No matter how often Google updates their algorithm in an attempt to devalue backlinks, they still remain essential for a sound SEO strategy. Keep in mind that there are definitely right and wrong ways to go about it. Buying links and getting fake reviews are a thing of the past. These days, search engines don’t have tolerances for this type of activity and will penalize your website for carrying out these tactics.
Today, let’s just focus on the tactics that will set your business up for success.
Networking for effective link building
You can’t hide behind your computer forever! Link building today is very similar to how you would do effective networking. Honestly, my best advice for getting links is by meeting real people and promoting their content. That’s it.
Guest posting is still a great link building tool (especially for getting exposure for somebody who doesn’t currently have a lot of traffic driving to their site), but it should be done by networking, not spamming. If when writing a guest post, your only intent for writing it is to get links directing back to your site, then you’re probably not going to get much value out of it.
When you employee effective networking techniques, you’ll start to see real link building results.
Why link building starts with content
No matter how you look at it, link building begins and ends with useful content. If you don’t have it, there’s little chance you’ll succeed in your efforts to acquire links. Put simply, people link to things worth sharing. If you want to get a lot of shares, you need to get a lot of momentum going.
One of my favorite link building strategies is to find sites that routinely assemble roundup posts in your industry and network to have your quote, post or comment included in their next roundup article. Once you successfully acquire a link in a post, you need to promote it (I mean really promote it). Be sure to leave a comment thanking the author as well.
By sharing other people’s content, you increase the odds of them sharing your content in a way that is very natural (see how networking is at the root of all of this?).
The value of keyword research
For link building, I use keyword research to help me understand my audience’s intent when they go out there looking for something I could solve. It helps me understand what their problems and challenges are and gives me the actual questions that they are turning to search engines for.
This helps guide my strategy for the types of shareable content I should produce as well as the platforms and businesses I should be interacting with to get in front of my audience and increase the number of links driving back to my site.
Stay on top of your competition
Did you know you can easily find out who’s linking to just about any website? It’s a well-established SEO practice to go after the links that might be helping your competition rank.
Conduct a few searches on the keyword phrases and terms that are important to your business. Once you find a handful of competitors, you can employ a tool, like Ahrefs, to get a list of sites linking back to your competition. The point of all this is to see if you can figure out an angle to get a link of your own.
Below are a few other miscellaneous practices I follow that you might find helpful (especially if you run a local business):
- If you’ve produced a great piece of content, let all of your strategic partners share it with their networks.
- Write testimonials to every company you do business with (don’t forget to include a link back to your site).
- If you sponsor any events or charities in your community, make sure you take advantage of their sponsor pages (this can be effective for local SEO).
Lastly, two of my favorite sources for more information on link building are Brian Dean at Backlinko and Neil Patel of Quicksprout. The information you can find on these sites is extremely valuable and I highly recommend checking them out.
Bottom line, if you want to be successful with SEO, invest in content and link building. You’ll create a foundation for whatever algorithm changes may come our way.
What link building strategies do you use? What kinds of results have you seen?