For digital marketers, small business owners, and SEO experts, link building is a powerful tool that, used effectively, can escalate your marketing efforts. It can broaden your brand exposure and drive website traffic through the roof.
But to succeed with link building, you have to know which tactics work — and don’t — and why.
Is Link Building Still Effective?
In its simplest form, link building consists of a method of acquiring hyperlinks from other websites and inserting them into your own. With each link you incorporate from another site, you build an additional inroad to your pages.
Not only can this increase exposure and traffic, but it also sends a signal to Google that your website is more relevant than it was before. The algorithm often responds by shifting your pages a little higher in its organic search rankings.
For years, poorly informed individuals asserted that link building was no longer a viable practice in the digital market. Though it’s fair to say that Google has cracked down on some less appetizing types of link building to concentrate on those it values, there’s little basis for the claim that this practice will become obsolete anytime soon.
In 2019, link building continues to be one of the single most effective methods of online marketing. The manner in which backlinks are employed may well alter in time, but they’ll continue to provide a reasonably high ROI over the years to come.
4 Tips for Better Link Building
Whatever amount of time you choose to devote to learning how to excel at link building won’t be wasted. You have to invest the time personally, however, or pay a qualified link-building expert to do the work for you.
Whichever route you choose, rest assured that your investment in white-hat link building will improve your brand’s online visibility. Assuming you decide to do it on your own, here are four essential suggestions for getting started.
1. Get the basics nailed down.
It takes a lot of manual effort and time to obtain authoritative backlinks to your website. But you can start with some low-hanging fruit to establish a nice link-building foundation. Some of the following links can be acquired with relative ease:
- Profile links: Any place that allows you to create a profile — such as social media networks, message boards, or membership sites — typically gives you the option to include a link in your description.
- Directory links: Links from directories such as Google My Business, Bing Places, Yelp, Yahoo, and Yellow Pages won’t provide a ton of link juice, but they’re worth obtaining.
- Coupon sites: If you’re willing to run a coupon code or discount for your products, you can earn a few links from coupon websites.
Keep in mind that you’ll never reach page one of Google with these kinds of links, but there’s also no reason to ignore them. Every little bit helps.
2. Create high-quality content.
“There is simply no substitute for creating quality content,” Active Web Group explains. “Whether its purpose is to educate or entertain, it has to appeal to a specific audience. Just as great shows make a successful television network, great content makes a great website.”
When it comes to content, quality is better than quantity. Focus on consistently publishing long-form content at least once a week. Over the course of a year, this will give you 50-plus linkable assets.
3. Connect with bloggers.
Bloggers are your friends. As you network, try to connect with as many bloggers and website owners as possible. Offer to provide interviews, resources, or data points in return for links to their sites.
Many will be happy to oblige. Others might offer you guest-blogging opportunities, which gives you another, more relevant link, as well as greater exposure.
4. Find authorship opportunities.
Are you an expert in your industry? Do you have some clout in your niche? Do you have compelling ideas you’re eager to share with others?
You may have an opportunity to become a published author on someone else’s website. If you’re in marketing or advertising, for example, sites like Forbes, Entrepreneur, and Inc. all have contributor programs that enable knowledgeable people to publish content.
You may not necessarily be allowed to plug backlinks into your articles, but you’ll receive an author profile and exposure, underscoring your expertise and relevance.
Optimize Your Link-Building Strategy
The principles of link building remain the same across the board, yet no two brands will get identical results from the same approach. Getting started is the most important step.
After implementing your link-building strategy, though, you should shift your attention to analyzing and optimizing. What works for your brand will change over time.
The more in tune you manage to stay with essential metrics and data points, the faster you’ll be able to exert meaningful changes that generate superior results.