Ask any SEO professional and they will tell you that link building is crucial to the success of any online marketing campaign. Despite this, many organizations neglect their inbound link profile, likely a result of the ambiguous and complex nature of link building. It can be difficult to see the worth in spending valuable time and budget on seemingly obscure business directories or asking someone in your industry for one link.
The fact remains, a link building campaign is essential to attaining high search engine rankings and to increase traffic to your site. Just as thorough keyword research is the foundation for SEO, link building is the backbone.
Increasing inbound links to your website will:
· Increase value to the page, and increase visibility in the SERPS
· Increase value to the website as a whole, and give each page on the site a small boost
· Improve the search engine’s ability to understand what your page is about (through anchor text)
· Increase organic traffic and referral traffic from links (visitors arrive at your site via links)
And links are therefore thought of as being the multiplier of traffic potential.
Marketing strategies for the web should always be approached holistically. On-page optimization, technical SEO, social media, and more, are all important to help improve the visibility of a website, but in terms of moving the needle, you cannot afford not to build inbound links. I have seen the undeniable impact it makes and it’s pretty awesome.
Ok, now that we’ve established link building is a must, the next important thing to know is that the process is going to be different for each individual site. Consequently, your link building strategy must be tailored to your site.
Google places extra value on a diverse backlink profile. This means 50 links from unique domains (with everything else being equal) is going to be more valuable than 300 links from one domain (keep in mind there are additional factors determining link value). In order to launch a fruitful campaign, it’s necessary to perform an analysis of existing links before you begin.
There are several factors to assist in determining the best strategy:
· Competitive Analysis
· Existing Backlink Profile – what kind of links do you have, need, hope for
· Anchor Text Diversity
· Domain Diversity
The ways in which to go about acquiring links are countless, and it is time consuming and hard work – having a strategic plan to follow is fundamental. It’s possible you’ve heard of shortcuts for getting a lot of links fast, as much as I wish that was true, if your goal is to beat the competition and reach #1, there aren’t.
No shortcuts means:
· Manual link building
· Building relationships
· Utilizing existing relationships
· Creating share worthy content
· Asking for links
· Submitting your site to relevant online business directories
· And much, much more
You need to think of it this way:
· The big picture / long term
· Increasing trust and authority
· Ongoing exposure
· The icing on the cake – it really is
If you think in terms of one link at a time, building your inbound link profile is going to be a frustrating and slow process. Instead, think of 6+ months down the line when you have numerous links from a variety of sources and you’re seeing more traffic, increases in rankings for keywords. Not only that, people are responding to your business, they trust you and are seeking you out as a resource. The benefits do not end at increased traffic and rankings but that is the main goal of a link building campaign.
To me, link building is the ‘icing on the cake’ because in general any type of SEO initiative is going to take time and hard work before seeing the fruits of your labor. The difference that adding link building to your marketing efforts makes ends up being a greater improvement than any other single tactic by itself. Usually it will positively impact your site in other ways too, for example creating great content that is share worthy will also be great for social media efforts.
Consistency is key; building links should be an ongoing endeavor and expect that it might take three months (maybe more) before you start seeing results. Though, reaching your goal(s) does not mean the campaign can be chalked up to a success and is finished. If you choose to discontinue your link building efforts you can count on the fact that your competitor hasn’t and it’s only a matter of time ‘til they knock you down a spot or more in the rankings.
Main points to keep in mind are:
· Building links isn’t easy.
· Diversity is critical, so including several different approaches in your strategy right from the start is imperative – even the seemingly boring links serve a purpose – if you are unsure of a certain method, ask your SEO for an explanation. Or contact us and we can steer you down the right path.
· Link Building is an ongoing process.
· You will be really happy that you put in the time and resources when you start seeing results.
Are you interested in kicking off your own link building campaign, but don't know where to start? Contact us to have a no pressure conversation about your goals. Have a question about link building? Drop a note below and we'd be glad to weigh in!
Image by Dunechaser, and licensed through Creative Commons.
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