. We’ll call them backlinks for the remainder of the article.
If you could quantify your reputation into a physical currency – backlinks would be what you use.
Nowadays, the quality of backlinks is valued much higher than the quantity. For example, more value will be placed on a website containing a single backlink from an industry-leading and authoritative business, compared to another website that contains multiple backlinks of poor quality. Search engines even take steps to punish websites that abuse the backlink system.
This is important to keep in mind. In the world of SEO, “building links” is common parlance that should be properly understood before you take action. Backlinks mean that your content is reputable and high quality – they should come voluntarily from another website. A search engine such as Google does not want you to create links yourself or to pay others to do it for you.
Links should always be the following:
- Come from authoritative pages
- Increase with time
- Come from topically relevant sources
- User relevant, natural anchor text
- Bring qualified traffic to your site
- Strategically targeted or naturally earned
Link Building Strategies in 2019
1. Backlink Gap Analysis
Backlink Gap analysis refers to the process of comparing your competitors’ backlink profile to your own. There are various online tools to facilitate this process including SEMrush and Moz. These tools allow the user to enter specific criteria into filters to identify all the websites that are linked to your competitors’ websites and not your own.
2. Customer & Partner Links via Email Outreach
Making a genuine connection with partners or regular customers can be hugely beneficial when it comes to link building. Start an email discourse with them and outline the mutually beneficial aspects of such a partnership.
Remember that people are going to be much more inclined if they know you personally. Casting a wide net with the cold email route is an option and has been proven to be effective, with studies showing it’s possible to generate a lot of interest using this tactic. I’d recommend a more personal approach, however, as the potential is there to build long-lasting and fruitful relationships with your customers and partners.
The relationship must be mutually attractive. Don’t expect to receive congenial replies by offering nothing in return! Offer to write testimonials of their various products and services which can be displayed on their website with links back to you. Another option would be to offer them a guest writing post on your website and vice versa. This way, you’ll be supplying each other with valuable content, and most importantly, the opportunity to provide naturally earned backlinks.
3. Publish a Blog
First of all, if you don’t already have one, publishing a regular blog should be at the top of your list of SEO obligations. A blog is extremely effective at keeping your website fresh and current – how many times have you visited a site only to notice the last update was months or even years ago? Google engineers have personally recommended the maintenance of a blog as an effective tool for all things SEO.
Once you start posting consistently you’ll notice a huge boost to your link building opportunities. As long as your content is high quality, up-to-date, and provides readers with an answer to their query, you’ll start to earn naturally earned links from across the web.
Any time a website decides the information you’re posting is valuable, authoritative and trustworthy, they’ll direct their own users to your website. HubSpot found that companies with a blog on their website earn up to 97% more inbound links.
Hopefully, you’ll have gained a valuable insight into link building and realised that the process isn’t as daunting as you might have previously thought. Like most things SEO, you need to be patient, determined and, most importantly, active. If you put in minimal effort, expect minimal results. The last thing you should be is passive in the competitive world of web design!