What does it take to reach the top of Google search results? According to one study, the first result on Google Search averaged almost four times the number of backlinks as those ranking in spots two through 10.
Clearly, backlinks are important for ranking, but how can you get other sites to link back to yours without buying or trading links, violating Google’s spam policies? Here’s how to craft a solid link building strategy for your website.
What is link building?
Link building is getting more quality inbound links to link to your website to increase search traffic. Link building is a search engine optimization (SEO) strategy for increasing your ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs).
Developing a link building strategy with various internal links on your website and external links on other websites can make a huge difference in how many potential customers come across your company when searching online.
Why is link building important?
Link building is an essential aspect of a company’s content marketing strategy. Search engines consider the number and quality of external links (links from other websites) when determining which web pages to include at the top of results pages.
Google’s PageRank algorithm uses linking to determine a webpage’s importance and rank it on results pages. Receiving high placement on SERPs can make a huge difference when trying to drive traffic to your website.
Best link building strategies
- Guest blogging
- Creating useful content
- Resource page link building
- Replacing broken links
- Posting on forums and social media
- Linking existing mentions
- Internal link building
Here are some of the best link building strategies you can use to earn higher placement on search engine results pages and get your brand in front of potential customers:
Guest blogging is a link building strategy involving writing and publishing content on someone else’s website. By guest posting on relevant sites, you can earn quality links that direct traffic to your website.
A high-quality, original guest post can also enhance your reputation online. Creating guest posts for reputable websites is a great way to make new connections in your industry and organically earn quality links pointing to your company’s website.
Start by researching relevant websites that accept guest posts. Send pitches that clearly explain the value your brand offers. When you write a guest post on someone else’s website, you can direct readers to relevant pages on your site. The more useful, specific, and compelling your content, the easier it will become to garner quality links on websites with good reputations and high placement on SERPs.
Creating useful content
A fundamental SEO strategy to keep in mind as you start link building is to create original, engaging, and helpful content for your industry’s target audience. By creating relevant content, you can earn editorial links—natural links from high-authority sites generated organically based on the quality of your information.
One way to generate links from relevant websites is to create highly shareable content like infographics, surveys, or statistics. Collecting valuable data and presenting it in a visually engaging way can earn high-quality links from a variety of web pages.
Resource page link building
Resource page link building is a strategy focused on earning quality links from placements on resource pages. A resource page is a curated list of quality articles, blog posts, products, tools, or other resources around a specific subject. If a reputable website includes your original content or tool on its list of resource links, it can increase your reputation online and earn valuable backlinks.
Replacing broken links
One effective link building strategy is finding broken links, also known as dead links, and replacing them with new links that direct traffic back to your website. Broken-link building involves pitching site owners to replace a broken link with a new one from your brand. If your content is useful and relevant, you can provide value to other websites by keeping their backlinks active.
For example, if you have a company that provides résumé-writing services, you may find it useful to look for sites that talk about job searches and how to improve your résumé. When you find a page that has a dead link, perhaps to a company that no longer exists, you can reach out to them, highlight your résumé services, and suggest that the site owner link to a relevant blog post on your website instead.
Posting on forums and social media
Social media and online forums are useful resources for merchants looking to expand their link building strategy and interact with other brands in their industry. Post useful content online with backlinks to drive traffic from social media platforms to your website. Although Google’s algorithm may not count links from social media as valid backlinks, you’re still building brand awareness and increasing the likelihood that your site will be linked to by content creators.
Find forums related to your industry and answer questions with well-researched solutions that include backlinks to your website. Offering helpful information to potential customers on forums and social media is a great way to earn more organic traffic to your site.
For example, the social network Reddit has thousands of subreddits covering every topic and industry imaginable. If your company makes carrying cases and other accessories for board games, you might post solutions on r/boardgames. If you provide B2B or consulting services, you might consider getting active on LinkedIn Skill Pages relevant to your business.
Linking existing mentions
Regularly search online for mentions of your company, brand, products, services, or SEO content. You may find unlinked mentions on web pages that don’t send traffic to your site. In this case, you might email the site owner and request the inclusion of a backlink to your site based on the mention.
Linking existing mentions can be a win-win for both brands’ backlinking strategies and create the opportunity for a new connection with brands and content creators in your industry. If you’ve made shareable infographics, consider doing a simple Google images search to see which websites share your content and which link back to your website.
Internal link building
An internal link building strategy involves creating links on your website that send traffic to other pages on your site. Quality internal links can keep customers engaged with your website and learn about different areas of your brand.
Search engines like Google scan websites for their internal linking structure when determining search rankings. Building links that send customers to other useful articles, blog posts, infographics, and videos on your own website can improve the user experience of your content as well as the experience of search engine bots scanning your web pages for data that impacts placement on SERPs.
Tips for developing a good link building strategy
- Identify your target audience
- Audit your content regularly
- Write clear anchor text
- Optimize your content for mobile
- Focus on quality over quantity
There are a variety of ways you can improve your link building strategies, including identifying your target audience, optimizing for mobile, and updating your content regularly. Here are some tips to remember as you develop your link building strategy.
Identify your target audience
Determine the target audience most likely to engage with your brand and research the types of content and websites they visit to brainstorm potential linking partners. One of the best ways to obtain links that improve your ranking on SERPS is to listen to what your audience wants and what questions they are asking that you can answer with your content.
Audit your content regularly
Auditing tools can help you evaluate your domain authority and page authority, metrics used to predict how your website will rank in search engine results pages (SERPs) based on the quantity and quality of sources linking to your site. These scores are an easy way to measure the performance of your backlink strategy and track how you compare to competitors.
Write clear anchor text
Using simple and descriptive anchor text (the words users click on to follow a link) can make it easier for potential customers and search engine crawlers to understand what information you’re offering. For example, an active anchor text for “how to start a clothing brand” is more compelling than “click here.”
According to Google, “good anchor text is descriptive, reasonably concise, and relevant to the page that it’s on and to the page it links to.”
Optimize your content for mobile
With mobile accounting for nearly 75% of online traffic to ecommerce retail sites, optimizing your website and content for mobile is essential. Make sure your content and the sites you link out to are mobile-friendly.
Focus on quality over quantity
Prioritize creating content that offers valuable information to your target audience and only link out to reputable websites that offer value to your readers. High-quality content that earns relevant links on sites with higher domain authority will increase your ranking on SERPs more than lots of backlinks from sites with poor reputations.
Link building strategies FAQ
How can link building benefit my brand?
Link building can benefit your brand by improving your placement on search engine results pages (SERPs), thereby driving more traffic to your website. A solid internal linking strategy will encourage users to spend more time on your site, which may lead to greater brand awareness and more conversions.
What is a backlink analysis?
A backlink analysis involves scrutinizing the quality, quantity, and relevance of your backlinks (links from other sites to yours).
What counts as link-worthy content?
Link-worthy content offers valuable information that is relevant to your target audience.